BOGOTA, Columbia – During a trade mission to two South American countries with growing economies, Gov. Jay Nixon today announced that the State of Missouri has signed a bi-lateral agreement to increase exports between Missouri and Colombia by $750 million over the next five years.
The agreement, witnessed by the Governor, was signed by Ms. Paola Buendia, the executive vice president of ANDI, the National Business Association of Columbia, and Missouri’s Director of Economic Development, Mike Downing. The signing took place at a roundtable meeting with ANDI; ANALDEX, the National Foreign Trade Association of Colombia; and CEA, the Council of American Enterprises.
“This $750 million agreement with Colombia is another testament to our strategic, pro-active approach to exporting Missouri goods overseas – and creating new jobs at home,” Gov. Nixonsaid. “Colombia’s growing economy and expanding middle-class present significant opportunities for Missouri businesses and producers. By increasing demand for Missouri products in emerging markets like Colombia, we will grow our economy and create jobs in the Show-Me State.”
Colombia was Missouri’s 27th largest trading partner in 2014, receiving more than $81.9 million in Missouri goods and commodities. The largest categories of Missouri products exported to Colombia were chemicals, non-electrical machinery, food, and electrical equipment and appliances.
In addition, on Monday the Governor witnessed a contract signing between St. Louis-based telemedicine firm and delegation member MEDINEXO and Salud Total, a Colombian health services company. The goal of the $350,000 agreement is to provide 22,350 telemedicine consultations in Colombia. MEDINEXO is a Global Telehealth Marketplace designed to help its members find health care services specific to their needs 24/7, in their patients’ language, when and where they need them.
In addition to meeting with the U.S. Ambassador to Colombia, Kevin Whitaker, the Governor also met with American Chamber of Commerce Colombia Executive Director Dr. Camilo Reyes Rodríguez, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Patti Londoño-Jaramillo;and Dr. Juan Carlos Gonzalez, Vice President for Investment Promotion for ProColombia,the agency responsible for promoting Colombian non-traditional exports, international tourism and foreign investment.
Later today, the Governor is scheduled to meet with Bruce MacMaster, Director General of ANDI; Diego Molano Vega, Minister of Telecommunications; Mr. Juan Pablo Pineda, Vice Minister of Farming Affairs; Monica de Greiff, President, Bogotá Chamber of Commerce; and Andrés Escobar, Vice Minister of the Economy.
Tomorrow (Feb. 3), the Governor will travel to Peru, Missouri’s 42nd largest market for exports, which purchased more than $25.6 million in Missouri goods and commodities in 2014. Leading export categories from Missouri to Peru were non-electrical machinery, food, fabricated metal products, and chemicals. The Governor will meet with government officials and address members of the American Chamber of Commerce.
Last August, Missouri was awarded a competitive grant of $599,000 from the U.S. Small Business Administration to increase the number of Missouri small businesses that export their products, especially to emerging markets. The funding from the State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) Grant Program focuses on helping incentivize Missouri businesses to focus their exporting targets on Colombia, Panama and Peru.
The delegation will return to the United States on Friday, Feb. 5. Travel costs for Governor and Mrs. Nixon are being covered by the Hawthorn Foundation; state taxpayer funds will not be used.
Gov. Nixon has made creating opportunities for Missouri businesses to sell their products around the globe and promoting Missouri as an ideal location for investment by foreign companies a top economic development priority for his administration. The Governor has led successful trade missions to China (October 2011); Brazil (April 2012); the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the Republic of Korea (March 2013); western Europe (June 2014, March 2015 and June 2015); eastern Canada (March 2014); and western Canada (August 2015).