By Laura Toraldo
(Dec. 04, 2017—BALTIMORE, Md.) —Is there a need for your product in the international market, but you’re intimidated by the thought of going global? The Maryland/Washington D.C. Export Council is a good place to start.
“Our focus is on small and medium companies,” said MD/DC Export Council Chair Mark Rice, “whether it’s companies that are already knowledgeable of international business but looking to grow to a new part of the world, somebody who is exporting a product internationally and seeking help to get through the regulations and challenges that exist, or a company that is brand-new to exporting.”
Comprised of business and export leaders appointed by Secretary of Commerce Mike Gill, MD/DC Export Council members volunteer their time to help as many 250 companies per year navigate Maryland’s global exporting opportunities.
“Maryland is on the top of the list nationally for transportation and exporting,” Rice said. “Between the Port of Baltimore, BWI, the rail system, our mid-Atlantic location with access to Europe—we are ideally situated both in transportation and geography.
“Post-Panamax cranes have enabled larger container ships and we’ve been one of the first East Coast ports to do that.”
Rice said he is often surprised by the lack of understanding about global opportunities for local businesses.
“Often when we go overseas and interact with other companies, their view of marketing is worldwide marketing,” he explained. “Many Maryland companies have a view that is very United States-centric. We are not as educated on the benefits of international trade as some of our global competitors.”
This has prompted the MD/DC Export Council to get involved in a host of educational opportunities that help educate businesses on the benefits of international exporting and how to navigate challenging obstacles like trade ambiguities, tariffs, and compliance standards.
“We offer an extensive exporting course called Export Tech,” Rice explained. “It is one full day a month for three months, and enables businesses to develop explicit business plans.”
MD/DC Export Council also partners with various organizations like the University of Maryland, the United States Export Assistance Center, and the Maryland Department of Commerce to create a common, collaborative platform that offers help services, educational seminars, and mentorship opportunities.
“We are all here to serve the public,” Rice said. “It’s about trying to reach out to companies that are not exporting and find the key people who we can educate about the economic benefits.”
The MD/DC Export Council and USEAC will host a Lunch & Learn this Friday, December 8th, to talk about strategies to attract a digital international audience.