Exports have been a key driver in our economic comeback since the financial crisis took hold in 2009. In 2015, the value of United States’ goods and services exports reached $2.23 trillion. More specifically, New Jersey exported 32.1 billion in merchandise exports in 2015. New Jersey’s top-five export markets are Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, China and Japan. Are you currently selling to these markets?
The potential for growth is high, with only one-percent of the roughly 30 million U.S. companies currently exporting, and 95 percent of the world’s customers outside the United States. The Commercial Service actively recruits and helps organize matchmaking meetings. Additionally, they specialize in market briefs both at domestic and overseas trade shows or missions. Commercial Service also focuses largely on assisting small and medium-sized U.S. companies, where the need for basic guidance is often more pronounced.
Exporting benefits a company by maintaining competitiveness. There is abundant evidence that international diversification has helped U.S. exporters weather economic downturns better than domestically oriented competitors. When it comes to developing sales strategies, the biggest risk is often the failure to consider the marketplace beyond U.S. borders.
Having a plan and committing enough resources to expansion is essential for a company’s international success. Making it happen successfully requires understanding the foreign market, understanding what rules and regulations apply—and having a strategy for contacting and communicating with local businesses in-country.
A number of federal organizations contribute to fulfilling the U.S. export strategy, with responsibilities ranging from negotiating trade treaties to financing export sales. Among these is federal support provided to U.S. exporters, including export promotion, education and advocacy.
This area of services is administered uniquely by the International Trade Administration (often referred to as the U.S. Commercial Service), a division of U.S. Department of Commerce. Having staff located both domestically and internationally (over 100 domestic offices and locations in over 75 countries), the organization brings breadth and expertise to their U.S. client base, helping companies to grow export sales volumes.
To do that, the Commercial Service offers specific services to U.S. clients, addressing needs related to market research, documentation, local competition and introductions to potential buyers. Our website, www.export.gov, provides a variety of information for businesses, ranging from the basics of exporting, to detailed market intelligence, trade/economic data, required documentation, logistics process and financing sources.
Thankfully, U.S. businesses venturing into foreign markets don’t have to do it alone. My colleagues and I at the Commercial Service turn the old laugh-line into a truth: We’re from the government and we are here to help. If any business owner is looking for new opportunities, new customers and new avenues of growth, I encourage you to find your nearest Export Assistance Center—and let us help you.
Susan Widmer, is the director of the Northern New Jersey Office of the Commercial Service, a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Find out more at www.export.gov/newjersey