International Trade Numbers Showing Strength

By Ramona du Houx

December 1, 2010

Through September of this year Maine has been ranked as the 5th fastest growing State in the U.S. for exports. If that trend continues through the end of the year, 2010 will be a record year for Maine exports.

Speaking at the 15th Annual Governor’s Breakfast hosted by the World Affairs Council of Maine and the Maine International Trade Center, Governor Baldacci talked about Maine’s export strength and recent initiatives to further expand investments in the State.

“During this deep recession, Maine has taken important steps to remain competitive in the international market,” said Governor Baldacci. “Maine is positioned to take advantage of a global economy more than ever before.”

Between 2002 and 2008, Maine exports rose more than $1 billion. Through the third quarter of 2010, exports are up 37 percent over the previous year. More small and medium sized businesses are exporting from Maine. High tech machinery, biotech and medical products, aircraft components, advanced materials, and Maine’s food products are being exported at increasing levels.

“Maine’s export strength and stability is a testament to traditional industries that have modernized, and to new entrepreneurs who have realized the key to their success is a global strategy,” said the Governor. “The progress of the past eight years positions us well for the future.”

Governor Baldacci outlined early progress of his Invest in Maine program, which seeks to aggressively pursue foreign direct investments.

“We have brought together business leaders and stakeholders to move an international investment strategy forward, attracting capital to Maine to continue research, investment and economic growth,” said the Governor. “We launched the initiative by tying in the expertise and connections of the Maine International Trade Center with the support of private donors and the Maine Technology Institute.”

Invest in Maine actively connects international investors to specific opportunities in the State. The initiative is also focused to position Maine as a leading destination for advanced materials and renewable energy technology investments.

Invest in Maine’s investment attaché recently returned from a series of meetings with industry leaders in Japan and South Korea. Meetings in those countries focused on Maine’s renewable energy successes and manufacturing and logistics capacities. Investment groups from Spain, France, Germany and Norway have also visited the State in recent months.

As a result of the interest from Asian counterparts, the Trade Center is launching an Energy and Education Trade Mission to South Korea to take place next March. The mission will be a great opportunity for Maine to show off its quality secondary schools and colleges as well as establishing itself as a Center of Excellence in renewables, composites and the advanced materials industries.

“I’m proud of the legacy we have built together,” said Governor Baldacci. “Facing our challenges and leveraging the quality of our Maine products, strong workforce, and unique capacities of our great State, I am confident that the future will be bright for Maine’s economy and people.”