Trade Event Programs

by | Mar 20, 2017 | Articles

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Many potential foreign buyers attend exporting trade shows in the U.S. Find foreign buyers and make connections by attending an exporting trade event today.

U.S. Department of Commerce Trade Event Programs
Some products, because of their nature, are difficult to sell unless the potential buyer has an opportunity to examine the items in person. Sales letters and brochures can be helpful, but an actual presentation of products in the export market may prove more beneficial. One way for your company to actually present its products to an overseas market is by participating in trade events such as trade shows, fairs, trade missions, matchmaker delegations, and catalog exhibitions.

Trade fairs are “shop windows” where thousands of companies from many countries display their goods and services. They serve as a marketplace where buyers and sellers can meet with mutual convenience. Some fairs, especially in Europe, have a history that goes back centuries. Also, it is often easier for some buyers to gather in Europe than in the United States.

Attending trade fairs involves a great deal of planning. You should consider:

  • Choosing the proper fair out of the hundreds that are held every year
  • Obtaining space at the fair, along with designing and constructing the exhibit
  • Shipping products to the show, along with unpacking and setting up
  • Providing proper hospitality, such as refreshments, along with maintaining the exhibit
  • Ability to separate serious business prospects from “tire-kickers” (indecisive people who are never satisfied and aren’t likely to become buyers)
  • Breaking down, packing, and shipping the exhibit home at the conclusion of the fair

A trade magazine or association can often provide information on major shows. Whether privately run or government-sponsored, many trade shows have a U.S. pavilion dedicated to participating U.S. businesses. For additional guidance, contact your local U.S. Commercial Service office or, for a complete list of trade events that you can search by country, state, industry, or date, visit

Examples of annual trade shows are Medtrade, which is geared toward the health care services sector, and the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week, which is attended by companies in various parts of the automotive industry.

International Buyer Program (
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Buyer Program (IBP) supports major domestic trade shows featuring U.S. products and services with high export potential. Trade specialists located in markets around the world recruit prospective foreign buyers to attend selected trade shows. These shows are extensively publicized in targeted markets through embassy and regional commercial newsletters, catalog-magazines, foreign trade associations, chambers of commerce, travel agents, government agencies, corporations, import agents, and equipment distributors.

As a U.S. exhibitor at an IBP event, you will receive many valuable free benefits, such as:

  • Opportunities to meet with prospective foreign buyers, representatives, and distributors from all over the world who have been recruited by ITA commercial specialists in more than 150 cities
  • Worldwide promotion of your products and services through the Export Interest Directory, which is published by the show organizers and distributed to all international visitors attending the show
  • Access to hundreds of current international trade leads in your industry
  • Hands-on export counseling, marketing analysis, and matchmaking services by ITA country and industry experts
  • Use of an on-site international business center, where staff from your company can meet privately with prospective international buyers, sales representatives, and business partners and can obtain assistance from experienced ITA  staff members

Each year, ITA selects and promotes approximately 30 trade shows representing leading industrial sectors, including information technology, environmental  products and services, medical equipment and supplies, food processing and services, packaging, building and construction products, sporting goods, and consumer products.

U.S. Department of Commerce works with and certifies a wide variety of industry events and in a wide variety of industries. Got a product or service to sell? Somewhere in the world, there’s probably an event you can use to promote it.

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