Boosting Trade & Exports

May 2, 2011

Karen West

Boosting Trade: Recent advances in facilitating international trade in the U.S. and Washington.

>> The presidents newly appointed Export Council, an advisory committee on international trade chaired by Boeing CEO Jim McNerney, is taking credit for an 18 percent increase in U.S. exports as a result of renewed trade promotion. The council currently hosts New Markets/New Jobs conferences in various cities nationwide.

>> Washingtons Community Economic Revitalization Board recently awarded $3 million to six targeted programs statewide to help companies enter new export markets or engage in exporting for the first time. The awards range from $100,000 to the almost $1.3 million awarded to Washington State University, which opened export readiness centers earlier this year in South Seattle and Spokane. Those centers joined a statewide network of 24 centers and 26 certified business advisers, all focused on promoting exports.

>> In September, Gov. Chris Gregoire led the states largest delegation ever of more than 100 leaders in business, agriculture and education on trade missions to China and Vietnam, and returned with $10 million in new sales and investments. Asian companies dont just automatically trade, Gregoire says. Its essential that we maintain strong relationships with our trading partners.

>> The Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, touted as the most significant small-business legislation in more than a decade, allocates $50 million for small-business centers around the country and is extending the Small Business Administrations enhanced loan provisions for entrepreneurs.

>> The Federal Office of Strategic Partnerships is working with UPS, FedEx and the U.S. Postal Service to find new market opportunities.

EXPORT EXPERTS: Where to Get Help

U.S. Small Business Administration

>> In February, small business development centers throughout Washington state were granted $962,280 to help create jobs. The centers, which provide business counseling for entrepreneurs, are administered by Washington State University. Also on the SBAs website is the Trade Mission Online database of U.S. small businesses that wish to export their products.

Washington Small Business Development Center

>> The SBDC promotes economic vitality within Washington communities by providing counseling, training and market research. It is a cooperative effort of Washington State University, other educational institutions, economic development organizations and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

U.S. Commerce Department

>> With its network of trade specialists posted in 109 U.S. cities as well as U.S. embassies and consulates in 77 countries, the department serves as a resource for companies, connecting them with potential international buyers. The department helped reorganize the Export Assistance Center of Washington to focus more aggressively on counseling outreach and to encourage small and medium-sized companies to take advantage of new export assistance finance products from the Export-Import Bank and the private sector. The federal Advocacy Center helps companies compete for contracts with foreign governments, including contracts for Boeing airplanes.

Washington State Department of Commerce

>> The lead state agency promoting job growth in Washington administers more than 100 programs and several boards and commissions. Choose Washington (choosewashington.com) offers export information geared specifically toward small businesses as well as Washington states Community Economic Revitalization Board.

The Export Assistance Center of Seattle

>> This office provides international company background checks to businesses throughout the Puget Sound region. The center also offers market research and one-on-one appointments with selected potential business partners in a targeted export market. Your company is in the global market whether you are exporting or not, so you should be looking for international opportunities, says Bob Deane, a consultant with the center.

Washington State Department of Agriculture

>> WSDA supports producers, distributors and consumers of Washingtons food and agricultural products, including the 39,000 farms operating on more than 15 million acres throughout the state. The agency received $3.7 million in Specialty Crop Block Grant Program funding last year from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Target regions for future agricultural-commodity-focused trade missions include Latin America and Mexico, Southeast Asia, India, and Hong Kong and Macau.