Organised by Santander UK, the businesses present on the trade mission included export management service Christies International, confectionery and biscuit manufacturer Cocoda, brewer Elgood & Sons, beetroot distributer G's Fresh, gin supplier Haymans of London, dry pasta manufacturer Pasta Foods and processing machinery supplier Teagle Machinery.
The companies met with retailers, buyers, distributors and international partners over the course of the week-long trip, taking in 80 meetings between them. The trip was organised with a view to looking beyond Europe as Britain prepares to leave the European Union.
Chile is the UK's second-largest export destination in Latin America due to lack of tariffs on UK products while Argentina is currently removing trade barriers to increase exports and imports under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules. The country has a high demand for imported luxury consumer goods and food and drink.
Mauricio Munguía, Latam desk director at Santander Corporate & Commercial, explained the reason behind the trade mission.
“Given the current uncertainties around Brexit and how it may impact established UK exporters who would traditionally look to Europe with their products, companies need to be brave and explore new, often overlooked global markets, such as those in Latin America,” he said. “The region is forecasting significant growth and there is a real opportunity for UK businesses where British produce is seen as synonymous with high quality.
“We are confident this trade mission will help the SMEs which attended understand the opportunities available in these exciting markets. UK companies looking to access the region can take advantage of Santander’s powerful network and presence in Latin America where we have a bank in all of the major markets.”
David Hill, managing director at Cocoda, said: “I have been on several trade missions over the years [and] this was by far the best organised, with excellent pre-mission briefing, highly qualified meetings and first-class levels of support throughout. As a result, we have already seen some initial interest, which we hope will lead to successful partnerships and trade opportunities in Latin America.”