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Federal grant to boost trade to Latin America

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The Auto Care Association will receive nearly $300,000 from the International Trade Administration’s (ITA) Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP) to help the automotive industry produce exports to Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Peru.

The $299,345 in funds are expected to generate an estimated $55 million in exports during the next three years by companies across the United States.

“With 96% of the world’s consumers living outside of our borders, exporting is a sure path to growth, prosperity and good-paying jobs.” says Stefan Selig, U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for international trade. “The Auto Care Association recognizes the positive impact exporting can have on the bottom line for their member organizations. MDCP awards to groups like the Auto Care Association are part of President Obama’s government-wide strategy to strengthen America’s economy by increasing exports.”

Kathleen Schmatz, CEO and president of the Auto Care Association says, “Like many in the auto care industry, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the ITA recognize that the developing automotive market in Latin America holds tremendous export, business development and job creation opportunities for U.S. companies. We are committed to identifying and promoting business opportunities for our members globally, and this new partnership with ITA will play a central role in helping our members enter and develop market share in key export markets.”  

The Auto Care Association will match the MDCP award with an investment of its own resources. Each MDCP award winner pledges at least two-thirds of the project costs and commits to sustain its project after the initial MDCP award period ends.

The funded project will allow the Auto Care Association to expand U.S. exports by:

  1. leading outbound trade missions;
  2. hosting technical seminars; and
  3. facilitating buyer-seller meetings at the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX) in Las Vegas, Nev.

Each MDCP award includes financial and technical assistance from ITA to support well-defined business plans aimed at strengthening an industry by increasing exports. MDCP partnerships between ITA and nonprofit industry groups create U.S. jobs through exports.

The Auto Care Association is one of five non-profit industry groups to receive MDCP awards this year. In total, these projects are expected to generate more than $653 million in U.S. exports in the next three years in return for the one-time $1.4 million federal investment. Since the Market Development Cooperator Program’s inception in 1993, ITA has granted 141 awards to 108 organizations in 32 states. The program has helped to generate more than $9 billion in exports. In an average year, MDCP projects generate $595 million in U.S. exports.  

For more information about the Market Development Cooperator Program, please visit For more information about the Auto Care Association visit

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