The Auto Care Association hosted a sold-out trade mission to Bogotá, Colombia, June 7-8, as part of a series of trade missions that are being organized as part of the Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP) award from the U.S. Department of Commerce. The association received the award to help U.S. companies in the automotive industry increase exports to free trade agreement partners in Central and South America.
The trade mission was scheduled to coincide with Expopartes, the largest automotive parts trade show in Colombia. The trade mission kicked off with a country briefing by U.S. Embassy personnel and Asopartes, an automotive aftermarket association in Colombia, and a legal and logistics overview.
Trade mission delegates participated in personalized business-to-business matchmaking meetings with foreign industry executives, pre-screened to match companies’ specific business objectives. Delegates also had the opportunity to visit a large distribution center, explore the trade show and participate in networking events.
“I was really surprised with the information shared in advance of the meetings. I knew who was coming so it gave us time to prepare,” said Alfonso Elisea, export sales, Truck Hero. “I definitely expect to see business. One customer came to our meeting with an order in hand.”
“For a small company like the Murray Corp., we do not have all the resources to organize a fact-finding mission ourselves. If I attend a trade show and talk to a distributor, I do not have anything to demonstrate my credibility,” said Mike Sre, international sales manager, Murray Corp. “Through Auto Care’s trade mission, the U.S. Embassy requested meetings on our behalf, automatically boosting our credibility as a legitimate company.”
“The meetings we’ve had were certainly worthwhile. The trade mission value was very appealing, especially the turnkey element of having all meetings, local transportation, hotel and meals arranged,” said Tim Williams, vice president, commercial sales, Penda Corp. “We are very interested in participating in future Auto Care trade missions as long as there is a market for our product.”
The Auto Care Association will be hosting a trade mission to Central America – Honduras, Sept. 26 and Nicaragua, Sept. 28. Qualifying firms are eligible for an offset of the trade mission costs.
For details about the Auto Care Association’s trade missions, visit autocare.org/trade-missions.