Guest blog post by Michael Masserman , Executive Director for Export Policy, Promotion, and Strategy, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce
This week Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker announced  the Look South Initiative , a movement to help American businesses leverage the Free Trade Agreements the United States shares with 11 countries in Latin America.
The Initiative is an important new part of the Commerce Department’s Open for Business Agenda , supporting American companies looking to increase their global presence.
More and more businesses are exporting, which is leading to record levels of exports for the country. That supports the U.S. economy, and it helps create jobs here at home.
However, most companies that currently export are only taking advantage of one market. Companies exporting to one market average roughly $375,000 in export sales. For a company exporting to two-to-four export markets, that average nearly triples to $1 million in sales. It's clear that exporting to additional markets improves a business's bottom line.
For businesses looking to expand their export markets, "Looking South" is a simple way to start. More than half of our free trade agreements are in Latin America, which generally equates to greater easer in entering those markets. Tariffs are low if they exist at all, which can mean a lower cost of doing business.
The best news of all is that we have your back. The entire Department of Commerce is backing this effort along with the International Trade Administration (ITA), the State Department, the Small Business Administration, the Export-Import Bank, Department of Agriculture, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.
Here are some ways for you to be a part of the movement:
- Check out ITA’s Trade Winds – The Americas  event in May to connect to a world of opportunity in the Americas. Our Commercial Service team will support you through a series of business-to-business meetings in Colombia, Panama, Chile, Ecuador, and Peru.
- Visit export.gov/LookSouth  to learn about federal resources available to support you. The site features research on a number of markets and industries, and provides tips about doing business in Latin American markets.
- Visit your nearest Export Assistance Center  to enlist the support of our international trade specialists.
- Send an email to looksouth[at]trade[dot]gov  with any other questions.
Your business’s next big opportunities could be right here in your hemisphere.