SANTA ROSA -- To help strengthen local business access to global markets, keep jobs at home and provide North Bay companies with information they can use to expand and facilitate foreign trade, the Sonoma County Economic Development Board and the U.S. Department of Commerce plan to co-host a first-of-its-kind export seminar in Petaluma on May 9. 

Using an “Export University” format, this event will take place at the Rooster Run Golf Course located at 2301 E. Washington St. in Petaluma from 8 to 11 a.m.

Key topics covered in the curriculum will include export logistics, trade financing, global marketing, as well as federal government export resources.

[caption id="attachment_72276" align="alignright" width="200"] Ben Stone[/caption]

“North Bay companies must have the tools they need to expand their sales into international markets,” said Ben Stone, executive director of the EDB.

“Through this event those attending will receive practical export training and education provided by U.S. Commercial Service, the trade promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration, on how to market to Asian, African and South American markets, among others.”

U.S. Commercial Service trade professionals in over 100 U.S. cities and in more than 75 countries help U.S. companies get started in exporting or increase sales to new global markets.

[caption id="attachment_72277" align="alignleft" width="200"] David Rabbitt[/caption]

"Exports are a key economic opportunity for the North Bay region as we continue down the path to recovery," said. Sonoma County Board of Supervisors Chairman David Rabbitt, who is set to address seminar attendees. "Companies that develop new markets overseas could be well-positioned to expand their operations and create jobs."

Advance registration for the Export University is $45 and closes May 6 ( Trade Zone proposal advances

In related news for local importers of components for assembly, a proposed expansion of the existing Foreign Trade Zone No. 3 to encompass much of the North Bay has moved closer to completion.

Announced in October, an application was filed with the Port of San Francisco to expand the zone to include Marin, Sonoma, Solano and Contra Costa counties and part of Napa County. The public comment period for the larger zone ended this month, and no opposing input was submitted. Final approval is expected shortly.

Pending final approval, a firm within the proposed zone can apply for interim status by contacting Ethan Brown, EDB business assistance officer, at 707-565-7170.