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Ann Pardalos Answers Your Exporting Questions

Why is exporting so important for states’ overall economic health?

“Exporting provides companies the opportunity to expand sales, generate higher returns and employ more workers to meet the demand. … Most importantly, however, exporting firms are more likely to stay in business by better weathering cyclical fluctuations in the U.S. economy.”

What types of businesses should be exporting? 

“… our trade managers focus on providing export and trade assistance to small business manufacturers, service providers and agricultural producers… In addition, 65 percent of this segment is comprised of small businesses, with typically 20 or fewer employees, that may not have the necessary resources to explore international opportunities on a regular basis.”

How can states’ trade offices help businesses overcome barriers to exporting?

“Our staff provides trade counseling and helps small businesses determine whether they have a competitively viable product or service that can be exported … We also help refer our clients to export training workshops or more customized one-on-one training in order to help these firms become familiar with the process.”

What can state legislators do to help promote international trade at the state level?

“At the local level, legislators can help to spread the word in their districts about our programs and the important services we offer to small businesses in the communities they represent. … within the legislative arena they can greatly enhance the scope of any state’s trade program, allowing for extended and enhanced services to exporters, while lending stability and longevity to service delivery.”

The charter of the U.S. Export-Import Bank—or ExIm Bank—expired June 30, but congressional efforts to reauthorize it are expected this fall. What are the implications for states and their economies if those efforts aren’t successful?

“Without the help of ExIm, more than $351 million in Missouri exports would have been forfeited to foreign competition. We must place the ExIm Bank back in our toolbox.”

What does the first U.S. state trade mission to Cuba since the announcement of plans to normalize relations represent for Missouri and the states?

“Under the trade sanctions, Cuba’s agricultural imports have been approximately $1.9 billion annually, with U.S. producers holding only a 16 percent share, or just $300 million last year. … there is substantial room for growth for Missouri and U.S. agricultural exports.”

So much of international trade policy is dependent on the federal government, but how are states showing their leadership in this area?

“SIDO’s priorities include the continuation and permanency of the State Trade and Export Promotion program; support for the existence of capital and financial tools for small businesses including the ExIm Bank; and alleviating the negative effects on small businesses … by working with federal partners to streamline export licensing, modernizing customs and acting to resolve domestic and foreign regulations that are a barrier to exporting.”

How does foreign direct investment by overseas companies in U.S. operations affect states’ economies?

“Some states rely on their trade staff to execute recruitment of FDI while others have separate functional groups or project management teams that take on this task. … In many cases, it also helps to boost domestic investment due to the supply chain necessities.”

What resources do states have to help them increase their reach overseas? How can the federal government assist states?

“… the federal STEP program was able to assist many states with extending their reach overseas and, in some instances, by establishing representative offices for the purpose of export and trade promotion.”

What’s on your to-do list as president of SIDO?

“Professional development is priority one. Secondly, I want to make certain that we continue to build upon the great work begun by my colleagues. Lastly, SIDO must be engaged at all levels of the conversation with regard to trade promotion along with our federal partners.”

(See the original article here: Council of State Governments)

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