The head of West Midlands UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) is urging businesses from across the region to set Latin America and the Caribbean in their sights as hundreds of export opportunities come to the fore. Christine Hamilton, interim director of UKTI West Midlands, said now was the ideal time for businesses in the healthcare, education, oil and gas, marine, infrastructure, financial services, automotive or mining sectors to grow and expand their reach in countries such as Dominican Republic, Argentina, Mexico and Chile.

She said: “There are currently more than 200 live export opportunities in a range of sectors that companies from our area could apply for. Although some of our companies have been reticent about doing business in that region, there is potential for huge growth there, which has been the case for many local firms that are doing great work in those markets.

“I would urge anyone to see if their goods and services are needed in these increasingly attractive markets and take the first steps to exporting. We are finding that many Latin America countries are modernising and becoming more open. The demand is out there – from advanced engineering to giftware and textiles – and with the help of our market experts, you could be too.”

Mrs Hamilton was speaking ahead of the Latin American Roadshow, which is taking place at the Hinckley Island Hotel, in Hinckley, Leicestershire, on 20 May, 2016.

The day-long event, which is sponsored by Santander, will enable companies to discuss opportunities with trade officers from 13 Latin American and Caribbean markets – Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Companies will also be able to attend seminars, hear from local firms who are already exporting to the region, and receive guidance on business culture, routes into market, and export finance.

One West Midlands company that is winning business in the Latin America and Caribbean markets is Fuelcare, in Staffordshire.

The company, which exports its own fuel biocide additive for ships, boats and super yachts, already trades in Antigua and is expanding its reach across Latin American market.

Oliver Rumford-Warr, managing director, said: “Over the past seven years, exporting has been a major factor for me to grow the business – the very nature of the marine sector means that we have to focus our efforts on that.

“Regular conversations with our UKTI adviser helped massively with a number of things, especially with understanding markets that are a bit further afield, and our growth has been the result of that.

“If you are new to exporting, you have to take risks and not take a short-term view. The rewards are worth the hard work. We’ve noticed that we have an advantage in overseas markets as a UK company – it does have prestige.”


And Rugby-based BankSearch Information Consultancy Limited, which designs and develops software solutions for the financial and public sectors, is also rolling out its export plans for the Caribbean after successfully implementing a data collection, analysis and reporting system for the Central Bank of Barbados.

The Straight-Through Processing System, which allows banks to efficiently, securely and easily send their regulatory data to the central bank every month, is an evolution of the tool purchased by the Bank of England, which went live across the UK in 2013.

Amelia Anderson, sales and marketing director, said:

“We’ve worked very hard in Barbados, tailoring the system to suit the Central Bank’s exact needs and are very pleased with how the project has gone because the main aspects were ready ahead of schedule, which enabled the Bank to roll out within just six months.”

Last year, West Midlands businesses exported £460.2 million worth of goods to Latin American countries, with Chile, Colombia and Dominican Republic showing particular growth for the region.