Export to Canada, Mexico Advised

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Feature Editor Oklahoma companies were advised by a team of export marketing experts at the Oklahoma World Trade Conference at Metro Tech Business Conference Center that Mexico and Canada offer the nearest and fastest export markets. The relaxing and lowering of tariff duties on goods by Canada makes it a more enticing export market now than in past years. Those tariffs will continue to be relaxed more until they are phased out completely in 10 years, said Dr. Dale V. Slaght, U.S. trade consul at the U.S. Consulate in Toronto, Ontario. "Toronto also is about 300 miles& closer to Oklahoma than Los Angeles and 200 miles closer than New York," Slaght said. He said exports from the United& States to Canada are increasing at a& higher rate than imports from Canada, up more than 19 percent compared with a 12 percent increase in Canadian imports last year. Slaght said the Canadian market likely would be easier to enter by exporting companies than the Persian Gulf or Middle East. "The U.S. Department of Commerce has 150 trade representatives worldwide. Japan has 200 in Saudi Arabia alone," he said. Mexico's government is eliminating corruption that has hampered business in past years and is also cutting tariffs to encourage direct business between U.S. and Mexican companies, said Jose Manuel Suarez-Mier, minister for eco- nomic affairs at the Embassy of Mexico in Washington, D.C. The average Mexican tariff on goods is about 10 percent, and the maximum tariff is now 20 percent, he said. "In the last five years trade has doubled between our countries. Some shops sell only `Made in U.S.A.' goods. Not even in Oklahoma can you find that," he said. Mexico's government has "bitten the bullet" to improve its economy, reduce the national debt substantially and encourage the export of goods and not people. The government is attempting to lure back Mexican citizens who have left to secure better jobs in the United States, he said. Mexico is very interested in complet- ing negotiations for an open trade agreement with the United States, because Mexico depends on the United States to supply most of its imported goods. "You have a& good neighbor to the south, a neigh- bor that is interested in becoming a better neighbor and would like that in writ- ing," Suarez-Mier said. John S. Wood, commercial attache at the United States Embassy in Mexico City, said he agreed with everything Suarez-Mier had said. Wood said his office could help Oklahoma companies make contacts with Mexican markets for their sale of their products. He pointed out that 70 cents of every $1 Mexico spends for imports now comes to the United States. Mexico's imported goods from the United States have risen 133 percent from $12 billion in 1986 to $28 billion in 1990, he said. …