Central America and the Middle East, may offer surprising new markets for West Midlands small and mediumsized businesses.
UK Trade and Investment - the Government organisation responsible for promoting UK companies overseas - is calling on SMEs to join it on trade missions to Mexico or Dubai this autumn.
Mexico is the largest trading nation in Latin America and British exports in 2004 totalled £626.3 million.
The EU/Mexico Free Trade Agreement, which will lead to the removal of all tariffs of industrial goods that originated from the EU, comes into force in January 2007.
This will mean British firms can compete on equal terms with US and Canadian exporters, who currently enjoy preferential access to the Mexican market.
The trip, organised in conjunction with the International Trade Team at Business Link West Mercia, is planned for October 9 to 14.
Small and medium-sized firms from all sectors are eligible to join, provided that the visit is part of an agreed export strategy, they have not previously exported to Mexico.
International trade adviser Faye Purser is leading the visit. She said: "The Free Trade Agreement is a huge step forward for UK exporters and they should be looking at the market now so that they can make the most of the new opportunities this will bring."
From November 13 to 18, UK Trade and Investment and Birmingham's Chamber of Commerce, have arranged a trade mission to Dubai.
The United Arab Emirates is the UK's largest market in the Middle East, with exports totalling £2 billion in 2003.
Opportunities exist in a number of sectors but are most prevalent for UK companies in construction, environment, tourism and leisure, healthcare and ICT.
The visit will enable West Midlands firms in all sectors to explore opportunities in Dubai, in addition to visiting the Big 5 Show - the largest trade show for the construction industry in the Arabian Gulf.
About 34,000 key buyers and decision makers from the public and private sector are expected to attend this event. Jane Dawson, international trade adviser at Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is leading the visit.
She said: "Dubai's economy is booming, thanks to a high birth rate and the enormous wealth from oil and gas.
"Investments and a privatisation programme in the Arabian Gulf offer excellent opportunities for British exporters."
For further information about the Mexico visit Faye Purser at Business Link West Mercia on 0845 641 1513.
To apply for the Dubai mission contact Jane Dawson on 0121 450 4205.