Free Trade Agreement Opens Door to New Business Opportunities
Former president of Colombia Alberto Uribe welcomed members of a business trade mission from the Mountain West region to Bogota during a reception on Feb. 10.
The mission, which ran from Feb. 10-14, included Colombia and Panama and was the first coordinated group from the area to explore business opportunities in Colombia since the implementation of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement in May 2012.
In 2011, during a visit to Salt Lake City, Uribe officially invited Utah companies to visit Colombia and work to expand their markets together in light of the pending approval of the free trade agreement.
During his comments at the reception, President Uribe used the word “confidence” to describe his country, citing that:
Former president of Colombia Alberto Uribe, center, was joined by Mark Garfield, left, and David Clark of Zions Bank’s International Banking department at a reception Feb. 10.
- When other countries were suffering hyperinflation, Colombia held its under control
- The country has avoided defaulting on its debts
- Colombia is the oldest democracy in the region
Free Trade Agreement Opens Doors
The mission was supported by Zions Bank and FedEx in partnership with the U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service and World Trade Center Utah. Participants included representatives from a wide variety of industries, including manufacturing, safety and security, telecommunications, logistics, building and consumer products, education, finance and legal services.
The group conducted one-on-one business development meetings with potential agents, distributors, buyers and joint-venture partners.
“The Mountain West region is one of the fastest-growing economic areas in the United States and has seen exponential export growth over the past decade,” said Mark Garfield, International Banking regional manager for Zions Bank. “We welcome the opportunity to increase business with the impact of reduced tariffs and related barriers.”
Opportunities for the Mountain West
Logan, Utah-based Campbell Scientific participated in the mission with a goal of increasing its presence in Central America. The Panama Canal Authority is soliciting bids for 17 new hydro-meteorological stations.
“The current hope is to compete in a bid to win 17 more stations, along with the associated services (installation and maintenance) for the upcoming project in Panama, as well as win many more new customers there,” Campbell Scientific senior international application engineer Brad Maxfield told the Herald Journal newspaper in Logan. “This project and others like it could bring hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of additional sales to Cache Valley.”
Campbell Scientific of Logan, Utah, is bidding on new hydro-meteorological stations for the Panama Canal.
Global Markets Fuel Growth
The U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service’s office in Utah hopes area companies will increasingly target global markets in their growth strategies.
With more than 100 offices across the U.S. and in American embassies and consulates in nearly 80 countries, the U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service connects U.S. companies with international buyers through export counseling and a variety of export services.
“Many Utah businesses are finding that markets where the U.S. has free trade agreements offer some of the best opportunities for making new sales, and those businesses are adjusting their export strategies accordingly,” said David Fiscus, director of the U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service in Utah. “The intent of these business meetings is to help the participating U.S. firms lay the foundation for successful business expansion in Colombia and Panama.”