The World Trade Center and Office of International Business Development Import Global Reps, Export Sales During Philadelphia International Week

Alison Vayne, for GPA -- Partnering with The World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia (WTCGP) during Philadelphia International Week has become somewhat of a tradition for businesses over the last 12 years. This fall will be no different, as the WTCGP plans to bring 17 representatives from 57 major markets to Philadelphia through the Office of International Business Development’s Center for Trade Development (CTD).

The CTD is an award-winning export assistance program, offering a wide range of programs and services to businesses of all sizes to enhance the global reach and export capacity at every stage. To do this, CTD maintains the largest network of both domestic and international partners of any U.S. state who have expertise in exporting products and services. 

With this assistance, the WTCGP can organize business meetings between international representatives and small to medium sized companies located in the area.

“Our focus is helping companies in the region, both in Southeastern Pennsylvania as well as Southern New Jersey, grow their global business principally through exporting,” said Linda Conlin, president of the WTCGP.

The international representatives will first travel to Philadelphia on September 16 before traveling throughout the state to meet with other companies and help them build their international business strategies for the rest of the year.

The program is designed to help companies export their products to international markets other than the ones located in North America.

“We encourage all exporting companies in Southeastern Pennsylvania to really reach out to us,” said Conlin. “Right now the meetings are filling up pretty quickly but that’s what the purpose is. It is for companies who are exporting in Southeastern Pennsylvania, who’ve been exporting for a while and now want to expand into other markets or for those that may be new to exporting.”

Pennsylvania is a region that has the resources and expertise necessary to help companies grow their exports sales. In 2012, Philadelphia was classified as the number 12 metropolitan area in the country, generating exports worth close to $29 billion.

The WTCGP plays an important role in those sales. With only eight full time employees and two interns, its team has succeeded in bringing knowledge and international expertise from 75 international markets to clients.

“In the 12 years of our existence, we helped companies generate over $1 billion in new business and export sales,” said Conlin. “That translates into supporting or helping generate some 15,000 jobs for the region.”

The WTCGP also helps companies adopt a proactive attitude in order to expand their businesses. Some might already be doing a bit of exporting, mostly with neighbors in Canada, The Caribbean, Mexico and online, but most are not.

“We work a lot with companies that could be doing more international business and get them to go to the next level of exporting to achieve more sales,” said Dino Ramos, Senior Vice President of Trade Services. “We have some clients that are doing in excess of 50 percent, which is extremely high for an American company.”

After companies meet with up to three representatives during Philadelphia International Week, the WTCGP offers educational opportunities throughout the year to support its clients.

“In terms of helping individual companies to be successful, we feel that we have a role acting as a special advisor to them,” said Conlin. “We are also helping to grow the region’s economy and help recognize the region of Greater Philadelphia as a great international business destination.”