Access to export capital continues to be one of the largest barriers for American small business exporters. While the federal government does have successful programs for helping small businesses find the financing necessary to become exporters, another potential Congressional roadblock is showing the importance of state programs to keep goods moving. The U.S. Export-Import Bank, also known as the EX-IM Bank, is the official export-credit agency of the United States. The bank’s mission is to support American jobs by facilitating exports of domestic goods and services through direct loans, loan guarantees, working capital and export credit insurance

More than 80 percent of the world’s purchasing power resides outside the United States—that’s a lot of customers for U.S. businesses. More than one in five American jobs—38.1 million—depend on international trade. In addition, foreign-owned companies employ 5.3 million Americans.
Looking to the global marketplace for economic development and paying attention to export and import trends is no longer an option for state policymakers—it is a necessity.

CSG Midwest
The United States and Canada signed a preclearance agreement in March that will allow people traveling from one country to the other to be prescreened before they cross the border. When fully implemented, thisAgreement on Land, Rail, Marine, and Air Transport will allow U.S. agents to be stationed in Canada (and Canadian agents in the United States) and to carry out immigration, customs and agriculture inspections of people entering the U.S. from Canada by any mode of transportation.
 
 
A preclearance program for airline passengers is already in place at eight of the largest Canadian airports; it will be expanded under the new accord.
 

In his State of the Union speech earlier this year, President Obama promoted international trade as a way to improve the U.S. economy. As the federal government focuses on concluding two large free trade agreements on the international front, state trade offices are well positioned to help small businesses navigate the export process here at home. And the State International Development Organizations, a CSG affiliate program commonly known as SIDO, is helping states do this even better.

CSG Midwest
The busiest commercial border crossing in North America may finally be on its way to expansion. On February 18, the U.S. and Canadian governments and the state of Michigan announced an agreement to build and operate a new U.S. customs plaza, one of the last major hurdles to the construction of a new bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.

The Border Legislative Conference, a program of The Council of State Governments West, released a report, “The U.S.-Mexico Border Economy in Transition,” at the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. The report is the result of four Regional Economic Competitiveness Forums held along the U.S.-Mexico border in 2014 to collectively generate a shared vision and policy recommendations to strengthen economic competitiveness. The report lays out the major issues involved in border region economic development, compiles the many innovative ideas developed at the forums and weaves them into a series of policy recommendations that draw on the experiences of those who understand the border best: the individuals who live in border communities and who cross back and forth between Mexico and the United States as a part of their daily lives.

CSG Midwest
Moving workers across the United States’ northern border can be a challenge, one that interferes with a person’s ability to obtain a temporary job and can impact business operations as well. But both the United States and Canada are taking steps to fix this problem, with the dual goals of easing skills shortages in certain economic sectors and giving unemployed workers more options.
 

The U.S. Department of Commerce wants state leaders to think about education when considering their export programs. “When it comes to education, we look at education as a very important service sector,” said Joan Kanlian, director of the Westchester Export Assistance Center in New York. “It currently is the seventh largest service sector export in the U.S. In certain areas, it can be the predominant export.” Kanlian was one of the featured speakers during a recent CSG eCademy session called, “States Take Global Approach to Higher Education.” She said the Commerce Department provides a variety of assistance for states that are looking to recruit more international students to their schools.

States know that increased international exposure can contribute to economic growth and increased trade and foreign investment. While higher education institutions traditionally have focused on recruiting international students, several states now are formalizing their approach to attracting foreign students and encouraging foreign exchange in strategic economic and workforce development plans. This eCademy session identifies trends in state government activity supporting internationalization and examines why this is an area of increasing opportunity for states.

CSG Midwest
At a time when commodity prices are the lowest in years, agricultural producers have been looking for ways to increase demand. One answer to the market problem, it turns out, could be just 90 miles away from the U.S. border. That is because agriculture — a major Midwestern strength — stands to be one of the biggest potential beneficiaries of President Obama’s plan to ease economic and trade restrictions with Cuba.

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