Arkansas now has exporter directory

Trade center seeks to increase flow

The Arkansas World Trade Center on Monday published its first exporter directory designed to help state-based companies develop stronger ties with foreign and domestic companies.

The 103-page Arkansas Exporter Directory catalogs state businesses in 36 industries, including agriculture and aquaculture; logistics, supply chain and transportation; and chemicals and advanced materials.

"We've always been able to track statistics related to exporting and some importing to an extent but never had anything comprehensive to determine what businesses, companies and organizations are exporting," said Dan Hendrix, president and chief executive officer of the Arkansas World Trade Center in Rogers.

Hendrix said he viewed the directory as a tool for state companies to develop stronger relationships with foreign clients interested in their products.

For instance, "if a company in Argentina was looking in Arkansas for products, they now have access to a document that will help," said Rudy Ortiz, manager of client services with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.

"Exporting doesn't necessarily mean dealing with someone in Argentina either," Ortiz said. "They could be from Michigan."

The U.S. doesn't export as much as other countries, a deficit that the administration of President Barack Obama made a significant push to eliminate, Ortiz said. Gov. Asa Hutchinson and business leaders met last week to support a modernized North America Free Trade Agreement, saying Arkansas is one of several states that rely heavily on exports to Canada and Mexico.

"If we can increase exports ... that's how wealth is created," Ortiz said, not by pushing money around the state but by getting it from somewhere else.

The Arkansas World Trade Center has been working on an exporter directory for the past year. And the fruits of a comprehensive exporter database remain to be seen, but Hendrix said its been something employers have requested for years.

"There's a huge market out there for Arkansas products," Hendrix said.

Companies mentioned in the directory were compiled from Arkansas World Trade Center clients, state agency sponsors or those that sent an application for consideration.

Organizations including the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, the Arkansas Aerospace and Defense Alliance, the Arkansas Farm Bureau and the Arkansas secretary of state's office sponsored the directory.

If not listed in the directory, companies can fill out an application for consideration via the trade center's website. There is no application fee or charge to be included.

"The goal is to get everyone that's exporting, or wants to renew those efforts," Hendrix said.

Business on 01/23/2018