The Southern US Trade Association (SUSTA) Joins Effort to Grow U.S. Exports


Online PR News – 21-October-2010 – – The Southern United States Trade Association (SUSTA) fully supports the federal government's National Export Initiative, which aims to double U.S. exports over the next five years, and the trade association's uniquely successful export development programs can help meet that goal. The National Export Initiative (NEI) is a historic effort that aims to spur job creation and economic growth through exports. SUSTA is already working toward this goal thanks to the Market Access Program (MAP). MAP is one of the few programs available to help level the international playing field for U.S. agricultural exporters in the face of increasingly subsidized foreign competition. Since its creation by the federal government in 1985, MAP has become a vital gateway for small businesses in the food and agriculture industry to access international markets and grow their sales overseas. Administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service, MAP is a vehicle through which American businesses partner with non-profit organizations to share the cost of overseas marketing and promotional activities - such as participating in international trade shows and trade missions - in order to boost export sales. A recent independent study of MAP results shows the program's positive impact on the American economy. The study demonstrated that for every MAP dollar spent by government and industry on export development, U.S. exports rose by $35, delivering a 35-to-1 return on investment. "Continued investment in this program is justified by the track record of success it has built," says SUSTA Executive Director Jerry Hingle. That is why SUSTA and other agricultural trade organizations hope Congress and the White House will continue to fund MAP at its current level of $200 million. "We've already demonstrated what MAP can do," he said. "Continued funding will ensure that we can provide more opportunities around the globe for American companies and help achieve our country's goal of growing exports." The results of MAP have a direct impact on U.S. employment, supporting tens of thousands of jobs, according to the USDA. These jobs are not just in the farming sector but also include transportation, processing and packaging and extend from rural communities to urban centers in every state. "These jobs are based on American land and its products," added Bernadette Wiltz, SUSTA's deputy director and international marketing director, "so they generally are secure from outsourcing. Still, agricultural businesses need assistance to grow and compete overseas." International market development programs are permitted by World Trade Organization rules, with no limit on funding amounts, and this has made them pivotal components for the promotional strategies of competitors around the globe. Foreign competitors invest approximately $1.2 billion annually in market development activities, many of which are in direct competition with U.S. producers. "With our competitors spending more than five times what we do on export development in this sector, the National Export Initiative should help U.S. exports regain their share of international markets and rally support behind successful programs such as these," adds Hingle. SUSTA is a non-profit trade development association comprised of the Departments of Agriculture of the 15 southern states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Since 1973, its programs and services have assisted exporters of high-value food and agricultural products. SUSTA is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), its member states and private companies.