Trade

Trade

Rhode Island has a long heritage in manufacturing and international trade. Today Rhode Island companies export products to all corners of the globe.

In 2013, the first year of RIIG operations, we will focus on building trade and investment ties between Rhode Island and China.

Newport in the 18th century was the center of American maritime trade long before New York City rose to occupy that role in the 19th century. Today, the beautiful sailing ships from Newport that cruise our spectacular Narragansett Bay are a modern day reminder of Rhode Island's extensive seafaring tradition. Rhode Island is also recognized as the birth place of the American Industrial Revolution, and one can still visit the historic manufacturing sites, like Slater Mill, that testify to RI's proud history in manufacturing and trade.

Trade between Rhode Island and China began in 1787.  In that year, The General Washington was the first trading ship from Rhode Island to sail to China. She brought anchors, cannon balls, iron, copper, spirits, and ginseng, and returned 2 years later bearing a valuable cargo of tea, silk and other textiles and goods. RIIG wants to build on that early trading success and tradition!

Sourcing from RI

Today, many industrious Rhode Island companies are market leaders in such key areas as Business Services, Capital Goods, Financial Services, Health Services, Hospitality & Tourism, and Technology. Rhode Islander's are innovating in many areas of cross-border significance including Marketing, Marine Industries, Transportation, Banking and Investing, Health Care, Tourism, Life Sciences, Biotechnology, Digital Media, Telecommunications, Green Business Solutions and Software Development. 

Rhode Island companies export products to all corners of the globe. In 2011 the top destination countries for RI exports were Canada, Germany, Mexico, Turkey and China, with total exports valued at close to $1.3 billion dollars. China is RI’s 5’th largest export market, and according to the US-China Business Council, RI exports to China grew 463% between 2000 and 2011, versus 88% to the Rest of World. The top 5 export categories from RI to China in 2011 were Primary Metal Manufacturing, Chemicals, Machinery (except Electrical), Waste & Scrap, and Computers & Electronics. This trend clearly shows that China will remain a strong and growing export market for RI going forward.

To learn more about RI companies and suppliers, and our partners in promoting RI economic development, please visit our Member Directory. If you need any assistance in beginning a dialogue with any of our Members, please let us know by sending an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ..

Exporting from Rhode Island 

Rhode Island exporters have access to great, transmodal export infrastructure and services, including freight logistics, air cargo, port services and shipping. See "Export Services" in the Trade section of our Member Directory. In addition, Rhode Island has several State agencies and non-profit organizations offering Rhode Island firms trade facilitation and export services. See "Government & Non-profit Services" in the Trade section of our Member Directory.

If you are a RI exporter seeking to expand your sales to the Chinese market, please contact us by sending an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .