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International Marketing

1. Why export Illinois food and agriculture-based products?

Increasingly, companies compete in a global marketplace. Many must rely on foreign as well as domestic markets to maintain profits. Even small-to-medium-sized companies are recognizing the need to look beyond traditional markets and are finding their niches in the world marketplace. International marketing opens doors to lucrative, exciting and innovative opportunities.

2. Ho​w can the Illinois Department of Agriculture help?

Since 1968, the Illinois Department of Agriculture has actively and aggressively engaged in international market development and product promotion for the state's food and agribusiness sectors. Headquartered in Springfield, the Department maintains offices in Hong Kong and Mexico City to promote Illinois products worldwide.


Many of the Department's services complement other public and private market development efforts. The Department maintains close contacts with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agriculture Service to help Illinois firms gain access to federal marketing programs. Illinois' Agriculture Department is a member of the Food Export Association of the Midwest USA (formerly MIATCO), which helps coordinate market development programs for processed food products from 12 Midwestern states. The Department also works in partnership with many commodity organizations' market development programs.

3. What international marketing services does the Department offer?

  • Promotional events
    The Department manages an active schedule of promotional events each year. International trade exhibitions, inbound and outbound trade missions, buyers missions, as well as restaurant and in-store promotions are just some of the ways Illinois companies can introduce products and heighten visibility internationally. In addition, at many large international trade shows, Illinois companies can obtain booth space in an Illinois exhibit. Department-sponsored exhibits provide companies an economical way to participate in major promotional events.
  • Trade missions
    Illinois' Agriculture Department arranges and hosts trade missions to and from foreign countries to help Illinois companies meet prospective international clients. Companies can use these missions to negotiate agreements for product distribution and to discuss licensing arrangements, joint ventures, market research or other business possibilities.
  • Export assistance
    Companies may obtain from the Department useful advice for responding to a variety of challenges related to international trade. Available advice covers topics such as export procedures, import requirements, top markets as well as help developing export marketing plans.
  • Trade leads
    The Department develops and processes trade leads from international inquirers. Leads are distributed to Illinois companies through the agency's database, which is continually updated and revised.
  • Seminars
    Informational seminars are sponsored by the Department in cooperation with trade associations and other state and federal agencies to assist Illinois companies in expanding their exporting efforts.
  • Hosting international buyers
    International visitors and buying teams are hosted regularly by the Department. Staff arranges meetings between international buyers and Illinois companies and provides information and logistical assistance to bring buyers and sellers together.

4. What are the functions of the Department's international offices?

Each of the Department's foreign offices is staffed with professionals who provide the following services:


  • Organize and host trade missions.
  • Provide market information and consulting services.
  • Participate in trade shows, catalog shows and other promotions.
  • Originate trade leads.
  • Work with embassies and Foreign Agricultural Service offices.

5. Where are the Department's international offices located?

Hong Kong Office
Illinois Department of Agriculture
Room 2808, Wu Chung House
213 Queen's Road East
Hong Kong
Telephone: 011.852.2.504.0123
FAX: 011.852.2.576.5766


Download our brochure for Asia​:



Mexico Office
Illinois Department of Agriculture
Paseo de la Reforma
265, Piso 14
Col. Cuauhtemoc
06500 Mexico, D.F.
Telephone: (011)(525)555-33-5174
FAX: (011)(525)555-33-5163


Download our brochure for Latin America and the Carribean:


6. What marketing publications are available from the Department?

Illinois Food and Agribusiness Guide: A comprehensive guide to Illinois processors and suppliers; available on our webpage.


Marketing Perspectives: An electronic monthly newsletter featuring international notes, upcoming events and promotions, international trade news and domestic marketing news.

7. Is there a charge for these publications?

No, all the publications are free.

8. Market Access Program

The Market Access Program (MAP), formerly the Market Promotion Program, uses funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) to help U.S. producers, exporters, private companies, and other trade organizations finance promotional activities for U.S. agricultural products. The MAP encourages the development, maintenance, and expansion of commercial export markets for agricultural commodities. Activities financed include consumer promotions, market research, technical assistance, and trade servicing.

9. Branded Program

This cost-share funding program provides financial assistance to help Midwestern food and agricultural exporters promote their products in international markets. Participants in this federally-funded program receive 50% cost reimbursement for a variety of overseas marketing and promotional expenses.


10. USDA Foreign Agriculture Service

The Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) offers a number of programs for individuals or companies who plan to export their agriculture product, including: export counseling, trade shows, trade leads, U.S. suppliers lists, foreign buyer lists and foreign market research. FAS also provides a number of programs to help U.S. exporters of agriculture products.


For more information, contact:


Illinois Department of Agriculture
Bureau of Marketing and Promotion
P.O. Box 19281
State Fairgrounds
Springfield, IL 62794-9281
TELEPHONE: (217) 782-8110
TDD: 866-287-2999
FAX: 217-524-5960