Virtual Trade Outreach – Real World Success
Even though overseas travel was not within the scope of possibility in the past year, trade and relationship development did not take a back seat. As most businesses became adjusted to virtual options, Iowa Economic Development Authority’s (IEDA) International Trade Office followed suit and pivoted to allow Iowa’s industries to continue to engage on international trade and market development through virtual meetings. Recent events included:
February 2021: Virtual Ag Trade Mission with Japan
Organized by IEDA and the US Meat Export Federation, this virtual event was opened by Governor Kim Reynolds and Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. During the meeting, the Iowa delegation – which included representatives from Iowa Beef Industry Council, Iowa Pork Producers Association, and Iowa State University – met with top executives from Japan’s important meat import industry. As both the Iowa’s and the United States’ top export market for meat, the companies represented approximately 80 percent of Japan’s protein import business.
March 2021: Virtual Ag Trade Mission with Mexico Soybean Buyers
Secretary Mike Naig kicked off this open-attendance virtual meeting, which was co-hosted by IEDA and the US Soybean Export Council (USSEC) with support from the Iowa Soybean Association. Mexico attendees included various soybean and feed buyers, industry executives and import/export partners. For Iowa attendees, the opportunity for trade and export education, relationship development and assessment of export opportunities for farmers, cooperatives and agribusiness highlighted the two-day event.
April 2021: Iowa Egg Industry – Virtual Trade Meeting with Mexico Buyers
As the leading egg producing state in the US connected with the leading egg consuming country in the world, Iowa and Mexico have export opportunities to consider. Hosted by IEDA along with the US Poultry and Egg Export Council and the Iowa Egg Council, this virtual event brought together Iowa egg producers and Mexican companies interested in eggs and egg products. Kicked off by Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig, this virtual event provided a first-ever access point for virtual introductions and the ability to coordinate individual meetings for follow-up business development.
April 2021: Chile & Peru – Virtual Matchmaking for Iowa Commercial Companies
IEDA and our partners at Global BMT in Mexico and Softpower Connections in Chile provided a virtual option for companies to pursue opportunities in Chile and Peru in April 2021, in lieu of the normal in-country trade mission. Iowa companies received market research and assessment, customized online business appointments, translation as needed, and post-mission support to move the connections and opportunities forward. Virtual matchmaking has become an integral part of our offerings to help Iowa companies make connections and increase exports in global markets.
April-June 2021: Southeast Asia – Virtual Matchmaking for Iowa Commercial Companies
Rolling shutdowns have been a deterrent to B2B sales in parts of Southeast Asia, but several Iowa companies overcame the travel restrictions by utilizing IEDA’s virtual matchmaking. Five Iowa companies received market research and participated in individual meetings with prospective distributors in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. The Iowa products represented included livestock equipment/supplies, construction supplies, electrical equipment and ag technologies. Despite the COVID-19 restrictions, Southeast Asia’s appetite for US-made products remains strong – several of the companies have already received initial purchase orders.
IOWA TRADE TALK SERIES WEBINARS
The Trade Talk Series: Global Options for Iowa webinars featured the following events in the last quarter of 2021:
- Global Ag Trade Policy Update with Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig, US Grains Council President and CEO Ryan LeGrand and Iowa State University Economics Professor Dr. Dermot Hayes.
- Update on US-China Trade Relations with John Evans, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Tractus Asia, discussing the complex economic relationship with China and opportunities and challenges for Iowa exporters.
- Canada Border Basics and Non-Resident Importer with Adam Hill, President and Chief Operating Officer, Scarbrough International, discussing key requirements for getting shipments across the border, as well as potential benefits of becoming a Non-Resident Importer (NRI).
Recordings of the publicly available 2020-2021 Trade Talk Series webinars can be found here.