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Handicraft exports, an opportunity for Latin America

Promotion Agencies in the different countries offer information and advice.

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Published by ConnectAmericas

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The crafts industry plays a decisive role in local economic development and in the fight against poverty. Promoting new forms of marketing, developing business networks and fostering participation in trade fairs and exhibitions can improve the livelihood of artisans.  

Handicrafts are a local activity that is increasingly connecting more to the world. It is articulated in networks with the objective of consolidating procedures that enable participation in global markets under better conditions and in significant volume. 

As artisans generate partnerships to create products and respond to the global demand, organizations can be created within this context and achieve sufficient strength and impact to participate and continue as productive units that stimulate the economy and create welfare conditions among families. 

In Latin America we find several examples of this reality: 

  • Proméxico, for instance, provides a self-assessment tool for Mexican craft businesses to learn about their export capacity. A questionnaire helps them get a better knowledge of areas of opportunity and acquire more elements to design an exporting strategy for the short, medium and long term.
  • PromPerú defines the technical requirements for exporting handicrafts in accordance with the Peruvian legislation and the organizations that producers can resort to, depending on their needs. It also describes the documentation required to start exporting and offers market and packaging advice. 
  • Artesanías de Colombia also provides a Pro Colombia Exporting Guide. This guide describes the necessary steps to export through knowledge of product demand for establishing prices. It also offers advice on registrations, billing and importer contacts. 
  • The Brazilian Micro and Small Business Support Service (SEMBRAE) is also especially devoted to craft firms in Brazil and highlights that before exporting it is important to know the product’s final consumer. And, that it is also useful to find out more about the different ways that the product can be sent abroad, whether through sector associations, coops or export consortia.
  • The Guatemala Exporters Association (AGExport), offers information on the development of the crafts sector. In Guatemala it is comprised by roughly 1 million producer artisans, the majority of which are indigenous. It is estimated that 70% of this population is comprised by women, where textile production is the country’s largest handicraft industry in waist and pedal looms, embroidered appliques and crochet textiles. There are also other sectors such as wood, ceramics, plant fibers, blown glass, wrought iron, candles and jewelry.
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