World Trade Week (May 19-24) should be a time to sit at the kitchen table and contemplate the importance of international trade for your company, your industry and you. It should also be a time to educate others about what you find out. For example,
- Where does that key component for your product come from (and what happens if it doesn’t come)?
- How many of your colleagues’ jobs are dependent on making sales outside the U.S.?
- If your potential customer could finance the purchase of your product, would that make the sale?
- If that foreign tariff were zero instead of seven percent, would that give you a price advantage over your competitor?
- How can you protect your brand and know-how when exporting your product?
The questions go on and on. Isn’t finding the answers the way electrical equipment and medical imaging equipment manufacturers get the edge they need to compete and grow?
Some key facts to consider:
- Ninety-five percent of the world’s people live outside the U.S.
- Ninety-eight percent of U.S. exporters are small and medium sized companies.
- U.S. jobs linked to manufactured goods exports pay on average 18% more than other jobs.
Where do you fit in and who else needs to know about it? Are your leaders helping you compete?
Today, on the other side of the kitchen Congress stands in front of a full stovetop of initiatives on international trade, from reauthorizing the U.S. Export-Import Bank to providing direction to U.S. Customs on targeting counterfeit products, from suspending tariffs on necessary inputs for manufacturing to setting metrics for the Obama Administration on current free trade negotiations with Japan, Vietnam, the European Union, and others.
Unfortunately, the back burners on that stove are overcrowded and lack of action is presenting a real safety risk to U.S. companies who rely on international trade for current and future competitiveness and growth. All the while, outside the kitchen the rest of the world is moving ahead without us.