March 31, 2010

(Manchester, NH)-U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen today hosted the Granite State Export Forum to connect small- and medium-sized businesses across the state with state and federal resources to help them sell their products overseas, increase their bottom line, and create jobs in New Hampshire. Shaheen was joined by representatives from federal and state trade organizations as well as small business leaders.

"Exporting New Hampshire products and services to international markets will help the state's economy grow during these difficult times. Most importantly, increasing sales will help companies create jobs here in New Hampshire," said Shaheen. "However, starting to export can be challenging for small- and medium- sized businesses, and today's fair is a great opportunity for businesses to learn more about the state and federal resources available to them." 

Shaheen was joined by James A. Cox, Northeast Regional Director, U.S. Commercial Service; Bruce Drossman, Northeast & Mid-Atlantic Business Development Officer, U.S. Export-Import Bank; Lorraine Hariton, Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs, U.S. Department of State; Jenny Houston, Vice President of Business Development , Warwick Mills; Jeanne Hulit, Region I Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration; and Dawn Wivell, Director, N.H. International Trade Resource Center.

"Forums such as this are an important part of the State Department's efforts, in coordination with the Commerce Department and other agencies, to help U.S. companies increase exports in support of President Obama's National Export Initiative," said Hariton. 

"In consideration of the fact that nearly one quarter of New Hampshire's manufacturing jobs depend on exports, Senator Shaheen's continued commitment and dedication to the expansion of New Hampshire's international trade activities and the growth of our small businesses has been crucial. The Export Forum brought critical resources to New Hampshire businesses serving to fuel the export growth we are now experiencing," said Wivell.

"Senator Shaheen understands how important expanding our export business is for New Hampshire's economic recovery, and programs like the Export Forum can make a real difference in helping small businesses like Warwick get started," said Houston.

Since joining the Senate, Shaheen has cosponsored legislation to strengthen SBA programs that assist small exporters. Among other things, this legislation will improve access to capital by raising the loan limits and guarantees on the SBA export loan programs. Shaheen has cosponsored legislation to strengthen the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and ensure OPIC is dedicating resources to help small companies export. Shaheen also has cosponsored legislation to help businesses compete globally by expanding the scope of the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program and the Technology Innovation Program to include projects that have potential in international markets and to enhance the resources of the U.S. Commercial Service.

Shaheen was the first New Hampshire Governor to lead a trade mission overseas. The four trade missions she led during her six years as Governor resulted in $500 million in projected sales for New Hampshire businesses. As Governor, Shaheen significantly increased the state's investment in the International Trade Resource Center, which offers New Hampshire companies one-stop shopping for a wide range of services to help them develop new markets for their products and services. New Hampshire trade officials report that export activity supports more than 40,000 jobs in New Hampshire. 

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