LePage announces trade mission to Mexico and Colombia

Posted May 31, 2013, at 1:46 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage announced Friday he would lead a delegation of Mainers on a state trade mission to the countries of Mexico and Colombia.

The trip is set for Oct. 22 through Nov. 2, according to a release issued by LePage’s office.

It’s the second time LePage has joined a delegation of Mainers in a foreign land in hopes of helping build trade relations. In 2012, LePage visited China and Hong Kong. The trip will be the 15th time a Maine governor has traveled to another country, besides Canada, on a trade mission.

“Latin America presents numerous opportunities for our Maine businesses,” LePage said in a prepared statement. “Both countries are growing and value U.S. quality products.”

Mexico’s gross domestic product has recorded growth over the past several years and the country ranks as the United States’ second-largest export market and third-largest trading partner, the release stated.

According to the release, Mexican companies are already investing in Maine including a recent partnership with GAC Chemical, based in Searsport.

“We have established some great working partnerships with our Mexico/Colombian counterparts at US Department of Commerce and other in-country cooperators,” Janine Bisaillon-Cary, president of MITC and state director of international trade, said. “Maine companies involved in precision machining and the supply chain for the automotive, oil and gas and mining industries will likely find both markets of interest, as well as medical products manufacturers. These markets are also excellent prospects for student attraction, both at the high school and higher ed levels.”

The release also quoted Tim Hussey, CEO of North Berwick-based Hussey Seating Co.

Hussey said Mexico “has proven to be a good market” for his company. “They have a desire for American-designed products, and we are finding we can be competitive in a number of niche markets. Their economy is growing, and we are seeing our business grow there.”

“Political stability, a growing middle class, and improved security has created an economic boom in Colombia that, coupled with the conservative lending practices by Colombia’s financial institutions, lessened the impact of the global economic crisis, making it the third largest market for U.S. exports in Latin America,” according to the LePage announcement.

Maine exported $34.9 million in goods to Mexico and $8 million to Colombia in 2012. Top exports include paper, motor vehicle parts, vaccines, fruits and nuts, diagnostic materials, medical products and plastics.

The mission is open to all Maine companies and organizations, with a Sept. 7 deadline for registration.

Information is available on MITC’s website at www.mitc.com or by contacting Wade Merritt at merritt@mitc.com or Lucy Sommo at sommo@mitc.com.

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