Tennessee is opening four offices abroad in efforts to expand the state’s exports of products and services, which already total $30 billion annually, according to the Tennessean. Export development offices are being set up in China, Mexico, Germany and the United Kingdom with the goal of increasing the state’s exports by 10 percent — or $3 billion — over the next three years, said Bill Hagerty, commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development.
The initiative will be led by the department’s International Division, and it will be the first time since 1997 that the state has operated offices abroad “solely dedicated to advancing Tennessee exports,” the department said in an announcement.
In picking the four countries for the export initiative, “We basically just ran the math and put them where the largest flow (of Tennessee exports) exists today,” Hagerty said. The office in Germany will serve the entire European Union.
News release from Department of Economic and Community Development:
NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development announced today that Commissioner Bill Hagerty will lead ECD’s trade mission to China and South Korea April 15-21, 2012 that will focus on Tennessee’s medical device manufacturers and other health care companies.
Applications are available at tn.gov/ecd/tntrade/trademission, along with a video explaining the trade mission. The deadline for companies to apply is Feb. 1. The trade mission is part of the recently announced TNTrade, a new initiative designed to help boost exports by Tennessee’s small- and medium-sized businesses.
“Last year, Tennessee exported roughly $30 billion dollars in goods; however, fewer than two percent of all Tennessee companies are exporters,” Hagerty said. “This trade mission will allow participants to be introduced to potential distributors and customers in the rapidly growing Asian market and explore new sources of revenue.”
Hagerty will lead a group of approximately 10 medical device manufacturers and other health care companies on visits to Beijing and Shenzhen in China and Seoul, South Korea. Participants will attend meetings arranged by the U.S. Commercial Service as well as attend the China International Medical Equipment Fair, the largest exhibition of medical equipment and related products and services in the Asia-Pacific region.
Participants will be provided with lodging, ground and air transportation, interpreters and meetings during the trade mission. Companies selected to go on the trade mission must arrange and purchase their own airfare to and from Asia.
TNTrade is a statewide initiative intended to support Governor Haslam’s goal of making Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs. The program is funded through a U.S. Small Business Administration State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) grant.
The organizer of a trip by 15 state legislators to China this summer says he returned with a “verbal commitment” from Chinese officials to match up to $5 million in state money for establishing educational ties between the nation and Tennessee.
The lawmakers, including Reps. Ryan Haynes and Harry Tindell of Knoxville, spent 10 days touring the Asian nation last month.
In interviews, several said they were impressed by the extraordinary amount of construction under way and by the extraordinary amount of pollution. They offered mixed reviews on other matters, including the quality of the food they were served.
The legislators were responsible for paying their own airfare and related expenses, which two said was about $2,500. Once in China, their food, travel and lodging costs were covered by Hanban, a branch of the Chinese government, said Rep. Jim Coley, R-Bartlett, who organized the trip. Some said they used campaign funds to cover their portion of the cost.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Former Congressman Bob Clement of Nashville says the U.S. must work through any business, trade or diplomatic issues with China.
Clement, a Democrat, just returned from a visit to China representing the United States Association of Former Members of Congress.
He said the bipartisan group that went with him was impressed with the future economic opportunities that China can provide.
Clement said American-made cars sell well in China, and the country is expected to become one of the largest markets for commercial airplanes.
Clement is currently president of a public affairs company with offices in Nashville and Washington.