Grandwatt Electric Corporation, a Suffolk-based manufacturer, has made sales to distributors in Chile and Costa Rica as a result of its participation in the Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s (VEDP) international trade programs. After attending the VEDP-led ExpoMin Chile trade show in April of 2016, Grandwatt signed an agreement with DiPERK Power Solutions to distribute its generators in Chile. The initial $400,000 sale to DiPERK is for 40 generators, and the company is projecting sales of 150-200 units per year going forward.
Company representatives participated in a trade mission to Chile led by VEDP in 2013, and DiPERK was the first customer they met during this trade mission. The companies reconnected and signed a contract at ExpoMin Chile, the largest mining exhibition in Latin America. Grandwatt also received an initial order from a Costa Rican distributor, Sumatel, to sell light towers to the government of Costa Rica. Sumatel is the country’s largest distributor of materials and equipment for air and underground electrical networks.
“Connecting Virginia-based companies with customers outside our Commonwealth and our country is a key element of our efforts to create jobs and build a new Virginia economy,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Grandwatt is an excellent example of a Virginia company that used our trade missions as a platform to travel to international markets and connect with potential customers in foreign countries. I congratulate Grandwatt on their export expansion to Chile and Costa Rica and I encourage all Virginia companies to look at international investments as an opportunity to strengthen their business.”
Since 2013, Grandwatt has worked with VEDP’s international trade division to expand sales opportunities in overseas markets. As a global manufacturer of portable light towers and generator sets for telecom, mining, railway and other industrial applications, the company recognized that international markets would be easier to enter than domestic markets, due to less hurdles in the short term.
“We are pleased that the Commonwealth’s trade assistance programs provided Grandwatt with the tools to find distributors in the Latin and Central American markets,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore. “With more than 90 percent of the world’s customers living outside of the U.S., it is vitally important for Virginia companies to travel to international markets to sell our world-class goods and services. I congratulate Grandwatt on the success in Chile and Costa Rica, and look forward to hearing more great news about this Virginia manufacturer in the future.”
Grandwatt visited Brazil in 2014 with the help of VEDP and received assistance with research and digital localization through Virginia’s Going Global Defense Initiative (GGDI) in 2015. Last November, Grandwatt hired a sales manager in Suffolk to cover Latin America and in January 2016, the company entered the Commonwealth’s Virginia Leaders in Export Trade (VALET) program. Grandwatt participated in a Virginia-led trade mission to Mexico in May 2016 and visited Colombia in June 2016.
“We attribute our international success to the education and resources that Virginia provides to companies looking to grow export sales,” said Patrick Everett, Director of Sales and Marketing at Grandwatt. “The team at VEDP is an incredible source of information, and we would have been crazy not to take advantage of the services Virginia has to offer its companies. It would be impossible not to succeed with their assistance.”
Chile is the 35th largest export destination for Virginia. Virginia exports to Chile totaled $94 million in 2015, making the country the 4th largest destination for Virginia exports in South America behind Brazil, Colombia, and Peru. Exports from Virginia companies of electrical machinery to Chile grew by 64 percent from 2014 to 2015. Chile’s stable and prosperous economy, which has earned an A+ credit rating, makes the market attractive to Virginia exporters entering the region. Opportunities in the healthcare, safety and security, telecommunications, and automotive parts sectors are strong, in addition to the country’s well-developed mining sector. Exports to Chile from the U.S. and Virginia benefit from the United States-Chile Free Trade Agreement, which was implemented in 2004. As of 2015, 100 percent of U.S. and Virginia exports enter Chile duty-free.
In 2015, Costa Rica ranked 38th among U.S. export destinations and 64th among Virginia export destinations. Electrical machinery was Virginia’s largest export to Costa Rica in 2015, and from 2014 to 2015, Virginia’s exports to Costa Rica increased by 18 percent. Trade between the U.S. and Virginia is aided by the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR), which includes both the United States and Costa Rica as members.
The Commonwealth of Virginia exported more than $36 billion in manufactured goods and services in 2014. Exports of Virginia’s products and services to the world are vital to the growth of the Commonwealth, with an economic impact to Virginia of more than $18.7 billion in labor income, $2 billion in tax revenue and the creation of nearly 321,000 jobs.
More information about Grandwatt may be found at http://www.grandwatt.com.