Wisconsin Department of Commerce Newsletter
December 2004
Environmental Trade Mission to Vietnam Dubbed 'Huge Success'

A delegation of Wisconsin and Minnesota environmental companies recently returned from a trade mission to Vietnam with spectacular results to report. During the weeklong trip that concluded November 6, participants were briefed by U.S. government trade officials and industry experts, gave presentations to Vietnamese government officials, and had meetings with potential business partners in Hanoi and Ho Chi Mihn City.

Ken Konrad, CEO of Konrad Marine in Hudson participated in the mission and reported, "I am 60 and have done many international trips. This was the best business trip I have had. Thanks to the outstanding job by Wisconsin Department of Commerce and the U.S. Foreign Commercial Services - Vietnam, you have helped me open doors to the market. I did not know such support and services existed. We were well taken care of ... and able to concentrate on doing business. Since my return, I have daily email communication with Vietnam, making quotations and expecting some orders soon. I am talking with the Vietnam FCS Principal Commercial Officer Bob Bannerman for other business ventures in Vietnam. I am very impressed with the Vietnamese, they are energetic, ingenuity people and pro-America. I can see entering Asia through Vietnam, a good place for us to start. We plan to visit Vietnam again in the near future."

Other Wisconsin participants, Aquarius Systems of North Prairie and Great Lakes Bio Systems and Mix Air Technologies from Kenosha, met with potential customers/distributors in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Great Lakes Bio Systems and Mix Air Technologies already had a few customers in Vietnam and the mission allowed them to get a first hand understanding of the issues aqua farmers face in the region and to provide better solutions.

State Senator Neal Kedzie (R-Elkhorn), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee and Vice-Chairman of the Midwestern Legislative Conference Environment, Natural Resources, and Energy Committee led the Wisconsin delegation. The meetings provided a good overview of the environmental issues, which Vietnam is facing and its needs for environmental solutions. In several instances, the Senator and other members shared with Vietnamese officials, his thoughts on possible solutions used to address similar environmental issues in Wisconsin.

Senator Kedzie said he was impressed with Vietnam's desire to clean and protect its natural environment. "Wisconsin can certainly assist Vietnam with the environmental challenges they are facing," said Senator Kedzie. "There are many signs that there are numerous opportunities for Wisconsin companies in Vietnam."

The mission was made possible by an Immediate Response Grant (IRG) from the Council of State Government's State Environmental Initiative. Staff from the Wisconsin Department of Commerce and the Minnesota Trade Office organized the trip, recruited participants, and provided logistical assistance. By working together, the two states were able to share resources and garner greater attention from the Vietnamese government and business community. Wisconsin and Minnesota received a grant for another environmental trade mission to Sri Lanka in February 2005.

More information on the Vietnamese market is available from COMMERCE's Asia Specialist, Beng Yeap, ph: (608) 266-1480, e-mail: byeap@commerce.state.wi.us.

--Stanley Pfrang

The newsletter is issued electronically every other month.

Please send comments or questions to Barbro McGinn, editor.

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