Governor Terry McAuliffe announced the creation of the Virginia International Trade Alliance (VITAL), a new initiative managed by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) that will increase international trade in Virginia. VITAL expands the Commonwealth’s nationally recognized international trade program via formal partnerships with Virginia’s public universities, industry associations and the Virginia Chamber of Commerce to serve their member companies as they expand international sales.
VITAL will build upon Virginia’s proven export assistance programs, including tailored market research, face-to-face meetings with qualified partners overseas, and VEDP’s award-winning Virginia Leaders in Export Trade (VALET) Program. In 2014-2015, VEDP International Trade took 176 companies on trade missions across the globe to find customers in new international markets. Governor McAuliffe has made the program a priority and reallocated $1 million toward the initiative through flexibility granted to him in the state budget.
As partners to VITAL, Virginia’s public universities will identify companies with international business as a corporate strategy and conduct international research to position these companies for global expansion.
VITAL partners in its initial year include:
- Virginia Chamber of Commerce
- Virginia Manufacturers Association
- Virginia Maritime Association
- Northern Virginia Technology Council
- Christopher Newport University
- William & Mary
- James Madison University
- George Mason University
- Old Dominion University
- University of Mary Washington
- Virginia Commonwealth University
- Virginia Military Institute
- Virginia Tech
Goals for VITAL include:
- Growing Virginia exports by $1.6 billion in five years.
- Creating 14,000 trade-supported jobs in five years.
- Increasing the number of companies enrolled in VEDP’s international trade programs to serve 390 companies per year.