Even in a down economy, Washington State reported near-record Fiscal Year 2010 sales of $154 million from state export assistance, the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) and Department of Commerce announced.
State programs at Commerce and WSDA provide small and medium-sized businesses with export training and counseling, facilitate international trade show participation, and assist with trading partner and market introductions. Export sales from these state-supported activities account for a small but strategic portion of Washington’s total annual export sales of more than $50 billion on average in recent years.
Clients utilizing WSDA export assistance saw sales grow to $95.8 million for fiscal year 2010. That growth represented an increase of more than $33 million over 2009. Commerce clients reported $58.2 million for 2010, a $21 million jump from 2009.
The WSDA International Marketing Program continues to pay for itself, with $3.86 in additional tax revenues due to economic development for every taxpayer dollar invested in the program. For the next five years, WSDA has set a goal to assist an additional 1,000 exporters to make $300 million in export sales.
WSDA received $3.7 million in Specialty Crop Block Grant funding from USDA in 2010. Target regions for future agriculture commodity-focused trade missions include Latin America and Mexico, Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Macau and India.
Washington was the first state to sign an agreement with the U.S. Department of Commerce in support of President Obama’s National Export Initiative to significantly increase foreign trade in the next five years. As a result, Commerce has helped reorganize the Export Assistance Center of Washington to more aggressively focus on counseling outreach, helping small and medium companies take advantage of new export assistance finance products from the ExIm Bank and the private sector.
In addition, the state Community Economic Revitalization Board invested $3 million in targeted programs throughout the state to help companies enter new export markets or engage in exporting for the first time. Commerce also developed a new program to help Washington aerospace suppliers take advantage of global supply chain opportunities in Canada, Europe and China. State presence this year at major global air shows in Toulouse, France, and Zhuhai, China, will continue developing international opportunities. For more information about the Washington Export Initiative and state export assistance programs, visit http://www.choosewashington.com and http://www.agr.wa.gov .