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Pennsylvania SBDC Releases International Business Resource Guides for Panama, Colombia and South Korea

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Four centers within the Pennsylvania Small Business Developments Centers (SBDC) network have created international business resource guides covering the Free Trade Agreements (FTA) between the U.S. and Panama, Colombia and South Korea. These resource guides are available for small businesses looking to grow or enter international markets and are available at no-charge through funding from a State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

To download or view these guides, please visit http://pasbdc.org/international/resource-guides. More information on each trade manual can be found below.

Export Opportunities to Panama

The Duquesne University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has written the trade guide manual on Panama which focuses on Panama’s opportunities to trade in construction equipment, computers and parts, telecommunications equipment and services, as well as energy power systems. 

Panama has the second largest free trade zone in the world and largely due to the Panama Canal, where 5 percent of the world’s commerce passes through every year.  The industrial development of Panama has been slow in the past years; however, its service sector continues to be the main pillar of the Panama economy.  Panama’s services include the Panama Canal, banking, the Colon Free Trade Zone, insurance, health and medical, container ports, logistics, and tourism and flagship registry, the perfect bargaining chips for the manufactured goods that make up the majority of U.S. exports to Panama. Due to Panama’s service-driven economy, which will increase opportunities for the U.S. service sector to grow; there is no known reason for the two countries to stop being trade partners.

The guide also includes information about Panamanian trade culture, business etiquette, market trade and resources, as well as growth opportunities.  

Export Opportunities to South Korea

The Lehigh University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has written the trade guide manual for the U.S. and South Korea FTA.  South Korea ranks as the seventh largest dollar value trading partner for the United States and currently ranks 10th on the list of countries where Pennsylvania businesses send exports.  Due to South Korea’s lack of natural resources, the country depends highly upon imports of raw materials, industrial supplies and capital goods.  South Korea is the fifth largest importer of oil in the world and the fifth largest export for American agriculture. 

The guide also covers South Korean culture, exporting opportunities for growth in the South Korean markets, the step-by-step process of exporting to South Korea, and more. 

Export Opportunities to Colombia

The Saint Francis University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and the Saint Vincent College Small Business Development Center (SBDC) have written the Colombia resource guide which reviews the FTA with the U.S.  As Colombia’s largest trading partner, the U.S. consumes approximately 32.5 percent of Colombian exports while providing an estimated 30.6 percent of imports to the country.  Top exports from the U.S. to Colombia in 2012 were: machinery, mineral fuel, electrical machinery, and organic chemicals.  Top import products from Colombia to the U.S. in 2012 were: oil, precious stones, coffee and cut flowers, with the addition of new imports such as, sweets, plastic-impregnated fabrics, avocados, broccoli and much more.  For Pennsylvania, exports to Colombia in 2012 totaled to $366 million; during this time the exports to Colombia doubled the imports from Colombia to Pennsylvania.  A thriving relationship has been built. 

The guide also has sections with information on the Colombian market, culture, travel, and its top sectors of electricity, mining, oil & gas, and construction & building.