April 16, 2012

Sales Abroad Support Idaho Jobs

Guest column submitted by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo

The U.S. International Trade Administration (ITA) recently reported that Idaho's sales of goods in foreign markets in 2011 reached a record high of $5.9 billion.  These sales of Idaho products abroad supported approximately 20,000 Idaho jobs, or about 3.9 percent of total private sector jobs.  Idahoans are developing innovative products and selling them in more than 150 countries, and these international sales are helping to support and boost Idaho jobs. 

In one Idaho success story, approximately 40 percent of AERO Specialties' sales are in exports of goods to markets all over the world.  AERO Specialties is a Boise-based manufacturer and distributor of aircraft ground support equipment used from Iraq to Nigeria to Tahiti.  Selling in world markets has helped AERO continue to grow, expand and increase jobs.  Last year, the company added five more employees, representing 16 percent growth in the number of jobs provided by AERO Specialties.  The company also works with other Idaho companies for parts and other specialized materials needed in AERO's products.  This enables other local companies to grow as AERO grows.    

AERO Specialties worked with the Idaho Export Assistance Centerto increase its international sales.  The Center helps small-to-medium sized Idaho businesses achieve their export potential by helping identify and assess international partners; assisting with navigating international documentation; helping create market access plans; and providing other export guidance.  With the assistance of the Center, AERO Specialties has exhibited its product at tradeshows from Dubai to Geneva, resulting in the sale and export of well over a million dollars in equipment.

The Idaho Export Assistance Center also assisted Oxyfresh Worldwide, Inc., a company headquartered in Coeur d'Alene manufacturing dental care, nutritional, hygiene and pet care products, with establishing a foothold in the Southeast Asian market by helping the company arrange meetings with dental supplies representatives in Singapore.  Responsible for the purchase of $610 million in products from Idaho, Singapore is Idaho's third largest market.  In addition to Singapore, the company sells its products in 21 other countries, including China, Colombia, Israel, Jordan and New Zealand.  Selling products abroad has enabled Oxyfresh to expand in the U.S. and hire three additional employees. 

Governor Butch Otter set the goal of creating additional high-quality jobs in Idaho and strengthening Idaho's economy by growing Idaho's gross domestic product from $51.5 billion to $60 billion.  The plan calls for promoting Idaho products through increased foreign marketing.  In addition to promoting Idaho products abroad, our nation must be assertive in breaking down barriers, including prohibitive foreign duties, non-science-based import restrictions and other barriers that hold back Idaho companies from competing and reaching more potential customers around the world. 

Free trade agreements, such as the agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea that were enacted late last year, are helping remove such hurdles.  The free trade agreement with South Korea, which took effect recently, is broadening U.S. producers and manufacturers' access to South Korea's $1 trillion economy, which is Idaho's fourth largest market.  Additional market access efforts will better ensure Idahoans with imaginative ideas can get their products to those seeking them around the world. 

Sales in international markets can be a central factor in enabling companies to expand, create more jobs and stay in business during difficult economic times.  Innovative Idahoans are working hard to meet the growing need for Idaho products in international markets to the benefit of Idaho workers and our economy.

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