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Preparing Illinois Businesses for Southeast Asia’s Expanded Role in the Global Economy

The Illinois SBDC International Trade Center at Bradley University (ITC) has been awarded a U.S. Department of Education BIE grant for our SEA Change project to assist companies with increasing exports to Southeast Asia (SEA). As part of this effort, the ITC has brought together trade specialists, subject matter experts and consultants from around the country and across Asia to present a webinar series on this dynamic region.

The U.S. Administration is currently signaling a pivot to Asia to increase cooperation and trade, particularly in Southeast Asia. Moreover, countries, companies and even consumers are looking for alternatives to China due to supply chain issues and ongoing trade disputes, making the region even more crucial to Illinois businesses’ international success.

This webinar will examine how the distinct cultures, business and regulatory environments of Southeast Asia offer enormous potential for Illinois companies.

The Illinois Office of Trade and Investment and the U.S. Commercial Service will introduce resources to help companies new to Southeast Asia, as well as companies familiar with the region, find success in highly competitive markets, as they share strategies for a regional approach. From there, our experts will drill down to examine current trends to identify specific opportunities in industry sectors and countries.

Who should attend:

  • Companies considering entering Southeast Asia, as well as companies experienced in Asia looking for their next market
  • Business owners and decision-makers interested in seeking export opportunities in the world’s fastest growing region
  • Business development and sales teams looking to rebalance efforts away from markets that underperformed during the pandemic.


  • Lauro Arias — International Trade Specialist- Asia-Pacific, The Illinois Department of Commerce, Office of Trade and Investment
    • Lauro advises Illinois companies about how to increase their business internationally. As a senior trade specialist at the Illinois Office of Trade and Investment, he supports Illinois businesses in the Asia Pacific region from Japan to Australia. Prior to this position, he directed the Illinois Small Business Development Center International Trade Center housed at the Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago. A native of Uruguay, Arias was educated in England where he obtained a M.Sc. in agriculture economics at the University of Reading.
  • John Breidenstine — Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs, ASEAN Regional Senior Commercial Officer, U.S. Embassy Bangkok, Thailand, U.S. Foreign Commercial Service, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce
    • John is a career Senior Foreign Service Officer. He began his assignment in Thailand in August 2019. Before his current assignment, John served as the Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs and Senior Commercial Officer for Europe at the U.S. Mission to the European Union (2015- 2019); Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs in London (2011-15); U.S. Consul General in Hermosillo, Mexico (2008- 11); Regional Director for Europe and Eurasia (2006-08); and, Commercial Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City (2003-06). Prior to a 2002 reconstruction-related assignment at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, John’s postings included: Ankara, Turkey (1997- 2002); Tashkent, Uzbekistan (1994-97); Kuwait City, Kuwait (1991-93) and Munich, Germany (1990-91). Before joining the Foreign Service in 1990, John studied international relations at the University of Miami (1987-88) and at the Free University of Berlin (1988- 89) and worked as an Account Executive for International Paper in New York City and Atlanta (1984-87). A 1984 graduate of Davidson College in North Carolina, John is married to Judith Valdes of Mazatlán, Mexico. They have three children – Victor Manuel, Sofia Grace and John David.
  • David M. Nufrio — Deputy Director, Office of Southeast Asia, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce
    • As Deputy Director, David works with the Southeast Asia team to promote U.S. exports and attract inward investment to the United States. He also manages several regional initiatives, including work with the ASEAN Secretariat and programming on standards, aviation, digital trade, smart cities, and energy. Previously at ITA he covered Afghanistan, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam.
    • Before joining ITA, David developed U.S. State Department and USAID international visitor programs for Russia and Eurasia at the Global Center of Greater Cincinnati. He also worked at the Ohio House of Representatives. He has a J.D. and B.A. in political science from the University of Cincinnati and an MSc in international political economy from the London School of Economics.
  • John Dwyer — Managing Director, Peregrine Management International, LLC
    • John is the founder and managing director of Peregrine Management International, a management advisory firm located in Hanoi. Peregrine provides Vietnam market entry advice, as well as advisory and training services relating to supply chain and manufacturing operations. John is an active member in AmCham and chairs AmCham Hanoi’s Supply Chain & Manufacturing Committee.
    • Prior to founding Peregrine Management International, John worked at Polaris Inc., an American global specialty vehicle manufacturer. John moved to Vietnam to establish Polaris’s subsidiary factory in Vinh Phuc province, where he then served as General Director. During his time at Polaris, John held several management roles in strategic sourcing, new product introduction, and project management. Before joining Polaris, John spent ten years at Caterpillar, Inc., in a variety of strategic sourcing and Six Sigma roles.
    • John holds a Bachelor of Science degree in International Business (Asian Studies Minor) from Bradley University and a Master of Business Administration from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. In addition to Vietnam, John has previously lived in Tokyo, Japan, and Shanghai, China. John lives in Hanoi with his wife Haruko and three young children.

Preparing Illinois Businesses for Southeast Asia’s Expanded Role in the Global Economy

March 2

2:30 PM - 4:00 PM

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