TRADE FAIR CERTIFICATION

A Strategic Program for Promoting U.S. Exports

WHAT IS TRADE FAIR CERTIFICATION?

The U.S. Department of Commerce's Trade Fair Certification program is a cooperative partnership arrangement between private sector show organizers and the U.S. government to increase U.S. exports and to expand U.S. participation in overseas trade shows. Through the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service, the program provides Department of Commerce endorsement, show-related services, oversight and coordination of event services, promotional support, exhibitor marketing facilitation, and in-country/show site assistance for private sector organizers to recruit and build a U.S. Pavilion at selected foreign trade shows. These shows serve as a vital access vehicle for U.S. firms to enter and expand foreign markets. The certified show/U.S. pavilion ensures a high-quality, multi-faceted opportunity for American companies to successfully market overseas.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF CERTIFICATION?

  • Signals official U.S. Government support of an event to potential exhibitors and visitors, to the host country government and business community leaders, and to foreign buyers/attendees – thus encouraging their support and participation.
  • Conveys that the show is a safe venue and good market for U.S. firms to sell their products and services abroad.
  • Standardizes, leverages, coordinates, and initiates USDOC support domestically and worldwide; unifies U.S. participation, and institutionalizes organizer and CS responsibilities.
  • Allows show organizers/associations to recruit under the banner of the U.S. Department of Commerce and use that recognition to support their efforts.
  • Provides recognition that the U.S. show organizer/agent is a reliable firm capable of effectively recruiting, managing, and building a U.S. pavilion; ensuring customs entry; providing appropriate space and booths, delivering products for display, etc., for U.S. firms at a particular fair.
  • Provides confidence for and increases participation by new-to-market, infrequent, and small exporters.
  • Arranges organizer support services from the Commercial Service in Washington, trade specialists at more than 100 Domestic Offices in U.S., and staff in over 90 Commercial Service posts at U.S. Embassies/Consulates overseas.
  • Identifies the certified organizer’s area as an official government supported U.S. pavilion for U.S. exhibitors – this is often necessary to secure foreign government participation, support and local buyer attendance.
  • Provides U.S. exhibitors with helpful contact facilitation, market information, counseling, and other services to enhance their marketing efforts.
  • Frees up post resources from recruiting, exhibit arrangements, and show logistics to providing direct in-country assistance, advocacy, market research, contacts, and other efforts to increase U.S. sales.
  • Can increase organizer revenues by providing additional promotion and exhibitors.
  • Provides exhibitors with information on the protection of their intellectual property rights (IPR) and assistance in protecting their products from IPR infringement.

WHAT DO CERTIFICATION SUPPORT SERVICES INCLUDE?

Washington Headquarters Support

  • Assigns a Project Officer to coordinate and oversee domestic and worldwide Commerce Department support for the event.
  • Supplies an official certificate endorsing the event and the organizer.
  • Supplies promotional letters, when appropriate, from the Director General, Secretary of Commerce, or President of the U.S. encouraging participation. These letters may be used in the organizer’s show directory or other promotional materials.
  • Provides the organizer with and authorizes the use of U.S. Department of Commerce logos, official seals, and statements of partnership/cooperation in promoting and recruiting for the event.
  • Provides the latest available market research compiled by Commercial Service specialists at the overseas posts.
  • Supplies a potential exhibitor contact list from our internal databases of thousands of firms that have participated in Commerce programs/shows or have expressed an interest in exporting.
  • Lists the event in the appropriate Commerce Department web sites, calendars, databases, publications, etc.
  • Sets/monitors program policies, procedures, standards, etc., and supplies information on Intellectual Property Rights.
  • Develops a comprehensive marketing plan with the show organizer to promote and recruit the show; supplies event information to cooperating private sector publications, journals, websites, and organizations; Develops support webinars.
  • Writes and makes a detailed public event announcement and/or press release; sends event notice announcement to all Commercial Service Domestic Offices and Teams to contact appropriate client firms via newsletters, fax, e-mail, etc.
  • Writes a “Dear Potential Exhibitor” endorsement/assistance letter for the organizer to use in recruiting exhibitors.
  • Provides exhibitor list to domestic offices 1-2 months prior to show for pre-show counseling.
  • Provides interagency contacts/coordination in Washington if necessary.
  • Provides $1,700 for post show support budget; assists in formulating budget/changes/acquiring additional funds.
  • Notifies country/industry desk officers to encourage their contacts to attend the show.

Post/Commercial Section Core Services Suggested for all Certified Shows/Organizers –

  • Provides a pre-show industry/country market briefing to U.S. exhibitors.
  • Provides briefing/welcome kits to U.S. exhibitors.
  • Staffs a Business Information Office (BIO) on the show floor to provide information and promote CS activities. The organizer must provide a free BIO (or post acceptable alternative) in a suitable location. (Can also be used for counseling, matchmaking appointments, communications, exhibitor assistance, etc. Staffing coverage depends on post resources.)
  • Facilitates contacts for U.S. exhibitors; provides the organizer lists of key local government entities, potential buyers, reps.
  • Performs one-on-one counseling for U.S. exhibitors covering how to work with local firms, pursuing promising opportunities, pricing, distribution, making agreements, local laws, tariffs, government services, etc.
  • Provides targeted in-country promotional campaign to potential buyers/exhibitors – can include electronic/fax/ mailing to local industry list, newspaper articles, press releases, notice in trade magazines, AMCHAM and Embassy commercial publications/newsletter, etc; sends show invitations; distributes show tickets, etc. (The extent of post promotion varies depending on the show, how post/organizer wishes to use show budget, post and organizer judgment on what is effective/needed, post personnel resources, other competing events, etc.)
  • Identifies, and where appropriate, invites foreign government and trade association officials to the show.
  • Arranges opening ceremony for the U.S. pavilion, SCO/Ambassador participation, walkthrough. (If applicable/appropriate.)
  • Provides guidance on customs clearance to U.S. firms for their exhibit items/materials. (Is not responsible for clearance.)
  • Arranges/coordinates official military or other foreign buyer delegations to visit U.S. exhibitors, if applicable. (Extent of assistance, methodology, and resources used are agreed upon with organizer and may require additional organizer funding.)
  • Arranges for CS officers at other posts to promote the show in their country, visit the show, provide regional counseling, send delegations, etc; coordinates “Showtime” and similar programs. (If applicable. Extent of assistance, and methodology to be used are agreed upon with organizer. This item may require additional organizer funding.)
  • Coordinates efforts of other USG agencies at post to support the event.
  • Provides organizer with end-of-show debriefing/report, sales surveys, etc; follows-up to obtain export successes.
  • Works with the fair authority to facilitate optimum space/services for U.S. participants.
  • Provides official emblems, flags, etc., if necessary; provides US&FCS posters and program handout materials.
  • Works with and ensures that organizer booths, signage, exhibitor services, directory, traffic flow, etc., are suitable.
  • Sends a letter from the embassy to each U.S. exhibitor outlining post support/services and invites exhibitors to provide information on their objectives, desired contacts, etc.
  • Assists U.S. exhibitors with protecting their Intellectual Property Rights at the show.

Possible Additional Post Services if Appropriate for the Event

  • Provide on-site matchmaking/contact facilitation for exhibitors with local firms.
  • Arrange/coordinate U.S. Embassy reception for U.S. exhibitors and clients.
  • Organize a local press conference.
  • Provide a letter to the organizer from the SCO/Ambassador promoting the show to potential U.S. exhibitors.
  • Provide pre-show/post-show matchmaking, plant visits, meetings, or other services for exhibitors.
  • Provide translation assistance.
  • Support a catalog exhibition and Executive Service activity during the show.
  • Provide/coordinate more extensive in-country promotion.
  • Coordinate any participation in the show by trade missions, high-level officials traveling to the country, etc.

Export Assistance Centers (EAC)/Domestic Offices

  • Distributes show information and encourages U.S. clients via newsletters, calls, direct/e-mail mail, etc., to attend the show.
  • Initiates CS Team awareness, planning, and other actions to support attendance and recruit U.S. exhibitors.
  • Counsels exhibitors on CS services, how to make contacts, market information/techniques, and IP rights and protection.
  • Refers prospective exhibitors to the show organizer.
  • Follows-up with exhibitors after the show to assist with sales, obtain success stories, etc.

NOTE: All services may not be needed for a particular show. TFC services can be customized for each show and expanded or decreased from what is listed above depending on the organizers needs. Post, organizer, and TFC project officer should agree at least four months prior to the show on the exact post services. Organizers should work with posts and the project officer on their needs, as well as how to allocate the budget. “Additional” post services are discretionary and depend on resources, competing activities, and funding available at post. Organizers can be asked to cover or supplement these costs. US&FCS has limited budgets for arranging and facilitating foreign buyer delegations, regional promotion efforts, and Showtime or “Asia Now “ activities. Support in these areas may require additional funding from organizers. Posts should encourage organizers to use the TFC program and are not obligated to provide the services outlined for non-certified organizers/shows. Trade Fair Certification is a cost-recovery program and entails a $2,000 contribution from show organizers. Organizers should send this fee, along with other forms provided, within 30 days after being notified that their application has been approved and the show is certified.

FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO APPLY:

Michael Thompson, Manager
Trade Fair Certification Program
U.S. Department of Commerce
Suite M-800, Mezzanine Level - Atrium North
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20230
Tel: 202-482-0671
Fax: 202-482-7800


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