South Carolina’s Department of Commerce says it wants to help the state’s small and medium-sized companies who are considering a trade expansion into Canada.
The agency is hosting a trade mission to the country in May.
International Trade Manager Anita Patel said Canada was South Carolina’s second-largest trading partner in 2017, with the state’s manufacturers exporting about $3.7 billion in products. Only China is higher.
“Export is our key goal,” Patel said. “That’s our ultimate goal: we brought you here. We want to support you here and ultimately we want to help you grow right here in South Carolina.”
This is the fourth time the Department of Commerce is escorting South Carolina companies looking to expand in Canada. It’s the third time the trip includes stops in Toronto and Montreal.
“Those that are new to exporting have a great opportunity because it is across the border from us, easy access geographically,” Patel said. “It is our neighbor to the north. It’s a stable economy and those that are more experienced exporters also have an opportunity to grow their footprint into Canada.”
Patel said the products South Carolina ships to Canada most are vehicles, refrigerators, tires, machinery, plastics and paper products.
The agency arranges travel, meetings and networking events necessary for the leaders of South Carolina companies to promote their products and businesses. Commerce officials also provide funding to offset the costs of the meetings and travel for small to medium-size companies.
“Typically we do two to three trade missions a year, so besides the Canada mission this year we have one going to Japan and Korea in September and then we’re looking at doing one to Colombia and Brazil later in the year,” said Patel.
She said these trade missions are part of the department’s support of South Carolina businesses.
“Once a company lands in South Carolina we want to support them and help them grow internationally,” she said. “That is, to grow their footprint domestically as well as internationally and so these missions are key to doing that. In the last year we worked with about 53 different companies. We’ve helped them get into 30-plus different markets and that has resulted in 151 million in export sales back to those small to medium-size companies.”
Click here for more information about the trade mission to Canada. The deadline to submit an application is March 16.