According to the C2ER State Economic Development Expenditure Database, international trade and investment is among the fastest growing economic development functional areas. C2ER defines the international trade and investment function as program activities involving export promotion, international marketing and recruitment, foreign direct investment assistance, and an array of programs aimed at building stronger economic ties between states and other parts of the world.
Since 2012, states have increased their program expenditures in international trade and investment from $61 million in FY 2013 to $75 million in combined proposed spending for FY 2015 – a 23 percent increase. This rise in investment can possibly be connected with the successes of the Small Business Administration’s State Trade Export Promotion (STEP) Grant Initiative, a 3 year pilot program which uses matching-fund grants to assist eligible employers in becoming engaged in the international marketplace. Essentially, the grant subsidizes the marketing costs states accrue in advertising their businesses’ goods and services internationally. Continue reading