By Shane Cleveland
VBJ Staff Reporter
Southwest Washington businesses have the chance to explore global trade opportunities when Washington State Trade Week comes to Vancouver next week.
Held annually since 2002, trade week brings together Washington State Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development representatives and their overseas counterparts to meet with businesses in regions across the state. The delegation last visited Vancouver in 2003. The Columbia River Economic Development Council, City of Vancouver and Port of Vancouver helped organize the event.
A luncheon and presentation will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 22 at the Vancouver Hilton. But more importantly, the CTED and foreign representatives will meet with businesses interested in exporting opportunities.
“There are certainly opportunities for some businesses that we would like to be working with that have a proven product or service,” said Larry Williams, CTED international trade division director.
The target of trade week is small- to medium-sized businesses on the brink of exporting that have a strong product and are not just getting started.
“These are the companies that have a potential of expanding their market share abroad,” said Williams.
Interested companies tend to have questions about specific markets and want to know if their product will be successful or well received. About a dozen companies are expected to have one-on-one meetings with the participating overseas representatives before and after the luncheon.
Representatives from China, Germany, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan will be available for meetings.
CTED’s Spencer Cohen said Japan has the most volume of trade followed by Taiwan. But China continues to show a tremendous amount of potential. The 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing is creating demand for related infrastructure projects.
“The potential is what we are interested in,” said Cohen.
CTED is seeing a greater demand for professional services for projects abroad, including architectural and engineering consulting.
Nancy Carlson from the Export Finance Assistance Center of Washington will also be available to answer export credit and finance-related questions.
Those interested in attending the luncheon or scheduling a meeting with the overseas representatives can contact Pamela Allison at the CREDC by email at email@example.com.