Chicago International Produce Market loading docks

On January 22 and 23, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce hosted an inbound investigative mission from APEX, the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency. This mission featured executives from the Business and Competitive Unit whose purpose was to identify potential sectors and do market research for food and beverage products, key brands/lines, logistics and distribution channels, and the overall industry in Chicago.

During this visit Chamber International Trade Center and Small Business Development Center staff facilitated a collaborative meeting between Chamber staff, World Business Chicago representatives, and members of the APEX delegation. The focus of the discussion was to assist this group in finding information on Chicago's food and beverage industry and our regions' distributive and logistical capabilities. The following day, delegation members were given a tour of the International Produce Market in order to view the logistic capabilities of the Chicago food industry, and to see how a real Chicago food supply business operates.

The Chamber’s goal is to help Chicago become the most attractive location for Brazilian Food and Beverage firms to internationalize their products, locate their processing and packaging, and ship their goods. Chicago already has the advantage of being at the center of the largest and most important logistics network in the United States.

After this visit, the delegation returned to APEX headquarters in Brazil to deliver its report which will affect policy at a national level in Brazil. The Chamber also extended an invite for APEX representatives to bring a cohort of Brazilian food and beverage firms to Chicago to coordinate with the Chamber’s International Trade Center on a larger mission.

This visit is a follow up to the trip Chamber International Trade Center Manager Greg Stevens made to the APEX headquarters during a sponsored trip in June of 2013 for the Confederations Cup. The Chamber plans to continue developing a close relationship and working intandem with APEX to assist its membership with access to the Brazilian

market and the Chicago area with increased foreign direct investment.