Caribbean Businesses Invited To Explore Trade Opportunities In US
REGIONAL BUSINESSES wanting to form solid relationships with US buyers and suppliers will be given the chance to do so when a contingent from the Caribbean participates in the 2010 Trade-USA mission to Florida.
Representatives of various US companies will converge in Florida between June 27 and July 1 to meet with their Caribbean counterparts in the host cities of Dorval and Hollywood. Conceptualised by the Florida Foreign Trade Association (FFTA), an incorporated, non-profit organisation, the Caribbean series of trade missions began in 2007 through the US Commercial Service and has met significant success.
Participants in past missions have said that the meetings ‘exceeded expectations’. Before leaving to go on the missions, they set out precise specifications in terms of the types of meetings they wanted to have and in most cases the US companies brought more to the table than was requested. In addition, the regional businesses were given the opportunity to meet representatives from national chains.
According to Malcom Wood of Coral Spring Vinters Ltd. who attended the 2008 Mission, the trip was worth every penny he invested. He said, “The strength of the mission was, that it allowed me to tailor the programme to meet my specific needs… I was able to meet supplier and buyers specific to my industry (some coming in from as far as New York).”
He added that, “the organization and execution of the mission … was seamless … the FFTA staff were knowledgeable, accommodating and thorough … (and) timelines were met, communication facilities were available, transportation and accommodation was excellent.”
Because the FFTA represents the most diverse group of individuals and companies in the foreign trade market, companies from the Caribbean attending this year’s mission will benefit from meetings with deliberately matched, qualified leads. There will be possibilities for negotiating reduced prices directly with suppliers and the expectation is that, just like in the past, offers will be made and opportunities will present themselves.
Another participant from the 2008 Trade Mission was Margaret Lovemore of Lovemore Juices, who was very excited to meet representatives from a leading price club who indicated interest in her line of fruit juices.
The FFTA’s regional partner since 2008 is GlobalHandShake, a privately run company whose sole mission is to facilitate cross-border opportunities. The timing of the mission is perfect given the recent forecasts that the economic recession will begin to lift by year end. Indeed, Wood recommends that businesses aggressively engage, through missions like this because, “US suppliers and manufacturers need to move inventory at this time, giving us the opportunity to negotiate favourable prices and terms, and to position our businesses for when the recession clears.”
The Trade-USA 2010 Mission Deliverables include orientation seminars on doing business in Florida, the financing of imports and exports and freight consolidations; a cocktail reception; most meals; ground transportation and the one-on-one meetings.