Report on the DIT Latin American and Caribbean Roadshow 2019
Glasgow, 25 March 2019
The Roadshow (one of five being held in locations around mainland Britain) was organised by the Department for International Trade (DIT) to provide businesses with an insight into the markets of Latin America and the Caribbean.
Joanna Crellin, HM Trade Commissioner for Latin America and the Caribbean, led the event, accompanied by senior trade experts located in Embassies and Consulates throughout this vast region, and senior officials from the Embassies in the UK.
Key points were:
- the region is home to 650 million people with a growing middle class. Collectively, the region’s 48 countries and territories constitute world’s third largest economy after China and the USA;
- key growth sectors being targeted by DIT include the extractive industries, life sciences, security and defence, infrastructure, education and financial services;
- the UK seriously underperforms in terms of trade in the region, with only remnants the once-strong relationships remaining. However there is a positive legacy with a respect for British quality and values;
- the area is far from homogenous, a point stressed by the DIT regional representatives, but many common traits are shared, especially the importance of personal relationships and trust: “it is a face-to-face place” as one person put it;
When asked what to bear in mind when trying to enter this market, DIT officers highlighted the following:
- use the DIT offices, chambers of commerce and business associations as multipliers, to help make contact with more of the right people;
- be aware of politics and the potential implications of changing government, for example in Brazil and Mexico recently;
- go native – spend time in country and meeting potential trading partners;
- differentiate on the basis of quality and innovation.
Thank you to the team at DIT and the various speakers for organising a useful and informative event.