Market Development Cooperator Program


Through the Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP), the International Trade Administration (ITA) aims to develop, maintain and expand foreign markets for nonagricultural goods and services produced in the United States.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Program Number
Federal Agency/Office
Agency: Department of Commerce
Office: International Trade Administration
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
Program Accomplishments
Fiscal Year 2012: On average, since 1997, MDCP projects generate $258 in exports for every dollar of MDCP award invested. Fiscal Year 2013: No Current Data Available Fiscal Year 2014: No Current Data Available
Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, Public Law 100-418, Title II, Section 2303, 102 Stat. 1342, 15 U.S.C.4723.
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
Applicants are found to be eligible in one of three categories. 1. Nonprofit industry organizations (includes small business development centers, World Trade Centers, and 501(c)nonprofits such as chambers of commerce, international trade centers, port authorities, economic development organizations, and other business interest groups). 2. Trade associations. 3. State departments of trade and their regional associations. The Statute stipulates that private industry firms or groups of firms may be found eligible in cases where no entity described above represents that industry. However, since the program began operating in 1993, no private firm has been able to demonstrate that an organization in one of the first three categories did not represent its interests.
Beneficiary Eligibility
U.S. firms that sell non-agricultural goods or services. (While private firms benefit from MDCP project activity, as noted above, they are generally not eligible to apply for MDCP funds.).
In order to determine eligibility, applicants should consult and request an eligibility determination in writing from the MDCP Director (see "Information Contacts"). The written request should be accompanied by the most current version of all the following documents that apply: articles of incorporation; charter; bylaws; information on types of members and membership fees; Internal Revenue Service acknowledgment of non-profit status; annual report; audited financial statements; and documentation of ties to state trade departments or their regional associations. OMB Circular No. A-87 applies to this program.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
Before applying an applicant should get a determination from ITA of its eligibility to be considered to be selected to receive an MDCP award.

MDCP awards are cooperative agreements, not grants. ITA will be substantially involved in helping an MDCP award winner to achieve project objectives. Accordingly, applicants are strongly encouraged to coordinate with the contact identified in this CFDA listing as well as other relevant ITA staff. Directories of ITA staff can be accessed via Environmental impact information is not required for this program. This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372.
Application Procedure
OMB Circular No. A-102 applies to this program. OMB Circular No. A-110 applies to this program. Application packages are available at and at, which includes an example of a complete MDCP application. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit applications via All forms can be downloaded from Completed forms and all other elements of the application are to be uploaded onto The application will be organized into four parts: forms, project, budget, and other.

1. Forms: a. SF-424; b. SF-424A; c. SF-424B; and d. CD-511.

2. Project narrative file (page limit: 20): a. One-page executive summary including target markets, projected exports to result, size of the market, and brief project description. b. Background including market research that makes clear why the project is needed and has a good chance to succeed. c. Description of the project. d. Description of estimate of exports to be generated and other performance measures. e. Description of partnership with ITA envisioned by applicant. f. Credentials of staff to work on the project. g. Evidence of support for the project from U.S. firms interested in participating. h. Description of how applicant proposes to use the ITA emblem to further project goals. i. Draft success agreement outlining benefits to participating firms and their duty to report exports.

3. Budget narrative attachment file (page limit: 20): a. Spreadsheet that breaks down the budget into the categories used on the SF-424A and apportions it over the award period. b. Supporting worksheets and explanations. c. Discussion of financial systems and projections that identify how, when, and from what sources the matching funds will be or have been raised. d. List of financial assistance awards of $40,000 or more received over the last five years. e. Financial statements. f. Evidence of commitment of cash or in-kind support. g. Any additional evidence of financial responsibility.

4. Other attachment file (page limit: 10): This must not include any documents that should be classified as forms, project narrative, or budget narrative. Most MDCP applications do not include this “other attachment” because the other three parts of the application encompass all necessary elements.

Every page of the application must be easily legible. Textual documents generated by an applicant should have a one-inch margin on either side and top and bottom, and the typeface should be no smaller than 11-point. Headers and footers can lie outside the margins. Pages that are not easily legible may be ignored by reviewers.
Award Procedure
A merit review panel of at least three senior ITA officials evaluates each MDCP application based on the following five criteria: potential to strengthen competitiveness; performance measurement; partnership potential with ITA and compatibility with ITA priorities; creativity and institutional capacity; and budget, cash match, and sustainability. Each application can receive up to 20 points in each of the five categories for a total possible score of 100. Once applications are received, applicants may not revise them. Unsuccessful applicants will be notified within 10 days after award decisions have been announced. Since the program began in 1993, ITA has made, on average, 7 awards per year.
Contact the headquarters or regional office, as appropriate, for application deadlines.
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
From 120 to 180 days.
Not Applicable.
Not Applicable.
How are proposals selected?
Each MDCP application is evaluated based on the following five criteria: potential to strengthen competitiveness; performance measurement; partnership potential with ITA and compatibility with ITA priorities; creativity and institutional capacity; and budget, cash match, and sustainability. Each application can receive up to 20 points in each of the five categories for a total possible score of 100.

Additional details on the selection criteria are published in the FFO, the annual solicitation for applications. The most recent solicitation is available at
How may assistance be used?
A Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO) notice describing the program is available at, at, or from the contact listed in "Information Contacts" below. The most prominent uses and restrictions are summarized below. 1. Applicants should propose foreign market development activities that result in U.S. firms increasing exports that create or maintain U.S. jobs. 2. The primary beneficiaries of project activity should be small-and medium-sized enterprises. 3. No more than $300,000 in federal funds is available for each project. 4. The federal funds are to last for the life of the project, not to exceed three years. 5. Applicant match is two to one: for each federal dollar received, applicant must match at least one dollar with cash and another dollar with cash or in-kind contribution. 6. Federal funds and the first dollar of applicant match can be used only on direct costs.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Thirty (30) days after the end of each calendar quarter recipients report exports generated by project activity and project milestones. Thirty (30) days after the end of each calendar quarter recipients submit SF-425. Quarterly "program" reports described above register project progress. Quarterly financial report SF-425 described above summarize expenditures. Quarterly "program" reports described above allow ITA to monitor performance. ITA also monitors performance while working alongside recipient on project activity.
Not Applicable.
All financial and programmatic records, supporting documents, statistical reports, and other records of recipients or sub recipients must be maintained in accordance with the terms of the award. Generally, the recipient must retain records for 3 years from the date on which the final expenditure report is submitted.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
This program has no statutory formula.
Matching Requirements: Percent: 65.%. Applicants match the federal share two-to-one. The first dollar of match must be cash. The second dollar of match may be cash or in-kind.
This program does not have MOE requirements.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
Funds may be expended over the period of time required to complete the scope of the work, but not exceed three years from the date of the award. Assistance is released according to approved marketing plans in the Market Development Cooperator Program. See the following for information on how assistance is awarded/released: Award recipients draw down funds as they incur project costs and request advances or reimbursements.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
See Regional Agency Offices. MDCP is managed from the headquarters office, which should be the applicant's initial point of contact for MDCP information. In addition, applicants are encouraged to contact relevant ITA industry specialists in Washington, DC and their nearest ITA Export Assistance Center. Contact information is available at
Headquarters Office
Bradlee W. Hess 14th Street & Constitution Ave., N.W., Room 4324, Washington, District of Columbia 20230 Email: Phone: 2024822969 Fax: 2024824462
Website Address .
Financial Information
Account Identification
(Cooperative Agreements (Discretionary Grants)) FY 12 $2,397,739; FY 13 est $1,910,384; and FY 14 est $2,000,000
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
Individual awards may not exceed $300,000.
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
Applicants can link to Internet sources for each of the authorities cited on at This site also contains a mock application, directories of ITA officials to consult, and tips on preparing applications.
Examples of Funded Projects
Fiscal Year 2012: One MDCP award recipient, Recreation Vehicle Industry Association will leverage its award to help U.S. RV-makers to develop China as an export market by establishing an office in Beijing; pursuing adoption of RV and campground industry standards compatible with U.S. standards; and securing the reduction of RV import duties and tariffs. Fiscal Year 2013: Through its MDCP project CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity will help small U.S. firms to export digital electronic devices to Southeast Asia by matching small U.S. firms with large firms to build relationships with distributors and suppliers; doing market analysis; developing business networking; and sharing foreign show booths with mentor firms. Fiscal Year 2014: Projects proposed for funding in fiscal 2014 will not be proposed until February 2014.


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