Opportunities Abound in Brazil, Colombia and Chile For Ohio Exporters

Kegler Brown Global Business News

A three-week April business trip to Sao Paulo, Santiago and Bogota gave us an important feel to the pulse of three leading economies in South America. Sao Paulo, massive, vertical, and the most important business and financial center in South America, is bursting with optimism mixed with a touch of anxiety. Optimism that Brazil will continue on the path to becoming a tier one nation and anxiety over the many challenges to overcome in education, health, infrastructure and good governance. Regardless of the mood, the mix in Brazil leads to opportunities for Ohio businesses in a market of 200 million people determined to increase the size and purchasing power of its growing middle class.

Santiago, with parts looking and feeling much like any large U.S. city, touts Chile’s stability, its low taxes and countless free trade agreements as the place for U.S. companies to bridge Asia with South America and beyond. Given Chile’s relative small but affluent market of 17 million, it is a strategy long in the works, but one that Ohio business should consider in the mix.

Colombia has greatly improved its security over the last decade, but the business sections of Bogota remain filled with security personnel, which oddly makes the visitor feel in the midst of danger. Nevertheless, with the full implementation of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement and the expansion of the Panama Canal, Ohio businesses should expect in Colombia an open and increasingly affluent market with much growth and development around Barranquilla.