Trade missions to develop and grow opportunities are trending across the U.S. We recently reported on Florida Governor Rick Scott’s trade mission to South America. It seems representatives from even more states are either planning future trade missions or already embarking on them.

Vice President Joe Biden just completed a 6-day trip to Latin America. Biden focused on both international trade and investments. His tour included stops in Colombia, Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago. Economies in Latin America are projected to expand over 3% this year. Therefore, many political officials want to capitalize on exploring trade opportunities in these growing economies.  Governor Paul LePage of Maine announced his upcoming trade mission to Mexico and Colombia. LePage and representatives with the Maine International Trade Center will accompany members of schools and businesses on the trip this October. The last trade mission by Maine to Mexico was in 2001, while there have been no missions to Colombia as of yet. LePage is looking to expand on the state’s trade relationship with both regions, as there is more opportunity to “be competitive in a number of niche markets”. In 2012, nearly 120 shipments from Colombia were received at ports throughout Maine.

The Import Genius database of detailed shipping records also shows that these shipments contained over 6.2 million pounds of goods. Colombia ranks the third biggest market for U.S. exports in Latin America, according to the Morning Sentinel Newspaper.

ExportDC, The District's Department of Small and Local Business Development, has also announced a trip to Colombia in addition to several other key regions. On the agenda this year is Trinidad, The Dominican Republic, South Africa, and Toronto. Importers within D.C. imported over 1.9 million pounds last year.  Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval just completed a trip to Brazil with members of UNLV’s business school and other business officials from Nevada companies. Sandoval will also conduct missions to Mexico and Israel by the end of this year.  “The purpose of this trade mission was to establish a stronger relationship with Brazil, both from a state and private industry perspective,” said Kris Sanchez, director of International Trade for GOED, reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.  Imports from Brazil to Colombia exceeded 1.2 million pounds last year. Also stated by the LVR-J, “Nevada exports to Brazil in 2012 totaled $49.1 million”. This number doesn’t seem so significant when considering that exports to Switzerland were $3.7 billion last year while Canadian exports amounted to $1.3 billion.  Nevada’s imports from Colombia in 2012 were far greater than numbers seen in DC or Maine. Nearly 25 million pounds contained in about 250 shipments was imported to Nevada from Colombia last year. Shipments doubled in the last several years, with only 113 received in 2011.  “The trade missions help local companies open doors, build relationships, conceptualize export ideas and learn about international business cultures,” according to the Washington Business Journal.  Political figures and business professionals alike are all interested in strengthening trade relations and tapping into new markets to achieve business longevity. With this in mind, there’s no doubt that trade missions will continue, especially as world economies gain momentum.  Sources:

On the road to Rio: Biden does Brazil

LePage announces trade mission to Mexico, ColombiaD.C. organizing biz trade missions to Colombia, South Africa, TorontoNevada officials, companies seek to boost trade ties with Brazil