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Latin Chamber embraces state trade mission plan

Leadership at the Latin Chamber of Commerce Nevada Inc. recently took some initial steps in carving a path for its membership to participate in a future international trade mission led by Nevada state leaders and officials.

Peter Guzman, president at the Latin Chamber, along with officials from the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development and the Nevada Department of Business and industry, signed a memorandum of understanding in May, creating a potential path for chamber members to head on an official international trade mission to Mexico, Central America and South America.

“It sets the groundwork for a formal trade mission, with the governor,” said Guzman.

The next steps in the process, which involves a fact-finding mission, will be happening in October or November, said Guzman.

After that, the chamber will travel to Mexico and to start putting things together for a formal mission. The goal is to be doing this the first part of 2017, said Guzman.

Guzman gave several reasons the chamber was interested in putting this project together: eager membership that is interested in doing trade with the target countries; the chamber’s long representation of the Hispanic business community makes it a good partner in opening a new door for its membership; and the target countries are doing a lot of business, offering a potential for chamber members in the regions.

Some of the target industries could be the water sector, energy, renewable energy, and others, said Guzman.

Guzman said the chamber is also exploring the possibility of applying for grants to help business owners fund their mission.

GOED has funds available to help Nevada companies through the State Trade Expansion Promotion Grant program—administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Companies can apply for a sub-grant to help pay for expenses on the mission.

Guzman said the chamber is committed to the initiative because there is real opportunity in the potential missions. He also sees a potential for long-term sustainability with a positive outlook on the economy of all three of the target regions.

“I think that this has every opportunity to be sustainable,” said Guzman. “What we do at the chamber is we bring opportunities to the table. It’s up to the businesses to take advantage of that opportunity.”

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