A: International markets offer a tremendous opportunity for New Jersey manufacturers.
New Jersey alone exported almost $37 billion worth of goods in 2014. Our state’s top five trading partners are Canada, Great Britain, Mexico, Netherlands and China. There is definitely a demand for high-quality products in the international marketplace that have the “Made in the USA” label.
In addition, with the currently devalued Chinese yuan, US manufacturers have an opportunity to save in their deals with China, while the recently approved Trade Promotion Authority should provide new opportunities for exporters in the future.
The federal and state governments have a number of great programs that assist manufacturers in understanding all the complexities that come with international trade. In 1993, the US Department of Commerce established The Advocacy Center with the following responsibility: “… to coordinate US Government resources and authority in order to level the playing field on behalf of American business interests as they compete against foreign firms for specific international contracts or other export opportunities. In doing so, the Advocacy Center helps create and retain US jobs.”
You can reach the Center at (202) 482-3896 or at http://export.gov/advocacy.
The US Census Bureau also has a number of training videos available that can help you with topics such as Export Compliance, Taxes and Tariff, Foreign Trade Regulations and Export Planning & Strategy.
For more information, call 1-800-USA-TRADE or visit www.census.gov/foreign-trade/aes/exporttraining/videos.
On the state level, the State of New Jersey has also recognized the opportunities that exports offer and has made helping companies expand their overseas business a major priority.
Under Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, who also serves as our Secretary of State, New Jersey has set up the Office of International Business Development & Protocol within the Business Action Center (BAC). If you are the owner of a New Jersey company looking to do business globally, they have a number of resources and financing opportunities that are available to assist you. Through the US Small Business Administration, the BAC has received funding for the New Jersey State Trade and Export Promotion (NJ STEP) Stipend Program to provide assistance to eligible New Jersey small businesses that are new to exporting, as well as those companies who currently sell overseas. Funds are available for training programs, trade show participation and for US Department of Commerce programs including Gold Key Matching Services.
Another financing opportunity is the NJ Global Growth Financing Program, launched by the Economic Development Authority and Citi Bank. It provides low-interest loans to New Jersey companies currently engaged or looking to engage in international trade.
Q: How do I go about making contacts with other companies? Can the state help with that, too?
A: The state hosts a number of meetings throughout the year with visiting delegations of foreign business people looking to establish working relationships with New Jersey companies. In recent years, the BAC has hosted groups from China, Hong Kong, Australia, Great Britain and Turkey, to name a few. If you are interested, call the Business Action Center at 866-534-7789, or visit www.NewJerseyBusiness.gov.
Also, employers should register with ExportJersey, which serves as a one-stop shop for foreign governments and companies (NJBIA is an affiliate). Companies can add a profile that potential importers would be able to access. Visit www.exportjersey.com.