2017 California Export GuideCalifornia.Think.Global
he California Centers for Interna-
tional Trade Development (CITD)
provide a range of programs and
services to help California expand
into newmarkets worldwide.
California provides a powerful “platform”
for export expansion and participation
by small business. The state’s economy is
large, progressive, global, and both ethni-
cally and culturally diverse.
As the “gateway” to the Pacific Rim,
California has about 75,000 exporters of
record, perhaps twice as many indirect
exporters, and the largest community of
importers in the U.S. Literally, hundreds of
thousands of businesses in California rely
on international trade for their livelihood.
Those numbers will grow over the next
two decades as the U.S. becomes even
For both new and experienced export-
ers, there are a wide array of international
business assistance services, including
CITD, the U.S. Commercial Service, the
Small Business Administration, the
California Chamber of Commerce, and other organizations
throughout the state. This network also includes the Governor’s
Office of Business and Economic Development, the ports, and
numerous vertical business networks and associations.
CITD helps facilitate the statewide trade ecosystemwith a net-
work of 10 offices that are funded by the California Community
Colleges Chancellor’s Office. The CITD programpromotes eco-
nomic development through international trade assistance and
education, and is well integrated with state and federal partners.
All services offered by CITD are either free or low cost. Sup-
port is available for both new and experienced importers and
exporters. Programs and services include one-on-one technical
assistance and consulting, market research, training and educa-
tional programs, trade leads and special events.
CITD also manages the California State Trade Expansion
Program (California STEP), in cooperation with the Governor’s
Office of Business and Economic Development. The project
leverages a statewide network of state, federal, private and
non-profit trade promotion organizations to facilitate export
promotion, serving targeted industries, and driving exports for
In 2016, STEP export promotion activities included domestic
andmarket-focusedmarketing campaigns, customized product/
promotion localization assistance, matchmaking services con-
necting California small businesses to potential customers, and
follow-up support to assist firms in expanding globally.
California STEP provides financial assistance to eligible small
businesses for a wide range of activities, including:
• Participation in foreign trade missions and foreign market
• Subscription services from the U.S. Department of
• Website translation fees.
• Design of international marketing media.
• Export tradeshow exhibitions.
• Participation in export training.
• Other export initiatives determined to be appropriate by
Funded by federal cooperative agreement awards from
the U.S. Small Business Administration, and matching funds
from the states, the purpose of the STEP grants is to increase
the number of U.S. small businesses that are exporting and
increase the dollar value of exports by those businesses that are
Another CITD resource is the Knowledge Community,
which brings together statewide global trade and logistics
stakeholders — employers, workers, faculty and students. It is
an online community for sharing export and import informa-
tion, resources and best practices.
More information about export assistance programs and
services available throughout California is available on the
CITD web site atwww.CITD.org.
JeffreyWilliamson is the Statewide Director of the Centers
for International Trade Development.
CITD: Providing Export Assistance Statewide
“CITD helps facilitate the statewide trade
ecosystemwith a network of 10 offices that
are funded by the California Community
Colleges Chancellor’s Office.”
JeffWilliamson in front of the California Pavilion at the Hong Kong Food Expo.