With better preparation, foreign governments with representatives in Atlanta could make excellent use of the AmericasMart Inc. to market their countries’ products to distributors and retailers here, said George Lancaster, international business development director for AmericasMart.

          Foreign governments have a big “need gap” to fill in terms of connecting their manufacturers with distributors and retailers in Georgia, as well as those who come from all over the U.S. to attend AmericasMart’s international gift and merchandise trade shows, Mr. Lancaster told GlobalFax.

          Governments usually seek out the companies they want to showcase in pavilions during gift shows, he said, but these foreign companies often have few distribution connections here and little sales experience in the U.S. And during large trade shows, the exhibitors do not have time to meet the appropriate local contacts, he noted.

          “The potential international impact of AmericasMart as a market center for Georgia and the Southeast is unlimited if other countries can use this resource wisely,” Mr. Lancaster said. Foreign consulates here could better assist their national companies by being more active in arranging meetings with local distributors during AmericasMart shows, he suggested.

He noted that AmericasMart could be a center for doing business with Latin America, especially if Atlanta can gain a reputation as an international trading center and tourism destination. And the development of AmericasMart, of course, is a way to augment that reputation, he added.

          AmericasMart is working closely with the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism to attract foreign exhibitors and buyers, he noted. Mr. Lancaster said he is planning a trip to Mexico next year to promote Atlanta and AmericasMart.

          Mr. Lancaster said he also plans to step up educational programs for local dealers and importers to work with the foreign exhibitors coming to shows here. AmericaMart already has educational programs for Atlanta retailer buyers on attending overseas shows, he said.

          On the average, eight to 11 countries maintain trade pavilions at AmericasMart. Buyers from some 80 countries typically attend the venue’s trade shows, Mr. Lancaster said, with Canada and the Caribbean sending the most visitors.        

          The latest trade show, the Atlanta International Gift and Home Furnishings Market on July 11-20 brought in more than 1,000 international retail buyers. The next major international show is planned for January 9-16.

          Contact Mr. Lancaster at (404) 220-2102 or glancaster@americasmart.com. Visit www.americasmart.com