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The Global Business Club gets a basic guide to exporting

Publish Date: Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Doug Barry, Senior International Trade Specialist with the U.S. Department of Commerce, is from the government and he is here to help you.

Barry spoke to the Global Business Club on September 22 at the University Club. His speech, titled "A basic guide to exporting after Bernie Madoff," explored ways companies can export to generate economic growth and create jobs.

U.S. exports were worth about 1.2 trillion dollars in 2008. The value of exports is predicted to drop in 2009, but there is room for tremendous growth for U.S. businesses.

"In 2008, 264,000 U.S. companies sold something abroad," Barry said. "Fifty-four percent of those exported only to a single market. Can you imagine what would happen if we doubled the number of markets companies exported to from one to two?"

The U.S. is the third largest exporter in the world, behind Germany and China, but only two percent of U.S. businesses currently export goods or services.

One way to increase the number of exporters is to help companies through the exporting process. According to a survey by the U.S. Commercial service, one of the main barriers to exporting is a lack of knowledge.

To help companies learn more, the U.S. Commercial Service released the new version of their book, "A Basic Guide to Exporting," so companies could get an introduction to the exporting process.

Barry spoke about the book in his morning session at the University Club, where he talked about the steps to exporting and resources available for companies interested in expansion.

Barry wrote the new version of the book to "demystify the process of going international and to provide a systematic basis of what to know in order to make that first sale," he said.

The MSU-CIBER, with the cooperation of the U.S. Commercial Service, created 17 online course modules developed from the new version of "A Basic Guide to Exporting."

The modules contain narrated PowerPoint presentations, visual aids and text so people can get the information they need in many ways. The free modules are available on the globalEDGE website: (

The International Business Center is also offering free consulting for businesses interested in international expansion through the new Michigan Export Growth Program sponsored by the Ford Foundation. 

The goal of the program is to foster new economic growth in Michigan by encouraging international expansion. More information about the program can be found online at

 The U.S. Commercial Service offers many services for companies interested in exporting. With their 165 offices in more than 80 countries, they have many resources to help U.S. businesses find markets and guide them through the exporting process. More information can be found at

The Global Business Club of Mid-Michigan meets six times a year to focus on global issues important to mid-Michigan businesses. It is sponsored by Michigan State University's Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER), the Greater Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, Lansing Community College, The Center for Advanced Study of International Development (CASID) at MSU, the MSU College of Law, Foster, Swift, Collins & Smith, P.C., the Michigan Manufacturers Association and the Eli Broad College of Business.