One country Hood is not very bullish on is Argentina. “I just don’t see that much business for our customers in shipping to Argentina,’’ he said.
Garcia also is wary about Argentina. He said he’s not clear on all the details of Argentina’s recent announcement that it would be dropping import licenses for hundreds of products. But Garcia said he’s optimistic it will make it easier to sell there.
Still, it doesn’t appear Argentina is abandoning its policy of trying to balance imports with exports and encouraging local manufacturing. Last month, it also announced it was raising import tariffs on a hundred products — they include computers, toys, motorcycles, mobile phones, tools and furniture — to 35 percent, the maximum authorized by the World Trade Organization.
“We were doing well in Argentina, but lately the import restrictions have been making it very difficult for us,’’ said Garcia. “It was very difficult to get a license to import textiles.’’
Last year, he said, Vertilux also began experiencing problems getting paid in Argentina.
With the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement now in effect, most Florida exporters and importers are optimistic about trade prospects in Colombia — the Miami Custom District’s No. 2 trading partner in 2012.
“People in Colombia are starting to look more for merchandise that is made in the USA,’’ Garcia said. “This is something that will grow year by year.”
Overall, the Miami district’s trade with the world climbed to $114 billion, a 10.6 percent increase, through the first 11 months of 2012. Full-year figures are expected to be released by the end of the week, but the 11-month tally puts the Miami district in position to crack into the nation’s top 10 customs districts for the first time.
“I’d be surprised if trade doesn’t continue to do well in 2013 because Latin America looks solid and is holding its own,’’ said Ken Roberts, president of WorldCity, a Coral Gables media and data research company.