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NMMA joins industry groups on Colombia trip

The National Marine Manufacturers Association, the U.S. Superyacht Association and the Florida Yacht Brokers Association are joining for a collaborative visit to Colombia to explore potential business opportunities for their members and for the overall U.S. recreational marine industry.

Hosted by ProExport, Colombia’s public-private tourism and export organization, the visit is a chance for the United States and the South American country to work together to better understand opportunities that now exist for both as the result of a recent free trade agreement. The groups embarked on the visit Sunday.

“There has been a tremendous increase in the number of superyachts making the trip West through the Panama Canal to visit the U.S.’s West Coast and the Pacific region,” USSA chairman John Mann said in a statement. “The prime proximity of Colombia to the canal and below the hurricane zone makes it a natural stop for these traveling yachts. We look forward to the opportunity to work with them.”

“The close proximity of Colombia to Florida, combined with the free trade agreement, make it an ideal trading partner for us in Florida,” FYBA executive director Ann Vernon said in a statement.

Colombia’s rich history and privileged geographic location are reasons enough for boats and charter organizers to think of the country as a mandatory stop when heading either west or east through the southern region of the Caribbean Sea.

Colombia is the fourth-largest economy in Latin America, and it has the third-largest population, with nearly 46 million inhabitants. It is the only country in South America with two seacoasts — the Pacific and the Caribbean. Aided by major security improvements, steady economic growth and moderate inflation, Colombia has become a free market economy with major commercial and investment ties to the United States.

The NMMA is hosting the first USA Pavilion at the second edition of the Cartagena Boat Show, which is owned by easyFairs, a seasoned trade show organizer. The show will be held March 22-24, 2014, at the Cartagena Convention Center in Cartagena.

“Colombia offers a variety of water access points and promising infrastructure for a growing marine industry, and our collaborative efforts with ProExport Colombia will allow us to share our expertise and knowledge as we work together to develop the market,” NMMA president Thom Dammrich said in a statement. “Through this exploration trip we’ll be able to gain insights on how the U.S. and Colombian marine industries can work together and where there’s growth potential.”

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