S.C. Department of Commerce announces new International Strategy and Trade Division


Former director of Global Business Development Ford Graham to lead new division

COLUMBIA, S.C. - The South Carolina Department of Commerce today announced the establishment of a new International Strategy and Trade Division. Tasked with building on previous overseas successes in both South Carolina exports and international company recruitment, the division will be led by the Department of Commerce's former Director of Global Business Development, W. Ford Graham.


The Division of International Strategy and Trade will work to develop a more coordinated and strategic plan across South Carolina's international company recruitment and export efforts, with oversight of the state's four international offices in addition to new and growing markets. With this added focus, the State of South Carolina and its existing companies will be able to strengthen relationships overseas, expand global connectivity and create new trade opportunities for the state's existing and prospective businesses.


"We believe that now is the time to build on recent successes abroad, and to not only continue strengthening ties with important international companies, but also to evaluate the state's existing and future trade agreements," said South Carolina Department of Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt.


With more than 70 percent of the world's purchasing power located outside of the United States, trade and export activity offers tremendous growth opportunities for industry in America and, specifically, in the Palmetto State. This new division will encourage and support South Carolina businesses as they pursue these opportunities.


Expanding South Carolina's international trade activity will be a major benefit to individual companies, but it will also provide an economic boost to the state as a whole. By increasing the visibility of its export opportunities, South Carolina will be able to strengthen relationships with its sister states and consulates, as well as international companies looking to expand operations into the American market. Furthermore, this division will allow the state to secure additional resources for South Carolina businesses, such as exports assistance grants like the State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) grant, which was awarded by the U.S. Small Business Administration in August.


Directing the new division is W. Ford Graham who has served multiple roles since joining the Department in 2008. Before being named Director of Global Business Development last year, he served as the Agency's Director of International Investment, as well as the Managing Director of the State of South Carolina Europe Office in Munich.