Trains, Planes and Automobiles…And so Much More

July 3, 2012

Tyler Voorhees is working in the Office of Public Affairs at the International Trade Administration for the summer. He is a junior at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.

Summer is finally here, the time when most Americans take time off from their busy work schedules and plan out a vacation or two. We either pack up the car for a family road trip, book flights to distant parts of the country or even load up the Recreational Vehicle (RV) and hit the road with no particular plans.

Shaking hands over a Harley-Davidson Softail are China’s Minister of Commerce, Chen Deming (right), and former Secretary of Commerce, current U.S. Ambassador to China, Gary Locke (center) (Photo Commerce)

Shaking hands over a Harley-Davidson Softail are China’s Minister of Commerce, Chen Deming (right), and former Secretary of Commerce, current U.S. Ambassador to China, Gary Locke (center) (Photo Commerce)

Given how much Americans love to travel, it is no wonder that we’ve developed one of the most sophisticated and competitive transportation industries, and by that we don’t just mean the iconic Detroit 3 or aerospace giant Boeing. America still manufactures a wide array of products that we lump together as “transportation.” This includes everything from recreational boats like kayaks, paddle boats and motorboats to the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which is truly a global effort with components manufactured all over the world.

Not only is domestic demand for these goods strong, there is also strong demand for our transportation goods abroad. Did you know that in 2011 the U.S. aerospace industry alone contributed more than $87 billion to U.S. exports sales? U.S. aerospace exports are expected to grow thanks to the largest aerospace show in 2012, the Farnborough Airshow in England. Boeing has decided to demonstrate its new 787 Dreamliner for foreign buyers and expects strong sales this year as airlines prepare to increase their fleet size in preparation for the air travel boom sparked by an expected increase in international travel and tourism.

Also, what may be even more surprising is that China is expected to be a huge market for many recreational transportation goods, including pleasure boats, motorcycles and RVs. Harley-Davidson, for example, already has eight full-service dealerships in China, and it plans to open even more in the coming years.  Also, the RV market in China is about to take off, according to industry experts.  ‘RVs have a long and glorious history in the West,’ says one Chinese entrepreneur in Beijing.  ‘Chinese are the same; we love the outdoors.  So we’re learning the American and Western RV culture.’

The transportation industry is also at the forefront of development in the sustainable economy. Many people don’t know that several U.S. automotive plants produce no waste, remanufacturing drastically reduces the material, energy, and water usage of the U.S. service parts industry, and that more than 95 percent of U.S. automobiles are recycled. Combined with the ongoing investments in vehicle efficiency technologies such as advanced combustion engines, hybrid and electric vehicles, the U.S. automotive industry is the very epitome of the mantra “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.”

For all of the reasons above, we’ve decided to spend the month of July highlighting the successes the transportation industry has enjoyed abroad and all that we do here at the International Trade Administration (ITA) to help American businesses abroad.

We will be highlighting innovative work that shows the unconventional ways that businesses can find customers abroad, grow their businesses and create good-paying jobs here in America during the process. Make sure to check our blog for new articles and follow us on Twitter at @TradeGov for interesting facts as the month goes on.

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