Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Going Global? Do the Legwork

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Going Global? Do the Legwork

Article excerpt

SECAUCUS -- New Jersey companies looking to export goods need to do their homework about the global markets they want to enter, turn to the state and experts for help, and be willing to hop on a jet to make contacts in the countries where they want to do business.

"It is the question of who is who in local [international] markets," said Milos Fojtu, a Czech native who is now principal of financial firm Vepeca Inc. "You will not be able to find it out from your desk in the U.S. by telephone or searching the Internet. You have to get on a plane, fly there and talk to local people."

That was one of the takeaways Thursday during the first Global Symposium held by the Meadowlands Regional Chamber's International Business Council. About 200 people attended the event at the Crowne Plaza Meadowlands Hotel, where local businesses were offered advice and information on where to find resources to help them expand internationally.

Global trade is booming in New Jersey: Merchandise exports rose 19 percent to $38.2 billion last year from 2010, according to the International Trade Administration, and international expansion is seen as a way for local businesses to expand.

During a breakfast keynote address, Joseph Perez, a senior vice president with Secaucus-based Goya Foods, talked about his company's evolution, and how it imports ingredients from many nations, as well as exporting food products to non-Hispanic nations; it is the No. 1 olive oil in Nigeria. Goya plans to increase exports, Perez said.

"We have a thirst and desire to keep growing," he said.

There were two panels at the conference, and participants cautioned that executives seeking to export goods need to carefully research the markets they want to enter. That involves studying the logistics of shipping goods, as well as understanding the cultural norms of conducting business in nations where they are expanding. …

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