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February 20. 2014 9:07PM

Nashua looks to expand in export business

NASHUA — With $4 billion in products being exported from New Hampshire annually, city leaders are hoping to form a new panel that will help Gate City businesses tap into the export industry.

“The opportunity is really quite remarkable. There is an untapped potential in exporting,” Mayor Donnalee Lozeau said this week.

Lozeau has been working with representatives from the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development to form a Nashua Export Council to address the issue.

“I am putting together a group that will make it easier for businesses to navigate the waters without distracting from their business operations. I think it can be very overwhelming to people, and they really don’t think of themselves as being in the export market,” said Lozeau, who is hoping to launch the council this summer.

She is unsure how many members will sit on the Nashua Export Council, but she is optimistic that experienced business professionals will be willing to participate.

The goal of the council, she said, would be to create a roadmap that can be marketed to businesses helping them maximize export opportunities for goods and services. It will also work collaboratively to help local companies recognize their potential while navigating state and federal resources that are currently available, Lozeau said.

“Most people, when they think of exports they think of goods, not services,” she said. However, the mayor said there are real opportunities for all types of exporting in Nashua.

According to data provided by DRED, exports of New Hampshire products in 2012 totaled nearly $3.5 billion. Last November, the annual export total was closer to $4.2 billion, said Tina Kasim, program manager for the New Hampshire International Trade Resource Center.

“I think things are improving since the economic downturn, and we are coming out of that,” Kasim said on Thursday. “The state is well positioned to be competitive, and a good player in the global arena.”

By having support from cities such as Nashua, there is bound to be significant progress in the state’s export industry, she said.

New Hampshire exports most of its products to Canada and Mexico, but it also markets to China, Germany and the Netherlands.

The top five commodities exported from the Granite State include industrial machinery such as computers, electric machinery such as sound and television equipment, plastics, iron, steel and medical and surgical instruments, according to the International Trade Resource Center website.

“New Hampshire companies are really producing incredible products and technologies,” echoed Kasim, adding the state has a great chance to be a large part of the world’s export trade.

Lozeau agrees, and believes there should be help available to Nashua businesses looking for guidance on this topic. She is optimistic that the Nashua Export Council will be greatly beneficial to encourage more exports from city companies.

By having more exports in New Hampshire, it creates additional demand for local products, which in turn creates more jobs in the state, said Kasim.

“As of November, exports are up 22 percent from last year,” she said, adding new initiatives and cooperation from Nashua and other communities will help increase those statistics even further.

There are more than 2,200 companies in New Hampshire that export, and about 23.3 percent of all manufacturing workers in the state depend on exports for their jobs, says the ITRC website.

According to data from the National Export Initiative, exports support about 10 million jobs throughout the nation, and about $2.2 trillion of U.S. goods and services were exported in 2012.

khoughton@newstote.com


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