Chilton County holds Exporting 101 workshopBy Emily Etheredge Published 4:45pm Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Members of the Export Alabama Alliance team met with Chilton County business owners on Tuesday to discuss ways to meet a foreign demand with Alabama products.
The workshop, Chilton County Export 101, was held at the Clanton Performing Arts Center at Jefferson State Community College’s Chilton-Clanton Campus from 9-11 a.m.
“Our chief objective is economic development,” Birmingham Business Alliance Vice President of Business Retention and Expansion Mark Brown said. “We want you to know other ways to increase your business.”
The program was geared toward small-and-medium sized businesses and focused on ways to support business growth through overseas exporting.
Robert Stackpole, who is the director of the Alabama office of the United States Department of Commerce U.S. Foreign and Commercial Services, provided financial information for Alabama products exported around the world.
Stackpole said in 2013, $19.3 billion in Alabama-made products and services was exported to 200 countries and Alabama ranked 23rd in the United States for total dollar volume of merchandise exports during 2013.
Vehicles and parts remained Alabama’s No. 1 export sector with more than $7.1 billion being shipped to more than 100 countries.
The top five export destinations were Canada ($4.3 billion), China ($2.5 billion), Germany ($2.2 billion), Mexico ($2.2 billion) and the United Kingdom ($693 million).
The top five Alabama-made products of merchandise exports during 2013 were transportation ($8.3 billion), chemicals ($2.5 billion), primary metals ($1.4 billion), minerals/ores ($1.4 billion) and machinery ($879 million).
“We want to make you aware of the different ways you can grow your business,” Stackpole said. “We want markets to sell to other countries.”
Tony Reynolds, who owns Taylor-Made Lumber Company in Maplesville, attended the seminar Tuesday in hopes of growing his family-owned company.
“My granddad started the company in 1952,” Reynolds said. “I know there are places throughout the world who want quality timber and I would love to look at opportunities to expand.”
Alabama International Trade Center Associate Director Michael Brooks and International Trade Specialist Dara Steele also attended Tuesday’s workshop.
Steele, Brooks and Stackpole all emphasized that international trade is critical to Alabama’s economy.
Chilton County Industrial Development Coordinator Fred Crawford said many people in Chilton County were not aware that local businesses had valuable resources to offer throughout the world.
“We have a lot of home-grown products that individuals are looking at,” Crawford said. “When you trace back those products to where they are made you would be amazed that a lot of them come from places in Chilton County.”