Why we're taking international trade into our own hands
Guest column by Luke Lindberg, South Dakota Trade
People often ask me, “why are you so passionate about exports”? My response is that five numbers tell most of the story. The numbers are 95, 41, 18, 0 and 8. Let’s start with the first three, which explain why exporting is important.
95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside of the United States of America. If your company isn’t exporting, you are effectively reducing your potential customer base to only 5 percent of the total global marketplace.
41 percent of products made by small businesses in America are ‘potentially exportable,’ according to a recent report from the U.S. Small Business Administration. As I’ve met with small businesses in South Dakota and across the United States, many have wondered whether their products could have broader distribution; based on SBA’s report, the answer for many is a resounding ‘yes.’
Jobs supported by exports pay, on average, 18 percent higher wages than those that are not supported by exports. My passion for exports is directly tied to a desire to create high-quality, well-paying jobs right here in South Dakota — currently over 27,000 jobs in our state are directly supported by exports.
South Dakota’s economy is strong. Unemployment is low. People are moving here to take advantage of our growing industries and low-tax environment. The future is bright. But for many companies, the domestic market can become saturated. Companies like Millborn Seeds in Brookings, CAW Industries in Rapid City, Ruffland Performance Kennels in Tea, Advanced Sunflower in Huron, and Terex Corporation in Watertown have all grown their businesses through exports.
Three things can help these and other companies across our state continue to grow: new sales from overseas markets, training and market research to help them export efficiently and securely, and a partner to walk them through this journey.
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