A record number of international visitors at ConExpo-Con/Agg could act as the catalyst to boost worldwide machinery sales.

Al Cervero, senior vice president of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), confirmed, “Our international attendees this year have exceeded our record year of 2008.”

Megan Tanel, AEM vice president of exhibitions and events, added that among the international attendance there is a spike in visitors from south and central Latin America.

With signs of economic recovery in the construction equipment business in many areas, the event offers many opportunities.

“A lot of countries are developing their infrastructure, minerals and energy sectors and with this comes productive opportunities for the construction equipment industry, said Cervero. “In this kind of economy we are thrilled to have a gathering place to be able to conduct more of this business.”

The positive factor follows hard on the heels of a big improvement in the market for exports of US-made construction machinery, which closed out 2010 with a gain of more than 28% compared to the previous year, for a total of $16.4 billion dollars’ worth of equipment sold worldwide.

“Global trade is extremely important to our industry and export sales continue to sustain many companies as we still face a fragile domestic upturn. While these numbers are positive, we have to remember they follow a 2009 decline of more than 38%,” said Cervero.

The AEM consolidates US Commerce Department data with other sources into a quarterly export trends report to arrive at the figures, which show that construction machinery exports to Canada gained 39% and totaled $5.1 billion to lead the export market.

Export business to Europe gained 23% for a total US$1.88 billion, and exports to Asia grew 10%, totaling $2.2 billion.

Construction machinery exports to South America increased 31% in 2010 for a total $3.1 billion; and exports to Central America came in at $1.6 billion, a 24% increase. The largest gain was to Australia/Oceania with a 66% increase for a total $1.6 billion. The only decline was to Africa with a 5% drop for $934 million worth of purchases. “If the domestic market is much reduced from its typical volumes, and certainly in the US it is, the US companies become more aggressive and get out there and try to do business in other parts of the world,” said Cervero.

“I would think this goes for any of the manufacturing companies. The developed market companies should look for opportunities and developing markets continue to improve and utilize their materials to put their economies a step ahead.”