Bill Burwell has been with the U.S. Department of Commerce for 14 years and currently serves as the Director of the U.S. Export Assistance Center in Baltimore, Maryland.
Southeast Asia hosted its first Trade Winds event during May, World Trade Month. Organized by the International Trade Administration’s Commercial Service, more than 100 American companies participated in the trade mission. The events were hosted in Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia May 14-22.
Now in it’s fifth year, Trade Winds is an eight-day trade and business development conference, held in Asia for the first time. Those who attend Trade Winds find opportunities for business connections in key geographic regions. It is like a giant trade mission helping buyers and sellers make connections and sales.
The Trade Winds program, organized by the Mid-Atlantic region of the Commercial Service domestic network, has thus far resulted in more than $100 million worth of exports for participating U.S. companies.
The morning of the first day saw U.S. Ambassador to Thailand Kristie Kenney officially commence the mission with a ceremony in Bangkok, Thailand where the U.S. Commercial Service had arranged more than 50 business-to-business appointments for the visiting companies.
Meanwhile, 20 additional U.S. companies spent two days exploring business development efforts in Vietnam, where the U.S. Commercial Service in Ho Chi Minh City had arranged well over 80 business to business appointments for the visiting U.S. companies.
As the mission progressed, U.S. Ambassador to Singapore David Adelman welcomed the entire Trade Winds delegation of more than 200 business representatives from 100 companies to Singapore. These companies spent the next two days participating in a Southeast Asia regional business forum, a forum that included more than 540 one-on-one consultations with Commercial Service Senior Commercial Officers representing 14 markets across the Asia-Pacific region. An additional 216 business-to-business appointments were arranged by the Commercial Service in Singapore for the American business representatives.
By May 21 and 22, Trade Winds – Asia had turned its focus to Malaysia and Indonesia. In Jakarta, U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission, Ted Osius welcomed a delegation of 17 U.S. companies while U.S. Ambassador Paul Jones similarly welcomed 10 U.S. companies to Malaysia. As with previous delegations, the U.S. Commercial Service offices in Jakarta and Kuala Lampur arranged 89 and 67 business to business appointments respectively for the visiting U.S. companies.
During the entirety of the Trade Winds – Asia conference, the U.S. Commercial Service arranged more than 500 business-to-business meetings between U.S. companies and commercial representatives in Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia. In addition, Commercial Service Senior Commercial Officers engaged in over 540 one on one meetings with U.S. business representatives and provided business development counseling on 14 Asia – Pacific markets.