This story was co-written by Camille Richardson, Principal Commercial Officer for the U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service.

Is your business ready to begin exporting? Or, are you looking for opportunities to advance your current international trade strategy? In addition to the many resources available today to help your organization grow abroad, including the National Export Initiative (NEI), regional Export Assistance Centers, and USA Trade Online, there is one very direct and effective way to accelerate your global efforts: participate in organized trade missions sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration (ITA).

These trade missions help participating U.S. companies accomplish multiple goals simultaneously, allowing them to explore new international markets, meet potential new clients face-to-face, and gain powerful insight into specific market and regulatory conditions. Business leaders that join a trade mission are able to meet directly with industry executives and government officials during their visit, and they can network with local in-country industry groups including Chambers of Commerce, associations and business councils. Critically, potential customers or strategic partners that you meet with are pre-screened based on specific business objectives, so, whether you are looking for representation, direct sales opportunities, or joint ventures, the business connections you forge will be relevant and valuable.

In addition to networking and one-on-one meetings, participants will gain access to business roundtables; they may also visit local business facilities, and take part in media events.

How can your company take part and gain traction in new markets? An upcoming trade mission to India may be a good place to start. ITA is currently organizing a Smart Cities Infrastructure Business Development Mission to India that will visit New Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai. Deputy Secretary Bruce Andrews will lead the mission which will visit India February 8-12, 2016. This mission presents a critical opportunity for U.S. IT companies, as well as infrastructure, engineering, construction, specialized project finance firms, and energy management businesses, to establish industry contacts and build rewarding partnerships. As the second largest USG supported commercial operation outside the United States, the Commerce team in India is well positioned to identify specific project opportunities and potential local partners to help your company enter the market or expand your commercial footprint in India.

Like many Department of Commerce/ITA trade missions, the India mission is closely linked to specific economic opportunities and initiatives. The Indian Government has proposed a dramatic nationwide program to build 100 smart cities, and has highlighted the need to implement resource management, 24 hour water and power supply, world class transportation systems, state of the art education systems, advanced e-government, and environmentally sustainable infrastructure development and programs.

Infrastructure projects in these smart cities will be funded by the central and state governments, as well as by private sector capital.

The upcoming trade mission offers U.S. companies the chance to learn about India’s smart city projects, meet directly with key decision-makers, and to find a rewarding role to play. Businesses that work in the infrastructure sector will also have the option to visit Vizag, a new smart city development site. Currently, three smart city projects are slated to proceed in coordination with the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, giving U.S. companies an opportunity to offer planning and technical assistance.

India offers exceptional opportunities for U.S. companies of all sizes to find new audiences. In fact, trade opportunities extend well beyond the smart cities initiative. Just ask California-based Solatube International, a manufacturer of day lighting systems. Working with the ITA’s U.S. Commercial Service in India (CS India), Solatube participated in a four-city tour of India in 2011. As a direct result of meetings arranged by CS India, Solatube signed a distributor contract with RS Energy of Chennai, India, and later with Suraj Universal for western India.

Getting your company to visit India and other countries through ITA-sponsored trade missions is an important step forward for your exporting strategy. Getting your products where you want them to go is where DHL Express comes in. DHL offers a comprehensive suite of exporting services, and has partnered with the U.S. Commercial Service to provide useful information about the basics – and the complexities – of exporting. Shipping products to business customers and consumers in India, and throughout the world, requires speed, efficiency, a clear understanding of customs rules and regulations, and partnering with the right logistics expert in order to make a difference in how successful your trade relationships will ultimately be.

To join the next mission, submit your application by November 20, 2015. Need more information or would like to ask questions? Please check out our upcoming recruitment webinar on October 27, 2015 for details on this webinar or for more specific trade mission information, please contact:

  • Ms. Camille Richardson
  • Principal Commercial Officer
  • U.S. Commercial Service
  • U.S. Department of Commerce
  • U.S. Consulate-General Mumbai
  • Tel: +91 22 2672-4215

Smart Cities Infrastructure Mission to India

Dates: February 8-12, 2016

Venues: Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai,

Optional Stop: Visakhapatnam (Vizag)

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Have you participated in a U.S. Department of Commerce/ITA trade mission? Let us know at @DHLUS.