Viva global expansion! Trade mission to Latin America: emerging economies represent significant opportunity for international franchise development.

Author:Solomon, Beth


International trade missions have become one of the International Franchise Association's most popular offerings, as the organization focuses its international efforts to provide members development and strategic opportunities. Following a highly successful mission to Indonesia and Vietnam, including significant media coverage and exposure across IFA channels, the IFA will co-sponsor with Franchise Times and the U.S. Commercial Service a trade mission to three high-profile markets in Latin America-Panama, Colombia and Chile-Aug. 26-31.

The mission will include country briefings with U.S. Embassy officials and U.S. Commercial Service officers, meetings with government ministries, one-on-one matchmaking meetings with pre-screened local investors, media outreach, real estate briefings and site visits.

About the Markets

* Panama: Almost half of Panama's 3.5 million people live in the capital of this vibrant economy, Panama City. Economic growth has been steady, and there is a relatively large middle class with a strong demand for sophisticated products. ]he U.S. dollar is the legal tender, and franchising is growing at an annual rate of 15 percent.

* Colombia: With its population of 46 million, Colombia is the fifth-largest economy in Latin America. Political stability, a growing middle class and more security have created an economic boon here. 2011's GDP growth was 5.5 percent. Colombia has five commercial hubs, and multiple infrastructure improvements are in the works across the country.

* Chile: One of the most stable and prosperous developing nations, this coastal nation is often compared to California in its geography and wine regions ranks high on international indices in economic freedom, transparency and competitiveness. About 150 franchises already operate here, and there's no specific franchise legislation. 2011's GDP growth was 6.2 percent, with an inflation rate of 3.9 percent. Chile's population is over 17 million.

These emerging economies represent significant opportunity for international franchise development. By providing unique resources and introductions to potential business partners, the U.S. Franchise Trade Mission to Panama, Colombia and Chile will be a jump-start for brands seeking growth in these promising markets.

Why Conduct Trade Missions?

A 2011 survey of 155 IFA member companies showed strong and growing interest in international expansion and IFA programming. Over 72 percent said...

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