The United States is moving ahead in an export revolution, but U.S. businesses must continue to expand their export businesses to remain competitive.
That is the message Lou Cramer, deputy assistant secretary for trade development for the U.S. Department of Commerce, had for participants at the eighth annual World Trade Seminar at Utah State University recently."As a country, we must get out and export or we will shrivel up and die," he said."If we don't do it now, while the dollar is down and productivity is up, we won't be able to get into the market later."
This move toward exporting will require a change of attitude throughout the country if the U.S. is to compete effectively in the world market.
"You can't change minds overnight. After 20 years of looking inward at our own development, we have to make a big change and look outward. The Japanese are raised with the attitude you have to export or die. Here, were are raised with the attitude that we'd rather die than export," Cramer said.
David W. Lowsley, director of international marketing for Chrysler Corporation, said the U.S. was hooked on imports to the tune of $424 billion in 1987.
"The names Panasonic, Fuji and Toyota are becoming as familiar as Chrysler," he said.
"The U.S. is the single largest debtor nation in the world. In 1987, it had a trade deficit of $120 billion. That's equal to the total gross national product of countries such as Mexico and Australia."
Cramer said the U.S. Commerce Department has set up a program called Export Now, which helps business and government work together to set up trade overseas. The government's matchmaker program pairs people from different countries together, so they can discuss products and trade. Cramer said a recent four day get together with 80 people from the United States, London and Paris resulted in 3,200 appointments. The government also has programs that bring interested foreign businessmen to the United States to tour companies where they can buy the products.
Through a program called STELLA, the government has shortened the length of time needed to get an export license, from six weeks to less than a week. Other opportunities for businessmen wishing to market overseas include trade missions, which provide a chance for manufacturers to show off their products at international shows to potential buyers.
Cramer said some success stories in exporting from the United States included businesses selling beer to Germany and perfume to France.
"We have a company in Columbus, Ohio, that is shipping sand to Saudi Arabia. They're shipping tons of it over there. The silicon content is better for building foundations," he said.