12/08/2012 02:25 pm ET Updated Feb 07, 2013

Antonio Villaraigosa: South America Trade Trip Was A Success

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Friday said his recent trip to South America resulted in agreements to study ways to increase trade and tourism to Los Angeles.

The mayor had a 10-day trip to Brazil, Chile and Colombia with local business leaders and city officials from the Port of Los Angeles, Los Angeles World Airports and the Tourism and Convention Bureau.

"Now is the time to ensure Los Angeles remains a competitive player in South America's emerging markets," Villaraigosa said. "Los Angeles is the gateway to the United States and the rest of the world, and we need to leverage our assets."

The mayor said the goal of the trip was to create new partnerships to help create local jobs.

Villaraigosa said he received commitments from government and business leaders to study establishing nonstop flights from LAX, which also should result in increased cargo operations.

He said an agreement was reached with Start-Up Chile to increase access to Chile for Los Angeles businesses. Also, an agreement was reached with the LA-Brazil Alliance to work with Hollywood as well as to help other businesses open and expand in Brazil.

The mayor said South America has one of the world's fastest-growing middle classes and presents opportunity for growth by Los Angeles firms.


WATCH: Jacob Soboroff's Interview With Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa On HuffPost Live: