Press Release

Gillibrand Urges Feds to Bring “Made In Rural America” Export Forum to Upstate New York

May 2, 2014

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and the President’s Export Council, today called on the Administration to host a “Made in Rural America” export forum in New York. New York State is one of the nation’s top exporters, ranking third in total exports among all states. In 2013 alone, New York produced an estimated $84 billion in overseas business. “Made in Rural America” initiative would help strengthen rural exports by assisting small and midsize rural businesses overcome obstacles to reach untapped overseas markets.

“One of the best ways to spur economic growth in our nation is unlocking the potential of our small businesses and helping them to participate in the global marketplace,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Assisting rural companies in accessing a staggering 95 percent of consumers that live outside the United States would boost our local economy. This forum will highlight everything we’re already doing right here in upstate New York and help us to enhance and expand our efforts.”

New York State companies have particularly benefited from the strong border economy with Canada, which as a trading partner receives close to 17 percent of total New York exports. The state’s exporting companies also do substantial business in markets as far as Switzerland, Hong Kong, Israel and China.

Manufacturing remains the top exporting sector for New York, with nearly one quarter of all manufacturing workers, including many in rural communities in New York, depending on exports for their jobs.  Such export-related manufacturing jobs make up close to 10 percent of all private sector employment in New York.  Further, jobs in export industries account for nearly one in 10 jobs in the upstate New York regions of Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse.  Also, New York is the third highest exporter of dairy products in the nation and among the top ten states in exporting fruit and vegetable products. 

The “Made in Rural America” initiative is led by the White House Rural Council in coordination with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Small Business Administration, the Export-Import Bank, the Office of the United States Trade Representative, the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Delta Regional Authority, and is focused on providing rural businesses with a variety of support services to better connect them to new customers and markets abroad. The proposed regional forums will link up rural communities and businesses with experienced exporters and federal officials to receive training on the basics of exporting, accessing federal export assistance, and ways to participate in major trade events and trade shows across the country as well as overseas trade missions.

Senator Gillibrand’s complete letter to U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is attached.