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– Valley International Trade Association Newsletter, May 2008

Reviving American Competitiveness

We live in a highly interdependent and interconnected economy. There is no room for reversing the globalization trend, even if we wanted to. Globalization is here to stay due to several reasons:

  • The majority of the manufacturing base in the U.S. has disappeared.
  • We have become an energy dependent nation.
  • We rely on other nations, such as China, to finance our ever-growing national debt. The countries in the Middle East, Dubai, Qatar, and Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth funds have become crucial to the big U.S. commercial banks and investment firms in responding to the recent sub-prime meltdown.
  • Major American employers hire from overseas to meet their technical and specialized skill and talent needs because of domestic security and immigration restrictions, cost-saving measures and today’s fully wired/wireless/24-7 business world.

Our formidable competitive advantages are the innovation, creativity and ingenuity of the American entrepreneurs. We need to mobilize small and mid-sized companies to take on the competition in the fast-growth emerging markets and economies. Here are important steps we, as International Trade professionals, need to undertake to revive American competitiveness:

  • Helping small business owners understand that once they are set up to have a web presence they are already a global company. And supporting them to be export-ready.
  • Teaming up with government organizations to promote Brand America, which stands for stellar quality standards.
  • Promoting free trade agreements to include both the people-to-people and business-to-business trade. We need to be ready for a world where knowledge workers around the world are hired online on a demand basis.
  • Putting together a simple and user-friendly international trade education aimed at sharpening the competitiveness of the people and businesses.

The emergence of a billion consumers from different parts of the world and rising numbers of internet users to three billion by the year of 2011 (stated by Silicon Valley marketing expert Tom Hayes in his new book, “Jump Point”) will bring in a tough global competition. We need to be well prepared to maintain our world economic leadership.

Ayse Oge, President of Ultimate Trade, International Trade Consulting, Speaking and Training. She can be reached by e-mail oge@earthlink.net