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Expand to International Markets

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Looking to export or expand your reach​ overseas​? Maryland is a good launchpad with its proximity to Washington D.C.'s international community, easy access to four international airports and a major port for shipping. 

U.S. Department of Commerce data shows that 7,000 Maryland companies exported to 209 countries in 2015, with small and medium size firms generating 26 percent of the state’s total known exports of goods. In 2015, goods exports from the state of Maryland supported over 46,385 jobs. Export shipments of goods from Maryland totaled $9.3 billion in 2016.


To learn more about programs and resources to help your business become part of the exciting export sales market give us a call at 410-767-0685. 

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Office of International Investment and Trade

The Maryland Office of International Investment and Trade provides support to Maryland companies planning to enter new foreign markets or advance their export sales in their companies' existing foreign markets. The team includes foreign representatives in 18 countries and in-house regional reps who can provide advice on exporting. Services the International team provides include:

  • Providing international market and industry research
  • Assisting Maryland companies in marketing their products and services abroad
  • Assessing requirements for export documentation
  • Planning and executing foreign trade shows and targeted missions
  • Arranging networking opportunities and business-to-business meetings
  • Offering financial assistance to exporters via the ExportMD grant program
  • Maintaining a network of 18 International Trade Offices overseas (Africa, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, France, India, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Singapore, Taiwan, United Kingdom, and United Arab Emirates).

​ExportMD Program

SBA-color-logo.pngThe ExportMD Program helps to offset some of the costs of marketing internationally for Maryland's small and mid-sized companies. Maryland companies that receive an ExportMD Award are eligible for up to $5,000 in reimbursement for expenses associated with an international marketing project. The program is funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration​.  

  • Eligible expenses: Any expenses related to an international marketing initiative including trade show fees, airfare, translation of brochures and web site development. 
  • Qualifications: 
    • Have business operations in Maryland and be in good standing with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation;
    • Has been in existence for at least one year;
    • Has not received an ExportMD Award in the last 2 years;
    • Is a “small business” as defined by the SBA**; and
    • Is planning an international business initiative to commence and conclude within six months of the application deadline—at the very latest.
  • ​Applications: Contact OIIT at 410-767-0685 and tell us about your international marketing plan. Commerce will help you to fill out the application. Please include your plan's budget estimates. 
  • Deadlines: Commerce accepts ExportMD grant applications from qualifying companies on a bi-monthly basis. Application deadlines are: February 1, April 1, June 1, August 1, October 1 and December 1.

​**Companies must not exceed the employee number or annual sales figure thresholds as set by the U.S. Small Business Administration (as determined by an ExportMD applicant’s North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) industry code, and including any affiliated companies, such as “parent” businesses and subsidiaries—of either).

Companies that do not qualify for the ExportMD program can still receive other forms of assistance through our office. Please contact the office to learn what resource may be available to your firm.

FlexEx Program

The FlexEx program offers Maryland companies up to 20 hours of assistance per year from Commerce's trade experts located in countries across the globe. This program can be used for a range of services, including distributor or partner search, local partner vetting, market research and assistance understanding local regulations. To be eligible, companies must have business operations in Maryland and the requested assistance must be directly related to efforts to export products or services. To apply, contact OIIT at 410-767-0685 to be directed to the appropriate regional manager for your proposed project.​​

Maryland Global Consulting Program

The Maryland Global Consulting Program​ gives clients the opportunity to work with high-achieving students. Projects require students to utilize general strategy, marketing, finance, supply chain and logistics, and/or data analytics skills. Teams of five to six students, advised by Smith School faculty and Commerce's Office of International Investment and Trade subject matter experts, will spend 14 weeks tackling the projects. Visit the UM Robert H. Smith School of Business website to learn more. 

​Export Assistance Resources

Need some help with exports or overseas expansion? These organizations have several combined years of experience helping companies to expand their global footprint.

U.S. Export-Import Bank
An independent federal government agency, the U.S. Ex-Im Bank assists companies in financing U.S. goods and services exports to international markets.

Maryland Department of Agriculture
The Maryland Department of Agriculture's (MDA's) International Marketing Program brings the state's diverse agriculture and seafood to the world. Using its network of domestic and worldwide partnerships, MDA's international specialists build and maintain relationships with overseas buyers, conduct research and provide technical advice.

Maryland Port Administration
Provides detailed information regarding exporting, international shipping and transportation.

Maryland/Israel Development Center
Creates jobs in Maryland and Israel by promoting trade, joint ventures and investment between businesses and research institutions. Staffed by professionals in Maryland and Israel, the MIDC identifies market and technology opportunities, and introduces Maryland and Israeli executives, entrepreneurs and investors to each other to negotiate business agreements.

U.S. Export Assistance Center, Department of Commerce brings together resources from across the U.S. Government to assist American businesses in planning their international sales strategies and helping them to succeed in today's global marketplace. From market research to export finance information, helps American exporters navigate the international sales process.

World Bank
The World Bank lends and invests billions of dollars in developing countries every year. This constant stream of funds is used to buy goods, consulting services, and civil works projects that contribute to economic development in those countries. Learn how to do business with this organization.

World Trade Center Institute
Provides international business training, customized consulting and global networking. Also helps companies to explore new partnerships, and expand international sales and trade.

Maryland's Foreign-Trade Zones

A Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) is a designated area within U.S. borders that promotes domestic employment and helps U.S. firms compete in the global marketplace. An FTZ is located in or near a U.S. Customs port of entry, where foreign and domestic merchandise is generally considered to be international commerce. Foreign or domestic merchandise may enter this enclave without a formal customs entry or the payment of custom duties or government excise taxes.

Foreign-Trade Zone procedures allow domestic activity involving foreign items to take place as if it were outside U.S. Customs territory. Duty-free treatment is accorded items that are re-exported and duty payment is deferred on items sold in the U.S. market, thus offsetting Customs advantages available to overseas producers who compete with producers located in the United States.

A site that has been granted zone status may not be used for zone activity until the site or a section thereof has been separately approved for FTZ activation by local U.S. Customs officials, and the zone activity remains under the supervision of Customs. A subzone is a special-purpose zone, usually at a manufacturing plant.

FTZ sites and facilities remain within the jurisdiction of local, state or federal governments or agencies. Click on the links below for additional information on the state's four foreign trade zones, or read Commerce's Foreign-Trade Zone profile​ including acreage, sites and contacts.

Baltimore #74 
The City of Baltimore's Foreign-Trade Zone, FTZ #74, was established in 1982 and has been continually expanded and modified due to various requests for additional space. Zone space, originally 60,000 square feet, currently contains more than 1,230 acres at multiple sites within the City of Baltimore, Harford, Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties.

In 2015 the Zone served 147 businesses employing 1,952 people. Over $12.3 billion worth of goods were transferred to U.S. Customs’ Territory and $53 million in merchandise was exported from the FTZ to international markets.

BWI Airport #73 
The Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) Foreign-Trade Zone specializes in airfreight and other high value goods. It permits multiple operators and consists of five sites that include both developed and undeveloped parcels.

Prince George's County #63 
Prince George’s County’s application to the U.S. Foreign-Trade Zones Board under the alternative site framework was recently approved, so now FTZ #63 is county-wide and companies can access FTZ benefits anywhere in the county. The county is near three major ports of entry: Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, the Port of Baltimore and Washington Dulles International Airport.  The zone's central location in the Northeast Corridor plus its highly developed transportation network and close proximity to Washington, D.C. provide efficient overnight access to markets in the eastern United States. ​​

Washington County #255 
The Washington County Foreign-Trade Zone is associated with the Baltimore Customs port of entry at the Port of Baltimore. It consists of seven individual sites totaling nearly 1,700 acres. Existing buildings and development ready commercial/industrial sites are available with array of amenities including airport runway access, rail, interstate highway access, municipal water, sewer and natural gas.

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