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The Trade Commissioner Service: Your Ally Wherever You Export

Understanding local market conditions and developing links with local contacts is crucial to export success, especially in a market as large and sophisticated as the United States. One of your greates...


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April 1, 2003 by Douglas A. Bieber

Chicago skyline.
Chicago skyline.

Understanding local market conditions and developing links with local contacts is crucial to export success, especially in a market as large and sophisticated as the United States. One of your greatest allies in this endeavour is the Trade Commissioner Service, part of Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Trade Commissioners serve in over 140 offices around the world — 15 of them in the U.S., including an office in Chicago. Their job is to understand local conditions, business culture and practices, and to identify business opportunities. They are your eyes and ears in local markets and they are ready and willing to help open doors for Canadian exporters, and to find innovative ways to increase your visibility in your target market.

Our trade offices work in partnership with other federal government departments and agencies, such as Industry Canada and Export Development Canada (EDC). They also work closely with provincial, municipal and regional authorities and with industry associations. For the National Plastics Exposition (NPE) in Chicago this year, a “Trade Team Canada” partnership has been formed with the Canadian Plastics Industry Association. Its purpose is to enable Canada to “brand” the capabilities of its plastics industry companies. The Canadian Pavilion will be visually distinctive, and the capabilities of all Canadian companies, not just those exhibiting at NPE, will be featured in displays and literature.

Douglas A. Bieber is the Deputy Director, United States Business Development Division for the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

If you want to know what’s happening in the plastics market from Chicago to Shanghai, one of the most effective ways is to connect with the Virtual Trade Commissioner. From the comfort of your office or home, you can benefit from a range of export information and services in your target markets. Registration with the Virtual Trade Commissioner is free and you can:

u receive a personalized Web page containing market information and business leads that match your international business interests;

u request services online from the trade commissioners in the industry and markets of interest to you;

u be notified of new information related to your industry and target markets as it becomes available;

u inform over 500 trade commissioners worldwide about your capabilities and interests.

Visit your Virtual Trade Commissioner anytime to view market information, business opportunities, make service requests and even update your company’s profile. You can also receive trade reports and other export information at the same site.

Successful business still depends on developing strong face-to-face relationships. So for those firms who will be participating either as visitors or exhibitors at the NPE in Chicago this year, look for the Trade Team Canada booth. There, you can make contact with the appropriate trade partners in Canada, or if you are interested in the U.S. Midwest market, you can meet Trevor Smith, Business Development Officer of the Canadian Consulate General in Chicago. Business Development Officers from several other Canadian Consulates in the U.S. will also be on site.

Trevor J. Smith is the Business Development Officer in Chicago covering the U.S. States of Wisconsin, Illinois, and Missouri for the Consulate General of Canada.