City of Galesburg meets with Indonesian Trade Delegation, seek business and cultural exchanges

Galesburg, IL (March 20, 2012) – Officials from the city of Galesburg, local businesses and educational institutions traveled to Chicago last Thursday to co-host a reception and business forum for a trade delegation of over 32 representatives from two of Indonesia’s richest provinces, South Sumatra and East Kalimantan. Led by Mayor Sal Garza, the Galesburg/West Central Illinois contingent consisted of local businesses, representatives from Knox, Monmouth, and Carl Sandburg Colleges, members of regional economic development organizations, and other Illinois Businesses.

Garza explained, “Seeking global trade opportunities is one of many strategies we are exploring for Galesburg and West Central Illinois. Meeting with Indonesian Consul General Benny Bahandewa and the trade delegation was very productive. Finding out the types of goods they are seeking and establishing personal contact with potential buyers is a solid first step. I expect we will have many business opportunities with our Indonesian friends.”

Cesar Suarez, Economic Development Director for the city of Galesburg commented, “I’m excited to see this happening. Not many small cities can get this type of exposure and attention in the global marketplace. Being able to connect buyers and sellers first hand will lead to more sales for our region’s businesses.”

The Republic of Indonesia, a Democracy, is a Southeast Asian country of over 17,000 islands, with the fourth largest population, and the 17thlargest economy. Rich in natural resources, Indonesia is looking for partners to help develop these resources and to build infrastructure for a growing middle class population. According to Gary Camarano, Global Strategies Director for the city of Galesburg, “Our region has a lot to offer our Indonesian partners. Whether we build it here, or contribute the components that go into the products they need, we can benefit from expanded trade relations with Indonesia. We will be reaching out to companies in the region to educate them about the potential and to connect them will potential buyers. That’s the global economy – make it here, sell it there, prosper here.”

Bob Blackburn, of Blackburn Sampling, Inc. in Galesburg said, “It was very cool. Mr. Camarano got us a personal introduction to the Deputy Director for Development Ministry for Energy and Natural Resources. That is a decision maker I need to talk with. That is the person who can get my product in Indonesia quickly. We will be having further discussions with them. It was all great.”      

In addition to business opportunities there were also opportunities for the region’s higher educational institutions to talk with Indonesian Officials about increasing the enrollment of Indonesian students here. Representatives from Monmouth, Knox and Carl Sandburg Colleges took part in the business forum. Establishing ties with that increase enrollment is a win-win situation for all involved. Dr. Brenda Tooley, Monmouth College’s Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Coordinator of International Recruitment found the event helpful, and is looking forward to continuing conversations with the Indonesians. “It was very fortuitous for us, as we are making serious efforts to attract students from Southeast Asia. Forums like this are great first steps. We want to thank Galesburg for including us in this event, and look forward to further collaborations in the future.”

Indonesian Consul General Benny Bahandewa remarked, “The event was a great success in our view. It was wonderful to see so much interest in doing good business together. Our friend Mayor Garza and his staff will be welcomed to bring a trade mission to Indonesia to move discussions along and conclude agreements. This is the continuation of a relationship we started in September of last year, and we look to see it grow into good business for Indonesia and Galesburg.”

The city of Galesburg will be conducting inbound and outbound trade missions with countries that make sense based on our local economy. According to Camarano, “We’re not looking for photo ops, but for relationships that will lead to sales and increased trade. I will be reaching out to find our export ready companies and get them involved. Competing globally will make our region a stronger and better to live:”

For further information about inbound and outbound trade missions and other programs designed to help businesses in the Galesburg/West Central Illinois Region contact Gary Camarano, Global Strategies Director at 309-371-0474 or gary.camarano@ebinetwork.org.

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