MDA to Leading Business Trip to Costa Rica and Panama

Jackson, Miss. (April 19, 2013) – The Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) will lead a delegation of Mississippi businesses on a business development mission to San Jose, Costa Rica and Panama City, Panama from July 14-20, 2013. The trip is designed to connect Mississippi companies looking to expand trade and create new business relationships with opportunities in the two markets.
“In recent years, Mississippi, as well as the U.S., has seen an increase in exports to Costa Rica and Panama, and the demand for U.S. products in these two regions continues to grow,” said MDA Executive Director Brent Christensen. “The U.S. has free trade agreements in place with both Costa Rica and Panama, which benefits Mississippi businesses that export to the two countries while fostering economic development in those regions. I encourage Mississippi businesses interested expanding trade into these two Central American markets to make plans to join MDA on this upcoming business development mission.”
Qualified participating small businesses are offered financial incentives through the U.S. Small Business Administration-funded Mississippi State Trade Export Promotion (STEP) program to help offset certain costs related to the trip. The STEP program reimburses eligible businesses up to 50 percent of their travel costs, including airfare and lodging, and provides interpretation services at no cost. Additional services include scheduled appointments with prospective, qualified buyers, local transportation assistance and a customized itinerary.
“MDA has contacts in Costa Rica and Panama, so we are able to pre-qualify buyers, distributors and business representatives prior to meeting with the Mississippi businesses that participate in this business development mission,” said Skip Scaggs, director of MDA’s Existing Industry and Business Division. “We work with businesses before, during and after the trip so they are aware of the business opportunities available to them and understand how to fully take advantage of those opportunities. It is a very cost-effective way for Mississippi businesses to expand trade into these two markets.”
Space is limited and offered on a first-come, first-served basis, and early registration is recommended. The deadline to register is May 13, 2013. For more information or to obtain a registration form, please contact John Mark Skinner at 601.359.9406 or Interested parties can also visit to learn more about the agency’s international marketing services and events or to request a consultation with an international trade specialist.

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