Closest port: Portland, OR
Beaverton is not a very large community, yet it is the only city in Oregon designated as an Export-Import Bank partner. The city’s Economic Development Division maintains relationships with export professionals in the region and offers practical advice to local businesses on the nuts and bolts of exporting. The city also hosts regular export workshops for businesses new to exporting.
Closest port: Brownsville, TX
Mayor Tony Martinez is one of the leaders of the newly formed South Texas International Economic Development Alliance, which seeks to attract international businesses to the region. The alliance is developing a strategic plan to become a major player in global trade and is planning on sending a delegation to China. Martinez recently led an annual Brownsville trade mission to Mexico and hosted a visiting trade delegation from Latin America.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Closest port: Port Everglades, FL
Fort Lauderdale companies are among the most active in trade missions organized by Enterprise Florida, a state agency. Sixteen local companies and representatives of Port Everglades and the Broward County Office of Economic and Small Business Development Exporting attended an export development mission to the Dominican Republic, Port Everglades’ fourth-largest trading partner, earlier this year. Four Fort Lauderdale companies were part of the Florida delegation to the Singapore Air Show in March.
Closest port: Louisville, KY
Frankfort’s exporters benefit from the Kentucky Export Initiative (KEI), an organization that brings together the Kentucky Economic Cabinet, a state agency, with industry groups. Since 2010, KEI partners have traveled to dozens of communities introducing businesses of all sizes to exporting. Working with chambers of commerce and economic development organizations, KEI partners not only provide an introduction to exporting but also the resources to help businesses access international markets.
Newark, New Jersey
Closest port: Newark, NJ
The upside for being a city best known for urban blight is that it becomes a focal point for federal and state efforts—and dollars—to try to improve the situation. The Small Business Development Center at Rutgers University’s Newark center, which receives federal and state funding, helps Newark businesses reach international markets and foreign buyers. The city’s location speaks for itself: It hosts a huge container port and a major international airport.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Closest port: Catoosa, OK
The Greater Oklahoma City Partnership, a public-private entity, offers exporters a diverse team of state and local specialists to research and advise experienced or novice exporters. The organization’s information services provide exporters with the data they need. The partnership also provides exporters with web-based information resources that are updated on an ongoing basis.
San Antonio, Texas
Closest port: Corpus Christi, TX
Last year, government and industry joined forces to form the San Antonio Export Assistance Team (SEAT), an effort to help businesses through every step of the exporting process. Still a work in progress, SEAT recently launched a new website under a new brand—inSA (international San Antonio)—as part of a plan to transform the city into the country’s No. 1 exporting center.
Closest port: Catoosa, OK
Topeka-area businesses export nearly $500 million a year in agricultural products, meat, medicines and aircraft parts. The Kansas Trade Development Division is headquartered in Topeka and works with local businesses to increase international sales of local goods. With foreign offices in China, Europe, Japan and Mexico, the division also provides companies with export counseling, market research and agent hookups. It also recruits for trade shows, leads trade missions and hosts foreign delegations.
Closest port: San Diego, CA
Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild is also a personal cheerleader for local exporting companies and is a frequent participant in trade missions to Mexico and elsewhere. He also has an effective economic development staff that arranges matchmaking meetings with potential foreign buyers. In a recent trade mission to Hermosillo and Mexico City, the mayor introduced Tucson businesses to supply opportunities with Mexican manufacturing companies.
Closest port: Baltimore, MD
ExportDC, a local government agency, leads an active schedule of trade missions to markets around the globe. Recent forays hit the Caribbean and South America, South Africa and China. ExportDC reimburses qualified small businesses up to $8,500 in eligible trade mission costs. Local companies have been singing the praises of ExportDC, with one high note being the staff’s excellent job preparing a 13-company delegation for a recent trade mission to South Africa.
Top cities for global trade