Officials from the World Trade Center Arkansas stand with officials from the Consulate General of Canada in Dallas, the Consulate of Mexico in Little Rock, ProMexico and the Arkansas Governor's office at the trade briefing on Tuesday, October 23, 2018. From left to right: Melvin Torres, Director of Western Hemisphere Trade at the World Trade Center Arkansas; Fernando Marti, Trade & Investment Commissioner of ProMexico; Consul General Rodolfo Quilantan-Arenas from MExico; Consul General Vasken Khabayan from Canada; Carlton Saffa, Senior Strategist for Governor Asa Hutchinson; and Dan Hendrix President and CEO of the World Trade Center Arkansas.
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Trade Director Explores Bilateral Opportunities in Paraguay, Brazil

World Trade Center Arkansas Director of Western Hemisphere Trade Melvin Torres (second to left) stands with World Trade Center Association (WTCA) President and CEO Scott Ferguson (right of Torres) and other members of the WTCA Latin America (LATAM) region at the WTCA LATAM regional conferences.

Trade Director Explores Bilateral 

Opportunities in Paraguay, Brazil

Melvin Torres, Director of Western Hemisphere Trade for the World Trade Center Arkansas attended the World Trade Centers Association’s Latin American (LATAM) regional meetings from November 13-15, 2018 in Paraguay’s capital city Asunción and Ciudad del Este to build trade promotion capacity in the region.

At the meetings Torres met with government officials and directors from other World Trade Centers to enhance current trade promotion ties among Association members as well as explore opportunities for Arkansas companies in the machinery, fabrication and renewable energy sectors.


Exporting Energy


“In addition to agriculture, one of Paraguay’s strongest economic sectors is renewable energy,” said Melvin Torres, Director of Western Hemisphere Trade for the World Trade Center Arkansas. “In fact, electricity generated by the Itaipu Dam’s hydroelectric generators accounts for nearly 25 percent of the total value of Paraguay’s exports. We think that there are opportunities for Arkansas companies in Paraguay in the renewable energy sector and the machinery and fabrication sectors related to generating renewable energy.”

The Itaipu Dam is one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World chosen by the American Society of Civil Engineers and is the largest hydroelectric power plant in the world. It is a binational project undertaken by Paraguay and Brazil, with each country managing their respective sides on the Paraná River.


Members of the World Trade Centers Association’s Latin America region stand together at the Itaipu Dam, the world’s largest generator of hydro-electric power during the regional conferences. A total of 41 trade promotion directors from a dozen countries participated in the regional conferences.

In addition to a visit to and meetings at Itaipu, Torres heard from Paraguay economic officials and worked with World Trade Centers throughout Latin America to find ways strengthen ties, enhance mutual cooperation, resource sharing and bilateral trade promotion between Centers. More than 40 representatives from a dozen countries participated in these meetings.


Arkansas & Latin America


“Even though we are located in North America, the World Trade Center Arkansas has an MOU and signed agreements to be part of the Latin America region,” Torres said. “We participate in these Latin America regional meetings because of our strong and active involvement as well as economic ties. Also, we have developed a successful model for Latin America trade promotion and seek to share it with other World Trade Center Association members which will help produce more opportunities for Arkansas companies.”

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, there are many reasons why American companies should consider exporting to Paraguay. These reasons include a strong demand for U.S. manufactured products (such as machinery, toys, sports equipment and mineral fuels) and a new transparency focused administration that plans to invest $25 billion in the next five years on public and electric infrastructure.

Companies interested in potential opportunities in Paraguay can contact Torres at for more information.

The mission of the World Trade Center Arkansas is to grow trade and increase Arkansas exports by connecting Arkansas businesses to the world through international trade services. The Center is part of the University of Arkansas and serves as the trade promotion arm for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. For more information and valuable updates, please follow the Center on Facebook and Twitter or subscribe to the World Trade Center Arkansas newsletter.