American businesses are increasingly turning to exports as a source of opportunity, growth and diversification. Though foreign markets are more accessible than ever, exporting is still more complicated than doing business domestically and presents a unique set of challenges. Business owners with an eye on the international marketplace should not be deterred. There are powerful resources to empower exporters to overcome obstacles to global growth. One such resource – the network of U.S. Export Assistance Centers (USEACs) – should be on every exporter’s radar.
What is a USEAC?
USEACs are one-stop shops that equip U.S. businesses to compete globally. Staffed by international trade specialists from EXIM Bank, the Department of Commerce and the Small Business Administration (SBA), these centers are located in metropolitan areas throughout the United States. They serve as ground-level support for American exporters and exporters-to-be.
Business Matchmaking Services at USEACs
Business matchmaking is one of the most powerful tools available to American exporters. The Gold Key Matching Service – provided by the Department of Commerce – arranges business meetings with prescreened overseas agents, distributors, sales representatives and business partners. It allows American businesses to tap the vast network of U.S. Foreign Commercial Service Officers on the ground at embassies throughout the world and their robust rolodex of local contacts. View a testimonial video by JWB Manufacturing (JWB), who used Commercial Service "Gold Key" and Trade Mission programs in Mexico to find new business partners
Commerce trade specialists at USEACs work to understand exporters’ products and potential customers, providing customized market and industry briefings and connecting U.S. businesses with prospective trade partners that are a good match. USEACs can help with travel, accommodation and interpretation or the opportunity to meet potential partners via videoconferencing. Finally, the service includes assistance in closing deals and shipping products.
In addition to the Gold Key Service, The Department of Commerce offers an International Buyer Program, which introduces exporters to pre-screened buyers at domestic trade shows. The program leverages embassy networks, trade associations, chambers of commerce and other channels to extensively promote its trade show presence. View a video on How to Make International Sales Without Leaving the U.S. detailing a sample experience with the International Buyer Program. Participants get the opportunity to meet with prospective foreign buyers and distributors and access hundreds of industry-specific international trade leads, as well as global promotion of their businesses through the Export Interest Directory.
Exporters also have the opportunity to participate in trade missions led by senior U.S. government leaders (view upcoming missions), during which they can conduct in person meetings with prescreened international businesspeople. Trade missions are tailored to specific industries and generally target two to four countries per trip. Logistics and appointments are arranged by the U.S. Commercial Service.
How Do I Get in Touch with My Local USEAC?
EXIM has 12 regional offices across the United States, most of which are located in USEACs. To get a free export finance consultation, fill out this quick form and your local export finance specialist will be in touch promptly.
EXIM Regional Offices:
The Department of Commerce has representatives in nearly 100 additional USEACs in the United States and Puerto Rico. Click here to find the office closest to your location. For a list of USEACs with an SBA representative, click here.
How Can Business Matchmaking and Export Finance Work Together?
Learn how Slade Inc. worked with the EXIM, the Department of Commerce and its local economic development organization to leverage the Gold Key Matching Service to connect with new customers and export credit insurance to offer credit terms and win sales.