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Great Lakes International Trade Offices

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International Trade Fact Sheet

International Trade Offices

Joint Trade Missions

Each year, the Council of Great Lakes Governors leads multi-state trade missions to assist small to medium sized companies from the Great Lakes region to export their products and services.  Trade missions are an excellent way for companies to visit international markets as part of an organized group of business people.  Each participant receives one-on-one business appointments with interested distributors and agents customized by the Council's International Trade Offices.

CGLG Trade Mission Testimonials Click HERE

CGLG India Trade Mission Participants visit the Taj Mahal


The Council of Great Lakes Governors is leading a multi-sector trade mission to Eastern Europe and Turkey November 1-11, 2014. For more information click HERE.

On July 25, the Council will be hosting a FREE Doing Business in Eastern Europe and Turkey Webinar for Great Lakes Companies. For more information click HERE





The Council of Great Lakes Governors is leading a multi-sector trade mission to Mexico March 1-6, 2015. For more information click HERE.




The Council of Great Lakes Governors is leading a multi-sector trade mission to East Africa May 11-16, 2015. For more information click HERE.



The Council of Great Lakes Governors is leading a multi-sector trade mission to Montreal, Québec June 15-17, 2015. Held in conjunction with the Governors’ and Premiers’ Summit scheduled for June 12-14, 2015 in Québec City. More information coming soon.



Mexico Trade Mission March 1-7, 2015
Cities: Mexico City, Monterrey and Guadalajara
Planning a water sector event in conjunction with the mission

East Africa Trade Mission May 11-16, 2015
Cities: Nairobi and Dar es Salaam

Québec Trade Mission June 15-17, 2015
Held in conjunction with the Governors’ and Premiers’ Summit to be held from June 12-14, 2015 in Québec City.
Companies have the opportunity to attend the Summit before the trade mission.
Cities visiting: Montreal, and Québec City (optional)

Information on previous Council trade missions:
India April 22- May 1, 2014

Colombia, Chile and Brazil--September 2013

Australia--May 2013

South Africa--March 2013

Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha--September 2012

Brazil, Chile & Colombia--March, 2012

Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand--March, 2012

South Africa--February, 2011

Brazil, Chile & Peru--April, 2010

Australia & New Zealand--March, 2009

Argentina, Brazil & Chile--April, 2008

South Africa--February, 2007

Australia--May, 2006

Argentina, Brazil & Chile--October, 2004



SA Flag AU Flag AR Flag BR Flag CH FlagNZ FlagPeruFlag


The Council of Great Lakes Governors led a 24 person delegation from Illinois, Ohio, Minnesota and Wisconsin to Colombia, Chile and Brazil September 7-17, 2013. Mission stops included Bogota, Santiago and Sao Pãulo during the 10 day trip.

"The South America trip that was organized by the Council of Great Lakes Governors  was simply outstanding.  All three South American countries we visited were very productive from a business stand point.  The potential customers that CGLG prequalified and set up for us to meet were exactly the type of customers we want to do business with.  As we visited these potential customers, the interpreters were very professional and smart.  In the short time we were with them, they picked up our industry lingo and knew our product very well.
The entire experience was nothing short of great!  We look forward to going on another trade mission trip in the future!"

Jeremy Sizer and Jodi Boldenow
Industrial Door Co. Inc

"I just returned from my Trade Mission and it was AWESOME!  The Council of Great Lakes Governors does a wonderful job!
I wanted to thank everyone for an amazing experience for my first Trade Mission! Everything, in every aspect, went above and beyond my expectations including all of the staff and people that participated!  So, THANK YOU!"

Brandon Lamoncha
Humtown Products

"As a small business with limited resources and interest in exporting, we recently participated in the Latin America trade mission hosted by the CGLG.  The mission was well planned out and we received assistance and guidance each step of the way.  Without knowing what to expect, we were extremely pleased with the results.  We had several viable appointments pre-arranged that were a perfect match for our company, and the resources of the interpreters and drivers were invaluable.  We are now working on the continued development of these relationships with the companies we met with and hope to be partnering with a few of them in the upcoming new year.  

We would highly recommend to any other small business looking to expand into international markets to take your first step by utilizing the resources of the CGLG.  The planning and expertise that they can provide is excellent and takes the worry out of international travel.  Without these resources, exportation of our products would have been a daunting and very slow process.  The CGLG staff is very accommodating and knowledgeable and  a great resource for businesses operating in the Midwest.” 

Mark and Lisa Friedrich
Coolant Express


From May 6-11, 2013, the Council led a group of ten companies from Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin on a trade mission to Melbourne and Sydney Australia.

Australia Mission Testimonial

"As an international business developer, I have worked with other US agencies for similar trade services.  I do have to admit that this is by far the best experience I’ve had. I was very impressed by the thoroughness and enthusiasm in not leaving any stone unturned in peruse of any potential opportunities for my  company. 

"In all honesty, I was concerned about meetings schedule crossing the country.  However, the planned logistics were impeccable making my time in Australia both effective and efficient.
I would with all confidence recommend both the Council of Great Lakes Governors and the CGLG Trade Office in Australia.”

Nalex Cordova
Director – Sales & Marketing
Blair Rubber Company
Seville, Ohio


The Council of Great Lakes Governors, in a unique collaboration with its member States, assists small to midsize companies from the region in exporting their goods and services. Towards this end, from March 5-15, 2013 the Council led a trade mission to Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town in South Africa. Twelve partipants from Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin participated in the mission. The Council's Southern Africa Trade Office created customized appointment schedules for participants to meet with potential buyers, distributors and partners.

"I anticipate $600,000 in additional sales generated by our Licensee over next 3 years, which would result in 5-20 additional jobs. I ended up with 5 real prospects and have had 3 follow-up meetings since being back in U.S"

Steve Wolever
Signature Services
Dublin, Ohio



From September 21-28, 2012, the Council led its first trade mission to U.A.E. and Qatar.  Four companies from Ohio and Wisconsin participated.  State trade staff from the Ohio Department of Development and Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation also traveled with the mission.  The companies represented a variety of industry sectors including cleaning, water, incense retail and joint fabrications.  On September 25, Michael Corbin, U.S. Ambassador to the U.A.E. hosted a reception for mission participants at his residence.

"You were great hosts and very professional in everything you did.  We hope to see Kaivac in the region soon as well and hope to build on what you helped us get started.  For our first venture as a company and my first personal effort like this, you provided a good framework to meet folks in the market and I learned a lot through the process.  I think you have given me ideas to use moving forward as we look to new adventures like this one.  For this I am grateful for the experience of this trip."

Marc Ferguson
Kaivac, Inc.



From March 16-28, 2012, the Council of Great Lakes Governors lead several companies and state economic development agencies on a multi-sector trade mission in South East Asia. Sarath Menon, the Council’s South East Asia Consultant, provided participants with customized one-on-one business appointments in Jakarta, Indonesia; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; and Bangkok, Thailand.

These nations exemplify the region’s strong economic growth and the tremendous opportunities for Great Lakes companies doing business in South East Asia. In 2011, Indonesia’s GDP grew by 6.5 percent while Vietnam’s GDP increased nearly the same. In 2010, U.S. exports to Thailand grew by about a third to $9 billion. All three economies are expected to maintain strong growth for the next several years.

Mission participants, including Ray So of Cycle Search International in Columbus, Ohio, met with interested distributors, agents, and other prospective business partners. “Even though I have been exporting motorcycles since 1993, surprisingly this was my first trip overseas, and I certainly feel that it was a great success for me and my company,” Mr. So said. “In retrospect, I really could not have considered doing a trip like this without this type of support and local business development. And I realize that if I tried to plan a trip of this magnitude, I am certain that I would not have been as effective in planning, scheduling and contact development.”
 From April 15-25, the Council led a trade mission to São Paulo, Brazil; Santiago, Chile; and Bogotá, Colombia. Twenty-three participants including companies from Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin, as well as staff from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Ohio Department of Development and Wisconsin Economic Development met with local distributors and agents. Participating companies represented a variety of industry sectors including industrial equipment, pollution control, water management, food packaging, metal forming, legal, nutrition and foundry equipment.

    Jim Wischhusen, Senior Product Manager with Monoxivent, participated in the mission to South America. Located in Rock Island, Illinois, his company creates innovative air cleaning systems in workspace environments. "The South America trade mission was a worthwhile endeavor for Monoxivent," said Mr. Wischhusen. "I met with fourteen qualified contacts in Chile and Colombia and now we are in the process of selecting the firms that can best represent our products."
    This mission came at a favorable time for Great Lakes companies looking for opportunities in South America. When the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement went into force on May 15, over 80 percent of U.S. exports of consumer and industrial products to Colombia became duty-free including agricultural and construction equipment, building products, aircraft and parts, fertilizers, information technology equipment, medical scientific equipment and wood. Both Colombia and Chile experienced nearly six percent economic growth in 2011, and Brazil, the world’s sixth-largest economy, remains a strong and dynamic market.




The Council of Great Lakes Governors led a successful trade mission to South Africa February 22-March 4, 2011. The purpose of the mission was to assist small to medium sized companies from the Great Lakes region to expand their sales. Twelve delegates from Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin participated in the 10-day trip which made stops in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town.

The Council's Southern Africa Trade Office, established in 1999, created customized appointment schedules for each delegate to meet with pre-qualifies South African buyers, representatives and end-users. The trade office also provided logistical support and arranged a series of business briefings and networking events for the group including a breakfast hosted by U.S. Consul General Jill Derderian in Durban.

For General Contractors & Assemblers, Inc. (GCA), located in Racine, Wisconsin. the mission was their first foray into the South African market. GCA manufactures a water purifying and sanitizing solution used by campers, armed forces, relief missiona and in areas where the water is suspect. GCA President George Stinson said " I would like to thank all those involved in the mission. It was well planned and I enjoyed visiting Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town and meeting the people of South Africa. The quality and depth of the distributors and end-users I met with was excellent. Everyone was interested in our product. I not only see potential relationships with distributors in South Africa but also surrounding Southern African countries."

Similary the South African market was accepting to other companies. Michael Cordier, Vice President of Fizika Group which is located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, commented, "The CGLG trade mission to South Africa exposed our partner's products and programs to a whole new market and was well received by local distributors. It is the direct result of hard work by an incredible team who dedicated many months to ensure the success of 10 days of appaointments. This trade mission exceeded all expectations. Thank you!"

The mission proved successful even for those companies in specialized markets. "As a provider of aquaculture feeds, Zeigler Bros, Inc. serves a very unique market. Despite decades of export experience, entering the African market had proven to be challenging." said Chris Stock.

Stock, Global Brand Manager, Zeigler Bros, Inc. located in Gardners Pennsylvania, added, "As a result of CGLG's trade mission to South Africa, we were able to establish a large number of prospective business partners, and gain important knowledge of the regional market and position our company to compete in the South African market and the region as a whole. CGLG's ability to identify and bring together potential business partners for Zeigler Bros., Inc. through the recent trade mission has created tremendous oppertunities for our company."

Jeff Kane, Sales and Marketing Manager for DFT, Inc. of Exton Pennsylvania, commented, "The trade msision sponsored to South Africa by the CGLG and the State of Pennsylvania far exceeded my expectations. When I thought the trip could not get any better, it did. Itineraries were perfect and the trip was professionally managed down to the last detail. All of my appointments were scheduled with companies that I actually have oppertunites of receiveinb future business. If all CGLG trade missions are conducted like this one, please let me know when I can join the next."


From April 10-20, the Council led a 30-member trade delegation to Sao Paulo, Brazil; Santiago, Chile; and Lima, Peru.  The delegation comprised 18 small to medium sized companies from Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin representing a variety of sectors including agriculture, automotive, construction, finance, machinery and equipment, oil and gas, plastics, water and wastewater.  Seven of the 18 companies had participated in previous Council missions.
The Council’s Trade Offices in Brazil and Chile provided companies with extensive market research reports and arranged customized appointment schedules with potential distributors, partners and end users.  In addition, the Council’s team coordinated country business briefings, networking events and ground logistical support for hotels, transportation and interpreters.

Gary Ellerhorst, President/CEO of Crown Plastics located in Cincinnati, Ohio said, “The trip helped me identify various potential business development channels for South America, and educated me on the various pros and cons for doing business in each country.  I also obtained some good general and legal enlightenment from the country business briefings.  I am planning a return trip to the region within 6 months.” Crown Plastics is a leading producer of thin gauge, high molecular weight polyethylene.  They are a major supplier to the ski and snowboard industry and also provide material for countless industrial applications.

“For Safway Services, the mission was a great success.” said Darrell Domokos, International Equipment Sales Manager for the company.  “I think we have some outstanding potential for real business in Brazil in the very near future.  The meeting arrangements were great as well as all of the market research done for the Brazil market as it relates to our business.”  Safway Services, located in Waukesha, Wisconsin, is the premier provider of temporary work platforms for commercial and industrial products in North America. 

Several other mission companies are close to finalizing sales and distributor agreements as a result of the trip.  More success stories are expected in the coming weeks and months. 

Trade Mission Delegates
Minnesota * Wenger Corporation * Ohio * Alloy Engineering Company * Crown Plastics Co. * Freeman Schwabe Machinery * Niche Vision * Noshok, Inc. * Ohio Department of Development * Process Technology * Redex Industries, Inc. * Seepex, Inc. * Wisconsin * Aquarius Systems * Aries Systems * Badger Meter Europa GmbH * Badger Meter Inc. * Continental Plastics Corporation * Greenheck Fan Corporation * M&I Marshall & Ilsley Bank * Reconyx, Inc. * Safway Services, LLC * QuikDeck * TLX Technologies * Wisconsin Department of Commerce


Twelve companies from Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin recently traveled over 12,000 miles as part of the Council’s trade mission to Australia and New Zealand. Mission participants visited Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland March 1-11 to meet with potential distributors, representatives and key industry contacts in a variety of sectors including
agri-biotechnology, industrial equipment, defense, software, alternative energy and nanotechnology.  Business appointments and mission logistics were coordinated by the Council’s Australia and New Zealand Trade & Investment Office and the Ohio Australia Trade Office.
     Participants benefited from a business briefing held in Melbourne, where speakers briefed the group on the legal and logistical aspects of doing business in Australia and provided an update on the economy.

Angela Foley, CGLG Australia & New Zealand Trade & Investment Office Director said, “I can report that overall the mission was a real success.  Many of the companies were surprised at how buoyant the economy is here relative to their current experiences in North America and other markets.  We will have ongoing contact with each company over the coming weeks and months to ensure that distributor agreements are finalized and export orders are won as a direct result of this visit.”

Vince Crifaci of Muscle Products Corporation located in Jackson Center, Pennsylvania, said, “As a result of our meetings in Australia, we signed up Enginecare as a distributor of our products.  They are sending staff to the U.S. for training and we expect orders to follow shortly.  This relationship has the opportunity to grow into something big over time.”

Muscle Products Corporation manufactures 18 specialty lubricants designed for the manufacturing, mining, fleet and automotive industries.  Their main product is MT-10, a metal treatment lubricant added to existing fluids to increase lubrication, reduce friction, lower maintenance costs and extend the lifespan of equipment.      

More success stories are expected to follow in the coming weeks and months.

Trade Mission Delegates:
Aova Technologies * Beistle Company * Crown Plastic Co. Inc. * Cybergenetics * G&B Specialties * Illuminex * L&H Signs * The McFarren Group * Muscle Products Corporation * PA DECD * Plank Enterprises Inc. * Probes Unlimited * Reconyx   


In search of new business opportunities, 19 companies from Ohio, Minnesota and Wisconsin traveled to South America in April as part of the Council of Great Lakes Governor’s Argentina, Brazil and Chile Trade Mission.  The purpose of the mission was to assist small to medium sized companies from the Great Lakes region export their products and services to the booming Latin American market. During the whirlwind ten day trip, the delegation visited Santiago, Chile; Buenos Aires, Argentina and São Paulo, Brazil.

The Council’s trade representatives in each country provided participants with extensive market research, logistical support and customized business appointments with potential customers and partners. In addition, a series of business briefings and networking events were also held.

A wide variety of industry sectors from the Great Lakes region were represented including: industrial instruments, lighting, agricultural supplies, computer & ITC supplies, forestry machinery, food services and packaging, law services, industrial tools, multi media, printing products and recreation construction.

Jeff Gunderson of Glue Dots International, a Wisconsin based firm that manufactures adhesive products for industrial, specialty and consumer markets, said  “It would have taken me months or years to accomplish what I did on this mission in 10 days. I don’t know how I would have done this on my own.  One of my main hesitations of pursuing business in South America was the logistics portion and not knowing where to start.  Having the airlines, transportation, hotel, interpreters, drivers, and appointments all set-up made it extremely easy.” 

Glue Dots International met with 20 potential distributors during the mission and hopes to finalize representation in the market in the coming weeks and months.

Trade Mission Delegates:
Aova Technologies * A&E Handtools * Bell Lumber & Pole Company * Comtrol Corporation  * CWP-Rediheat * Despatch Industries * DMK USA Inc. * Glue Dots International * Fecon * Mainstreet Menu Systems * Miller Weldmaster * Ohio Department of Development * Porter Wright Morris & Arthur * Rimage * Rain Drop Products * Tegam * Treeman * Wisconsin Department  of Commerce



Building on the success of recent trade missions, the Council of Great Lakes Governors led a trade mission to South Africa from February 19-24, 2007. A delegation of 20 companies from New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin visited South Africa’s three largest urban centers-Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. Some mission delegates also visited Botswana, Namibia, Mauritius, Malawi and Zambia.

The Council of Great Lakes Governors South Africa Trade Office (CGLG-SATO) arranged one-on-one appointments with distributors, agents, and other contacts for each company to help them establish export leads, identify potential distributors and sign new sales agreements.

SA Group Picture

SA Landscape

A series of networking events were held throughout the week including a reception in Johannesburg sponsored by SABMiller, a networking event with U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Eric Bost, and even a thrilling Harley Davidson Pillion ride through Cape Town.

SA Group Picture

SA Group Picture

SA Harley

Mission participant Mark Kelley, Sales Director of Crown Battery in Freemont, Ohio, said,  “Our experience proved to be a positive one as we identified a market potential of $25-35 million. The quality and caliber or the appointments and contracts was very productive in making this a success for our company.”

In 2006, the Great Lakes States exported $1.7 billion into the South African Customs Union, which accounts for over one third of the total United States exports to the region.  CGLG-SATO Director, Richard Zurba said “South Africa is defined as a developing market and a developed market, which can benefit American companies.  For example, the region is a fast adopter of new, innovative and high-tech imports.  American technological innovations combined with a currently low U.S. dollar allows American companies to compete favorably against domestic and international competition in that market.  South Africa’s economy has been experiencing rapid growth and business and consumer confidence, as well as the stock market, have been at record highs.”

The Council’s South Africa Trade Office opened in 1999 and has served almost 700 companies from the Great Lakes States. For more information on the services of CGLG-SATO, please contact



The Council led a 22-member delegation on a week-long trade mission to Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, in May, 2006.

The Mission’s goal was to assist small to medium-sized Great Lakes companies export goods and services to Australia. Currently, Council member States export $3.4 billion annually to the Australia region.

Increasingly many U.S. companies are taking advantage of the recent U.S./Australia Free Trade Agreement, which eliminated 99 percent of tariffs on U.S. manufactured exports to Australia.

AUS Group Picture

AUS Group Picture

Opera House

The delegation included representatives from 15 companies from Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.  These companies encompass a broad range of sectors including technology, industry, food, biotechnology, medicine and agriculture.

The Council’s Australia and New Zealand Trade Office organized extensive market research and scheduled individualized business meetings for all participants.

Delegates also benefited from a roundtable business briefing in Sydney and a networking reception in collaboration with AMCHAM and Invest Victoria. The reception provided an opportunity for delegates to promote their products and services to representatives of the Victorian business community in an informal setting.

Australia Trade Mission Generates Sales

JF Magic from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania uses fiber optic technologies in animations applied to advertising boards, banners and general promotional products. Miko Green, JF Magic CEO said the mission was a success. She said, “We could not have made the cold calls to get the meetings with the same level of people we met, had we tried to set up meetings on out own.”

JF Magic has completed project requests from five companies in Australia resulting from the meetings coordinated by the Council’s office in Sydney, and the company also made a sale to Papermoon Pty Ltd in Sydney as a result of the mission.

AU Flag

BOC Water Hydraulics Inc.
from Salem, Ohio signed a distributor agreement with Kempe Engineering Services in Victoria to represent their products across Australia after BOC’s Todd Olson participated in the mission. BOC designs, manufactures and supports a full line of premier water hydraulic components. The company is known for its high-pressure water applications within the primary metals industry. Their products range from cartridge-type valves to highly durable steel-on-steel cylinders.

KDH Technologies of Johnstown, Pennsylvania is currently in the final stages of contract negotiations with Marine Equipment International (MEI) of Sydney. KDH manufactures ports security sonar systems and personal body armor. Following their meeting in Sydney, MEI expressed strong interest in acting as KDH’s distributor in Australia and an agreement is expected in the new future. MEI has already identified initial interest in KDH’s body armor from Australia’s Defense Material Organization, whose mission is to acquire and sustain equipment for the Australian Defense Force.  MEI also plans to showcase KDH’s equipment at the Land Warfare Conference in Australia in October.

Following their May visit, Bionix Development Corporation from Toledo, Ohio signed an agreement with Aurora BioScience in Sydney establishing them as Bionix’s exclusive distributor within Australia (except Western Australia), New Zealand, and the South Pacific Islands. Bionix was established in 1984 and develops and markets innovative medical products and medical technologies, including single-use medical devices, radiation therapy and prosthetic solutions.



The Council led a successful trade mission to Buenos Aires, Argentina; São Paulo, Brazil; and, Santiago, Chile from October 24-29, 2004.  18 small and medium sized companies took part in this mission geared to identify and secure export opportunities from the Great Lakes region to South America.

Participants hailed from Indiana, New York, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin--representing a wide variety of business sectors including medical equipment, environmental control, packaging and industrial machinery.

Council staff and State economic development officials accompanied the group, working in partnership with the Council’s shared trade offices in each country.  This team provided mission participants with customized agent/distributor searches and arranged one-on-one meetings with potential buyers and business partners.
In addition to making important business contacts, participants met with key government officials including the U.S. Ambassador to Argentina and senior staff from the U.S. Department of Commerce.  These meetings focused on current economic and political conditions in order to prepare the companies to do business in the South American market.
Participants reported making many new contacts with potential partners, distributors and buyers.  Morrice Blackwell, Application Engineering Manager for Badger Meter, said of the mission, “The meetings that were put together for us were of great value to our future business in South America.”


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