2014 SIDO Washington Forum
2014 SIDO WASHINGTON CONFERENCE
JUNE 18-20, 2014
Wade Merritt – Vice President, Maine International Trade Center (MITC)
Thank you for joining us for the 2014 SIDO Washington Forum. SIDO is the only national platform representing state international trade promotion professionals, offering the opportunity to share best practices on export promotion and investment attraction, and providing a platform for valuable discussion on state-federal cooperation in these areas.
States’ impressive success with the State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) program has made its continuation and structure a key advocacy priority for SIDO. While the 2014 federal budget allocated only $8 million for the third tranche of STEP, its inclusion in a budget that touched every corner of the federal government demonstrates recognition by leaders in Congress of the importance of state international export promotion. It is vital we encourage and build on this support by providing information to our congressional delegations and ensuring our Governors are fluent in the success and importance of STEP to businesses in our states. SIDO applauds the efforts of Senators Cantwell and Risch to establish a permanent STEP program and we will prioritize coordination with our federal partners to provide the best possible chance of success for the State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) Utilization Program for American Small Businesses Act.
Over the years, the SIDO network has not only become good friends but valued colleagues – helping each other navigate changing trends and demands and maximizing the effectiveness of our stretched resources. Although state programs are structured differently and our budgets range from zero to millions - our mission remains the same – boosting small business exports with the highest return on investment. Encouraging the participation of the next generation of state international trade promotion professionals in our network and our tradition of best practice and resource sharing is a SIDO priority. We are uniquely positioned to offer the knowledge of trade directors with decades of experience to those just starting in their careers.
Our annual gatherings are about networking with each other as much as they are about connecting with federal agencies, Congress and service providers. In this welcome guide you will find a brief introduction to the programs of this year’s participating states. I hope you will take a moment to familiarize yourself with the highlighted meeting goals of each state and take advantage of our days together to learn from each other.
Finally, I’d like to thank my colleagues for their commitment to growing SIDO. We’ve made great strides in the past two years of my presidency, and I look forward to continuing that trend under the new leadership of Jean Davis. I have no doubt that she will be a tremendous leader and asset for SIDO members. Please help me welcome Jean on her new role as President.
Vice President, Maine International Trade Center (MITC)
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