Trade mission to Mexico scheduled for June 13-17

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The Illinois International Trade Center (ITC) SBDC at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville is preparing for the return of in-person trade missions.

The 2022 Trade Mission from Southern Illinois to Mexico is scheduled for June 13-17 in Mexico City. This will be the center’s first in-person trade mission since 2019.

“The business community has expressed interest in traveling this year,” said ITC Director Silvia Torres Bowman. “The virtual aspect of connecting our customers with business partners in other countries has been beneficial, but only up to a point.


“Especially with Latin American markets, personal relationships are crucial. Traveling in person is so important and adding the element of reducing a lot of the costs for our businesses is fantastic.

Only three spots are available for local businesses for the trade mission, and they will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

With funding from the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act, the mall will pay 100% of matchmaking fees between local customers and Mexican businesses.

Matchmaking, which usually costs an average of $800-900 per day, includes:

  • Two to three days of tailor-made, pre-arranged individual meetings with potential buyers, distributors and/or partners according to your own criteria
  • Personal driver and interpreter at each meeting
  • Detailed information on potential business partners
  • Networking event with local businesses

“For the entire trade mission, this represents $3,500 to $4,000 in savings for each of the three companies that will participate in this exciting opportunity,” said Torres Bowman.

The trade mission also includes expert advice, including:

  • Pre-trip briefings with updates on progress by the SIUE International Trade Center and its networks
  • Briefing in the country by the representative of the host country
  • Follow-up support to ensure business goals are met

Preferred hotel group rates are available.

The cost for each participant includes a registration fee of $150, plus airfare, accommodation and meals, but an additional discount is offered.

Up to $7,500 in ISTEP (Illinois State Trade Export Promotion) funding is available for reimbursement to eligible small businesses to offset 50-75% of travel (air/lodging) costs. For more details on eligibility and how to apply, visit https://www.siue.edu/business/itc/istep/index.shtml.

“It’s a total win-win for our local businesses. I tell them an opportunity like this might not happen again,” Torres Bowman said.

Over the past two years, Torres Bowman has attempted to overcome the challenges of COVID and continue to engage its clients in the world of commerce and foreign trade. This includes virtual meetings in a variety of formats.

“We did a virtual trade mission to South America, which started in mid-September and ended in mid-November,” Torres Bowman said. “We used Zoom and our customers virtually met with potential distributors from Peru, Colombia and Chile.

“The response has been very positive. We did some follow-up work in December in January and it’s still a work in progress.

David Kniepkamp, ​​president of Smart Controls in Fairview Heights, was among the attendees of the virtual trade mission.

“The opportunity to meet, collaborate and share information and experiences with new professional colleagues was the highlight of the virtual trade mission. Establishing contact and dialogue with customers and having the opportunity to see and share their needs and desires is an unforgettable experience,” said Kniepkamp.

“Pure and simple, the opportunity to participate in a trade mission of this magnitude would not have been possible without the help, support and vision of Silvia Torres Bowman at the SIUE International Trade Center. Her dedication and insight to select the BusinessHub Consultants team to lead the research and efforts to make virtual meetings a success only confirms the professional attention that is always received at the SIUE International Trade Center.

Additionally, Torres Bowman took a solo trip to Peru in November 2021 to meet with local business partners and test the waters for a possible in-person trade mission to South America in 2022.

“I took a chance in the middle of the pandemic because we have small businesses that are counting on us and trusting their hopes with us and the mall,” said Torres Bowman, who is originally from Peru and has lived there. many contacts. “You have a sense of responsibility and you are committed to them.

“We have already had two previous trade missions to Peru, one in 2009 and another in 2019. We had planned to have a third trade mission to Peru and Chile in 2020, but that’s when- where the pandemic hit, and we couldn’t make it. . In November 2021, I wanted to meet with our business partners and see what the conditions were to see if we could do something in 2022.”

Torres Bowman noted that meetings with his partners in Peru were positive, but almost all of them took place in public places such as restaurants because people were working from home.

“Everyone wore masks and things were very restricted, but they were all very accommodating for me to be there and visit them,” Torres Bowman said. “Even though they were open to the possibility of doing something this year, I realized there were too many uncertainties for us to put anything together for this year.”

With that realization in mind, Torres focused on Mexico with the goal of setting up an in-person trade mission.

The June mission will be supported by the Illinois Office of Trade and Investment (OTI) through the mall’s longtime partner, Omar Mendoza, general manager of the Illinois office in Mexico City, as well as local private consulting firms.

“With Mexico, the situation was going to be very different,” said Torres Bowman. “For one thing, the week of June 13, Illinois State was already going to be at a trade show in Mexico City called Expo Pack.

“There was already recruiting going on with a group of companies from Illinois to go there. We felt that if we could recruit businesses from our area to go there, they could benefit. »

Mexico is a solid choice for a trade mission as it is the second largest merchandise export market for the United States and Illinois, the second largest economy in Latin America and the 15th in the world. In addition, $700 billion in traded goods and services crosses the US-Mexico border every year.

With a population of 20 million, Mexico City is one of the largest cities in the hemisphere and in the world.

“Especially in the past two years with the pandemic, the government has focused on women-owned businesses, rural community businesses, and minority and veteran-owned businesses. I urge these groups to consider this opportunity,” said Torres Bowman.

The deadline to register for the trade mission is April 15. To register and for more information, contact Torres Bowman at [email protected]

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