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2017 California Export Guide



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

more export-oriented.

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

small businesses. 

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

sales trips.

• 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

the SBA.

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

currently exporting. 

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 at

JeffreyWilliamson is the Statewide Director of the Centers

for International Trade Development.

CITD: Providing Export Assistance Statewide

By JeffreyWilliamson

“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.