BETHESDA, Md. — The Auto Care Association (ACA) is sponsoring a trade mission to Central America, including a visit to Honduras Sept. 26 and to Nicaragua Sept. 28.
The mission is part of the Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP) award the ACA received from the U.S. Department of Commerce, the association said. The purpose of the MDCP, it explained, is to show support for export promotion projects in Latin America.
The U.S. is the largest trade partner for both Nicaragua and Honduras, according to the ACA. Under the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), 100 percent of U.S. consumer and industrial goods exports to Honduras and Nicaragua are not subject to tariffs.
The Dominican Republic–Central American Free Trade Agreement, as it commonly is known, took effect on Jan. 1, 2006, for all but one signatory. Its purpose, according to a CAFTA document, is to “eliminate tariffs and trade barriers and expand regional opportunities.”
Since CAFTA's implementation, U.S. exports to Central America have increased 62 percent, the Bethesda-based ACA said.
The association is offering trade mission packages to its members, starting at $2,500 for one country and $5,000 for both. The packages include hotel accommodations, local transportation, personalized business-to-business matchmaking meetings, meals, interpreters and overview briefings, the ACA said. Qualifying firms are eligible for an offset of $1,500 per country, $3,000 for both.
The Honduras-Nicaragua trip is one of a series the ACA is co-sponsoring with the U.S. Department of Commerce's Commercial Service, the association said. They hosted trade missions to Peru and Guatemala last year, and plan another mission to Colombia in June of this year, it said.
The association also recently conducted a free webinar on business opportunities in Honduras, providing a country profile, market information and best prospects. Participants also learned about the in-country support in Honduras provided by the U.S Commercial Service, as well as the ACA's upcoming trade mission to Honduras and Nicaragua.
The ACA recently participated in the Trade Americas-Business Development Conference and Trade Mission held in Honduras and Costa Rica, organized by the U.S. Commercial Service.