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Robert Stackpole is the Director of the International Trade Administration’s Export Assistance Center in Birmingham, Ala.
In a business sense, Alabama can’t be pointed out in one location on a map. As the Alabama Department of Commerce is proud to point out, Alabama is everywhere.
Our Southern state is a global leader, exporting goods to about 200 foreign markets and attracting international business investment in high tech industries like aviation and automobile manufacturing. Our exports are up more than 50 percent since 2009, reaching $19.3 billion in 2013. Our transportation equipment exports have more than doubled in that time frame, reaching $8.3 billion.
There are plenty of reasons why Alabama is helping lead the way in global business. My favorite reason is this: teamwork.
The Export Alabama Alliance is a coalition of state and federal agencies, trade associations, and private organizations that have one mission in mind: helping Alabama grow through trade. We work hand-in-hand to support Alabama’s manufacturers, chemical companies, agriculture producers, and any other business looking to succeed in international markets.
We work with the ports for shipping intelligence, we contact our specialists overseas to understand market regulations, and we keep in touch with the chambers of commerce to understand the needs of Alabama’s businesses.
It’s an extraordinary level of cooperation, and it’s working. Of the eight companies recognized by Governor Bentley this year for export excellence, every one of them worked with the Alliance on some aspect of their international business plan.
As Alabama recognizes World Trade Week this week, we’re excited to celebrate the successes of our exporters and our subsidiaries of foreign-owned companies. We’ll toast to the thousands of jobs supported by global business throughout the state.
We’re also looking forward to bringing more of our small businesses into the global marketplace. If you’re ready to get started, we’re here to help!