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Bilateral Trade Opportunities Emerging Between NWA, Belarus After Delegation Visits WTCAR

Denise Thomas (center), director of Africa, Europe and Middle East trade at the World Trade Center of Arkansas guides a Belarusian trade delegation at Crystal Bridges earlier this month. Thomas and her counterparts in Belarus see opportunities for bilateral trade between Northwest Arkansas and Belrus after a series of successful meetings.

ROGERS — Business leaders from Northwest Arkansas and Belarus say there are exciting opportunities for bilateral trade between the two regions after a Belarusian trade delegation visited the World Trade Center of Arkansas for training, store visits and business-to-business meetings.

“Nowadays the United States as a whole and state Arkansas as a part can be considered as important export destinations for Belarusian market,” said  Snezhana Ivanchikava with the Foreign Economic Relations Department at the UE Mogilev branch of the Belarusian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“The work with World Trade Center Arkansas can provide good benefits for Belarusian state and private companies in experience and information exchange, export support and technologies development.”

Azu Denton of Omni Analytics and Heather Dumas of HD Customs Brokers, Inc. created content specific to Belarus and facilitated training for the delegation.

The pair facilitated presentations and training seminars for the half dozen companies on how Arkansas and Belarus could work together to improve trade and business relationships.

“It was a great opportunity to showcase the knowledge and expertise here in NWA capable of working with the Belarusian companies to guide them in the import, export, and sales of products to the US,” said Denton, who founded Omni Analytics and serves as its CEO.

“Spending the week with them allowed us to play the ambassador role in US/NWA – Belarusian relations.”

Denise Thomas, the Center’s director of Africa, Europe and Middle East trade, said several meetings provided potential for Arkansas health and beauty products to be sold or represented in Eastern Europe. Meanwhile, one group was interested in buying Arkansas boats and auto parts for their industries back in Belarus.

Thomas noted that Belarus, a country of roughly 9.5 million, is in the heart of Europe and favorable to business and trade thanks to its advantageous economic and geographical location, developed transportation, logistics, and manufacturing systems. 

Thomas added that Belarus has a strong, qualified workforce, superior manufacturing and production compared to its neighbors and also offers unique tourism opportunities.

Representatives of Vitebsk Carpets thanked Thomas for organizing the trip and providing instruction on how to enter the U.S. market.

“Our visit to Arkansas was productive. We have learned about the trading system and how to enter the US market with our product at seminars at the World Trade Center,” they said. “We plan to keep in touch with our American colleagues and try to supply our products to the American market.”

Kateryna V. (Ligon) Pitchford, a business professor at Central Baptist College in Conway, also expanded on the cultural differences with a presentation detailing the buying trends between the two countries.

The Center’s mission is to grow trade and increase Arkansas exports by connecting Arkansas businesses to the world through international trade services. The center is part of the University of Arkansas and serves as the trade promotion arm for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. For more information and valuable updates, please follow the center on Facebook and Twitter or subscribe to the World Trade Center Arkansas newsletter.