Free Trade in the Blue Grass State
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The World Trade Center Kentucky hosted their annual World Trade Day conference, the largest gathering of international trade and business professionals in Kentucky. This annual event includes a trade exhibit hall, educational breakout sessions on trade topics, keynote speaker, and international trade awards.
This year, an audience of over 350 local business executives heard from South Korean Ambassador Y.J. Choi who gave the keynote address and discussed the opportunities that exist for Kentucky companies in Korea - especially now with the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement in force.
Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear highlighted the economic benefits of trade to the local economy. He said "I am on a mission to expand trade and foreign investment in Kentucky." In 2010, Kentucky launched the KY Export Initiative to help small companies enter the global marketplace.
Lexington Mayor Jim Gray was on hand to discuss an innovative new partnership he formed with Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. In November, the two mayors unveiled the Bluegrass Economic Advancement Movement, a business partnership between Kentucky's two largest cities to develop a joint regional business plan supporting the growth of high-quality jobs in advanced manufacturing. Gray says the goal for the BEAM program is to create jobs and increase exports by 50%.
Kentucky ranks 11th nationally for exports per capita and exports chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and much more to Korea, including Kentucky bourbon. Korea's 20% tariff on bourbon was eliminated immediately upon implementation of the trade agreement.
Here are some other Kentucky export statistics:
- Kentucky’s exports totaled more than $19.3 billion in 2010.
- Kentucky ranks 5th nationally for total exports among non-border and non-coastal states.
- Kentucky ranks in the top 10 nationally in exports to major world trading partners including Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, South Korea, and the United Kingdom.
- With nearly $10 billion in export sales through June 2011, Kentucky exports are up 2.9% over the same period in 2010.
Now we're off to Woodford Reserve. More to come....