Foreign Diplomats to Discuss Free Trade Agreements at Detroit Conference


Commercial diplomats from countries that have Free Trade Agreements with the U.S. will be on hand to meet with Detroit-area CEOs, COOs, and international marketing professionals at a conference in September.

The prescheduled one-on-one meetings are part of a two-day conference about Free Trade Agreement countries through the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Discover Global Markets series.

“This kind of opportunity comes around for metro Detroit once every several years — that’s it,” says Richard Corson, director of the East Michigan U.S. Export Assistance Center, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Commercial Service. “So this is a wonderful opportunity for companies to take advantage of.”

The event, to be held Sept. 9-10 at the Westin Book Cadillac Detroit, will bring out visiting U.S. commercial diplomats from 18 countries, including Columbia, South Korea, and Panama — the three most recent to sign trade agreements with the U.S. This means that U.S. products can enter these countries without an added tariff or duty, Corson says.

“(Through the agreement), tariffs on U.S. products going into a country are eliminated over a period of 10 years,” Corson says. “But lot of times, those tariffs are eliminated as soon as the agreement goes into effect, which makes American products more competitive.”

In addition to facilitating meetings with commercial diplomats as well as other networking opportunities, the conference will include sessions about doing business in FTA countries, the rules and regulations that apply, and international trade finance resources.

Two presentations that may be of particular interest to regional companies include one about traveling to Canada on business and another that highlights the automotive industry as it relates to the Free Trade Agreement countries, Corson say.

Countries represented at the conference will include Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Jordan, Mexico, Morocco, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Singapore, and South Korea.

In total, the U.S. has FTAs with 20 countries. In 2013, U.S. merchandise exports to these countries totaled more than $733 billion, or nearly half of all U.S. goods’ exports last year.

For more information, or to register, visit