Go West? No, Look South with International Shipping & Make Money!
Go West, young man.
Rarely have words carried such weight as what some would call the most influential sentence of the 19th century, adding that it affected the course of the United States’ history.
Over 150 years later, these are still famous words. Many even know its longer configurations, “Go West, young man, go West” or “Go West, young man, and grow up with the country.”
Although there is some debate over whether Go West, young man originated with American writer Horace Greeley or American journalist John B. L. Soule, it is not uncommonly thought of as a government catchphrase working in hand with the idea of Manifest Destiny and used to promote westward expansion.
What does any of this have to do with international shipping?! I’m getting there, jeeze!
The government now has a new catchphrase pointing in a different direction: “Look South.”
No, the United States isn’t looking to expand southward and go to war with Mexico again for more land. Look South is an initiative to get U.S. businesses to “Look South” at Latin America trade partners and export products to growing markets south of the U.S.
See, I told you I was about to relate this to international shipping.
Calling Look South a new catchphrase may be a little bit strong. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker unveiled the Look South initiative back in January. Of course, anything from 2014 is quite new compared to something from the mid 1800’s. Look, I’m calling it new. Get over it!
It’s doubtful the phrase “Look South” will have anywhere near the staying power of “Go West, young man”. Okay, more than doubtful.
Nearly a century after its coining, Go West Young Man was the title of a major motion picture starring Mae West. Close to one and a half centuries after its coining, the phrase was spoofed in the title of the John Candy movie Wagons East. Go West Young Man was even used as the title of a song in 1990 by Michael W. Smith.
Michael W. Who? Okay, you might have needed to be a Christian in the 90’s for that reference; but trust me, if you were, he was very popular.
Despite the fact that “Look South” won’t carry the cultural relevance of “Go West,” it could be a game changer for your business.
Often, with international shipping, businesses think about markets in Asia or Europe. But “Look South” and you might just find great opportunity to drastically grow your business.
Here’s what U.S. Department of Commerce has to say about why you should Look South:
More than half of all America’s FTA partners are in Latin America. These 11 economies – Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, and Peru – have a rapidly growing base of middle-class consumers and diversifying industries. The United States’ FTA partners in Latin America offer a unique combination of similar language and business cultures. In addition to low or zero tariff rates on merchandise, FTAs increase transparency, improve the business environment for services and government procurement, and reduce market access barriers in areas such as intellectual property rights, standards, and customs procedures. These countries also have made clear commitments to opening their markets and integrating supply chains with the United States through the Trans- Pacific Partnership, Pacific Alliance, and the U.S.-Mexico High Level Economic Dialogue.
In other words, there are growing markets to export your goods to and incentives and access to those markets that make now a great time to “Look South”.
Here are some cool facts on U.S. exports to trade agreement partners in Latin America from the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Commission:
- U.S. goods exports to Colombia, Mexico, Panama, and Peru have increased every year since 2009;
- Exports to Mexico grew by more than $10 billion – nearly 5 percent – in 2013;
- U.S. 2013 goods exports to Mexico totaled $226 billion, exceeding combined U.S. exports to the BRICs countries — Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa;
- The $57 billion in combined U.S. exports to Chile, Colombia, Panama, and Peru would rank them as our 5th largest export market behind Japan and ahead of Germany; and,
- The $29 billion in combined U.S. exports to the six remaining Look South markets – Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua — would rank them just behind France or Singapore.
Look South, young man. Or young woman. Or older, more distinguished man or woman… Basically, if your business is considering exporting, Look South. There’s a lot of money to be made selling your goods to these growing markets.