The Georgia Department of Economic Development recognizes the need for collaboration and partnership in developing a well-connected resource network for Georgia exporters. As a proud sponsor of the United States Commercial Service (USCS) Trade Winds Mission, GDEcD’s Trade team is working to ensure Georgia companies have access to quality business opportunities in international markets primed for growth.
A staple event for the U.S. Commercial Service, Trade Winds is the largest annual government-led trade mission bringing hundreds of U.S. companies and economic developers to promising new markets every year. This is the Department of Commerce’s 10th year leading Trade Winds, and over the last decade the program has directly supported more than $240 million in U.S. export sales to six global regions. During the 2017 Trade Winds Mission the U.S. Commercial Service facilitated more than 1,500 business meetings with participation from 100+ U.S. companies and 200+ Romanian business representatives.
The recently concluded mission featured markets in Southeast Europe with a Business Forum in Romania as well as optional mission stops to Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece and Serbia. Southeast Europe presents robust opportunities for companies looking to gain a foothold in a rapidly developing region. In particular, sectors such as agricultural machinery, healthcare and medical equipment, IT and cybersecurity and infrastructure development are quickly expanding and offer promising business opportunities for American companies.
In 2015, the total value of U.S. exports to the five countries visited by the Trade Winds mission reached nearly $2.4 billion. Georgia’s exports to these countries totaled $63.8 million in 2016, a 16% increase over the previous year with leading exports including chemical woodpulp, tractors, kraft paper and paperboard, electric motor parts and motor vehicles.
GDEcD Senior International Trade Manager, Alice Carson, joined this year’s Trade Winds event participating in meetings, networking and speaking engagements with government leaders, market experts and potential business partners from countries across the region.
“Trade Winds is a valuable stepping stone for U.S. companies interested in expanding into high-potential markets,” shared Ms. Carson. “GDEcD’s Trade Division is always looking to source new opportunities for Georgia exporters and participating in Trade Winds allows us to make connections and develop relationships in markets that have a growing need for Georgia products.”
The mission’s Business Forum involved three days of matchmaking appointments, meetings, panel discussions and networking events in Bucharest, Romania. Conference programming featured prominent keynote speakers including Ambassadors from multiple Southeast European countries, U.S. Commercial Service senior leadership and high-level government officials including the Prime Minister of Romania, His Excellency Mihai Tudose. Meetings with key government officials and European companies provided ample opportunities to brand Georgia as a destination for sourcing quality goods and services. In addition, break-out discussions and panel sessions incorporated relevant themes for U.S. company attendees such as “Exporting to Southeast Europe – Strategies for Regional Success” and “Experts on Exports – Market Identification and Penetration”.
Before and after the Business Forum, the Trade Winds Mission included stops in Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece and Serbia. Company attendees had the option to tailor their Trade Winds experience to meet their needs, choosing to visit markets that hold the greatest potential for their international business strategy.
Interested in learning more about how GDEcD’s Trade Team can help grow your company’s international opportunities? Visit Georgia.org/Trade or contact our Outreach Manager at 404.962.4826. And don’t forget to sign up for GDEcD’s monthly International Trade Newsletter to stay up-to-date about future events including the 11th Annual Trade Winds Mission in 2018!