Community Services

International Trade and Investment

MDA’s International Trade Office is committed to fostering long-term economic growth, job creation, and the globalization of the state’s economy. MDA’s trade specialists provide business assistance – including educational, marketing, and referral services – to small- and medium-sized companies aspiring to sell products and services outside the United States. MDA provides support to foreign companies considering relocation or expansion in Mississippi as well Mississippi companies seeking to export their products to foreign markets. Please contact us at to discuss how we can help your business grow through international trade and investment.

International Trade

MDA provides business assistance to small- and medium-sized companies looking to sell their products and services internationally. In addition to the agency’s international trade managers in Jackson, MDA maintains a network of overseas offices that provide a broad range of in-market services to Mississippi firms and facilitates foreign direct investment.

Mississippi State Trade Expansion Program (STEP)

Mississippi State Trade Expansion Program (STEP)

Through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)-funded Mississippi State Trade Expansion Program “Exporting Mississippi”, MDA can offer small businesses financial assistance to help defray many of the costs associated with exporting for the first time or with exporting to new international markets.

STEP can reimburse eligible Mississippi businesses for some of the costs associated with marketing overseas, participating in trade missions, business-to-business matchmaking trips and other international business development activities.

International Trade Missions

Our team provides travel support, market research, industry briefings, and meeting coordination for international trade missions, allowing exporters the opportunity to meet with prospective foreign buyers at minimal expense. MDA works with partners such as the U.S. Commercial Service to pre-qualify buyers, distributors and other business representatives.

Overall Trade Mission  

Educational Programs & Technical Assistance

For businesses interested in exporting their products and services and looking for more information, MDA holds workshops and seminars for exporters and importers in locations around Mississippi. Seminars cover market-specific topics and provide technical information on all aspects of the international business process.

Comprehensive guides on all aspects of exporting and importing are available to Mississippi businesses through MDA’s International Trade Office.

Trade Finance Guide  
Trade Finance Guide (En español)  
Exporting & Importing FAQ  
MS Exports, Jobs & Foreign Investments  

International Trade Team

The International Trade Division helps Mississippi companies improve their business prospects through international trade. Staff provides international business training, technical export assistance, and sponsors a variety of international trade missions.

Chris Engels
Director, International Trade and Investment

Courtney Fleming
Administrative Assistant

Gena Lentz
Manager, Foreign Direct Investment

Luigi Dominighini
Africa, Middle East, Latin America and Caribbean Trade Manager

Vickie Watters Martin
Canada Trade Manager and General Trade

Garic Barrosse
Asia and Pacific Trade Manager

Karel Abboud
Europe and North Africa Trade Manager

Mani Hairston
STEP Program Manager

Foreign Offices

MDA’s international offices support the state’s international marketing efforts and enhance the work of both the trade and investment recruitment programs. Representatives are located in Santiago, Chile; Yokohama, Japan; and Seoul, Korea.

South America

Orlando Diaz , Director
Mississippi Development Authority
South American Office
Alcantara 200, Piso 6, Las Condes
Santiago, Chile
Telephone: (+56-2) 2369 5653
Cell: (+56-9) 9335 6378


Yukio Kobayashi , Director
State of Mississippi Japan Representative Office
6th Floor, Yokohama World Porters
2-1, Shinkou 2-Chome, Naka-ku
Yokohama 231-0001
Telephone: (81.45) 222.2047


Seok Soon “SS” Cho , Chief Representative
State of Mississippi Korea Representative Office
A-1711, 406
Teheran-ro, Gangnam-gu, (Champs Elysees Center)
Seoul, Korea
Telephone: +82-2-548-9125
Cell: +82-10-6376-9127