Wisconsin Department of Commerce Newsletter
April 2005
Gov. Doyle's Trade Mission to Mexico Generates Contacts and Sales Leads for Wisconsin Companies

Over the past decade, Wisconsin's exports to Mexico have steadily increased. Mexico is now Wisconsin's second largest export market, up from third in 2003, as exports grew 35.07 percent to $1.06 billion in 2004. To capitalize on the growing importance of this market, Gov. Jim Doyle and I led a 46-person delegation representing 27 Wisconsin businesses and organizations on a business development mission to Mexico March 6-11. The mission visited Mexico City and Guadalajara, the capital of Jalisco (Wisconsin's Sister-State).

Wisconsin's trade office in Mexico City arranged 88 business appointments for 11 firms seeking to be introduced to potential customers, agents, or distributors. Other mission members were following up with contacts identified on past trips or were using the trip as a way to become more familiar with the market and do some initial research. Dennis Johnson, President of CECOR, Inc. of Verona, had 12 meetings during the mission and commented to a local journalist "We had some really good contacts. We have potential to quote some of our products ... [The mission] was extremely valuable."

Mission participants also benefited from Gov. Doyle's advocacy during his meetings with key officials in President Vicente Fox's administration. During meetings with the Mexican Secretary of the Environment and the Director of the Mexican Water Commission, the Governor discussed Mexico's new water law and the opportunities it presents for several Wisconsin firms to help solve some of the problems faced by Mexico.

The Governor also generated publicity for several Wisconsin firms currently selling products in Mexico. He presented Badger Meter's CEO, Richard Meeusen, with a plaque commemorating the company on its 100th anniversary and its success in exporting to Mexico. Ansul Fire Protection, of Marinette, hosted Gov. Doyle and other mission delegates at its distribution facility in Tlalnepantla, outside of Mexico City. Harley Davidson's dealer in Mexico City hosted the delegation and organized a press conference to celebrate 75 years of Harley exports to Mexico, and the development of the world's largest Harley police fleet.

In Guadalajara, agricultural exports were highlighted during a tour of a large dairy farm that has imported Wisconsin livestock genetics and equipment. An event at the University of Guadalajara campus celebrated trade in agricultural expertise and know-how, as well as Wisconsin's sister-state relationship with the state of Jalisco.

Several mission participants were also in Guadalajara to exhibit at the ANTAD trade show. This show highlights products sold and equipment used in retail supermarkets in Mexico. The Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection organized a mini-pavilion including Wisconsin companies Mille Lacs Gourmet Foods, Miller Brewing Company, Sargento Foods, and Seneca Foods. Federal Industries, another mission participant, exhibited its retail display cases at the show.

Tecumseh Power Company of Grafton, along with its partner in Mexico, Evans Power Equipment, hosted the mission delegation at a ground-breaking ceremony for a facility located just outside of Guadalajara. This expansion will increase Tecumseh's engine exports to Mexico.

Gov. Doyle's Trade Mission to Mexico was successful on many accounts. Wisconsin companies that are new to export have initiated relationships with Mexican buyers that will result in increased exports. Strong exporters improved their existing relationships. All mission participants benefited by learning from their colleagues across the state.

If you would like to learn more about business opportunities in Mexico, plan to attend an executive roundtable discussion facilitated by three of the mission participants scheduled for Friday morning, April 15, at Waukesha County Technical College in Pewaukee. For more information, contact Susan Dragotta by e-mail at sdragotta@commerce.state.wi.us or by phone at (262) 691-5147.

- Mary P. Burke, Secretary

The newsletter is issued electronically every other month.

Please send comments or questions to Barbro McGinn, editor.

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