With more than 95 percent of the world’s population and 80 percent of the world’s purchasing power outside the United States, you’ve got to travel to find new customers.
The Alabama Department of Commerce and the Export Alabama Alliance have announced a 2014 trade mission agenda to do just that. Alabama plans to lead business delegations to Southeast Asia, South America and Europe.
During March 13-26, the Export Alabama Alliance will lead a group of businesses to Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore. The U.S. is currently negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership to achieve a commercially meaningful trade and investment agreement among 12 Asia-Pacific nations. Two billion Asians joined the middle class in the last 20 years and another 1.2 billion are expected to do so by 2020.
Figures show that two-way trade between Alabama and Singapore totaled $222 million in 2012, slightly ahead of the $218 million with Thailand that year. Two-way trade with Indonesia was $51 million in 2012.
In June, the Export Alabama Alliance heads to Peru and Uruguay to take advantage of market opportunities. Alabama’s exports to Peru have experienced strong growth, increasing by 235 percent since the U.S.‐Peru Free Trade Agreement took effect in 2009.
Argentina and Brazil are large markets for Alabama products and services but given the experience of restrictions and non-tariff barriers, Alabama looks to Uruguay as a market to help Alabama companies’ transition to the exponential growth opportunities in Brazil and Argentina.
Alabama exports to Uruguay topped $11 million in 2012.
Europe remains by far America’s largest trading partner, and the EU accounts for nearly half of global economic output, topping $6.5 trillion annually and employing 15 million Americans and Europeans. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, called the biggest trade deal in the world, is under negotiation. A trip to Belgium and the Netherlands is planned in fall 2014.
Both countries are substantial trade partners with Alabama. In 2012, exports of Alabama-made products to Belgium topped $254 million, while shipments to the Netherlands exceeded $242 million. Two-way trade between Alabama and those countries approached $700 million that year.
Companies interested in participating in any or part of these business missions may contact Hilda Lockhart, director of international trade for the Alabama Department of Commerce, at 334-242-0442 or [email protected].
Text by Dave Helms