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Wichita part of new global trade network

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013, at 11:23 a.m.

A national think tank announced Thursday that it will assist Wichita in developing its ability to export goods and services.

Wichita is one of a group of eight cities in the Exchange, a program created by the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase. In the program, Brookings will help local institutions and companies focus more intensely on global trade and economic competitiveness.

Other cities in the Exchange are Atlanta; Greenville, S.C.; Indianapolis; Jacksonville, Fla.; Milwaukee; Phoenix and Sacramento, Calif. Eventually 20 cities will be in the network, according to Brookings.

After the country fell into recession, Brookings studied how U.S. cities could recover in a slow-growing economy. One path: increase exports and focus on faster-growing parts of the globe, said Brad McDearman, fellow and director of the Metro Export Initiatives for Brookings Institutions.

Under the program, local governments and companies will work together to write a plan that will lay out the community’s strategies for building exports. Often, McDearman said, it means building a culture in which small and medium-sized companies think about how to export first, rather than to supplement other business – or not at all.

“It’s a matter of being more intentional about a community’s global engagement,” he said.

Writing such a plan takes about a year, he said. Brookings experts will act as coaches.

The city of Wichita referred questions on the announcement to Kansas World Trade Services, which didn’t return a phone call Thursday.

In a news release issued Thursday, the city of Wichita quoted Stan Ahlerich, Kansas Global Trade Services chairman, as saying it was “a tremendous opportunity.”

Reach Dan Voorhis at 316-268-6577 or dvoorhis@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @danvoorhis.

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