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Market Development Cooperator Program
Fact Sheet

The Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP) is a competitive matching grants program that builds public/private partnerships by providing Federal assistance to non-profit export multipliers such as states, trade associations, chambers of commerce, world trade centers and other non-profit industry groups that are particularly effective in reaching small-and medium-size enterprises (SMEs). MDCP awards help to underwrite the start up costs of new export marketing ventures which these groups are often reluctant to undertake without Federal Government support.

Program Benefits and Accomplishments

MDCP partners generate hundreds of millions of dollars in exports.

During fiscal year 1999, award recipients generated over $634 million in exports, much of which was by SMEs. The MDCP has generated well over $2 billion in exports since its inception in 1993.

The MDCP spurs private sector investment in foreign market development.

When the projects funded to date are completed, the private sector will have spent over $43 million to develop foreign markets (vs. $17 million of Federal award dollars).


The MDCP challenges the private-sector to think strategically about foreign markets

Working together, the private and public sectors bring their particular assets to bear to develop strategic plans to win or retain market share. Rather than rely on a "shotgun" approach to make market inroads, MDCP projects can focus all activities deemed necessary to achieve success in one or more market/s within one to three years.

In FY 1999, the 20 active MDCP award recipients organized, participated in or sponsored 66 trade events including trade shows, trade missions, reverse trade missions, seminars, conferences and catalog shows.

The MDCP reaches SMEs with customized help they need.

Most barriers to exporting are internal to the SMEs themselves and not externally imposed by foreign markets. The MDCP is designed to help SMEs address these internal barriers. To be effective, export assistance programs must be specific, intensive and customized to the needs of individual industry sectors. MDCP selection criteria encourage this approach.

Since the MDCP's inception in FY 1993, MDCP award recipients report that thousands of SMEs have taken their initial or additional export actions as a result of their participation in MDCP project activities.

The MDCP builds effective partnerships.

The program is premised on the concept that export assistance works best when it is delivered locally by state agencies, quasi-public providers, or non-profit industry organizations, with the Department of Commerce playing an enabling role.

Legislative History

The Congress, early on, recognized the significance and versatility of the MDCP to accomplish national policy objectives. In addition to the program's enabling legislation, the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, which cited the MDCP as a unique way to "develop, maintain and expand foreign markets for nonagricultural U.S. goods and services," Congress included the MDCP in the Jobs Through Exports Act of 1992 to generate new jobs, in the Freedom Support Act of 1992 to help provide technical assistance to the Newly Independent States (NIS) of the former Soviet Union, in the Jobs Through Trade Expansion Act of 1994 to promote the export of products complying with U.S. environmental and safety requirements, in the U.S. -Japan Export Development and Technological Competitiveness Act of 1994 to increase the number of U.S. manufacturing and service sector industry associations operating in Japan, and in the Small Business Export Enhancement Act of 1995 to increase the number of small businesses participating in export expansion activities.


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