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Federal and state programs provide confidential one-on-one business consulting to assist with international trade development and market expansion. California-based entrepreneurs and businesses that are export capable but not yet “export-ready” may receive support from the Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), California Centers for International Trade Development (CITD), and California Manufacturing Technology Consulting (CMTC)–a Manufacturing Extension Partner for Southern California. Export-ready firms with U.S. products or services are eligible for assistance from the District Export Councils (DEC), the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Commercial Service Export Assistance Centers (for export promotion) and the Bureau of Industry and Security (for export regulations). Businesses interested in learning about U.S. export finance programs can also consult with the Small Business Administration’s Office of International Trade and the Export-Import Bank of the United States. All of the agencies and offices listed have a local or district office in the Los Angeles region.
Please note that while international trade counseling services are available at no cost to eligible businesses, appointments are often required in advance. Additionally, client in-take forms and business assessments may be required to satisfy public funding mandates. For example, SBDCs are obliged to account for the clients they serve, the services they provide, and their client outcomes resulting from their assistance. Accordingly, while the trade specialists and business advisors are happy to respond to questions at conferences or provide limited advice by phone, they respectfully require all clients seeking one-on-one appointments with counseling staff to comply with their office protocol.