Connecticut Export Week, Which Starts Today, is One-of-a-Kind in U.S.

There is only one state in the nation that has an “export week,” designed to encourage more in-state businesses to take the first steps toward building international business connections.  “Connecticut Export Week,” now in its third year, takes place March 19-23, 2018. The week-long focus on the business potential of exports features a dozen events and webinars with expertise offered in a range of broad and very specific aspects of international business. It is a joint initiative of the U.S. Export Center and the affiliated District Export Council.  Connecticut is the only state where the local office of the federal agency functions as the State Trade Office.

The initiative has been very successful in exporting awareness and training for companies, according to officials.  The information shared by experts at programs and events during the week helps companies become “Export Ready” so that when they use agency services to meet new customers and get into new markets, they are better prepared to close the deal.

According to the Connecticut Business and Industry Association's 2017 international trade survey, there are nearly 6,000 companies exporting from within the state.   Connecticut achieved export levels in goods and services reaching $14.4 billion, contributing to the more than $1.45 trillion in U.S. commodity exports in 2016.

Topics during the week will include Market Research, Global Intellectual Property, Digital Strategy, Doing Business with NATO, export Finance and Insurance for U.S. Exporters, Understanding Foreign Exchange and Letters of Credit and Export Documentation Basics.  There will also be a CEO’s and Managers Export Forum, a session focused on Opportunities for Advanced Manufacturing in Germany, and another on Infrastructure in Peru.

According to U.S. Census Bureau 2017 data, nations topping the list of exports from Connecticut are France (14.3%), Canada (12.8%), Germany (12.4%), United Kingdom (8.8%), Mexico (7.0%), China (5.4%), Netherlands (4.2%), Japan (3.7%), South Korea (3.6%) and Singapore (2.7%).

CBIA noted that the vast majority (89%) of Connecticut businesses engaged in international trade are small and midsize enterprises employing fewer than 500 workers.  The top three areas where Connecticut companies are looking for assistance, the survey found, are market research (52%), making connections with customers (32%), and finding foreign representatives (19%). Connecticut's top three export categories, the CBIA survey pointed out, are transportation equipment, machinery, and computer and electronic products, sold primarily to France, Germany, and Canada.

Between 2007 and 2017, there has been a steady increase in the number of Connecticut companies engaging in international trade, the CBIA survey found —from 53% to 77% over the 10-year period.