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For little cost, N.J. companies can join February trade mission to Europe

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There is still room for a few more New Jersey companies to join a February trade mission to Europe led by the European American Chamber of New Jersey.

And here's the catch, the only cost is airfare.

Camille Sailer, chamber president, said a half-dozen companies have signed up, but there is space for about four more to join those who already have come on board from such sectors as IT, law, environmental services, finance and real estate.

A grant to the chamber from the European Union delegation to the U.S. is covering participants' costs while they are in Europe, with the companies paying their own air fare to and from Europe.

The mission will be at the EU headquarters in Brussels Feb. 26-28, for meetings with EU officials and networking sessions with European business experts. There will be a side trip to Alicante, Spain, the seat of patent administration for the EU, which Sailer said is now implementing a uniform intellectual property patent system that encompasses all 28 EU nations.

Sailer feels the mission's sponsorship by the EU delegation is a huge plus.

"(That) is an amazing door opener," she said. "We get to talk to people at the commission in Brussels, which is the authority that sets as well as implements regulations."

The mission will set up meetings tailored to the companies who take part. For example, Sailer said, "if we get a chemical manufacturer, we will certainly meet with the director general of chemicals from the EU."

This is the chamber's second trade mission to Brussels; the first was in March 2012.

Sailer said an IT company that went last year has since "established operations in Brussels that allowed it to have sales in markets outside the U.S. for the first time."

An environmental company that went to Brussels last year is also now doing business in Europe.

Sailer said the EU seeks to build the transatlantic trade, which benefits both the U.S and Europe. She said U.S. companies typically begin by exporting to Europe, and may eventually begin manufacturing there.

"The purpose of a trade mission really is to make people aware and then also to cement new sales opportunities," she said.

Sailer said the EU is eager to meet with companies.

"(It) understands, as we do, that the transatlantic trade relationship is second to none," she said. "We both have markets of hundreds of millions of affluent consumers, and high tides lift all boats in terms of more sales, more R&D, and higher value added to sales chains. So it's a huge win win benefit for everybody who is connected in the transatlantic trade relationship."


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