Why Colorado Needs to Manufacture Exports

By Karen Gerwitz | Nov 04, 2014

A common assumption is that Colorado’s strongest export is beef. In actuality, beef is our 4th largest commodity export. Manufactured goods, on the other hand, contribute 93% of our total exports as a state. Even if you combine our three top exports together – 1) Optical and Medical Equipment; 2) Industrial Machinery, including Computers; and 3) Electronics - they represent almost half of Colorado’s total exports, or roughly $4.8 billion. In terms of jobs, these exports created approximately 30,000 new, highly paid, highly skilled jobs for our state.

From an economic development perspective, you can see why government agencies want companies to expand exports – it brings new money and new jobs into our state. This is all well and good for our economy, but why do you think most owners of companies choose to export?

Here are 10 good reasons to manufacture in the U.S. and export products from here that we typically hear from our clients:

1) International markets may present opportunity as local markets mature.

2) The strength of foreign currencies allows exporters to offer high quality goods to global markets at a competitive price.

3) International markets below the equator present an opportunity to balance out our sales due to climate cycles.

4) Cost of materials, shipping, VAT and labor could make it advantageous for foreign markets to utilize U.S. manufactures to build components and equipment for South and Central American Markets.

5) Since regulatory hurdles are typically more advanced in the United States, most other market standards will be met without difficulty.

6) Different tastes and cultures provide an opportunity to tailor a product that could appeal to another market even more than our domestic one.

7) Through strategic partnerships a company can expand overseas without expending capital in a sales force or facilities.

8) Demand for U.S. made products remains high across the world.

9) My competitors globally are gaining market share in markets outside of their domestic market. If they can do it, so can I. After all, my product is superior.

10) The international market place presents an opportunity for growth, representing 95% of total potential customers.

Colorado ranks 34th among U.S. states in dollar value of merchandise and commodities exported. Our export growth is growing twice as fast as the national average. Colorado is centrally located in the Americas, and we can conduct business with both Europe and Asia in the same business day. We now have a Colorado brand that is being used across the state to proudly represent products made in Colorado.

Together with Company Week and the economic development agencies, the World Trade Center Denver wants to bring together this vibrant network of importers and exporters to learn from each other, share best practices, connect to international opportunities, and jointly celebrate successes. Manufacturers, we celebrate you this season and have designed a series of export training that will help you get on your way or fine tune your export efforts thus far. We know international business can be a little daunting if you are a small business trying to make ends meet, but we have seen time and time again a small company with a handful of employees can double or triple their sales and capacity by expanding to new markets.

Karen Gerwitz is the president of the World Trade Center Denver, a non-profit trade association connected to 330 World Trade Centers in 100 countries and serving the Rocky Mountain Region for 26 years. More information can be found at www.wtcdenver.org.