On February 27th - March 3rd, SACIV had the pleasure of hosting six international visitors from Armenia, Chile, Finland, Hungary, Tunisia and Malaysia for an IVLP program entitled “US Trade Policy”, which was designed to provide them with the opportunity to be introduced to innovative strategies for regional economic development and competitiveness in the global marketplace, as well as learn more about foreign trade zones and ports in San Antonio.
On Friday, our visitors met with staff of UTSA’s Institute for Economic Development, where they were able to learn about the variety of centers and programs that facilitate economic, community, and business development at the local, regional, and national levels. Staff discussed their trade assistance organization, which provides businesses with trade consulting services, market research, and innovative training programs. These representatives also shared about their services and successes in delivering the technical know-how and support that has helped hundreds of Texas companies enter new markets, create more efficient supply chains, and become more globally competitive.
In order to review the local economic system and forces that influence the policy-making process, they also had an important meeting with representatives of the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, San Antonio’s leading resource and advocate for Hispanic businesses which provides premiere access to the Hispanic market. The discussion addressed methods to cultivate and foster international business relations, trade, and growth for members and the local business community. Questions were also raised on how to encourage identity understanding among the Hispanic community as well as how to manage disinformation.
Next, the President of Global Chamber San Antonio welcomed guests to a business lunch where they were able to share more about their professional experience and provide feedback on the cultural and professional experience they had in the USA. The guest speaker, Javier Smith, shared about his involvement in international trade operations in the US and Mexico dealing with retail marketing, wholesale, e-commerce, manufacturing, and software development.
Later that day, our guests headed to the City of San Antonio’s Economic Development Department, where they discussed the growth and development in San Antonio through its work with partner agencies to bring business infrastructure needs, incentives, and quality workforce training programs to the city. Representatives spoke about the City’s support of businesses and entrepreneurs and their work to attract and promote international investor opportunities.
Monday morning began with a visit to Port San Antonio, where participants discussed the issues of logistics, importing, and exporting with representatives from OpTech, a tenant at the Port. Representatives then explained the Port’s role as a foreign trade zone and how they provide technologically advanced solutions ranging from supply chain management, biotech, and IT, to distribution, warehousing and personnel research. Our delegation was grateful to be provided with an overview of Port operations between Mexico and the US and their new focus on becoming the Tech Port San Antonio.
In the afternoon, the delegation headed to the U.S. Small Business Administration district office in San Antonio. There, staff presented the history and current services aimed to to help small business owners and entrepreneurs pursue the American dream. Visitors learned that the SBA is the only cabinet-level federal agency fully dedicated to small business and provides counseling, capital, and contracting expertise as the nation’s only go-to resource and voice for small businesses.
Throughout these appointments, the global delegation was able to learn about the ways in which the San Antonio’s business community prepares for the future of the global economy and promotes trade through public-private partnerships, as well as how they empower small and medium-sized enterprises to compete in foreign trade.