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U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank Announces 20 Companies Joining Infrastructure Business Development Trade Mission to Brazil, Colombia and Panama

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
CONTACT OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS
202-482-4883

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank today announced the 20 companies that will join her on an infrastructure business development trade mission to Sao Paulo, Brazil; Bogota, Colombia; and Panama City, Panama from May 12-18, 2013. The governments of these countries have each outlined ambitious infrastructure development plans for the years ahead, and this trade mission will help U.S. companies in a broad range of infrastructure industry sectors make the connections they need to expand their business opportunities in Brazil, Colombia and Panama.

The trade mission will support President Obama’s National Export Initiative, a government-wide strategy to promote American exports and create 2 million export-supported jobs by the end of 2014. Last year, exports hit another all-time record, reaching $2.2 trillion. And, between 2009 and 2012 exports have supported 1.3 million additional jobs.

The mission will also highlight the successes in the U.S. trade relationships with Colombia and Panama, specifically, since free trade agreements with each country have taken effect. The Deputy Secretary and the business delegation will be in Colombia on the one-year anniversary of the implementation of that Free Trade Agreement (FTA), May 15.

“At the Department of Commerce, our mission is to help American businesses grow and to strengthen our economy. But in order for our economy to thrive, American businesses must compete and succeed in the global economy, and sell their goods and services to the 95 percent of consumers who live outside our borders,” said Deputy Secretary Blank. “This trade mission will help facilitate business opportunities for U.S. companies in Brazil, Colombia, and Panama and grow exports – particularly in the infrastructure and transportation sectors. Each of these countries is making significant investments in infrastructure development, and American companies have the expertise to serve as tremendous partners in their efforts.

“In addition to supporting the National Export Initiative, this trade mission also furthers the Obama Administration’s efforts to deepen the economic and commercial relationship between the United States and Latin America.”

The mission will include export-ready U.S. firms in a broad range of leading U.S. infrastructure and industrial sectors, with an emphasis on project management (including construction, architecture and design), transportation (including road/highways, rail, airports, and intelligent transportation systems), energy (including distribution, transmission, and smart grid), water resources management (including water treatment, distribution and collection), and safety and security. The mission will help U.S. businesses in initiating or expanding exports to Brazil, Colombia and Panama by making business-to-business introductions, providing market access information, and facilitating access to government decision makers.

The business delegation participating in the trade mission includes:

  1. Allen & Shariff Corporation, LLC (Columbia, Maryland)

  2. Autodesk, Inc. (San Rafael, California)

  3. Case New Holland Inc. (Burr Ridge, Illinois)

  4. Cessna Aircraft Company (Wichita, Kansas)

  5. Chen Moore and Associates (Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, Florida)

  6. Condortech Services Inc. (Springfield, Virginia)

  7. Del Valle Group (Toa Baja, Puerto Rico)

  8. Fluidic Energy (Scottsdale, Arizona)

  9. Ghafari Associates, LLC (Dearborn, Michigan)

  10. Greeley and Hansen (Chicago, Illinois)

  11. Innovari, Inc. (Austin, Texas)

  12. Integra Design Group Architects & Engineers, PSC (San Juan, Puerto Rico)

  13. Mabey Inc. (Elkridge, Maryland)

  14. Meridiam Infrastructure North America Corp. (New York, New York)

  15. Morgan Stanley Infrastructure (New York, New York)

  16. OSISoft LLC (San Leandro, California)

  17. Propex Operating Company, LLC (Chattanooga, Tennessee)

  18. Pulltarps Mfg. (El Cajon, California)

  19. Rapiscan Systems, Inc (Torrance, California)

  20. Tollgrade Communications, Inc. (Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania)

Background on Brazil

Brazil is the United States’ 7th largest export market and 8th largest trading partner. In 2012, U.S. goods exports to Brazil reached nearly $44 billion, 68 percent above their 2009 level. Our goods trade surplus to Brazil was more than $11 billion in 2012.

In 2007, Brazil launched the Growth Acceleration Program, laying out investments of nearly R$504 billion ($306 billion U.S. dollars) through 2010 to address many infrastructure issues and prepare for the upcoming 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic games. In March 2012, Brazil released the second phase of that program, which promised infrastructure spending of R$959 billion ($582 billion U.S. dollars) from 2011 to 2014. There are tremendous infrastructure opportunities for U.S. companies in Brazil, notably in the transportation, energy, environment, ports, and information/communications technology (ICT) sectors. 

Background on Colombia

The United States is Colombia’s largest trading partner, accounting for 30 percent of Colombia’s total trade. In 2012, U.S. exports to Colombia totaled $16.4 billion, a 15 percent increase relative to 2011.

The U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement (FTA) took effect on May 15, 2012. On the date the FTA took effect, 80 percent of U.S. exports of consumer and industrial goods became duty-free in Colombia, and at year five, 95 percent of Colombia tariffs on U.S. goods will be eliminated. By year 10, all remaining tariffs will be removed. Since the FTA took effect in May 2012, U.S. goods exports to Colombia have increased 19 percent compared to the same period the previous year.

The government of Colombia is focused on improving infrastructure development, and has earmarked $26 billion over the next four years for primarily road projects. Ongoing and future projects exist in airport modernization, sea and river port developments, and rail line upgrades. 

Background on Panama

U.S.-Panama total trade amounted to $10.5 billion in 2012, up 22 percent from the previous year. U.S. exports to Panama totaled $9.9 billion in 2012, an increase of 21 percent compared to 2011.

The U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement (FTA) took effect on October 31, 2012. On the date the FTA took effect, 86 percent of U.S. exports of consumer and industrial goods became duty-free in Panama. Since the FTA took effect, U.S. exports have increased 19 percent compared to the same period the previous year.

Panama is currently engaged in the $5.25 billion Panama Canal expansion project, and continues to expand the capacities of its ports on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.