Maryland Commerce Joins with Local Trade Groups to Launch Program to Boost State’s Exports

Competition will select Top 50 Maryland defense industry products,
services to be showcased globally

BALTIMORE, MD – The Maryland Department of Commerce, the Maryland District Export Council (DEC), and the Baltimore U.S. Export Assistance Center are teaming up to launch a new annual competition to choose the Top 50 exportable products and services from Maryland. Among the evaluation criteria will be cost-effectiveness, potential market, growth potential, and the uniqueness of the products or services offered. Once selected, Maryland Commerce and federal representatives abroad will work with the winning Maryland companies to promote their products or services to international contacts, and they will also be featured at industry trade shows and on online sources such as the DEC website.

Each year a different industry sector will be targeted, and the 2017 competition will focus on the defense industry. Maryland businesses interested in competing can find more information and can apply at Applications are due May 1, 2017 and the winners will be announced in mid-June.

“This innovative, competitive program will help promote the best products from our state to new customers across the globe,” said Maryland Commerce Secretary Mike Gill. “I’m delighted that the District Export Council, the U.S. Export Assistance Center, and our own Office of International Investment and Trade are working together to boost Maryland exports.”

The competition was created to address challenges that small and medium-sized businesses often face when trying to connect with international customers, an issue caused in part because U.S. trade representatives abroad are not always familiar enough with exportable products and services from Maryland to effectively promote them in foreign markets. The competition’s winners will be chosen by members of the DEC, a non-profit organization whose members are selected by the U.S. Department of Commerce to help the federal government increase U.S. exports.

“We’re thrilled to announce this new competition, which in its first year will increase awareness of exportable defense products from Maryland,” said Mark Rice, chair of the Maryland District Export Council. “In the coming years, we believe this will boost exports in many more of the state’s industry sectors.”

The list of winners will be provided to U.S. Commercial Service Officers working in U.S. embassies throughout the world and will be distributed to Maryland trade representatives abroad by Commerce’s Office of International Investment and Trade.

“Stress Indicators Incorporated is excited to learn how we can better market Maryland manufactured SmartBolts® to industrial customers worldwide,” said Charles Popenoe III, CEO of the Gaithersburg-based manufacturer. “We expect participation in this competition will raise awareness of our products globally, so we can grow our business and create new jobs in Gaithersburg.”

Questions about the program can be directed to Mark Rice at or Signe Pringle, Commerce’s managing director of international investment and trade, at

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