HANNOVER MESSE: U.S. manufacturers urged to get into export business

Forum an outgrowth of President Obama’s National Export Initiative, which has the goal of doubling U.S. exports over the next five years


Three years ago, just a handful of U.S. states came to Hannover, Germany looking for foreign business partners to work with. In 2011, a large-scale U.S. delegation was greeted by the U.S. Ambassador to Germany and high-ranking Commerce Department officials at the North American Export Initiatives Forum at Hannover Messe.

The goal of the forum was to highlight the efforts of both Hannover Messe and the U.S. government to bring more foreign investments to U.S. state and regional governments. Representatives of 21 states were on hand in Hannover to hear about the opportunities and challenges in securing foreign investment in their regions.

The forum was an outgrowth of President Obama’s National Export Initiative, which has the goal of doubling U.S. exports over the next five years.

U.S. Ambassador Phillip D. Murphy told the group on the fairgrounds that a number of agencies, including the Commerce Department and the group Invest In America, had programs in place to help make the connection with manufacturers looking to build plants in the U.S. as well as to assist U.S. manufacturers looking to export. “What they all offer are unique trade and investment opportunities,” Murphy told the group. “This is about more than what government can do. This is about what business can do.”

The speakers focused on the high level of innovation in U.S. manufacturing that can be exposed to the world state. “The power of U.S. entrepreneurship has no diminished. There is still a drive to pursue ideas that will solve the problems of the world,” said David Hanson, who heads the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency.

Brian McGowan, the deputy Commerce secretary for economic development, said the growth of regional innovation clusters in the U.S. would create the environment for global business growth. “The key to national competitiveness is regional competitiveness,” said McGowan. “We need to create a regional ecosystem to support high-growth businesses.”

The majority of companies that do export in the U.S. do so to only Canada or Mexico. The opportunity to connect to foreign manufacturing is a primary goal of Hannover Messe, and show officials are focusing on attracting more U.S. attendees and exhibitors to Germany each year for the world’s largest industrial trade show.

- Edited by Gust Gianos, Plant Engineering, www.plantengineering.com

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