Connecting you with global export opportunities. The international department organizes subsidized overseas business development trips to top markets, networking opportunities with international trade buyers and global media at US-based events as well as “Best Exporting Practices” webinars and roundtables.

State Trade Expansion Program (STEP)

In an effort to help members expand their international business, SEMA has been actively connecting participants with grant opportunities to defray the cost of participating in association international programs. The State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) grant is helping to fund programs such as the SEMA overseas programs. The STEP grant combines federal (SBA) funding and state funding through a competitive SBA application process with nearly all states receiving at least some funds. Click below to find your state’s STEP grant representative.

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STEP Program Contacts (by state)

SEMA Export Webinar Series


The webinar series features industry experts and government officials on insights into top global industry developments and trends. Topics covered to date include the US-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) regional trade agreement, negotiating overseas distributor agreements and protecting your brand abroad.

SEMA recently hosted a webinar on the Saudi Arabian product testing program known as Saber-Saleem. Saudi distributors are reporting increased Saudi customs enforcement for imported products. From toys to cosmetics to automotive aftermarket products, every shipment imported into Saudi Arabia is required to be accompanied by the correct documentation. Joel Molina, International Trade Specialist at SGS provided an overview of the regulations for automotive aftermarket products.

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SEMA Vice President, Government and Legal Affairs Daniel Ingber moderated a one-hour panel with Curtiss Dossier, partner at Knobbe Martens and David Abrahams, associate at Webster, Chamberlain & Bean. The IPR attorneys provided a useful checklist of best practices of how to grow your export sales while taking necessary steps to protect your brand and identity from overseas infringers.

To help members navigate IP issues, SEMA maintains informational materials online and staff is available year-round to help answer IP-related questions.

The federal government also has a handy website listing best practices for companies to protect their IP abroad. Included on the comprehensive site is an online course and a list of upcoming events.

Ultimately, companies may need legal counsel outside of SEMA and the U.S. government to represent your interests and advise on specifics, but both SEMA and the U.S. government are available to provide information and help guide members in the right direction.

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Learn about the new documentation required under the U.S. – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA). The three-country agreement, which entered into force on July 1, 2020, replaces the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials provided an overview of the recently concluded agreement, including details on the confusing new rules of origin for auto parts and reviewed the paperwork required to export your products within the region.

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Watch now on demand the best practices in exporting online workshop featuring IP Attachés: China, India and the Middle East. These US government officials compared and contrasted US brand protection practices with the regions in which they are based. In addition to explaining current issues being raised by the US government in these markets the officials discussed both best practices for registering and enforcing your trademarks and patents in China, India and the Middle East.

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Watch now on demand a special session on "Top Tips for Negotiating Agreements with Overseas Distributors," featuring attorneys from Australia and Sweden who specialize in the local laws regarding distributors.

They include:

Patrick Fazzone
Washington Global Law Group
Washington, D.C. USA and Sydney, Australia
Richard Jacobsson
Eversheds Sutherland Advokatbyrå AB
Stockholm, Sweden

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Join us for a one-hour session to discuss "U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) Practicalities/Mechanics of Obtaining the Lowest Tariff Rate,"


Katrice Kelly, Senior International Trade Specialist
Office of Trade Negotiations and Analysis, Industry and Analysis
International Trade Administration

U.S. Department of Commerce

Lourdes M Quinn, Attorney
Arias Quinn Consulting

Philip Sutter, Consultant
Livingston International

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