Press Release

International Trade Administration Leads Trade Mission to Panama, Costa Rica and Colombia to Empower Women-Led Businesses

Thursday, March 7, 2024
Contact: Office of Public Affairs
Phone: 202-482-3809

WASHINGTON - The International Trade Administration (ITA) will lead a Global Diversity Export Initiative (GDEI) Trade Mission to Panama, Costa Rica and Colombia from March 10-15, 2024, focused on expanding export opportunities and providing tools and resources to support U.S. women-led businesses in their export journey.

The GDEI trade mission will be led by ITA’s Advocacy Director, Cynthia Aragón, with more than 60 U.S. business executives and entrepreneurs, many of whom are women. They will also attend a business conference, “Opportunities for Woman-Led Businesses in the Americas,” to be held in Panama City, Panama, on March 10-11. The business conference will focus on market briefings and resources for exporters, as well as feature prearranged one-on-one consultations with the ITA’s commercial diplomats and trade experts, and participation from U.S. embassies representing 17 countries across the Americas.

“I am honored to be a part of this crucial mission to support women in businesses as well as businesses from underserved communities,” said Director Aragón. “This GDEI trade mission is an example of how ITA is empowering small businesses from underserved communities while promoting strong relationships across the Western Hemisphere, a region brimming with potential and opportunities.”

There are more than 12 million women-owned businesses in the United States, employing over 10 million workers and generating $1.8 trillion in total sales. Yet, a 2023 study by the U.S. Small Business Administration found that only 1.3 million U.S. businesses are engaged in exporting. ITA’s GDEI trade mission is open to all export-ready U.S. businesses but specifically designed to expand export opportunities to U.S. small and medium-sized businesses that are founded, led, and operated or owned by women from industries well positioned for growth across Panama, Costa Rica and Colombia.

Following the business conference, matchmaking meetings will be held in Panama, while select participating companies will travel to Costa Rica and Colombia between March 13-15 for additional business-to-business matchmaking opportunities.


About the International Trade Administration
The International Trade Administration (ITA) at the U.S. Department of Commerce is the premier resource for American companies competing in the global marketplace. Operating in more than 100 U.S. locations and 80 markets worldwide, ITA promotes trade and investment, assists U.S. businesses and workers to export and expand globally, and ensures fair trade and compliance by enforcing U.S. trade laws and agreements. For more information on ITA, visit

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