Small businesses take part in government-sponsored exports forum
More than 100 local local entrepreneurs had the chance to learn about new programs and services to increase their exports or begin the process of exporting, as well as establishing ties with local and federal officials, international business experts and international banking and insurance professionals during Thursday’s Global Access Exporter Forum.
The event, sponsored by Puerto Rico Trade and the U.S. Export-Import Bank, was included in the latter’s seminar agenda in benefit of the island’s business community, P.R. Trade Executive Director and Economic Development Secretary José Pérez-Riera.
“Our entrepreneurs gained access to bank officials who informed them about the various tools available through the entity,” Pérez-Riera said, referring to the Ex-Im Bank’s offers.
The Ex-Im Bank is the official export credit agency of the United States, whose mission is to assist in financing the export of U.S. goods and services to international markets. The entity enables U.S. companies to turn export opportunities into real sales that help to maintain and create U.S. jobs and contribute to a stronger national economy, according to its own description on its web site.
“The increase in exports is vital to our economic recovery, and we will not achieve our export potential without the participation of small businesses,” said Diane Farrell, Ex-Im board member who was on the island for the workshop. “That’s why the Ex-Im Bank is committed to encouraging a greater number of small businesses to use our funding, and in so doing, create and maintain jobs in our nation.”
Ex-Im Bank has supported more than $456 billion of U.S. exports, primarily to developing markets worldwide.
During her participation, Farrell offered details of the entity’s Global Access initiative, which she said is the model of how government and the private sector can come together to support U.S. and Puerto Rican businesses, stimulate job creation in the private sector, and strengthen long-term economic growth through exports.
In Puerto Rico there are several companies that have benefited from the programs provided by the Ex-Im Bank, Farrell said, mentioning B & B Manufacturing and Foam Pack of Puerto Rico Inc., as examples.
B&B Manufacturing, a company dedicated to the auto industry and electronic equipment, is mostly based on exports. In its operations, it has used the Ex-Im Bank’s programs and services, which in turn contributed to job creation, she said.
Meanwhile, Foam Pack has been using the bank’s services to strengthen its export operations, breaking into Caribbean and Central American markets earlier this year, following the approval of a new exports policy.
“In the new global economy we can not stand by waiting someone to come knocking on our door to do business, we have to monitor market trends closely and have the flexibility to move quickly to where the growth is,” Pérez-Riera said.