The World of Trade Missions - Asia Calling!

Date: 01/02/2018
Author: GMCC Asia Pacific Team
Company: GMCC Asia Pacific Team

The world of trade delegations and missions conjures up all sorts of questions for business owners. Trade missions are only for government or are they? Can I afford the time? What will be my return on investment? Will I meet the right companies? Who will look after the business while I am away? And it’s so far to travel - can I get any funding support? I will have a pile of work to catch up with when I get back, but what if I don’t give it a go? 

How many of you have ever considered participating or have been on a trade mission? For those who have, we’d love to hear from you – the good the bad and the ugly. Having organised several trade missions, we wanted to reiterate our emphasis on business matters, rather than ‘it was just another nice trip’. The most important aspect for us is, like most things in life, to ensure that your expectations are met. However, this isn’t always easy in some of the Asian markets. Things can and do often go awry. As business owners ourselves, we appreciate that your time is most precious, so we do our utmost before, during and after any market visit, to ensure you get the most out of your investment.

So what are Trade Missions? A trade mission is a market visit organised for the purpose of exploring international business opportunities. Trade Missions provide a vital bridge between countries. They can represent a tangible meeting of converging interests. Sometimes the interests are just exploratory with the delegate simply wishing to find out more about the market conditions or value propositions on the other side. Other times, there are focused requirements for specific meetings with the intention of forging business relationships and trade in earnest. Trade missions should only occur after one has undertaken significant market research.

Although some missions are sector specific, others can be general, based around an event or a client launch. Our missions are different as we focus on actual business instead of just making a trip or getting an extra bit of press coverage. Our visits to Asia will be focused on more than one city/country. It’s too far to travel to come to one place. They will generally be for one week – if you do any less, you’ll find you have spent more time travelling than actually on the ground meeting companies that could present you with opportunities.

We can provide you with extensive support, before, during and after the market visit. We focus on achieving at least 8 meetings in market and support with post visit contact, which is critical in the Asian markets where building trust and relationships is vital.

As highlighted, the first step to considering any market, even before you think of making a visit should be your market research. Accordingly, our next article will see the first of a country series across Asia, commencing with the ASEAN countries. We won’t bore you with just facts and figures; each article, while highlighting basic country facts, will include specific tips for that country, as well as opportunities.

With Malaysia being the UK's second largest export market in South East Asia, after Singapore, and our long and strong commercial ties, there is always keen interest for Trade Missions to S.E. Asia. There are two key events taking place in Malaysia and Indonesia in March/April – one is focused on fashion and the other on halal and health. If you are interested, please get in touch so we can provide further details. If we have a handful of firms, we can support and organise a mission. Overall, we are seeking to host a number of missions to Asia to assist companies in trading internationally over the course of 2018, so we’d like to hear from you on what type of missions you would like to participate in.

Reach out to us and if any of you have any thoughts on what else you’d like to hear from the region, please do drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you!

Please get in touch by emailing exportbritian@gmchamber.co.uk