CITRA: Championing small business exports

CITRA Inc., the company founded by travel retail specialist Bart Collins, is a finalist in the 2023 Go Global Awards hosted by the International Trade Council in the Sustainable Solutions category. The winners will be announced at a ceremony held in early November during a 3-day high-level networking program, encompassing panel discussions, conferences, B2B and governmental-level meetings, and a gala awards dinner.

According to the organization’s website, the 2023 Go Global Awards is a global platform for businesses seeking to extend their reach and establish a formidable presence in the international marketplace. This government-sponsored event, hosted this year in Rhode Island, USA, invites companies from all over the world to vie for recognition of their outstanding achievements, innovation, and leadership.

Collins, whose TR career included a stint a president of Aer Rianta International Sardana at JFK, has expanded his remit from duty free to help small U.S. companies export their products internationally. He is passionate about the struggles that small U.S. companies face when they export from the U.S. to foreign territories.

Collins says that exports from the U.S., as a percentage of GDP, is around 10%. Exports in the Eurozone, on the other hand, are well over 54% — a huge disparity compared to the U.S. Globally, 95% of the firms exporting are small and medium sized businesses that historically have contributed between 20-40% of total exports. But the United States lags far behind the rest of the world.

“The truth is that Europe does not want to deal with exports from small U.S. companies. They prefer to deal instead with farm, defense and big manufacturers. This is so unfortunate, because as a group small companies in the U.S. pay more in taxes than major multinationals, they hire more people and are less inclined to lay them off when times are tough. Small companies keep this country afloat,” explains Collins.

In addition, he points out that the U.S. is not export-oriented at all, and most small companies have no idea how to approach the export market.

To overcome these challenges for his own brands, Collins set up a company in the Netherlands from which he also helps other companies export, providing infrastructure, expertise and consolidation.

“We met with the U.S. Embassy in The Hague about how to stimulate more trade between Europe and the U.S. We do all the homework and are able to act as a bridge between a small business in the U.S. and the European countries,” he says.

CITRA is currently in the process of launching the Anne Klein watch brand from E. Gluck Corporation into the domestic market in the EU. CITRA is also achieving impressive success exporting the healthy vitamin enriched Hylux water internationally.

“WHSmith just extended the listing for Hylux for another year. It is the highest priced water in the assortment but number two in sales,” says Collins.

He also represents travel accessories from Cloudz and, as one of his most recent brands, has been working with a start-up out of Detroit for a completely sustainable line of baby clothing called ezdoezit.

“I have been mentoring the woman who created the line for the past year and we had a very successful show in Las Vegas. Target is going to take the line and we now intend to take it to the international market. This is the brand that is a finalist in the Go Global Awards in the Sustainable Solutions category.”

“I am a firm advocate for small and medium businesses. There are some brilliant inventions out there that deserve a wider audience. It has been a fascinating ride and I am really happy with these companies I work with.”

For more information, contact Collins at