Year In Review: Free Trade Alliance

December 10, 2014 by Bexar Witness Staff

The advocacy organization Free Trade Alliance San Antonio is wrapping up 2014 with a flurry of activities both social and professional. Last month, alliance members met with four business owners from Argentina as part of the San Antonio Council for International Visitors’ Leadership Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. The touring entrepreneurs, representing business development, technology, finance, and education, concentrated on growing a business from the ground up. The visiting business leaders learned about investment opportunities in San Antonio and the services available citywide designed to support foreign investment. Aside from the Free Trade Alliance’s services and its International Business Development Center (IBDC) program, alliance members talked about San Antonio Economic Development Foundation’s (SAEDF) help and incentives for businesses wanting to locate to the San Antonio area as well as the warehousing and foreign trade zone present at Port San Antonio. Earlier this fall, the alliance sought to strengthen ties with another South American country. The local organization and Brazilian-based Candex do Brazil agreed to promote an expanding number of bilateral trade opportunities between Brazil and Texas.

SelectUSA, Courtesy Free Trade Alliance San Antonio
SelectUSA, Courtesy Free Trade Alliance San Antonio

The alliance and Candex do Brazil are helping with trade missions and client visits to accommodate free trade and business opportunities between the two nations. Candex operates in Sao Paulo, where more than 37 percent of the Brazilian gross domestic product is focused.

Additionally, alliance officials took part in a three-nation SelectUSA Latin American Road Show. Local representatives visited trade counterparts in Brazil, in Santiago, Chile and Bogotá, Colombia. The alliance publicized the business opportunities that exist in San Antonio and South Texas to more than 520 companies. Alliance officials also talked about advantages and capabilities that this region has as a logistical hub. Additionally, Brooks City Base promoted the EB-5 Regional Center Program.

EB-5 Process, Courtesy Brooks City Base

Free Trade Alliance San Antonio is now getting into the holiday spirit with professional networking events this month, and preparing for new programs in early 2015. Members are to have a holiday mixer Dec. 11 at The Plaza Club in downtown. The alliance’s Mexico Group will have a breakfast presentation 8-9:30 a.m. Dec. 12 at the University of the Incarnate Word’s International Center. There, Ivan Jaime, border policy and community affairs director for Union Pacific Railroad, will talk about how his company has made strives to improve interconnectivity between the United States and Mexico.

The alliance is marketing a breakfast seminar that the U.S. Commercial Service will host 7:45-10 a.m. Dec. 19 at the Wells Fargo building, 40 NE Loop 410. Attendees at this seminar will learn about the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement, and a range of business opportunities in South Korea. Such opportunities include aerospace, cosmetics, pollution control equipment, and entertainment/media. The alliance is also promoting its fourth annual international business plan program. Here, college students are invited to pitch a business plan for an opportunity at a cash prize and to work with local renowned business leaders. The competition begins Jan. 29. For more information about the organization and its events and programs, visit


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