U.S. ports lend support to NEI
The American Association of Port Authorities is scheduled today to formally sign a partnership with the U.S. Commerce Department to help promote the government's National Export Initiative by helping U.S. companies strike deals with buyers in foreign markets.
Under the memorandum of intent, the Commerce Department's International Trade Administration and the AAPA will collaborate to help seaports educate new exporters about the export process and overseas opportunities.
The signing ceremony will take place at the Port of Oakland, the only major West Coast port that exports more than it imports. Oakland has been very active during the past year hosting events where local businesses learned about trade opportunities and could network with buyers and officials from other countries interested in American products.
NEI Director Courtney Gregoire in March proposed that the AAPA work with the Commerce Department to facilitate exports because ports have extensive overseas contacts, understand foreign markets and can provide guidance on how to deal with complex logistics, financing and regulatory requirements associated with cross-border trade. The effort is modeled on the Port of Los Angeles' Trade Connect program, which acts as a matchmaker and counselor to U.S. companies new to the export process.
The Obama administration's goal is to double exports by 2015. Exports, aided in part by the weak dollar, have remained one of the stronger sectors of the economy through the recession and after.
The story 'Export Experts' in the May issue has more information about the Commerce Department's attempt to leverage the expertise of the freight transportation sector to create export opportunities and jobs. ' Eric Kulisch