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Guidelines for Planning Certified Trade Missions

Know your markets:

  • Check out our on-line market research – Industry Overviews, Market Updates, Country Commercial Guides and more – available free of charge on www.export.gov.
  • Consult with International Trade Specialists at your nearest U.S. Export Assistance Center (USEAC).
  • Listen to your members and constituents. Many are in tune with overseas business developments and already know where their opportunities are. Poll them on their market interests.

Share your vision:

Your mission proposal may be reviewed by Trade Specialists at the nearest USEAC or sent directly to our offices in the countries you wish to visit. Be sure to include the following in your proposal:

  • Sponsoring organization and contacts, plus names of VIP leaders, if appropriate
  • Theme of proposed mission, including product categories and industries to be promoted
  • Goals and objectives reflecting the needs of your members or constituents
  • Proposed itinerary and dates
  • Services requested from our overseas offices (e.g., one-on-one business appointments, plant visits, interpreters, receptions, logistical support)
  • Projected number of participants
  • Overseas contacts currently assisting in mission organization, if applicable, plus contacts in specific public and private organizations with whom you wish to meet
  • Promotional campaign to be conducted in recruiting the mission
  • Host organization, if required, e.g., copy of letter of invitation for mission to China

Allow sufficient lead-time:

Time requirements vary, depending on country markets, the size of your delegation (usually, the larger your group, the more lead time needed), and the level of service to be provided by our overseas offices. Generally, the following timelines apply:

  • Six months or more is recommended to allow for planning your program and logistics and recruiting participants from the time you send your proposal to our overseas offices to the start of your mission.
  • Two to three months before the mission, apprise participants of visa and other travel requirements. Our offices in the host countries will refer you to the latest guidelines.
  • Two months before the mission, wrap up recruitment and send payment to our overseas offices to cover the costs of their local outreach and logistical arrangements.
  • Two months before the mission, send an advance officer or team to the host country market(s) to review logistics and other issues with staff at our overseas offices.
  • Six to eight weeks in advance, provide our overseas offices with profiles of the delegation members, including information on their business objectives in each market – the more detail the better, to help our overseas staff find the best contacts for your clients and constituents.
  • On site, at the conclusion of the program in each country, poll your members to determine their level of satisfaction, any immediate results they may wish to report, and their long-term expectations.

Avoid surprises:

  • Review local business customs in advance. Country Commercial Guides available on www.export.gov include valuable information on this topic. Our overseas offices can also provide guidance.
  • Pack plenty of business cards, always an essential part of an introduction. If possible, cards should include information in the local language on the flip side.
  • Apprise delegation of security and health measures as early as possible. Check with overseas offices.
  • Inform our overseas offices of special needs of delegation members as far in advance as possible.

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