The Trump administration has recently decided to levy tariffs on imports of solar modules to the United States. This cam after some module manufacturers in the United States complained that the cheap cost of foreign technology, often driven even lower due to government subsidies, were making it impossible for them to compete on such a lopsided playing field. The tariff tacks on 30% of the panels cost as it comes into the country in an attempt to give domestic manufacturers more of a chance to compete. Similar tariffs against washing machines were also put into place at the same time as the solar tariffs. The countries hit hardest by this decision include both China and South Korea. The United States already had tariffs against Chinese solar modules in place causing them to move many of their operations to nearby South Korea. This could ultimately lead to strained relationships between the United States and these two countries in a time when an alliance between the three is more important than ever. Some sources indicate that China and South Korea could take their claims to the World Trade Organization (WTO). The WTO would likely take years to make a ruling in the case however and given that the tariffs are only set for a four year time frame they may end up having little to no impact on the issue. Some fear that this could lead to an all out trade war which in the end would benefit no one and lead to economic decline for all countries involved. Only time will tell what the outcome of these economic decisions will be both at home and abroad.
There is always an opportunity to expand your business in markets that are reasonably stable and do not have the same type of security concerns that trouble parts of the world. Today, that describes South America pretty well, with all countries growing their purchasing power and ample resources available for development.
In fact, after the US Navy left Argentina a couple of years ago, it marked the first time that they did not have a presence in South America for many decades- a sure sign that companies wishing to expand or investors wanting to invest are able to do so without worrying about potential major conflicts upending their firms.
Here are some of the leading innovators in bringing investment opportunity for others in South America:
Uruguay: With the election of a former anti-regime President, Uruguay moved to the center and successfully showcased its agricultural value to investors abroad. The reason that the country is not more publicized in North America is that a lot of the investment dollars were coming from families that owned conglomerates in Southeast Asia. Today, they have a stable economic base, the second safest city in the world: Montevideo, and a large area of land available for development.
Cláudio Loureiro Heads: Long known as one of the most dynamic voices on behalf of Brazil, Cláudio has spent the past couple of decades running Heads Propaganda, a corporate communications agency that features some of the top Brazilian and global brands as clients. He is particularly noted for encouraging investment in areas like Ipanema and other parts of Brazil that investors may not see in their rush to get to the better-known Rio de Janiero and Sao Paulo. He has also worked behind the scenes to bring celebrities like Woody Allen and a host of other international guests to Brazil to see what the country has to offer as an investment.
Imaginot: After spending time in various parts of South America, the US company with South American roots started talking to the public in California about the depth of the opportunity in Buenos Aires. The net result was a new rush of people that found careers popularizing Malbec, adding to Argentina’s drive to become the 5th largest wine producing country in the world. They also helped drive millions of dollars in real estate investment in the Buenos Aires market at a time when the US market was tipping over in a hurry. Today, although the Argentine currency has dropped in value, the real estate investments that were made turned out to be very profitable for many.
Due to continued stability and growing purchasing power, South America looks like it will continue to be an attractive place to expand for quite some time. Finding a partner that can introduce you to a country like Brazil at a level that can positively impact your business is a pretty good way to get started.