HIDALGO, RGV – The U.S. Commercial Service and the U.S. Small Business Administration are joining forces to bring export assistance resources to businesses in the Rio Grande Valley that would like to explore business opportunities in Mexico.

Luis Cantu
Luis Cantu

The two agencies have set up two forums for next week, one in Pharr and the other in McAllen. Both are titled “Meeting the Challenges and Seizing the Opportunities in Exporting” and both are free.

Each event is co-sponsored by UPS, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Small Business Development Center and the Texas Camino Real District Export Council. The Pharr event also is co-sponsored by Pharr Economic Development, while the McAllen event is co-sponsored by the McAllen Chamber of Commerce.

Daniel Rodriguez, director of the U.S. Commercial Service in South Texas, said that during the events, businesses can learn how to open their doors to global markets, what it takes to do to business in Mexico and the type of financing available to exporters through the U.S. Small Business Administration and Export-Import Bank, as well as others.

“This is a great opportunity for local businesses,” Rodriguez said. “These forums will provide them a quick introduction to the exporting process and the local resources available to them that will help them identify and evaluate international partners, show them how to navigate international documentation challenges, and how to create market entry strategies to attain success in the international markets.”

Sergio Contreras
Sergio Contreras

The McAllen event runs from 9 – 11:30 a.m. on March 9 and takes place at the McAllen Chamber of Commerce offices on Ash Road in McAllen. Individuals can register for the event by contacting Louis Cantu at (956) 682-2871 or at [email protected]

The Pharr event runs from 1:30 – 4 p.m. March 9 at the Hampton Inn and Suites on Nolana Avenue in Pharr. Individuals can register for the event by contacting Karina Lopez at (956) 402-4332 or at [email protected]

Both events require participants to register.

Sergio Contreras, executive director of the Pharr Economic Development Corporation, said he is delighted one of the forums is being held in Pharr.

“Pharr realizes and appreciates the importance of small businesses in our community. We look forward to providing solutions to local entities that are interested in exporting to Mexico. Texas continues to lead the nation as a top exporter, in fact- the Pharr International Bridge helped Texas to export more than $251 billion in 2015.”

Contreras said the goal of the forum is to expose Valley businesses to the many opportunities of doing business in Mexico. “Over the past five years, Mexico has received over $135 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI). The largest share of FDI in Mexico comes from the United States.”

He added: “Pharr is positioning itself to engage with entities that are crossing through the Pharr International Bridge to have them set presence in our community.”

Luis Cantu is vice president of international business and community development at the McAllen Chamber. Cantu said: “To be more competitive in the global economy, the United States a must grow its exporter base. Even though exporting is a proven source of growth for both U.S. companies and the U.S. economy, we are just beginning to tap its export potential.”

Cantu cited U.S. Census Bureau statistics which show that from 2009 to 2012, the number of U.S. firms exporting has increased by about 28,000, reaching a record high of nearly 305,000 exporting firms. Recently compiled data shows that in 2014, exporting accounted for 13.4 percent of the United States GDP.

“Currently, the U.S. economy hit a new annual record for exports, with $2.35 trillion in goods and services shipped, making last year the fifth consecutive year that the U.S. economy yielded record exports,” Cantu said. “This free forum is a great opportunity to learn the resources available for local business owners to grow their businesses through exports by covering different topics such as Opening the Doors to Global Markets, Doing Business, Export Financing Programs, Export Documentation and Logistics and more.”

Rodriguez, of the U.S. Commercial Service in South Texas, said his agency exists to helps U.S. companies, particularly small and medium-sized businesses, to enter and grow in the international markets.  “Through its global presence and international marketing expertise, the U.S. Commercial Service is able to support U.S. companies with the sales of their products/services worldwide working in collaboration with the staff at the U.S. Embassies & Consulates around the world,” Rodriguez said. “The mission of the U.S. Commercial Service is to promote U.S. exports and to advocate for and to protect the business interest of U.S. companies in the international arena. Companies of all sizes across South Texas are finding export opportunities, and many more have the potential to do so.”

He added that companies that already do business in the United States, one of the world’s most open and competitive markets, are a likely candidate for doing business overseas. To learn more about exporting and international trade, Rodriguez said, contact the Commercial Service-South Texas office at (210) 472-4020.

Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statement last month about Texas’ dominance in the export market. It followed the release of a U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) report that ranks Texas as the top exporting state in the nation for the 14th consecutive year, with over $251 billion in goods exported in 2015.

“This latest economic metric is yet another testament to the continued strength of the Texas economy,” Abbott said. “During my first year as Governor, I had the opportunity to lead business development trips abroad and saw firsthand the impact Texas businesses are having across the globe. This year I plan to lead more business development missions to bolster our state’s economy and create opportunities for Texas businesses to further compete in the global marketplace.”

Abbott’s office issued these Export Facts:

•Texas exported more than $251 billion in goods in 2015.
•Texas exports alone accounted for more than 16 percent of U.S. goods exported in 2015.
•For the 3rd year in a row, Texas surpassed California for high-tech exports. Texas exported $6.3 billion more in high-tech goods than California in 2015.