The U.S. Department of Commerce has released new data showing the impact of exporting on our national economy, with Kentucky as one of only 11 states to achieve double-digit export growth last year from 2011.
In reality, Kentucky did much more — it proved its position as one of the best-performing states in 2012.
Not only is this a remarkable moment in time for the state, but for the job-creating businesses and the workers who made it possible.
The latest export data prove that significant and serious business opportunities exist beyond our borders. In fact, 95 percent of the world's consumers live outside of the United States. For many Kentucky companies, international marketing has become a critical element to business sustainability and growth.
In 2012 alone, nearly $22.1 billion in merchandise was exported from Kentucky, equating to the preservation and creation of thousands of jobs in industries including transportation, chemical production and manufacturing.
Kentucky is part of a positive trend of states fueling our nation's economic growth, and reinforcing our position as a magnet for quality jobs. U.S. jobs supported by exports increased to 9.8 million in 2012.
Exporting success stories are happening across the state. Take Louisville's Shamrock Marketing, a family-owned company that develops technologies for remanufacturing commercial vehicle tires. Since 2008, the company has successfully entered four new global markets — Germany, Poland, the Philippines and the United Kingdom — and landed a significant number of new contracts in the process.The company reports having doubled its sales, and credits the U.S. Commercial Service of Kentucky for helping make it possible. A key part of the International Trade Administration, the U.S. Commercial Service provides local businesses with trade counseling, market intelligence, business matchmaking and commercial diplomacy to connect with lucrative business opportunities.
The once-familiar refrain that America "imports everything and exports nothing" has now given way to these success stories and many more. And the trend is one that will continue due to the entrepreneurial spirit of America's businesses and workers.
It all starts with businesses and government working together to take advantage of a unique window of opportunity.
Since 2010, the International Trade Administration has helped more than 16,000 U.S companies achieve a verified export sale for a total of $164 billion in exports supported.
This level of support is only expected to grow during the coming years, as President Barack Obama referenced in his most recent State of the Union, and there are more resources available to local businesses than ever to explore the potential of exports.
Rapidly emerging markets across the globe are creating unprecedented demand for the kind of state-of-the-art products being developed here in Kentucky. More than 3,200 businesses across the state are already seeing that first hand.
As we applaud this latest achievement of Kentucky's economic recovery, we must also commit to ensuring that its momentum continues.
Continuing the creation of opportunities and support for U.S. companies to export their goods and services makes good economic sense — and American workers deserve nothing less.
Francisco J. Sanchez, undersecretary of commerce for international trade, leads the International Trade Administration