News: Tradebuilders Starts Indian Virtual Trade Mission

Roy Mark
04/17/2001

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Tradebuilders is conducting a virtual trade mission through May 18 linking firms in the United States and India. The mission is designed to help U.S. firms build relationships with leading software companies in India, most of which are located in Bangalore, often called India's Silicon Valley.

The Web-based virtual trade mission will enable participating companies to build relationships through online meetings and a videoconference on May 18. More than 20 firms in India and 20 firms in the United States have registered for the virtual trade mission, and U.S. companies may continue to register through April 20.

The Washington, D.C.-based Tradebuilders' proprietary process includes business facilitation and online coaching. U.S. companies can use the trade mission to build business relationships with Indian software developers, and identify partners for selling, outsourcing, joint venturing, and/or investment.

"Global markets are expanding as trade barriers come down, trade agreements multiply and e-commerce explodes. But barriers still exist -- a lack of trade knowledge and experience, the high cost of traditional trade missions, and archaic supply chains and infrastructure," said Virginia Littlejohn, chairman of Tradebuilders.

According to Littlejohn, Tradebuilders helps companies go global through an Internet portal that cuts costs and reduces risks; simplifies trade and increases opportunities; offers technical assistance; develops trade capability; improves the supply chain process; and creates access to finance and investment.

"Traditional trade missions focus primarily on large companies offering products. They are time-consuming and expensive -- costing anywhere from $2,500 to $15,000 -- and require a high level of trade expertise. But virtual trade missions are open to companies of any sizes offering products or services, require much less time and expense -- typically $100 to $1,000, and assist companies with developing their trade expertise," said Elizabeth Vazquez, president of Tradebuilders.

Tradebuilders is working on this pilot virtual trade mission between India and the U.S. in coordination with the Electronics and Computer Software Promotion Council (ESC), part of the Indian Government's Ministry of Information Technology; India's largest B2B exchange, indiamarkets.com; the Association of Women Entrepreneurs of Karnataka; Cvent; and Caucus Systems, Inc.

In 1998, the founders of Tradebuilders conducted the world's first virtual trade mission involving 56 companies in Canada, Malaysia and Singapore; the mission resulted in 16 business agreements. Last year, Tradebuilders conducted a virtual trade mission between Canada and the United States that involved 44 companies and resulted in 22 business agreements.

Tradebuilders' virtual trade missions were cited as a global best practice at the COMDEX 2000 show in Las Vegas and at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's 2000 Conference on Globalization and the Knowledge-based Economy in Paris.

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