Latin American opportunities for West Midlands businesses

Latin American opportunities for West Midlands businesses

The head of West Midlands UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) is urging businesses from across the region to set their sights on Latin America as hundreds of export opportunities become available.

Businesses in the healthcare, education, oil and gas, marine, infrastructure, financial services, automotive or mining sectors to are being urged to expand their reach to countries such as Dominican Republic, Argentina, Mexico and Chile.

Christine Hamilton, interim director of UKTI West Midlands, said: “There are currently more than 200 live export opportunities in a range of sectors that companies from our area could apply for.

“Although some of our companies have been reticent about doing business in that region, there is potential for huge growth there, which has been the case for many local firms that are doing great work in those markets.

“I would urge anyone to see if their goods and services are needed in these increasingly attractive markets and take the first steps to exporting.

“We are finding that many Latin America countries are modernising and becoming more open, the demand is out there – from advanced engineering to giftware and textiles – and with the help of our market experts, you could be too.”

One West Midlands company that is winning business in the Latin America and Caribbean markets is Fuelcare, in Staffordshire.

The company already exports its own fuel biocide additive for ships, boats and super yachts to Antigua and is now expanding its reach across the Latin American market.

Oliver Rumford-Warr, managing director, said: “Over the past seven years, exporting has been a major factor for me to grow the business – the very nature of the marine sector means that we have to focus our efforts on that.

“Regular conversations with our UKTI adviser helped massively with a number of things, especially with understanding markets that are a bit further afield, and our growth has been the result of that.

“If you are new to exporting, you have to take risks and not take a short-term view. The rewards are worth the hard work, we’ve noticed that we have an advantage in overseas markets as a UK company – it does have prestige.”

Last year, West Midlands businesses exported £460.2 million worth of goods to Latin American countries, with Chile, Colombia and Dominican Republic showing particular growth for the region.