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Detroit Regional Chamber CEO: 3 Southeast Michigan sectors poised for export growth


January 28, 2013

By David Muller

DETROIT, MI – What three sectors are most poised for export aid in the Detroit area?

They are the ones you would suspect, Detroit Regional Chamber President and CEO Sandy Baruah said Monday, as a new office of the Export-Import Bank of the United States was announced for Detroit.

Gov. Rick Snyder, U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Congressmen John Dingell and Gayr Peters, and the Export-Import Chairman and President Fred Hochberg told local business leaders and others that the new office will help boost exports by regional companies and subsequently add jobs to the struggling local economy. The Export-Import Bank offers counseling to businesses looking to export, but also provides financial tools such as insurance on goods sold to foreign countries.

Here are three Southeast Michigan sectors that Baruah said are ready to expand what they sell abroad:

  • “They are really the exact same sectors that Southeast Michigan is known for, so one is advanced manufacturing. Advanced manufacturing is huge. And we’re really talking about advanced manufacturing for the customized, high-value-added composite  material parts that we do so well here. That was borne out of the auto industry but is now expanding into aerospace and medical devices.
  • Number two – medical devices. Michigan is really growing in medical devices and medical technology – it’s very strong.
  • And thirdly, is (Information Technology), IT services. We’re seeing kind of an outsource-to-Detroit trend where companies are moving here to Detroit, really here in the downtown corridor – to set up their IT shops.  They are providing services not just to Michigan-based companies or Greats Lakes-based companies, theyr’e providing services to the rest of the world.”

The latest Michigan export figures form the U.S. Census Bureau, which has numbers through 2011, show that automotive-related materials dominated the state’s wares sold abroad. In terms of dollar value, Canada is easily the number destination for Michigan goods, buying 46.2 percent of the state’s exports, followed by Mexico at 17.6 percent and China at 5.3 percent.

But small business still make up about 30 percent of all exports in Michigan, Export-Import Bank chairman Hochberg said Monday. Hochberg also said that 88 percent of the businesses the Export-Import Bank works with are small businesses, Hochberg said. The bank authorized more than $500 million to Michigan businesses in 2012.

Stabenow said that for every $1 billion in exports, some 7,000 jobs are created. Detroit as a region is fourth in the country in terms of exports, according to Stabenow, who was appointed to the President’s Export Council by both President Bush and President Obama.