A Day in the Life of a First-Tour CS Officer

July 2, 2009

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Ricardo Pelaez is a first-tour Commercial Officer serving with the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service in Taipei.  He and his team of three Commercial Specialists covers a broad spectrum of industry sectors including consumer goods, education, architecture/construction/engineering, environmental technologies, and power generation. Before joining CS Taipei in August 2008, Ricardo served as a Senior International Trade Specialist in the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service’s Cleveland, OH and Akron, OH U.S. Export Assistance Centers for over 10 years.

Greetings from Taipei!

Today was a really busy day for me here, but I’m excited and satisfied with the day’s results. Following a typical morning of meeting with each member of my team and checking emails, I attended a fellow officer’s going away lunch.   After lunch I was headed for a public diplomacy speaking engagement at YuDa High School. This school has been selected to act as the host sponsor of the U.S. Deaflympic Team. Taipei will host the 2009 Deaflympics, an official event of the International Olympic Committee, this September. This school of 5,500 Taiwan students will cheer on over 300 athletes and coaches representing the United States and over 5,000 athletes and coaches representing 81 countries.  As part of the school’s preparations, they invited me to come and speak to them about “U.S. Culture and Values.”

Commercial Service Taipei Team Meeting

Commercial Service Taipei Team Meeting. Department of Commerce photo

The most exciting part of the day was the final event on my schedule. After several months of planning, long hours, and hard work, CS Taipei finally kicked off the first of three “America Month” retail events promoting several hundred U.S. brands to Taiwan consumers.  In recent years, CS Taipei has organized several America Month events with local retail partners, but this year we were looking to hit a homerun.  CS Taipei partnered with three of Taiwan’s largest retailers, including Miramar Entertainment Park and Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Department Store in Taipei, and Dream Mall down in Kaohsiung.

We, and the American Institute in Taiwan’s (AIT) Agricultural Trade Office, have been collaborating with our retail partners to invite every single U.S. brand and franchise in their retail outlets to participate in this fantastic opportunity. We also helped each of our partners recruit special vendors, identify and invite entertainment performers, create a media exposure plan, and do whatever else we can do within our capacity to ensure the success of the America Month.

June 24 was the official opening of the America Month event at Miramar, a shopping mall that also boasts a Ferris wheel, a movie theater and an IMAX. Miramar’s theme is “American Beauty and Strength,” reflecting the American lifestyle, its free spirit, and multifaceted culture.

During the America Month, over 100 American brands at Miramar, including apparel, cosmetics, food and wine, and restaurants, are offering special activities and discounts to create a joyful and entertaining shopping experience.  Miramar’s two-week long event will culminate on the Fourth of July. They have planned several activities to celebrate the 233rd anniversary of the U.S. Independence Day, including, a cheerleading performance, Hawaiian hula dance performance, and a grand finale 233-second fireworks display.

Mitsukoshi and Dream Mall have also launched their America Month campaigns as well.  Mitsukoshi, for instance, is featuring a theme on U.S. Route 66.  We have been helping them define the elements necessary to illustrate the Route 66 spirit.  It is really exciting to see our months of work finally coming to fruition.

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