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The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh College of Business will bring together for the first time Wisconsin business leaders and regional experts on trade and collaboration with Latin America for a conference Nov. 20 at the University’s Reeve Memorial Union.

The NEW COLLABORATION conference will include presenters from Wisconsin-based international businesses, such as Rockwell Automation, Pierce Manufacturing, DMK USA, and Bemis, in addition to trade experts from the Wisconsin Department of Commerce, the U.S. Commercial Services Office, and the consulates of Columbia, Mexico and Ecuador. The conference will also include a plenary session by Wisconsin Department of Commerce Secretary Richard J. Leinenkugel.

“Latin America offers a tremendous opportunity for Wisconsin firms interested in finding new markets,” said Secretary Leinenkugel. “Despite the international recession, Wisconsin’s exports to Latin America are running 33 percent above last year. The Department of Commerce offers a wide range of services through its partners and directly to business to help them begin or expand an export initiative.”

Sessions will discuss entrance and operation strategies for the Mexico market and how Mexico can serve as a launching point for broader participation in the Latin American market. The Wisconsin Department of Commerce and the U.S. Commercial Services Offices will provide an overview on how they can help small and mid-sized businesses interested in exporting, importing, or sourcing from Latin America. Additional sessions will specifically address the markets of Peru, Columbia and Ecuador.

The conference will provide small and medium-sized Wisconsin companies with access to resources and information about exporting to or importing from Latin America, sourcing from Latin America, and/or possibilities for business collaboration.

Companies will have the opportunity to interview undergraduate business and foreign-language students as well as MBA students with expertise in international business. In addition, companies will receive country-specific fact sheets created by Denise Robson’s International Trade and Finance course.

Two UW Oshkosh students will present at the conference. Supply chain and operations management major Nathan Michael will speak about his experience interning for three months for Yobel, a supply chain management company in Lima, Peru. Theresa Straub, an accounting and finance double major, will talk about her experiences in the College of Business’s signature senior-level Business Consulting Practicum course.

Latin America is one of the largest markets for Wisconsin companies, and Mexico is the Wisconsin’s second largest trading partner after Canada. Last year, Peruvian trade with the United States grew at 9 percent under a new free trade agreement. In terms of Wisconsin exports to top markets, Chile ranked 14th, Peru ranked 27th, and Columbia ranked 28th, with over $700 million in combined export sales from Wisconsin alone.

The conference is supported in part by a U.S. Department of Education Business and International Education Grant.

Visit www.business.uwosh.edu/new-collaboration for additional information on the event.

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