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New Initiative Seeks to Further Promote Exports from Rural Businesses

Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

President Obama announced recently a new “Made in Rural America” export and investment initiative designed to “help rural businesses and leaders take advantage of new investment opportunities and access new customers and markets abroad.” The president’s Rural Council, in coordination with the departments of Agriculture and Commerce, the Small Business Administration, the Export-Import Bank, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and other agencies, has been tasked with implementing a comprehensive strategy that includes the following specific commitments to be provided over the next nine months.

- host five regional forums to provide rural leaders and businesses with information about federal and other resources available to help expand exports as well as training from experienced exporters and federal officials on the basics of exporting, accessing federal support, and participating in major trade events, shows and missions

- convene a conference to connect major investors with rural business leaders, high-level government officials, economic development experts and other partners and highlight successful projects in energy, biofuels and bioproducts, infrastructure, healthcare, manufacturing, and local and regional food systems

- host training sessions to equip local USDA rural development staff in all 50 states plus territories with the tools they need to counsel businesses on export opportunities and resources

- provide enhanced export counseling for rural businesses to connect with foreign buyers through U.S. Export Assistance Center trade specialists

- coordinate across the administration to promote rural-produced goods and services at trade events including trade missions, buyer programs, trade shows and other promotion programs

- educate local leaders across the country on the importance of rural exports

- use the BusinessUSA online platform to better connect rural businesses with export and investment resources and coordinate support from across the federal government

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