WA Commerce Offers Four Programs to Boost Foreign Trade

The Washington State Department of Commerce remains committed to supporting foreign and trade and investment across the state. Here are four program updates related to the topic:


Opportunity for Seattle-Made Consumer Products in Japan

The Seattle-Kobe Sister City Association celebrates the anniversary of Seattle’s sister city and sister port relationship with Kobe, Japan from May 17 to 23. A delegation of 25 representatives from City of Seattle and the Port of Seattle, among others, will mark the achievements of the relationship, the first of its kind for Seattle when it began 60 years ago. Activities include a Seattle Fair booth at the Kobe Festival with featured samples of Seattle-made products.

Opportunities for Seattle businesses interested in participating include:

  • A Seattle Fair promotional booth at the Kobe Festival that will promote Seattle products to consumers
  • Business visits or tours selected for your business or industry sector.

For  more information or to register, please visit www.seattlekobe.org/60th or contact Karin Zaugg Black at zauggblack.k@portseattle.org.

Federal Database Links Small Businesses to Opportunities Overseas

Add the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to the list of government-funded organizations that link small businesses to international business opportunities. The EBRD, created at the end of the Cold War, is owned by 65 countries and works to promote economic development in foreign countries as a method to advance democratic principles worldwide. Of most value to Washington State small businesses is the organization’s Client e-Procurement Portal, or ECEPP.

To get the most out of using ECEPP, EBRD suggests the following tips:

  • Read the project summary documents, country strategy reports and fact sheets
  • Sign up for automatic alerts for projects/consultancy opportunities
  • Write or call the named point of contact to clarify project specifications
  • Review contract award notifications
  • Consider serving as a subcontractor or supplies to the prime contractor
  • Supplement EBRD information with the Country Commercial Guides provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce and other economic analyses

EBRD currently funds more than $100 billion in projects around the world, with an emphasis on the Balkans, Southern and Eastern Mediterranean and Central Asia. 

Time Getting Short to Apply for an Export Voucher

Washington State’s Export Voucher program, funded through a State Trade Expansion Program grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration, provides small cash awards to help eligible small businesses offset expenses for attending international trade shows, traveling overseas to meet potential new customers or translating web content to foreign languages. Funds availability for the current federal fiscal year are shrinking, so fill out an application soon for upcoming export activities happening before the end of September.

For more information, contact Adam.Kephart@Commerce.wa.gov.


Seller Program Explores Export Opportunities in Taiwan

Taiwan’s Bureau of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) host the sixth annual U.S. Business Day in Taiwan this year on Aug. 29, 2017. The event features networking activities, one-on-one business matchmaking and an investment seminar. Washington State companies from all industries, excluding agriculture, are invited to attend and encouraged to apply for incentives offered by TAITRA to partially offset travel and lodging expenses. Eligible businesses must have a minimum of $4 million in annual sales and have not received a TAITRA incentive in the past to qualify.

For more information or to apply for the incentive, please submit your request to wataipei@gmail.com.