Opinion Columns & Blogs

Karyn Page: Increase wealth by increasing exports

A simple truth shapes the economic future of Wichita, our region and the state of Kansas: The best way to increase our wealth is to export more of our products, attracting new dollars that become part of our economic foundation.

On June 2, Wichita will host one of the most important economic events of our time, as federal and state officials gather for the ExportNow conference at the Hyatt Regency.

The event is targeted at the hundreds of Kansas companies ready to join the list of successful exporters that have propelled Wichita to the top of export communities.

A 2010 Brookings Institution report identified Wichita as the most export-dependent community in the nation from 2003 to 2008. Unfortunately, the global economic recession of the past few years has greatly eroded our export base.

We're still positioned to return to that leadership position. All it takes is greater awareness among our manufacturing firms and business community and the willingness to explore this unprecedented opportunity.

The June 2 conference will bring potential exporters together with federal and state officials and successful Kansas exporters who know the value of selling to foreign markets.

The stakes are enormous. In 2010, Kansas exported $10 billion worth of goods, which supported as many as 60,000 much-needed jobs.

The goal of the conference is to start a process that will double our state's exports, consistent with President Obama's national goal. Less than one percent of America's 30 million companies export, and 58 percent of those exports go to only one country.

Simply adding one more country to that list will bring measurable economic progress. If we can double our exports, job creation will return to pre-recession levels and far beyond.

The goal transcends politics and benefits our entire state with potential value for every corner of Kansas, from our agricultural communities to our thriving manufacturing centers in urban areas.

Conference attendees will have access to a variety of specialized benefits, including the availability of export-financing expertise, a key component for any successful export venture.

Potential exporters, small or large, face a daunting task in establishing themselves in the global marketplaces. The many regulations, forms and restrictions can overwhelm the aspiring exporter. Often unsure of where to turn, they will find a wealth of expert guidance and resources at the ExportNow conference.

The urgency of the moment can't be overstated. Every day, new markets emerge. Every day, foreign markets such as China and India broaden their reach. And every day, competitors around the globe are positioning themselves to take advantage of this economic opportunity.

The June 2 conference is open to all interested parties. Advance registration is $80, an affordable rate made possible by a host of corporate and industry sponsors. For more information, visit the Kansas World Trade Center website at www.kansaswtc.org or call 316-264-5982.