Conference Aims to Boost Export Tradeby Greg Stiles
Mail Tribune, February 28, 2006
Export Assistance Center will teach local business
how to apply a systematic approach to exporting products
Global trade is a boon to the Oregon economy and a plus for the Rogue Valley as well.
Oregon boasts the seventh-highest export value per capita among the 50 states. That means thousands of jobs.
The U.S. Export Assistance Center will spearhead a day-long conference Thursday at Rogue Valley Country Club designed to promote continued trade growth.
"We want to give businesses a better idea how to develop a systematic approach to export," says Allan Christian, a senior international trade specialist. "Instead of a lot of people chasing opportunities coming their way, we want to help them sit back and do things in a more strategic fashion."
He says a lot of entrepreneurs fall into the trap of signing on with the first distributor they find in Asia or Europe.
The Export Assistance Center's panel will discuss export plans; international markets and partners; pricing and payment options; and export shipping, controls and compliance.
Final figures for 2005 haven't been released, but growth from 2003 to 2004 alone indicates both the opportunity and breadth of export activity in the region.
The Marine Division of the Port of Portland handled $12.2 billion worth of import and export products in 2004, up from $8.8 billion in 2003. Airborne exports out of Portland International Airport averaged more than $4.8 billion the past two years. The Pacific Rim markets are driving much of the growth, spurred by Air China's two weekly 747 cargo flights between Portland and Beijing and three Korean Air 747 flights to Seoul each week.
"In terms of volume we export much more than we import here," says Port of Portland Marine Division research analyst Randy Fischer. Grain and mineral bulks such as potash, soda ash and fertilizer components lead the way.
Demand for potato products grown by Klamath Basin farmers is also rising. "The majority of it is for french fries," Fischer says. "Every four seconds we're exporting frozen potatoes or french fries to the Far East, mostly to Japan.
Inca Fisher Williams, regional export finance manager for the Small Business Administration, deals with more than 120 trade companies annually.
If it comes to finding someone to solve disputes in Singapore or assess risks in Venezuela, her office can dig up the answers or find someone who can.
"We know where the help can be found, whether it's country-specific or company-specific," Williams says. "We can get our hands on just about anything."
Fisher Williams says her office can provide ongoing help for many exporters. "It's not just a one-question shot, but how we can help them fulfill planned strategies, from partnership to finance options, once they have a contract."
Medford Fabrication President Bill Thorndike, a member of Portland's Port Commission, says the conference allows organizations to prepare their personnel for doing business overseas.
"Any business is always looking at how to sell more of their products," Thorndike says. "The channels are open and it's a lot easier to do commerce worldwide today with Visa, MasterCard and the Internet. It's a good idea to keep informing people about the infrastructure that's there in the state and federal economic agencies."
|Port of Portland 2004 Exports|
|Source: Port of Portland
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