Home and Host Country Partnerships

Many players are involved in international trade, and a trade representative may have dealings with them all. Working in synergy with these partners and their ecosystems can produce significant results.


Asha Manages Complex Stakeholders and Partners

Alarm bells started ringing for Asha when she was approached by the second-largest city in her home country to help conclude a European city twinning arrangement. Some of her counterparts from other countries had found such arrangements extremely time consuming, with little commercial benefit. She suggested that the city’s mayor bring a trade delegation. It would be useful to show to contacts in the host country that her country’s economy extended beyond the capital city.

She needed to make sure that the mission was well timed, so as not to clash with national visits or visits from other regions. There was an added political sensitivity: the city concerned was the focus for an active independence movement. She would consult colleagues in the ministry back home about handling this. Asha would try to position the visit as part of a national trade promotion campaign and was sure that careful handling could mitigate the risks.

Key Points

Partners in both home and host countries are a source of information, convening power and cost savings.

Those that offer competitive services are often the best partners, sponsors or sub-contractors.

Building networks of personal relationships is key to identifying commercial opportunities in the host country.

Official entertainment is an important tool.

A culture of gathering, updating and sharing information about clients and customers is critical to success. A simple client relationship management system can support this.

Deploying the head of mission and wider embassy team can be a great asset.

Good quality and regular communication with the home country is key.

Good quality and regular communication with the home country is key.



Effective networking


When to deploy the head of mission


When to engage embassy colleagues

Checklist: Effective networking

Target people from the potential partner organizations and focus on building relationships with them.
Make the round of national day receptions more productive by setting networking and information gathering objectives.
Membership of local sports and social clubs can be useful, including home country expatriate organizations or bilateral chambers. Shared interests help relationships to develop naturally.
Attending business lunches and receptions raises and maintains your profile.
Focus on listening and dialogue rather than a quick exchange of business cards.
Personal contact is important. Social media platforms do not substitute for meeting people in person.
Networking is not an outcome in itself.

Checklist: When to deploy the head of mission

Gain high-level access to host country ministries.
Host dinners and receptions for high-level guests.
Influence the home government on resources and high-level visits.
Host visiting minsters and other VIPs from the home country.
Lobby the host government on trade policy issues.
Lobby for business on public tenders (taking an even-handed approach if more than one company from the home country is bidding).
Engage the wider embassy team when support is needed, for example from trade policy or economic staff.
Publicize high-profile activities and successful exporters in the media or speaking opportunities.

Checklist: When to engage embassy colleagues

Visas team, to facilitate visas for visits by senior business people to the home country.
Defence attaché, to lobby on behalf of home country on defence procurement.
Education counsellor, to support efforts by home country colleges and universities to attract students from host country.
Economics counsellor, so that economic reporting is relevant to trade promotion initiatives, for example by producing an economic analysis of a specific sector ahead of a trade mission in that sector.
Trade policy adviser, to address trade policy issues, such as barriers to trade, that cause difficulties for exporters.
Corporate services manager, regarding accommodation, IT, security and human resource issues.
Communications officer, to support profile building.

SPECIAL COVID-19 recovery

Be the Agile, Connected, Expert, Trusted Partner


Delivering Excellence


Delivering Excellence