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Southwestern Illinois Trade Council meets to formalize mission


From Illinois Business Journal news services

Supporters of the newly formed Southwestern Illinois Trade and Investment Council are formalizing the structure of the new council, working to establish priorities for the coming year.

The council recently held its first 2016 meeting at MidAmerica St. Louis Airport at Mascoutah. Members are collaborating on specifics, according to Frank Miles, administrator of community and economic development for Madison County.

“In order to operate effectively and accomplish its objectives, it is important that the Trade and Investment Council adopts bylaws, elects officers and identifies working committees,” Miles said. “In order for the council to succeed, to improve international trade and foreign investments in our area, we have to have a cohesive team working together to implement an integrated plan.”

A key player in the group is the Illinois International Trade Center at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, which advocates for international trade and foreign investment in the region.

“It is important that as we progress with the council’s structure, we quickly identify and participate in trade and investment shows and missions where we can promote the economic opportunities available in Southwestern Illinois,” said Silvia Torres Bowman, director of the ITC.

“We must also be realistic in our identification of projects,” she said. “We need to identify solid opportunities to showcase our area and what we have to offer, and then work to ensure those opportunities are developed into success stories.”

Following the meeting, Tim Cantwell, executive director of MidAmerica Airport, led council members on a tour of the North Bay Produce distribution center, located within the airport’s extensive complex. North Bay Produce is a national and international distributor of fresh produce.

The International Trade Center at SIUE serves entrepreneurs and small businesses in southern Illinois by providing individualized, export consultation; identification of foreign buyers, agents and/or distributors through trade leads, international market analysis and more. Questions about international trade can be directed to or (618) 650-3851.

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