NASHVILLE – Gov. Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty have announced an international strategy focused on increasing the exports of Tennessee goods to key markets around the globe.
Efforts will be led by the International Division with new Export Development Offices in Mexico, the United Kingdom, Germany serving the entire European Union, and China. The announcement marks the first time since 1997 that the state has had overseas offices solely dedicated to advancing exports.
“Almost 20 percent of all Tennessee workers depend on the manufacture and sale of exported goods for their jobs,” Haslam said. “Tennessee-made goods are known the world over for their quality and dependability, and a new export strategy will continue to help us meet our goal of becoming the No. 1 state in the southeast for high quality jobs.”
During the last decade, total export volume in the state has more than tripled. More than 6,400 Tennessee businesses employing 80,000 workers sold nearly $30 billion worth of Tennessee products around the world in 2011 alone, ranking Tennessee the 14th largest exporting state in the U.S.
The export program, dubbed TNTrade, was announced in 2011, and two successful trade missions were led to Mexico with Tennessee automotive suppliers last July and another to China and South Korea with Tennessee medical device manufacturers and health care companies in April.
TNTrade will evolve to offer export assistance in key global markets, education and networking opportunities using resources provided by a U.S. Small Business Administration state trade and export program grant.
The coming year will focus on identifying and educating small and medium companies interested in exporting with an overall goal of increasing exports by 10 percent over the next three years.
Export Development Offices located in Mexico, the United Kingdom, Germany and China will help Tennessee small- and medium-size businesses navigate the exporting process. A variety of free services will be offered including business intelligence, market analysis, sales and marketing planning, identification of distribution partners and service providers, and company matchmaking.
Top export markets for Tennessee include Canada, Mexico, China, Japan and the United Kingdom, while top export commodities include medical equipment and supplies, motor vehicle parts, basic chemicals, computer equipment, and resin and synthetic rubber.