Regional officials unveil St. Louis export initiative

Amidst the backdrop of flattening global trade growth, Brexit and U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump’s threats to scrap international trade deals, area leaders on Tuesday unveiled a new plan to grow the St. Louis region’s exports.

Things have looked better for global trade, but it’s precisely the uncertain outlook that makes it more important for St. Louis to have its own blueprint for getting products and services abroad, said World Trade Center St. Louis Executive Director Tim Nowak following the announcement of the new plan at Washington University on Tuesday afternoon.

Coordinating the St. Louis region’s organizations and companies to better take advantage of global markets will be a new entity — the St. Louis Trade Commission — housed in the World Trade Center St. Louis. The St. Louis Economic Development Partnership is on board and the St. Louis Regional Chamber has agreed to help fund the initiative over the next three years.

Much of the commission’s work will focus on coordination and organization, giving entities a go-to spot for export information and data on in-demand regional products and commodities and promising foreign markets.

The plan also calls for engaging smaller businesses in the region that may be hesitant or unaware of opportunities abroad. Specifically, the St. Louis region’s startup community is a prime target, and the area’s network of incubators and accelerators offer a good entryway to inform those communities about resources and organizations that can help them find customers globally.

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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