New Initiatives Help Michigan Businesses Increase Exports to China

This month, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder will lead a trade and investment mission to five cities in China: Nanjing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Chengdu, and Wuhan. This is the first state-led mission to China in many years; twice-yearly trips are now planned for companies interested in making connections there.

The State of Michigan is focused on increasing Michigan exports and international trade and has developed the following programs for companies hoping to begin exporting or increase current export numbers:

– The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) has dedicated a $500,000 state match to leverage a federally-funded program through the Small Business Association (SBA) called "State Trade Export Program" (STEP). Through STEP, eligible Michigan companies can qualify for export marketing incentives. This program reimburses 50 percent of pre-approved expenses for participating in trade missions, trade shows, translating marketing materials, and developing international websites.

– The Pure Michigan Export team, through its partnerships with international trade service providers and private consultants, can broker connections to assist Michigan companies. These connections include the U.S. Department of Commerce and university partners, as well as experts in international law, trade finance and logistics.

– The MEDC has also launched a new e-commerce program called "Export Now" which helps companies export consumer goods products directly to China (see sidebar next page). Export Now's standard annual enrollment of $3,000 is being reduced to $2,000, with the MEDC offering $1,000 grants so the total cost to Michigan companies is $1,000. To date, only 12 Michigan companies have applied for the grants, of which 100 are available.