OTTAWA—Canadian exports to Latin America hit a record $10 billion last year, according to Export Development Canada.
EDC reports a 40 per cent increase of its Canadian goods and services in the region.
Todd Winterhalt, vice president of international business development at EDC, says Latin America’s current supply chain needs are creating opportunities for Canadian knowledge and expertise in sectors such as infrastructure, power, oil and gas and mining.
Much of the export growth has been thanks to supply chain deals with key Latin American corporations, such as mining companies Vale and Codelco, as well as oil company Pemex and Mexico’s Federal Electricity Commission.
“We see continued strength in those markets, especially if commodity prices stay high. On the infrastructure side, there will be a huge amount of opportunity in Brazil particularly ahead of the World Cup and Olympics,” Winterhalt said.
He says prospects also look good in countries such as Chile, Mexico, Panama, and Tobago.
Jean-Michel Laurin, vice-president of global policy with Canadian Exporters and Manufacturers, says he’s not surprised by EDC’s lastest figures.
“Canada’s exports to South America grew by 29 per cent in 2010. Brazil and Argentina both had 66 per cent growth. That’s a much higher pace than other markets,” Laurin points out.
“There are tremendous opportunities in Latin America, not only in markets like mining, but automotive products, including auto parts, forest products and equipment, farm equipment, engineering services—these are all sectors that are rapidly growing,” Laurin says.
In spite of higher tariffs and custom restrictions in Brazil, Laurin agrees the country will provide the greatest opportunities for Canadian exports, in sectors such as infrastructure support and forestry.