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International Trade Center Welcomes Illinois Foreign Trade Officials

On December 8, 2016, the International Trade Center at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and partnering organizations across the region welcomed eight directors from Illinois’ foreign trade offices across the globe.

In attendance at the international trade event were: Kitty Leung from the Hong Kong office; Omar Mendoza from the Mexico office; Seth Vogelman from the Israel office; Sharon Stead from the Belgium office; Jyotirmoy Bhattacharjee from the India office; Motoshi Yamada from the Japan office; Miriam Tembe from the South Africa office; and Claudia Tomaselli from the Brazil office. Each of these foreign trade representatives participated in a morning tour of America’s Central Port in Granite City, followed by a lunch and roundtable discussion with Southwestern Illinois business leaders.

Lewis and Clark Community College President Dale Chapman presented midday, as did America’s Central Port Executive Director Dennis Wilmsmeyer and Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois Executive Director Ronda Sauget.

Throughout the day, international trade representatives learned about Southwestern Illinois’ regional exporting capacity as the second-largest population center in the state. The region has nearly 700,000 residents and is home to large domestic and international manufacturing, logistics and agricultural companies. Silvia Torres Bowman, director of the International Trade Center at SIUE, said Southwestern Illinois has experienced unprecedented growth over the past few years and continues to be a hot spot for development and international commerce.

The International Trade Center at SIUE serves entrepreneurs and small businesses in southern Illinois by providing individualized export consultation, identification of foreign buyers, agents and/or distributors through trade leads, international market analysis and more.

The ITC is funded through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and SIUE as a service to the region’s entrepreneurial and business community. It has a longtime partnership with the Illinois Office of Trade and Investment (OTI), which maintains a full-time staff of both foreign and domestic-based international trade and marketing experts. OTI also manages 10 foreign trade offices located in Belgium, Japan, Hong Kong, Mainland China, Mexico, Canada, Israel, India, Brazil and South Africa.

For more information on conducting business globally – and how to get started exporting – contact the ITC at , (618) 650-3851 or by visiting

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Top: (L to R):Kitty Leung, Manager, IL Hong Kong Office; Claudia Tomaselli, Manager, IL Brazil Office; Silvia Torres Bowman, ITC at SIUE Director; Sharon Stead, Manager, IL Belgium Office; Omar Mendoza, Manager, IL Mexico Office.

2nd Row:Southwestern Illinois business leaders  had the opportunity to network and share concerns and ideas with our foreign visitors

3rd Row Left:Ronda Sauget, Executive Director of the Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois, promoting Southwestern Illinois’ main assets that make it a prime destination for trade and foreign direct investment.

3rd Row Right:Dennis Wilmsmeyer, Executive Director of America’s Central Port, speaking to the audience.  

Bottom:Lewis and Clark Community College President Dale Chapman, making welcoming remarks.

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The Illinois SBDC International Trade Center is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville as a service to Illinois small businesses

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