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Economic Development Corporation Hosts Embassy of Canada

EDC President and CEO Jim Coleman, Team EDC and 70 Local Business Owners Welcome Jason LaTorre, Senior Trade Commissioner at the Embassy of CanadaLargo, MD, July 29, 2016 - Today, the Prince George's County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) President & CEO Jim Coleman and his International Business Development Team hosted an open discussion with the Embassy of Canada Senior Trade Commissioner about trade and business opportunities. More than 70 business owners came out to hear from key officials from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Maryland Department of Commerce and the EDC's International Business Development Division to learn how to do business with the United States' most lucrative trade partner. Attendees also learned about valuable resources available to Prince George's County based companies that are serious about pursuing business opportunities in Canada.

"We are on a mission to create lucrative opportunities for Prince George's County business owners," said Coleman. "We are following County Executive Baker's lead and executing a matchmaking initiative to explore opportunities for business in high growth countries that are primed for investment and economic partnership. Canada is our closest foreign neighbor and accounted for over $1.5 billion in export revenue for Maryland in 2015. It's only July and we are on track to surpass that by the end of 2016. There is no excuse for Prince George's County business owners to not have access to such a powerful trade partner!"

Mr. Coleman and his team highlighted the value of international companies exporting their goods and services to Prince George's County as well as setting up operations here. Isabelle Wang, EDC's International Business Development Specialist also gave attendees an overview on the U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA) Export Express Program and how SBA funds can be utilized to increase the number of small business exporters and increase the volume of U.S. exports.

Canada is the United States' largest trade partner, accounting for $671 billion in bilateral trade in goods and services in 2015, $1.5 billion of which came from Maryland-based companies. This is due to the close proximity of Canada to the U.S. and a shared business culture. It is also a result of Canadian-headquartered companies like the Walton Group investing billions of dollars into Prince George's County.

Maryland Department of Commerce Regional Manager for the Americas and Middle East, Brian Castleberry shared with attendees grant opportunities that can pay for their initial business trips to explore targeted international countries. Jason LaTorre, Embassy of Canada Senior Trade Commissioner, provided the key address which highlighted the current business opportunities that are available to U.S. companies in Canada.

"Prince George's County is a great trade partner with Canada, and I am delighted to be a part of today's briefing," said LaTorre. "Our Embassy stands ready to help any business expand into Canada, particularly in the market sectors of Health/Life Sciences, Information Technology, Cybersecurity and Clean Energy Technology. Canada has as a $12O billion in infrastructure development plan it will be implementing over the next 10 years. Now is a great time to invest in Canada."

Christine Gomes, Canada Desk Officer for the U.S. Department of Commerce briefed the business owners on the resources that the Commerce Department provides; funding to cover travel costs, low-interest financing to assist with capacity building, and assistance in the development of international business plans which will help connect companies to specialists overseas who can get their goods and services in the right markets in targeted areas.

After the presentations, EDC International Business Director Martin Ezemma gave the business owners an overview of the County's upcoming trade mission to Canada and encouraged the attendees to fill out interest forms to participate.

"Canada and the U.S. are brothers and sisters both in trade and in culture," said Ezemma. "We are connected by proximity and progeny and must continue to do business together."

Ron Williams, Jr. Co-Owner of Dorchester's Seafood and Brewing Company was very impressed by what the EDC and its partners have to offer.

"I thought this event was very empowering because as a young entrepreneur I came to a 'one stop' that will help me not only set up more business domestically but also internationally," said Williams.

The EDC will host other mutual briefings with the embassies of Nigeria, China and Mexico over the next several months. Companies interested in international trade opportunities should join the EDC on October 14th for the Embassy of Mexico Mutual Briefing at the EDC headquarters located at 1801 McCormick Drive, Suite 140, Largo, MD 20774.

To reserve your seat for this high impact event, visit www.pgcedc.com/events.

For more information on international business development, contact Pradeep Ganguly at pganguly@co.pg.md.us , (301) 583-4650 or visit www.pgcedc.com.