Bringing the Russian Market to America

April 30, 2011

John McCaslin is Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs for the U.S. Foreign and Commercial Service in Moscow, Russia.

Left Moscow at the end of April on a long planned six city trek across America to promote the Russian market to US business in a series of group programs and individual meetings.    I built the trip around my last stop, San Francisco, where we will have our annual European Senior Commercial Officer conference the week of May 8.  During the course of my travels I expect to make contact with over three hundred companies and generate significant new business for CS Russia.

First stop Cincinnati.  Whenever I travel around the US I am always impressed with the value of our domestic network and their state and local partners.  My April 28-29 programs in Cincinnati were no exception.

Our local U.S. Export Assistance Center (USEAC) in Cincinnati and their partner, the European-American Chamber of Commerce, put together a first-class full-day program that included participation of the Russian Trade Representation from Washington, calls on  local exporters, a tour of the DHL international shipping facility and a group program hosted by a major local CS Russia client that included 50 local companies interested in doing business in Russia. The CS Russia client was a machine tool manufacturer that participated in our Aerospace Supply Chain Trade Mission to Russia last October, from which they have already generated several million dollars in sales. So they offered a great testimonial on CS services and how to do business in Russia.  We finished the day with a private VIP dinner hosted by GE at their manufacturing facility where we dined literally in the shadow of a huge GE 90 engine, the most powerful commercial aircraft engine in the world.

All I had to do was show up and give my presentation.

The next day was a series of individual meetings with five local companies hosted by our Cincinnati USEAC.  Part of my standard pitch on opportunities in Russia is that it is a challenging market with excellent prospects in selected sectors, but it is not for everyone.  True to form, of the five companies I met with and counseled, I advised two that they should look elsewhere.  Both were first-time exporters and I explained that the best use of their limited resources at this point in time would be more accessible markets closer to home.  Our Cincinnati USEAC will work closely to help make these clients export ready and identify the most promising markets in the region for them.  The other three, a retail design firm, airplane propeller manufacturer and a large medical device company, all with good international experience, will be working with our CS Russia team soon.

Next stop Baltimore.

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