A trade mission is simply an activity in which a business from one country goes to seek out potential trade or investment partners in another country. Sometimes, the business will already have potential partners lined up – this makes the most effective use of the time in the target country – though sometimes, especially where a business is joining a government sponsored or trade association organised trade mission, the visit may be more speculative.
You need to be clear what you specifically want to get out of a visit. Your objectives, to some extent, will stem from your research aims and the point at which you have reached in your research. The trade mission provides an opportunity to gather first-hand information. You will almost certainly want to meet potential partners, even if they are just agents or distributors, and should definitely meet with possible joint venture partners if that is your chosen market entry strategy. You may want to undertake some interview research with representative target customers. A trade mission can help you begin to understand the business environment in the chosen country.