Business leaders from seven Michigan companies, including one locally, will travel to Brazil and Colombia to meet with prospective partners, distributors and customers to increase export opportunities.

The trade mission will take place Sunday, March 24th through the 29th. It’s being coordinated by the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors & Premiers (GSGP) in partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s International Trade Program. The program aims to increase Michigan’s exporting opportunities by helping businesses identify and enter key emerging foreign markets. Among the participating companies is Littlite LLC of Whitmore Lake. The company is a manufacturer of gooseneck task lights, "using sturdy metal components in critical areas that provide solutions for challenging lighting problems."

Companies will receive a customized schedule of business-to-business meetings to meet with prospective customers and business partners. Matchmaking meetings in Brazil were arranged by the Michigan Brazil Center, while Colombia meetings were arranged by the GSGP Affiliate Center in South America. Mission participants will also benefit from networking events and logistical support. MEDC Chief Executive Officer Jeff Mason says Michigan’s ties with Brazilian and Colombian companies have resulted in good jobs. He says the South American trade mission will open doors for the companies by helping them identify and enter into new relationships, ultimately growing their businesses and bringing additional jobs to Michigan residents.

Since its inception in 2012, the International Trade Program at the MEDC has worked with Michigan companies to support more than $2.6 billion in export sales and 12,389 jobs across the state. Export sales facilitated by the MEDC International Trade program in fiscal year 2018 were more than $7.3 million to Brazil and more than $3.7 million to Colombia. Total exports from Michigan to Brazil in 2018 exceeded $1 billion and total exports from Michigan to Colombia the same year were more than $131 million. (JM)