ARC Launches Global Appalachia Export Initiative
CHARLESTON, WEST VIRGINIA, September 27, 2011—The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) has launched a new $1.5 million export initiative that ARC Federal Co-Chair Earl F. Gohl said would create new jobs and opportunities in Appalachia.
The Global Appalachia export program, which furthers the goals of the National Export Initiative announced by the Obama administration, will support use of Web-based technologies to help enhance small-business exporting in the 13 Appalachian states. It also supports the export of Appalachia's unique products and assets, such as its specialty foods, mining equipment, and technology and service products. The program is projected to generate $150 million in export revenues over the next three years.
Gohl praised small businesses that implement aggressive export strategies, noting that they could dramatically improve their sales.
West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller said he was pleased to partner with ARC on the initiative, calling it "vitally important" to his state in opening new markets for businesses to sell their products in.
Senator Joe Manchin called the initiative "essential for economic growth" and said that ARC was leading the way in promoting Appalachian businesses around the world.
Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito said that the nation's economic challenges made targeting federal investment in programs creating jobs a priority, with ARC "one place where we should be devoting dollars."
West Virginia Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette welcomed the initiative, noting that it would make Appalachian businesses' Web sites internationally friendly and help prepare businesses to participate in trade shows.
The Global Appalachia initiative builds on ARC's Appalachia USA program, which is aimed at expanding the Region's export success. The program is overseen by ARC's Export Trade Advisory Council, representing the 13 Appalachian states and ARC's federal government export partner, the U.S. Commercial Service.
Exports support nearly 10 million jobs in the United States. Research shows that companies that export grow faster than companies that don't. They also pay higher wages and are less likely to fail.