Ports are outreach tools for U.S. export drive
The U.S. Commerce Department's new partnership with the American Association of Port Authorities is designed to help spread the word about government assistance programs for companies interested in expanding to overseas markets but not sure how to do so.
AAPA President Kurt Nagle signed a memorandum of intent on Tuesday at the Port of Oakland to help the Commerce Department's International Trade Administration promote exports. The outreach to ports is part of the Obama administration's National Export Initiative to double exports by 2015 and help get the economy on track.
Commerce officials say they want to leverage seaports' ties to the domestic business community so that companies, especially small and medium-size businesses, are aware of government resources at their disposal, such as:
|Sanchez (left) Nagel (right)|
' Trade experts to help companies identify potential new markets.
' Trade shows for exporters to market their goods to international buyers and distributors.
' Assistance with market entry.
' Personalized guidance through the export process.
' Trade financing.
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Many ports also provide their own trade expertise connecting U.S. companies with international partners and transportation providers, and helping them understand bureaucratic, cultural and other challenges.
The AAPA and the International Trade Administration will work together to help interested ports develop and host industry-led workshops, seminars and other events that provide exporters with a basic education on export requirements, according to Francisco J. S'nchez, Commerce's under secretary for international trade.
'More than 75 percent of U.S. merchandise trade by volume — and more than 36 percent by value — leaves the United States by water making U.S. seaports a critical component of our national and global economy,' he said in a blog post on the Commerce Web site.
For more information about the new seaports partnership, and to register for government assistance programs, visit www.export.gov/ports. ' Eric Kulisch