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On a Mission: A behind-the-scenes look at trade mission goals

World Trade Center Utah is leading a trade mission to Mexico in April. More than 15 companies will visit Mexico City and Baja to explore business opportunities and connect with potential partners.

The trade mission will include business-to-business matchmaking, networking, site visits and country briefings. Each participating company has different goals for their trade mission experience. We talked to representatives from ICON Health & Fitness and Optisys to find out more about their desired outcomes for Mexico.

Increasing international sales

ICON Health & Fitness designs, markets and manufactures innovative, fitness, health and outdoor products that change lives. Its notable brands include NordicTrack, ProForm and iFit, to name a few. The company prides itself on providing options at every price point to help people around the globe live their happiest and healthiest lives.

Speaking of offices around the globe, ICON has offices in Australia, Mexico, Brazil, France, the UK and China. Its headquarters are in Logan, Utah, where the company was founded by two Utah State University college students in 1977.

What makes ICON unique? Well, it spends more money on research and development than all other competitors in the fitness industry combined. ICON likes to be the first to the market with a new idea. One of these ideas that has really taken off recently is the iFit. Thanks to Smart consoles on its products, customers can get in shape by using their iFit membership to utilize iFit trainer workouts from their homes, run Google Maps routes and watch video workouts regardless of their location around the world. The company has an impressive 693 registered trademarks, many of which are in other countries.

An estimated 25 percent of ICON’s sales are from international markets. The company is looking to increase its international sales, which is one of the reasons it is participating in the trade mission to Mexico in April. ICON will also be exploring partnership opportunities and potential manufacturing suppliers.

Making global connections

Another interesting company attending the trade mission to Mexico is Optisys, an antenna design company. Formed just under two years ago, Optisys is taking the 3D printing world by storm. The company has about 10 employees and is expecting significant growth over the next five years, particularly in international markets. It is attending the trade mission to Mexico to generate new customers and explore partnership opportunities.

Optisys reduces system weight and improves system performance with its innovative approach to radio-frequency design. It provides total system optimization to make its antenna products the best in the market.

Aerospace is Optysis’ primary target industry for new customers, with cube satellites making up a big portion of its business. It can take structures that used to be 10 pounds and create an antenna that weighs as little as two ounces. When it comes to space travel, every ounce impacts cost, so there is a significant demand for these lightweight, compact antennas. Other uses of the antennas include regular aircraft like unmanned aerial vehicles and ground antennas.

Optisys has goals to expand into Asia, Europe and Mexico over the next couple of years and is using trade missions to help accomplish this. The company attended the Singapore trade mission last year and experienced success. It is currently in talks with two different companies on potential projects.

As it turns its attention to Mexico, Optisys is hoping to use the trade mission to become a choice antenna design company for the burgeoning aerospace industry in the country. It is participating in Gold Key business matchmaking services provided by the U.S. Commercial Service, which will put it in contact with potential customers and manufacturers. Optisys representatives are excited to explore business opportunities in Mexico and appreciate the credibility attending a trade mission with Gov. Gary Herbert provides.

Trade missions

There are a lot of solid reasons Utah companies are attending the trade mission to Mexico, a country that is in our own backyard. At $1.1 trillion annual GDP, Mexico is the 15th largest economy in the world. Thanks to NAFTA, Mexico has become one of the United States’ top trading partners. It is the second largest export market for U.S. goods and fourth largest for Utah goods with approximately $850 million in exports each year. Over the last 10 years, Utah exports to Mexico have more than tripled.

While there are a lot of reasons to attend the trade mission, every company’s desired outcome is different. World Trade Center Utah and its partners will do everything possible to help the participants achieve their goals, because when a Utah company succeeds internationally, it provides a boost to the economy. It is a win the whole state can celebrate.