Doing Business Internationally

The Milwaukee Region is ideally situated for global trade because of its easy access to international air and water routes. The region is within a 90-minute drive of two international airports – Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport and Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, both of which offer extensive freight services. The Port of Milwaukee offers shipping access to the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence Seaway and inland waterway systems that extend to the Gulf of Mexico.

The state of Wisconsin's top export product categories are industrial machinery ($5.7 billion), electrical machinery ($2.6 billion), and scientific and medical instruments ($2.1 billion). Top destinations for Wisconsin products abroad include Canada ($7.0 billion), Mexico ($3.5 billion) and China ($1.6 billion), an increase of more than $1 billion since 1996.

Global trade resources available to regional businesses include:

  • The Milwaukee 7 offers an Export Development Grant Program to help manufacturers, companies selling a proprietary product line, and service-based companies grow in international trade.

  • The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. International Business team helps both novice and experienced exporters assess the international demand for products, develop international marketing programs and introduce businesses to potential customers, distributors and partners. Outreach offices throughout the state and in Canada, Mexico, Brazil and China help businesses learn about markets, assess competition and develop contacts.

  • The Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce’s World Trade Association offers a network of 300 corporate and 1,200 individual members and holds monthly meetings on cultural training, logistics, legal and taxation issues and international finance challenges, as well as information on distributors, agents and joint ventures.
WISCONSIN EXPORTS - TOP 10 EXPORTS (in Billions)
EXPORT 2016 2017 2018
Industrial Machinery  $5.2  $5.4  $5.7
Electrical Machinery $2.0 $2.2 $2.6
Medical & Scientific Instruments  $2.3  $2.2  $2.1
Vehicles (Not Railway)  $1.6  $1.9  $1.4
Plastic Products  $1.0  $1.1  $1.1
Paper Products  $.85  $.88  $.89
Aircraft, Spacecraft & Parts
$.59 $.75 $.73
Iron/Steel Products  $.40  $.45  $.46
Chemical Products  $.37  $.40  $.43
Pharmaceutical Products $.28  $.33  $.39

 View full report Wisconsin Exports by Commodity

WISCONSIN EXPORTS - TOP 10 DESTINATIONS (in billions)
COUNTRY 2016 2017 2018
Canada   $6.6 $6.9 $7.0
Mexico  $3.1  $3.2  $3.5
China  $1.4  $1.7  $1.6
Germany  $.63 $.69 $.81
United Kingdom $.81 $.74 $.79
Japan $.86  $.79  $.73
South Korea  $.48  $.52  $.59
Australia  $.56  $.56  $.57
France  $.44  $.45  $.50
Netherlands  $.40  $.41  $.45

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
View full report Wisconsin Exports by Country

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