Sweeping political and economic changes have occurred in Latin American since the mid 1980s. Military regimes in the Southern Cone were replaced with democratic forms of government. As a result of the advent of democratic governments in South America, decades of import substitution economic strategies were abandoned for market-oriented economies open to foreign investment. Growth rates in the region have been strong during the 1990s and have in some cases rivaled those of the Pacific Rim nations.
The wave of economic integration among the nations of the Western Hemisphere through the establishment of NAFTA and MERCOSUR has led to stronger economic and political ties between the U.S. and Latin America than at any other time in history. As economic and political relations are strengthened, security ties between the U.S. and the Western Hemisphere will deepen as well which will provide a positive environment for U.S. firms in the dual-use and defense related sectors.
The Western Hemisphere Diversification and Defense Market Guide is intended to provide current information to U.S. firms interested in dual-use and/or defense trade opportunities in this emerging and increasingly diversified region. Section I, Getting Started, provides important information concerning U.S. Government policies and organizations involved in trade with the region This section includes guidance provided in the Defense Department's Selling to the Allies publication. Section II, Country Profiles, provides specific information about selected Latin American nations and includes the following topic areas:
The Overview section provides a brief description of each nation's economy, including growth rates and the government's economic development plans, where available. This section provides a concise picture of the macro-economic situation in each country.
The Defense Industry Environment section consists of a brief discussion of each nation's defense budget, the armed forces' defense plan, and the structure of the domestic defense industry. This section also provides information, where available, regarding foreign suppliers in order to assess the competitive environment within the defense market.
Within the Defense Opportunities section, general requirements for defense equipment as well as specific trade leads are discussed. In addition to new systems, information regarding upgrades and repair opportunities are discussed. This section encompasses a wide variety of defense trade opportunities for U.S. defense firms of all sizes.
In the Defense Procurement Process section, the defense contracting process of the country profiled is explained and includes points of contact for the agencies and organizations involved in this area.
The Diversification/Commercial Opportunities section highlights dual-use and/or commercial opportunities that exist in the countries profiled. Each of the industry sectors discussed are product areas that face growing demand and are titled "promising sectors" by the Commerce Department's Foreign Commercial Service.
Doing Business in... outlines the country-specific business practices necessary for successful business transactions in the country including information concerning specialized government regulations and practices that may be faced by U.S.
Lastly, the U.S. Government Points of Contact section provides useful Department of Commerce, State, and Defense points of contact located in the countries profiled that are able to assist U.S. firms interested in doing business in the Middle East.
The Western Hemisphere Diversification and Defense Market Assessment Guide, like its predecessors which focused on selected countries in the Pacific Rim, Europe, and the Middle East has been developed to provide assistance to U.S. defense firms of all sizes in their market and product diversification efforts. Follow-on editions will focus on updated versions of the Pacific Rim and European guides.