Export Markets, Even More Important During a Recession

By October 6, 2009Economy, Trade

More on the recurring theme, a Chicago Tribune story, “A rebalancing act,” with the subhed, “U.S. firms sharpen focus on overseas consumers.”

WASHINGTON – — With American consumers cutting back in response to the recession, many U.S. companies increasingly are looking outward, toward fast-developing countries like China, India and Brazil.

But instead of seeing those countries primarily as cheap producers of goods, both American manufacturing firms and giant multinational corporations see them as potential customers for U.S. products and services. And it reflects what may be the beginning of a shift in the global economy, a rebalancing in which the world relies less on U.S. consumers and more on consumer spending in places such as China.

General Electric’s Jeff Immelt is a leading advocate of making exports a larger part of the U.S. manufacturing economy, serving growing markets overseas. But it’s not just giants like GE that have a stake in the game.

Without their overseas customers, companies like Power Curbers Inc., a small construction-equipment maker in Salisbury, N.C., probably would have gone bankrupt in the recession.

“We’re fortunate that infrastructure development is going on in other countries,” said Dyke Messinger, Power Curbers’ president. He said 75 percent of his sales this year are international, compared with 25 percent two years ago.

Dyke is a director and member of the NAM’s Executive Committee.

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