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Business Event Bringsthe World To Region

September 22, 2018

PLAINS TWP. — Walter Kaihatu, president of Koehler Lighting Products in Hanover Twp., met with trade representatives from Australia, India, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates about international expansion Friday without leaving the area. Kaihatu was one of more than two dozen business officials from seven area counties who came to the Northeastern Pennsylvania Alliance’s 21st annual “Bringing the World to Northeastern Pennsylvania” event at the Woodlands Inn in Plains Twp. The event allowed them to meet one-on-one with trade representatives from Australia, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Germany, India, Israel, Mexico, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. They discussed trade opportunities as well as information on products and services, domestic and international markets, market-specific problems and assistance. It was Kaihatu’s first time attending the free event. He said he’s interested in expanding into international markets and was grateful for the opportunity to talk to professional business consultants from different countries. “It saves us a lot of time rather than standing at trade shows trying to meet people or Googling distributors or potential partners,” he said. “It’s better to sit down with somebody who’s knowledgeable about the area.” It was also the first time Jim Tates, president and chief executive officer of United Gilsonite Laboratories in Dunmore, attended the event. He met with trade representatives from Australia, Canada, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and China. “This was a great opportunity to now get intentional about international expansion and exporting,” Tates said. “It allows us as a small to midsize company to be able to be more efficient about exploring different opportunities internationally. There’s also funding and grants available to support our efforts.” Tates said the event also helped give him a better feel for the regulatory environment. “They give us insights into what’s already there in the market and if we have a better product or solution than what already exists today,” he said. “They can also connect us with potential distributor partners or manufacturers.” Michael Horvath, senior international business manager for the NEPA Alliance, has organized the event every year and on Friday, he announced upcoming plans to retire. He said the event is important because it helps area businesses gain knowledge about the international markets they are interested in developing. The 26 business representatives who participated Friday took part in more than 100 one-on-one meetings with trade advisers, he said. Five area business officials attended for the first time, he said. All those who attended had the ability to have 15 marketing people from around the world “working for them and that’s an additional marketing force that doesn’t cost them anything,” he said. “The trade advisers get to know what products and services are available in Northeastern Pennsylvania,” Horvath said. Contact the writer: dallabaugh@citizensvoice.com, 570-821-2115, @CVAllabaugh on Twitter

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