A Publication of WTVP

The warp and weft of businesses across the globe
became vehemently apparent as the current financial situation
unfolded. Companies and countries around the world depend on
each other for the exchange of goods, services and wealth. But does
global trade really matter in our region?

Trade matters here in central Illinois, according to Jim Foley, director
of Bradley University’s two trade centers. Companies that invested
in export growth during the early to mid-2000s will be grateful for
their foreign markets during the global financial crisis. “We encouraged
companies to expand their number of foreign markets to take
advantage of the low dollar and fast-growing emerging markets. We
had record levels of economic impact from our clients during the past
few years. In 2004, they reported just over $28 million in export sales.
By 2008, that reached more than $110 million and the creation of over
200 new jobs. And these are all relatively small companies.”

Jim McConoughey, CEO of The Heartland Partnership, cautions,
“Notwithstanding this past success, companies will likely see a
downturn in exports as consumer demand contracts in most foreign
markets. Companies with strong distributor relationships or overseas
offices will be relatively less affected than companies with no current
presence in those same markets.” Still, companies will need to
continue their investment in export development—which is why our
ongoing efforts to harness the area’s international trade expertise
and coordination are even more critical.

Tools and specialists
For central Illinois companies to survive and thrive in this economy,
they will need every advantage. The Foreign Trade Zone #114 offers
another tool in their kit for success. Foreign Trade Zones (FTZ) are ideal
for companies that assemble or process products that consist of foreign
or co-mingled foreign and domestic components. A foreign trade
zone is a designated site licensed by the federal Foreign-Trade Zones
Board at which special customs procedures may be used. These procedures
allow domestic activity involving foreign items to take place
prior to formal customs entry. FTZ 114 is administered in our region
by the EDC for Central Illinois. It can offer timely financial benefits,
including assembly cost savings and lower customs duties, in addition
to convenience and flexibility in inventory staging, product showcasing
and quota compliance. To find out more about the advantages of
FTZ#114, contact EDC Director of Business Development Sally Hanley.

The Illinois SBDC International Trade and NAFTA Opportunity
Centers at Bradley University have announced two new staff members.
NAFTA Trade Specialist Beatriz Poloney, brings more than 20 years of
international business experience, including significant NAFTA and
documentation experience, and previous positions with two area companies. Originally from Colombia, she obtained her business degree
from Escuela de Administracion de Negocios in Bogota and worked
for over ten years with the Columbian Caterpillar dealer in the finance
office. After moving to the Peoria area, she joined Dynamic Graphics as
the Latin America and Caribbean Marketing and Sales Coordinator. In
1999, she joined 4B Components Ltd. as the Latin America Sales Director.
Beatriz may be reached at [email protected].

Jim Ryan is the new International Trade Specialist. He brings with
him a wealth of overseas experience and a passion for international
trade. Jim, a native Peorian, received his BA from Stetson University and
an LL.B from the University of Glamorgan School of Law and Finance
in Wales. After completing his law degree, he received a diploma in
International and Comparative Law at Oxford University and returned
to the U.S. to receive an LL.M in International and Comparative Law
from the University of San Diego School of Law. Jim has taught at
universities in Singapore and Malaysia and worked for technology
firms in Asia, where he held positions in international business development,
concentrating on foreign market entry and start-up operations
in Southeast Asia, the U.K. and the U.S. He may be reached at
[email protected].

Working together for global trade strategies and resources
“Global trade is a key economic segment for our region,” remarked
EDC Chief Operating Officer Vickie Clark. “Innovative growth in this
market arena will expand the prosperity of our region.” The EDC coordinates
a Global Trade Strategy Group that includes volunteers with
international experience from Caterpillar, The Heartland Partnership
and Bradley’s trade centers. The EDC will be adding additional members
to this group to enable concentration on key initiatives, including:
examining the potential for an international distribution center,
creating a strategy to increase FTZ activity, and defining steps to
expand, recruit and retain businesses in international markets. If you
would like to assist in global trade strategies for our region, contact
Vickie Clark at [email protected].

One of the purposes of the Global Trade Strategy Group is to
promote existing services that are available for global trade. Part of
the Turner Center for Entrepreneurship, the trade centers at Bradley
University offer counseling and training to Illinois companies seeking
to expand exports. They can be reached at (309) 677-3075 or

By combining the extensive resources available through Bradley
University with the network of business leaders through the EDC
and Heartland Partnership, the opportunities of today’s rapid-paced
global marketplace can be translated into economic growth for
our region. iBi