By MATTHEW WEAVER
The Washington Department of Agriculture is offering free seminars to help agriculture-related businesses build export connections.
Participating businesses will meet one-on-one with marketing experts from China, Japan, Korea and Mexico in April and with overseas buyers in September.
Julie Johnson, WSDA export development lead, said the seminar is intended for businesses with less than 500 employees and are new to exporting or to a particular export market, .
The workshop is funded by a federal grant from the State Trade and Export Promotion program developed by the U.S. Small Business Administration. The department's International Marketing Program worked with the Washington State Department of Commerce on the grant.
Eligible businesses must have been operating for more than a year, be profitable and be working on an export plan.
Areas of emphasis are on wine, specialty foods and seafood.
Exports increase sales and visibility and expands markets for a business, said Mike Louisell, WSDA public information officer.
"These (marketing experts) they're bringing in are top-of-the-line trade consultants," he said.
The free seminar was offered last year, with roughly 50 businesses participating. Johnson hopes to recruit the same number of businesses again.
The meetings will take place in the Tri-Cities on April 15, Yakima on April 16 and Seattle on April 17-18.
For more information or to register, contact Johnson at 360-902-1940 or firstname.lastname@example.org .