Timing right for Corbett-led trade trip to Brazil, Chile, experts say
International business experts in Pittsburgh praised Gov. Tom Corbett's plan to travel to Brazil and Chile on a trade mission next spring, a trip his office announced Thursday.
Pennsylvania's exports to the two growing countries have tripled in recent years, totaling $1.6 billion combined in 2011, according to Census data and the U.S. Commercial Service in Pittsburgh. They're buying products from mining, heavy equipment and transportation companies — all businesses strong in Pennsylvania, the experts said.
With global events like the World Cup and the Olympics awarded to Brazil, and a growing oil drilling industry in the region, now is the time for engineering and design companies, environmental technology manufacturers, and oil and gas companies to move in, too. Small- and medium-sized businesses stand to gain the most from a goodwill trip from Corbett, they said.
“I think this is a perfect time, it's a crucial time, it's a much-needed time ... for Americans to go to Brazil, engage, meet with potential distributors because the market is growing,” said Brent Rondon, a native of Peru and manager of the global business program at Duquesne University's Small Business Development Center. “And when there's growth, there's opportunities.”
The nonprofit business development organization Team Pennsylvania Foundation is funding the governor's participation on the 10-day trip in April. Businesses will pay a fee of $3,000 or $5,000 — depending on their size — for translators and guides to help them meet potential business partners and fund the governor's travel, said Matt Zieger, CEO of Team Pennsylvania.
The governor and his staff can get local businessmen access to high-ranking officials whom they otherwise may not be able to meet and can help coordinate follow-up communications at home, said Ravi Madhavan, professor of business administration at the University of Pittsburgh. The governor's presence also helps convince people in Brazil and Chile that their markets are important to Pennsylvania, good will that should not be underestimated, said Lyn Doverspike, director of the U.S. Commercial Service in Pittsburgh.
Latin American countries have long been overshadowed by Europe and Asia but are gaining more attention from years spent reforming and modernizing their markets and legal systems, Rondon said. Chile, bolstered by a free-trade agreement signed in 2004, grew to $317 million of exports just from Pennsylvania in 2011. Brazil, bolstered by widespread economic growth, is now topping $1 billion in exports annually from the state, the eighth most worldwide.
Team Pennsylvania is looking to take 15 to 20 companies on the trip, concentrating on small businesses, Zieger said. That's key, said Henry Posner III, chairman of Green Tree-based Railroad Development Corp., which has done business in several Latin American countries. Small businesses with about 100 or fewer workers can gain experience and support from the trip, but larger companies usually have the type of resources and the position where they don't need the help, Posner said.
“You hear lots of speeches and flailing around, and anybody who's looking to make a deal on a trade mission is probably wasting their time,” he added. “However, what it does do: It gets people who wouldn't otherwise go to dip their toe in the water, visit these countries and see what it's like to get a sense of the landscape so they might go back.”
Timothy Puko is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7991 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Kent State provocation with ‘blood’ sweatshirt denied
- Pitt football coach Chryst refutes analyst Wannstedt’s opinion
- Fracking not the problem, Ohio State scientist finds
- Pirates analyst Kent Tekulve recovering after heart transplant
- Steelers veteran defenders want young teammates to step up
- Alle-Kiski roundup: Robertson’s goal lifts Knoch in OT
- New approach on offense has Pirates in playoff contention this season
- Fuel cell company leaves New York to operate plant in Mt. Pleasant Township
- Wheel separation incidents occasionally prove deadly; NTSB doesn’t track them
- Campus clippings: Kiski Area graduate Kylie Jackson hitting her stride for St. Francis
- Kittanning high school roundup: Freeport volleyball topples North Allegheny