CAGAYAN De Oro City remains an important market for American companies, a United States envoy said Thursday, underscoring the need to further strengthen business ties between local and US traders.

Leslie Bassett, US Embassy deputy chief of mission, said the US also sees the city as a vital partner in its development programs in Mindanao.

Bassett was in Cagayan de Oro Thursday for the 4th Cagayan de Oro Business Enterprises, Services and Trade Exposition (Oro Best Expo 2010), in which 15 American firms were among the participants.

Through its commercial service, the US Embassy has been forging ties with local business leaders to facilitate American investments in the city, while providing aid to small traders, she said.

Bassett said the US wants its local commitment strengthened further. A memorandum of agreement was signed recently between the U.S. Commercial Service and the Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce, which seeks to promote trade links between the city and the United States.

“Cagayan de Oro is an important market for US companies outside of Manila. The US Embassy works with these firms to strengthen our local ties,” Basset said.

The city also helps in the US government’s various programs in Mindanao such as small community projects, anti-corruption campaign, education programs, peace initiatives, among others. Around $434 million is earmarked for these projects this year.

Oro Best Expo, dubbed biggest trade fair in Northern Mindanao, aims to showcase Mindanao products and services and highlighted by a three-day recruitment fair, business matching, entrepreneurship seminar, and product presentations.

A large part of the expo is the American Showcase 2010, which features products and services in agricultural machinery, automotive, books, construction, cosmetics, general consumer goods, hotel and restaurant, information services, renewable energy and sporting goods.

According to the U.S. Commercial Service, the trade exhibit will feature “new-to-market” and “increase-to-market” American companies from across the United States and in the Philippines seeking a low-cost market opportunities in the country.

The American Showcase 2010 will also highlight a series of business and technology presentations as well as “Doing Business with the U.S.A. seminar,” which features doing business with U.S. suppliers, business visas, intellectual property protection and international air express transportation and logistics.

Some of the speakers will include representative from the U.S. Department of Commerce and US Department of State.

article by Loui Maliza of Sun Star CDO

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