Forging links: how consuls general can help your business.

Author:Miller, Derek B.

Most people are familiar with ambassadors and the role they play in cultivating and maintaining diplomatic relationships, but fewer people are aware of the purpose of consuls general and the services they provide. It is time to uncover what consuls general can do for you and your business.

What is a consul general?

Consuls general are career diplomats assigned to particular countries/regions around the world by their governments. These men and women help companies find partners in foreign countries and promote business and cultural exchanges.

It is important to note that not all consuls fill the same role. The responsibilities of each consul are determined by their home country. For example, the Mexican consul general based in Utah carries out specific duties in the United States on behalf of the Mexican government. A common thread between all consuls general is how they can help Utah companies do business in their respective countries.

While there is just one ambassador and embassy in the capitals of foreign countries, there may be several consuls general. Consuls are located in offices called consulates. Consulates can often be found in main cities of provinces or states.

A fondness for Utah

In 2016 Utah hosted 17 consuls general, which is a sizeable number. Utah receives more than its fair share of diplomatic visitors, and there are several reasons why. First and foremost is the fact that Utah is one of the best states for business in the United States, as recognized by notable organizations like Forbes and Pollina Corporate. Utah is doing well economically, so these diplomats are curious to learn what is in the secret sauce.

Second, for a landlocked state of 3 million people, Utah has a considerable global reach. Events like the 2002 Winter Olympics upped Utah's global street credit. Then, of course, there is the strong relationship the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has built with world leaders to extend its missionary program. Utah is also home to offices of global companies like Boeing, eBay and Goldman Sachs. An estimated 120 languages are spoken in daily commerce in the state.

Finally, there is the university factor. Many consuls general plan a trip to the Beehive State because they are invited by Utah's universities to speak to students. Brigham Young University, Utah Valley University and the University of Utah have strong political programs that routinely extend invitations to diplomats from various countries to...

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