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What is a Trade Mission?
January 26, 2023 Ken Click, Business Development Specialist

According to, U.S. Department of Commerce trade missions are “overseas programs for U.S. firms that wish to explore and pursue export opportunities by meeting directly with potential clients in their markets.” These events can be a fantastic occasion to better understand a new market and build connections within it in a short period of time. After being put on hold during the pandemic, the U.S. Department of Commerce resumed its trade missions in 2022.

Not all trade missions are alike. Trade Winds, the largest U.S. government-led trade mission and business development forum, draws over 300 attendees on average, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Trade Winds events are held in one overseas location and include optional stopovers in the region for additional business-to-business matchmaking meetings facilitated by U.S. government officials. All international stakeholders in these meetings, such as buyers and distributors, are pre-screened. At the time of publication, the next Trade Winds event is scheduled from March 13-15, 2023, in Bangkok, Thailand with optional stopovers in the Philippines, Singapore, and Vietnam.

Other trade missions are more specialized and focus on a specific industry and/or country. For example, the U.S. Department of Commerce is hosting a Cyber Security Business Development Mission to India in May 2023 and a Clinical Waste Management Mission to Indonesia and Malaysia in September 2023. U.S. Department of Commerce Certified Trade Missions use foreign U.S. Commercial Service offices as a meeting space but are led by independent organizations.

EXIM representatives participate on some U.S. Department of Commerce trade missions, including Trade Winds. Qualified U.S. exporters who have identified onsite international opportunities can work with EXIM to increase their competitiveness through the use of trade finance products such as Export Credit Insurance (ECI). In addition to protecting U.S. exporters against buyer nonpayment due to commercial and political risks, ECI enables U.S. exporters to offer more favorable open account terms to international buyers.

Whether a trade mission is part of your international sales strategy or not, please click here to schedule a consultation with an EXIM trade finance specialist to learn more about EXIM’s products and services.

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EXIM’s Blog postings are intended to highlight various facets of exporting, but the postings are not legal advice, and are not intended to summarize all legal requirements associated with exporting.