World Trade Center Arkansas official Melvin Torres recently participated in the 2019 World Trade Centers Association Latin American Regional Meeting, calling the event a “strong platform” for Arkansas and its trade partners.
Torres, the director of Western Hemisphere Trade for WTC Arkansas, traveled to Pereria, Colombia for the meeting, which featured 25 other World Trade Center members. However, Torres was the only WTC representative not from the Latin American region.
He said in a statement that participating in the conference was critical, given the level of exports Arkansas sends to the region. “Given that half of our exports go to this region, our presence at these international business events is essential for Arkansas’ export growth to continue,” Torres said in a University of Arkansas newswire article.
While Canada is the state’s largest trade partner, Latin American companies make up a large portion of some of Arkansas’ trade destinations. In 2018, Mexico was the second-biggest export customer, accounting for approximately 14 percent of all exports. In addition, Mexico was Arkansas’ top agricultural export market, making up 23 percent of its exports.
During his time at the conference, Torres says that he worked to develop stronger ties with political officials, business owners, and fellow WTC leaders in order to boost trade ties.
“These events also allow us to pinpoint export opportunities — not only at the regional level, but on a global scale,” Torres said. “Continuing to grow ties and trade in this area is crucial for the state’s economy through exports, job creation and retention.”
According to its mission statement, World Trade Center Arkansas aims to “grow trade and increase Arkansas exports by connecting Arkansas businesses to the world through international trade services.”