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Increasing Nevada's Exports

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Making money internationally was the topic today at a special exporting seminar at TMCC today (Monday). The message there: Nevada businesses need to go where the growth is. The money is out there.

Exports are more important than ever. As gaming declines, high hopes are being placed on exports to ratchet up Nevada's economy. Right now, 1 in 5 jobs in Nevada is involved in exporting goods. The folks we met at the seminar said we could do better than that.

Andrew Edlefsen, director of the U.S. Export Assistance Center in Las Vegas told us, "Nevada hasn't been an exporting internationally-minded base. But it's in a position to look globally and get our products into more markets."

Here's how we stand now: most of our exports are minerals and ores, followed by gaming products, parts and electronics. Our top export markets: Switzerland, India and, Canada…mainly for our gold. It's still not enough. The state's exports totaled $10.2 billion last year. It sounds like a lot, but not in comparison. The city of San Diego alone exports $17 billion. Among states, Nevada ranks only 34th in export revenue.

There's certainly a lot of room to grow. Terry Culp, now with Nevada Industry Excellence, used to be a manufacturer. He thinks too many Nevada businesses are missing out. As he told us, "Here in the U.S. in a flat economy, the only way a company can grow is to steal market share from his competitor, whereas if they go where 95% of the products in the world are being sold, it's wide open. And they go in with an edge because U.S. products are in high demand."

And northern Nevada already has advantages to work with. David Leonard of the U.S. Small Business Administration told us that in Reno, "Logistics are number one. It's easy to get things out. We have a great airport here. We bring a lot of goods in here to assemble and send them out to other places."

Governor Sandoval knows how important this is. He led a trade mission to China and South Korea last fall. And in 2 weeks, Nevada officials and business owners visit again in China. That's where the money is, and there's room to grow. China is America's third-largest export market, but only Nevada's fourth. As Leonard reminded us, "Around 22% of the world's wealth is in China. We want some of that. There's a lot of money there."

-written by John Potter

There are several resources where local businesses can learn about exporting, and find help in making some international connections. Here's a web resource to get started:

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