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Regional exporters hope National Export Initiative will boost trade

Santa Cruz Sentinel

President Barack Obama pledged in March to double U.S. exports in the next five years, and small businesses involved in global trade and those hoping to make initial international inroads are wondering just how that might play out in the commercially rich Monterey Bay region.

The Santa Cruz/Watsonville region exported goods valued at nearly $800 million in 2008, according to statistics generated by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Commerce. Exports were 13 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product that year and supported more than 10 million U.S. jobs. That number does not include business services such as consulting or tourism, one of the area’s largest exports.

The new National Export Initiative, which relaunched the President’s Export Council and created a new Export Promotion Cabinet, promises to support two million jobs. The cabinet is charged with expanding export financing, prioritizing government advocacy on behalf of U.S. exporters, providing new resources to U.S. businesses seeking to export and ensuring a level playing field for U.S. exporters in global markets.

“With traditional drivers of U.S. economic growth like consumer and business spending facing stiff headwinds, it has never been more important for our companies to increase their sales to the 95 percent of the world’s consumers who live outside the United States,” said U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke in a speech earlier this year to a group of manufacturers in Ohio.

High value exports from the Monterey Bay region include agriculture and technology products as well as knowledge expertise, such as language, agri-technology and business growth processes such as entrepreneurial incubators and the design center in Santa Cruz.

“I’m optimistic,” said Tony Livoti, Monterey Bay International Trade Association president. The association is sponsoring “Monterey Bay Marketplace — A Model for the World,” a half-day trade symposium Monday in Monterey aimed at promoting regional exports. Rep. Sam Farr, D-Carmel, is the keynote speaker and will follow presentations about several programs and services for businesses.

“We are losing state money and hopefully we can get some federal money to pick up the slack,” Livoti said. “We’re trying to do our part to get Monterey Bay to double its exports but also leverage the rest of the state to do that.”

Increasing exports from U.S. companies that sell well in the states and broadening the global reach of the 15 percent who are already in the international market would be a boon to the economy, said Maurice Kogan, director of the Center for International Trade Development-El Camino College and a speaker at the trade event. Yet, about 85 percent of U.S. businesses do not export. Of the 15 percent that do, more than half export only to Canada and Mexico, Kogan said.

“Eight-five percent of you are only selling to 4 percent of the potential global market,” Kogan said. “We hope what we tell them will motivate them to go out and export.”

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Top Exports (Goods Only) for Santa Cruz-Watsonville

2006
Computer and electronic products: $205M
Crop production: $150M
Transportation equipment: $48M
Machinery: $193M
Food and kindred products: (NA)
Plastics and rubber products: $25M
All others: $69M

2007
Computer and electronic products: $233M
Crop production: $197M
Transportation equipment: $68M
Machinery: $155M
Food and kindred products: (NA)
Plastics and rubber products: (NA)
All others: (NA)

2008
Computer and electronic products: $288M
Crop production: $229M
Transportation equipment: $100M
Machinery: $87M
Food and kindred products: $17M
Plastics and rubber products: (NA)
All others: $71M

SOURCE: U.S. Office of Trade and Industry Information


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If you go…

The Monterey Bay International Trade Association export seminar
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday
WHERE: The Culinary Center of Monterey, 625 Cannery Row, Suite 200, Monterey
TICKETS: $50 for MBITA and MCBC members, $60 non-members. For lunch or seminar only is $30 for MBITA and MCBC members or $40 for non-members plus $10 surcharge at door.
INFORMATION: Call 335-4780 or visit http://www.mbita.org.

This article is published HERE

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This entry was posted on May 9, 2010 by in Business, Feature Articles.

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