Export Services

Why Export

More than 95 percent of the world's consumers live outside the United States and in today's global economy, many of the business opportunities that exist are in international markets.

Commerce's export team is committed to increasing global opportunities for South Carolina companies. Their international trade expertise can help companies of all sizes identify potential markets and customers through a number of export services that have proven to be successful:

  • Organizing trade related training seminars, conferences and providing trade counseling
  • Guidance and market research on product export potential, methods, procedures and logistics
  • Organizing international trade missions with companies for overseas sales meetings

Additionally, through its three foreign offices and close relationships with the U.S. Commercial Service, the state has the ability to assist companies looking to export a product to nearly any corner of the world.

Do you want to expand your global reach? The South Carolina Department of Commerce's export development program can help you do just that.

Export Facts

  • In 2013, South Carolina’s exports to 202 countries topped $26.3 billion, up 3.9% from 2012, ranking the state 17th in the U.S. for export growth. 
  • For the first time, China surpassed Canada and Germany as the state's top export partner. 
  • China was the state’s top destination for exports which surged  nearly 50 percent to $4.9 billion in the value of products purchased from South Carolina companies. Canada ranked second followed by Germany, Mexico, UK, Australia, Japan, Brazil, South Korea and Belgium. 
  • The state’s top 10 export industries last year were vehicles, machinery, rubber, electrical machinery, plastics, aircraft, paper and paperboard, optics, organic chemicals and wood pulp.
  • South Carolina ranked first among U.S. states in tire exports, holding nearly 30 percent of the share of U.S.-made exported tires. Additionally, the Palmetto State ranked second in the export of automobiles to world markets.

Export Resources

Export resources link provides a list of numerous federal, state and private resources. Information covers getting started, export issues and various countries and regions.

Export Resources

State Trade & Export Promotion

The State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) program is a 3 year pilot trade and export initiative funded by the Small Business Administration (SBA) with matching funds from the state. The program was created to help increase the number of small businesses that are exporting and to raise the value of exports for those small businesses that are already trading.

South Carolina's STEP program was a collaboration between the South Carolina Department of Commerce's export trade program, the United States Department of Commerce, the Small Business Administration and other entities in the state. This collaborative effort ensures a seamless delivery of services and avoids duplication.

Over the last two years of the STEP program and with the help of partners, SCDOC has had the opportunity to : 

  • Counsel over 300 companies on exporting.
  • Train 193 companies on topics such as export financing, web marketing, logistics, export documentation, product classification, the basics of exporting an export compliance.
  • Fund 63 small and medium-sized companies that either exhibited at international trade shows or utilized the US Commercial Services "Gold Key" service.

This resulted in 24 different international markets, and a reported $4.7 million in export sales.

Upcoming Grant Application Deadlines - Watch for updates/announcements in late September and early to mid-October.

Export Events

2014  Export Events Flyer

South Carolina International Trade Coalition

In addition to the South Carolina Department of Commerce, The South Carolina International Trade Coalition includes federal, state and private organizations that are all involved in promoting international trade.