On August 17th - August 22nd 2019, SACIV welcomed eight international visitors from Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Djibout, Israel, Moldova, Palestinian Territorries, Sri Lanka for an IVLP multi-regional project for Europe entitled “U.S. Trade Policy." This program was planned to provide participants with the opportunity to examine current federal, state and local initiatives in international trade and export promotion. They also had a chance to explore the role of the U.S. in international trade and the impact of international trade agreements on U.S.business and economy.
The IVLP guest started their working week with the wonderful time touring Missions in San Antonio and learning about the history of our region.
On Monday, our visitors met with the representative of Haven for Hope, where they learnt about this non-profit organization and its expertise in providing a first-hand perspective of the importance of volunteerism in US society. They also had a chance to be involved in the community service activity and had a wonderful discussion with the manager of financial sustainability.
Later that day, our guests had a meeting with the Director of Public Affairs from the North American Development Bank when they learned about the mission and long-term approach towards infrastructure planning and project financing. IVLP visitors were also interested in learning the impact of the NADBank which is, in fact, the only one in the country. Moreover, the visitors met Deputy Director of Public Affairs, Gonzalo Bravo, who was once a part of the IVLP exchange program 20 years ago. It was a valuable discussion.
In the afternoon, our delegation met with the representatives of the International Trade Center at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) where they learned about the expertise of the university and the community to support economic, community and business development for the region. IVLP visitors discussed programs and other approaches to help companies enter new markets, create a more efficient supply chain, and become globally competitive.
Tuesday morning started with a practical meeting at the U.S.Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Marketing Service. IVLP guests learned about the services that create opportunities by supporting economic development in small towns and rural communities that stand as the backbone of American values. They met with the Officer in Charge USDA and saw the laboratory type space. Our guests learned about the Specialty Crops Programs, Specialty Crops Inspection Division which facilitates the strategic marketing of fruit, vegetables and nuts while ensuring fair trading practices and promoting a competitive and efficient marketplace.
Later that day, they met with a representative from the San Antonio Development Foundation (SAEDF) where participants learned about San Antonio in a bigger scale and what its pros and cons are (which surely can be turned into opportunities). The Executive Vice President shared about the local business landscape and current strategies used to make San Antonio economically competitive internationally.
After lunch, they headed to meet with the private sector representatives of Build Sec Foundation who shared about the long-term incubator which helps founders launch security product startups in Central Texas. Our visitors learned about their unique cases when they helped several companies to be recognized, tested, and deployed into the market. They also shared their experience in surrounding every startup with necessary resources and networking to excel.
This visit in San Antonio couldn’t be full without the meeting with private sector and valuable example of what it means to be an entrepreneur at the border. That is why on Wednesday morning the group met with the principal of J.Canavati & Co. LLC who runs a firm dedicated to the development of international logistics and trade projects. The participants could discuss the firm’s work to drive international business and foreign direct investment into the region and help customers navigate the nuances of the global market.
On Wednesday afternoon, the IVLP guest took part in the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s International Business committee meeting. It was a practical meeting to observe when important decisions and plans were made to support international commerce and trade at the border.
The visit to San Antonio was filled with significant meetings and necessary discussions as the program highlighted the role of free trade zones and relationships in facilitating trade and how trade impacts and supports economic development of the community in San Antonio. IVLP guests learned how non-government and public-private partnership organizations work together in San Antonio to promote local and regional economic development activities. #ExchangeMatters