80 U.S. Companies Test the European Market in PolandApril 23, 2009
I am writing to you live from Warsaw, Poland, here with 80 U.S. companies at our third Annual Trade Winds Forum.
Did you know this year is the U.S.’s 90th year of diplomatic relations with Poland? It’s amazing to consider how far Poland has come since the years of Woodrow Wilson. Today, Poland’s economy is one of the best performers in Europe and, despite the global economic crisis, it is still growing at about 1% per annum, while many countries are still struggling. In addition to having a stable government and about $15 billion of U.S. investment, it serves as an anchor market for U.S. companies trying to sell to Central and Eastern Europe – which is why the U.S. Commercial Service and our clients are here.
Eighty U.S. companies have joined us to participate in more than 800 individual meetings with our Senior Commercial Officers from 28 U.S. Embassies across Europe who are giving them an individual assessment of sales opportunities in countries from Portugal to Kazakhstan. During the three meetings I have been able to observe so far, clients and Officers discussed market potential and how to find business partners. They compared notes on trade shows and discussed logistics. And, a lot of discussion focused on how to get paid – especially in our current credit crunch. Throughout these back-to-back, 20-minute counseling sessions – which looked a lot like speed dating – the company representatives were able to learn how their products would fare in various countries and the steps they should take to successfully enter the market. The room was just buzzing with energy! The goal is that the U.S. companies will walk away from these two days with a strategy for selling throughout Europe.
We don’t only want them to take home a strategy though, but business too. So we’ve also arranged nearly 400 meetings for the U.S. companies with Polish buyers and potential partners. Nearly 40% of the companies attending the Trade Winds Forum are repeat attendees who were at last year’s program in Istanbul, Turkey. Firms from that event reported dozens of export sales as a result of their meetings, and we look forward to the same great results this year.
When the event is done, the U.S. Commercial Service will have arranged nearly 1,200 meetings for these U.S. companies to help them increase their international sales! Why do we do this, you ask? Because increasing international sales stimulates our economy by creating higher-paying jobs at home.
I look forward to writing again about how the U.S. Commercial Service is helping U.S. companies sell overseas…. Maybe next time you’ll be here too!