Our Role & 2022 Highlights

Our Role & 2022 Highlights

Maine International Trade Center (MITC) is Maine’s leading source for international business assistance.

MITC offers customized consulting, research, and an extensive network of connections across Maine and around the world to help businesses expand global markets for their products and services.

A public-private partnership, MITC activities are supported by nearly 300 businesses and organizations, corporate sponsors, and the Maine Department of Economic & Community Development (DECD). MITC members include manufacturers, service providers, and educational institutions located in all 16 Maine counties. While our members support the organization through annual membership dues, MITC provides assistance to any Maine business whether members or non-members. We work with both exporters and importers.

What Trade Means for Maine

With more than 95% of the world’s population outside the US, future economic growth and jobs for Maine increasingly depend on expanding opportunities in the global marketplace.

More than 2,000 Maine companies exported over $3.4 billion in goods and services to 178 markets last year.
International trade supports 1 in 5 (170,300) Maine jobs.
84% of Maine exporters are small- and medium-sized businesses.
Foreign-owned companies are important customers for local goods and services and employ 35,600 Maine workers.
Among international employers, companies from Canada, Switzerland, and the UK support the largest number of Maine jobs.

Sources:  US Census Bureau, “How Maine’s Economy Benefits from International Trade & Investment” from Business Roundtable, and “Investing in America” from Global Business Alliance

President’s Letter

Dear MITC Members and Friends:

The past year has been one of transformation and collaboration for Maine International Trade Center (MITC). A return to in-person events – including MITC mainstays such as the Boston Seafood Show, the holiday member networking event, and a modified Maine International Trade Day – provided a comforting sense of normality after several years of pandemic-related loss.

Last year marked a point of transformation for MITC, as we welcomed two new members of the team.  Hillman Norberg and Abby Gray, both former Future Global Leaders interns at MITC, have brought new energy and ideas to the organization. As a manager, it has been exciting to watch their rapid learning over the past few months. 

This injection of new ideas extends to our established staff as well. New initiatives, such as our work in offshore wind and defense, as well as an upcoming pilot program on expanding trade within the United States, have prompted a renewed focus on innovation and energy for growth. This innovation extends beyond the services MITC provides to how we do our work. Whether the launch of a redesigned website and new online funding portal, a more intentional staff professional development process, or a reimagined Future Global Leaders internship program, MITC remains committed to continuously innovating and improving our systems to the benefit of you, our clients and stakeholders.

As a result, MITC was able to leverage these improved systems to the benefit of 351 businesses and individuals across the state. Beyond the one-on-one assistance for businesses, MITC also took a more intentional strategy of collaboration with partners in Maine and beyond. The Seagriculture USA 2022 conference in September was a unique, broad-based effort, anchored by Dana Eidsness and the MENADO program that included the rest of MITC, our partners at the Maine Department of Economic & Community Development (DECD) and the Maine Technology Institute (MTI), and businesses and nonprofits from all over the world. Adrian Horn’s tremendous work in revitalizing the Defense Industry Maine program resulted in a leadership role with the New England regional collaborative, engaging with five other states to the benefit of businesses in the defense supply chain.

You’ll find many other great stories of collaboration in the pages that follow. As you read and learn about these highlights from 2022, I hope you feel as proud of what we’ve accomplished together this year as I do. 

If you’d like to learn more or get involved in any of our work, please contact me or a member of the MITC team. We are always looking for ways to expand our reach and bring more people and businesses into this amazing international business network.

Thank you, as always, for your support of MITC, our community, and our mission.

All the best for 2023,

Wade Merritt
Maine International Trade Center President and State Director of International Trade

2022 Highlights

In a year filled with new challenges in the “living with COVID” era, these highlights tell the story of the evolving global business environment, as well as the shifting focus of our work and changes in our team.

Trade Day 2022

In May, MITC celebrated World Trade Month and held Trade Day 2022.  World Trade Month (formerly World Trade Week) has been celebrated every May since 1935 by a number of federal agencies, state trade offices, area chambers of commerce, and other public and private organizations. The theme for Trade Day 2022 was “The New World of Exporting” and featured a virtual panel discussion, virtual awards ceremony, and in-person networking reception.

E-Commerce Roundtable
Trade Day 2022 Reception Photos

Welcome New Staff

In May, Hillman Norberg joined Maine International Trade Center as a Trade Specialist where he primarily assists Maine companies interested in exporting their products overseas and shares his knowledge of numerous markets across the globe. Hillman has lived, studied, and/or worked in Argentina, Indonesia, and Italy.

In June, Maine International Trade Center welcomed Abigail Gray as Trade Information Specialist. With experience in process & data management and international education programming, Abigail coordinates trade research requests, organizes Global U education events, and manages the internship program.

Seagriculture USA 2022

MITC’s Maine North Atlantic Development Office (MENADO) coordinated hosting the first Seagriculture USA 2022 in Portland, ME. Lead sponsorship was provided by DECD, MTI, MITC, and MENADO, along with support from Atlantic Sea Farms, North American Kelp, New England Ocean Cluster, Live & Work in Maine, and FocusMaine. The event drew 300 seaweed experts from Maine and around the world for presentations and discussions regarding best practices in harvesting, value creation, and policy innovations to support the growth of the seaweed industry.

Attendees included expert delegates from 14 states and 12 countries around the world, coming from places as close as neighboring Halifax, NS and as far away as Australia and New Zealand. Over 100 of Maine’s harvesters, institutional researchers, and businesses participated in this international event, which attracted two qualified investment prospects and generated $1 million in local economic impact.

Conference organizer DLG Benelux has confirmed it will hold the event in Maine again in 2023.

"The Seagriculture USA conference brought together a great mix of seaweed experts across the global seaweed community to gather, listen, and learn about the future of this industry and what need to do collectively to get there."