Federally-funded office mitigates impacts of foreign trade on local business
Washington, DC â?? Idaho is now home to a local office to help mitigate the impact of foreign trade on local business, according to Idaho Senator Mike Crapo. The Northwest Trade Adjustment Assistance Center (TAAC) office in Boise is the first of its kind in Idaho. The non-profit TAAC Idaho Office is funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Prior to the commitment to expand to Boise, Idahoans had been served out of the Northwest TAAC office in Seattle.â??With increasing competition from foreign imports, it is more important than ever to help our manufacturing firms to remain competitive,â?? Crapo, Chairman of the Senate Banking Subcommittee on International Trade and Finance, said. â??As Idaho businesses grow and international trade increases, it makes sense for Idahoans to have our own office dealing with foreign competition and business issues.â??Crapo says the TAAC Idaho Office helps fund technical assistance to manufacturers affected by import competition. He says federal assistance under the program can pay up to half the cost of consultants or industry-specific experts for projects that improve a manufacturerâ??s competitiveness. The board chairman for the Northwest TAAC, David Leroy of Boise, said assistance is based on sales and employment declines at least partially due to imports over the last two years. â??These federal funds are applied toward consultants, engineers, designers, or other industry experts in areas such as manufacturing, engineering, marketing, information technology and quality issues. The Idaho-based office will make all these services even more available to impacted businesses in our locale,â?? Leroy said.The new Northwest Trade Adjustment Assistance Center Idaho Office is located at 223 North 6th Street, Room 300. Doug Thompson is the manager of the Idaho TAAC center and can be reached by telephone at (208) 343-6855.Crapo noted the Trade Adjustment Assistance program has already assisted a number of Idaho industries. National figures released in a study by the Urban Institute showed U.S. businesses participating in the TAAC program grew sales by an average of 33.9%, a rate significantly higher than industry averages.