2016 Trade Mission to Canada

2016 Trade Mission to Canada

By James Ryan, International Trade Specialist, Illinois SBDC International Trade Center


The Illinois SBDC, International Trade Center at Bradley University (ITC) is organizing a trade mission to attend Centrallia 2016 in Winnipeg, Canada from May 25th to the 27th.  Centrallia is an international business-to-business forum focused on generating trade and business development opportunities around a targeted, speed-dating format with prospective customers and partners, as well as a conference component, a trade show and networking events.

The impetus behind the ITC’s participation in this event is its signing of a memorandum of understanding with the event’s host, the World Trade Centre Winnipeg (WTC) this past June. The ITC and WTC are now designated Sister Centers under the U.S. Department of State’s Small Business Network of the Americas International Sister Center Program.

The goal of the Sister Center agreement with the WTC is to share best practices, provide joint counseling for small business clients, facilitate cooperative trade missions, and support soft landing programs for exporters. Ultimately, the intention is to create a fast-track for trade between the cities of Peoria and Winnipeg, as well as tapping into opportunities between Illinois and the province of Manitoba.

According to the Illinois Office of Trade and Investment, Illinois exported $22bn to Canada in 2014, with $1.7bn of that going to Manitoba.   Canada is our strongest trade relationship.  It is the largest export market for Peoria, Illinois and the U.S.. We sell almost triple the amount to Canada that we do to Mexico, our second largest export market.

Event organizers are expecting over 700 businesses leaders from more than 30 countries looking for opportunities in manufacturing, transportation and logistics, agribusiness, information and communication technologies, environmental industries, energy and mining, construction and innovation and R&D. This year the event is offering a focus on business in the Northern Territories and the Arctic.

Participation in the full conference is $1,260 CAD (approximately $945 USD) until January 31st. The ITC has been approved to offer reimbursements to up to four companies for 50 or 75 percent of approved conference and travel and accommodation costs on a first-come, first-served basis through the Illinois State Trade Export Promotion program (ISTEP).

If you would like additional information on Centrallia 2016 or ISTEP, please contact Jim Ryan at (309)677-3075 or jryan@bradley.edu.