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Planning & Development: Export Development

[ About ] [ Partners ] [ Why Export? ] [ Success Story ] [ Testimonialsl ]
[ Authorized Trade Representatives ] [ Pennsylvania International Trade Guide ]

About Export Development

The goal of SPC’s Export Development Program is to provide assistance and create opportunities for Southwestern Pennsylvania companies to expand their business internationally, thereby increasing export sales and employment prospects in the region. SPC’s Export Development staff offers consultative services to small- and mid-sized businesses located throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania. SPC’s Export Development Program also sponsors and co-sponsors educational seminars and training programs designed for exporters and potential exporters in the region.

Click here for a PDF flyer about the Export Development Program (281 KB).

Our services include:

  • Export-readiness assessment
  • Market identification and access strategies
  • International market and industry research
  • Trade show and event preparation
  • Business etiquette and negotiation tactics
  • Export documentation and other technical assistance

Studies indicate that increased exports contribute significantly to economic growth, yet most small- and mid-sized firms don’t consider international business opportunities because they lack trained personnel or have limited access to international marketing resources. Publicly-funded export programs—like SPC’s Export Development Program—provide assistance and afford these companies the opportunity to be internationally successful while contributing to our region’s economic growth.


As the region’s Local Development District, SPC partners with various state- and federally-funded organizations related to international business development including:

Duquesne University Small Business Development Center
Department of Community and Economic Development,
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Saint Vincent College SBDC, Center for Global Competitiveness
U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Commercial Service
U.S. Appalachian Regional Commission

In addition, SPC works with a global network of Authorized Trade Representatives representing the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. These representatives provide market research and other services from countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, the Middle East, and North and South America.

Why Export?

  1. Many studies and statistics show that exports contribute and often lead to economic growth. Although the Southwestern Pennsylvania region has substantial potential to export, the volume of the region's exports is significantly below the nation's average.  As a result, export development has become an essential component of the region's economic growth.
  2. The average company in Southwestern Pennsylvania employs 16 people.  Small firms often overlook international business opportunities because they lack trained personnel and international marketing knowledge.  Publicly-funded export development programs provide assistance and opportunities to these small businesses, while increasing their chance for success.
  3. Southwestern Pennsylvania has witnessed a shift in industry, from traditional manufacturing to advanced manufacturing, technology and services.  Export development is a crucial component for growth in these new clusters.  Our program offers the necessary resources to companies in these industries, many of whom lack in-house international representation.

PA Authorized Trade Representatives

Flag of Australia
AUSTRALIA (New Zealand)

Flag of Canada
Flag of Mexico

Flag of Saudi Arabia
Flag of the United Arab Emirates
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Yemen)
Flag of Israel
ISRAEL (Egypt, Greece, Jordan, Turkey)

Flaf of the Czech Republic
CZECH REPUBLIC (Hungary, Poland, Slovakia)
Flag of Germany
GERMANY (Italy, Switzerland, Austria)
Flag of the Netherlands
Flag of the United Kingdom
UNITED KINGDOM (Ireland, Scandinavia)

Flag of India
Flag of Singapore
SINGAPORE (Thailand, Malaysia,  Indonesia, Philippines)
Flag of South Korea
Flag of Taiwan


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Export Development Overivew

Rena Liu-Belshe tlks about SPC's Export Development program and remarks on some of its many recent accomplishments and activities

Recent Activities

Companies have reported over $48 million in export sales attributable to SPC’s Export Development program services.

SPC’s Export Development program has served 130 companies, including 15 new clients, and completed 84 export-related projects. Services include assistance for export market development strategies; international agent/distributor searches; and, trade event preparations and follow-ups.  SPC assisted 27 local companies to receive Small Business Administration (SBA) global access grants to attend international trade activities.

SPC has hosted the Bringing the World to PA (BTW2PA) event to provide opportunities for local firms, especially new-to-export companies, to meet with PA overseas trade representatives to discuss their export-related issues. As one of the most successful hosts of BTW2PA statewide, SPC served 42 companies with 144 prearranged individual meetings that resulted in 36 projects.  There are about 2,300 small and mid-sized companies in our region that are exporters. 95% of regional goods shipped overseas are manufactured products.

Success Story

Elliott Groups is a well-known manufacturer in the region, located Jeannette, Westmoreland County. The company is a subsidiary of Ebara Corporation, headquartered in Japan.

The company first contacted SPC in 2014 to see if they could take advantage of our services for their international business development. Elliott Groups was expanding its focus to include power generation for industrial and commercial customers and they were seeking SPC’s assistance for general market research and promotion to find new customers. SPC assisted by providing industrial information for several foreign markets and helping the company to participate at the CONEXPO trade show in Chile when our SWPREP partner was leading a delegation to the show. As a result, the exhibition led to many active prospects, and ever since, Elliott Groups has been exporting to several countries in that region.

“SPC has been extremely helpful in educating me on the proper procedures to conduct business both in exporting and government contracting. I am most grateful for the professionalism that I have experienced since I began working with SPC. I look forward to a long lasting relationship with this wonderful organization and I will be looking to refer others as well.”  --  Spradley Global

More Testimonials

“SPC’s Export Program has been fantastic!  Their hard work is yielding great results for Pennsylvania exports.” 
-- Dan Hendrickson

“SPC has become a valued business asset and trusted partner. Our export business has grown due to their talent and efforts.”
– Sean Burnham

“SPC does an outstanding job. They work hard to make clients successful. They are real partners.” 
-- Greg Spencer

Pennsylvania International Trade Guide

The site provides export tutorials, frequently asked questions, an Export Readiness Assessment, a statewide calendar of export-related events, and an easy way to get in contact with your Regional Export Network (REN) representative designated by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED).

This site was funded by a grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development and developed by the World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia. www.exportingPA.org.

For more information on the Export Development Program, contact Rena Liu-Belshe, Manager, at (412) 391-5590 x320 or e-mail export@spcregion.org.


SPC BTW2PA Event, September 2016

Comprehensive Economic
Development Strategy

ARC Area Development

Business Finance (Loans)

Export Development

Government Procurement

Keystone Opportunity
Zones (KOZ)

Local Food
Value Chain Intiative

Local Technology
Assistance Program (LTAP)

Partnerships for Regional
Economic Performance

Water Resource Center


Contact Planning & Development

Department Director:
Lew Villotti
(412) 391-5590 x302

Planning & Development

Southwestern Pennsylvania

Two Chatham Center Suite 500
112 Washington Place
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
(412) 391-5590 (P)
(412) 391-9160 (F)

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