Accent on Exports in Connecticut; State Supports Business Outreach Overseas

If Connecticut were a country, it would be the sixth-most productive in the world, according to the state’s annual report by the department of Economic and Community Development. A critical building block for economic productivity is exports, and a look at the data reveals some surprisingly positive statistics. The backdrop is offered by more than 700 global companies that have subsidiaries here, employing more than 100,000 people, the Organization for International Investment points out.  The state’s convenient access to a variety of transportation options all provides access; there were 4.6 million tons of cargo carried on Connecticut rails in 2015, for example, and 11.4 million tons of freight shipped through Connecticut ports in 2013.

The U.S. Commercial Service and the Connecticut District Export Council have teamed up to create a series of events throughout Connecticut marking the annual Connecticut Export Week. These events will take place during  April 24-28. Connecticut Export Week 2017 will educate businesses on initiating and or expanding their global market. Officials describe Connecticut  Export Week 2017 as the only free event of it’s kind in the nation.  A series of free events and webinars will be offered at locations around the state.  Topics include exporting to China, expanding to new markets, initial market research, how to develop and maintain an export network, and export logistics.

“The ease of global travel and freight movement by rail and highway makes Connecticut a prime location for domestic and international trade,” the report points out.  Leading exports include: Aerospace/Transportation Equipment, Non-Electrical Machinery, Computers and Electronics, Chemicals, Electrical Equipment, Fabricated Metals Production, and Primary Metal Manufacturing.

The top three trading partners for the state are Germany (10.8% of state exports), Canada (10.7%), France 12.7%, United Arab Emirates (10.4%) and Mexico (8.7%).

The Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) recently called on companies to apply for grants of up to $7,000 for a wide range of export-related activities. Funding is from the Small Business Administration (SBA), which awarded Connecticut a $244,000 grant to help increase state exports and the number of small businesses that export. The Department has provided more than 350 grant awards allowing Connecticut companies to participate in Medica, the leading international medical device trade show in Dusseldorf, Germany; Hannover Messe, the world’s largest industrial technology trade show in Hannover, Germany; and the international air shows in Farnborough, U.K. and Paris. Additionally, companies can request reimbursement for trade shows, trade missions and other export activities specific to their industry.

“These investments are helping Connecticut’s small businesses compete in the global economy,” said DECD commissioner Catherine Smith. “For example, grants have been provided to companies to help offset the costs of attending the Farnborough Air Show, one of the most important air shows in the world. Without these grants many of the suppliers and component manufacturers in Connecticut’s supply chain could not attend, missing a key opportunity to establish important contacts and build relationships with the leading aerospace contractors across the globe.”