In 2011, Brookings developed the Metropolitan Export Initiative (MEI), a ground-up collaborative effort to help regional civic, business, and political leaders, with their states, create and implement customized Metropolitan Export Plans (MEP). At the heart of the initiative was the collaboration with four metro areas - Los Angeles, CA; Minneapolis-Saint Paul, MN; Portland, OR; and Syracuse, NY - to pilot such plans, which were released in the spring of 2012. These export plans applied market intelligence to better develop targeted, integrated export-related services and strategies and were critical elements of broader regional economic strategies.
As a result of our work, the President's Export Council and the President's National Export Strategy have cited the importance of metro-led export strategies. Furthermore, USCM has issued a challenge for 25 mayors to convene regional and state partners to pursue their own metro export / trade strategies.
In order to help meet this demand, Brookings has developed the Metropolitan Export Exchange (The Exchange), a six to 12 month long program that, in collaboration with the International Economic Development Council, will use a mix of classroom instruction, peer learning opportunities, regional team work assignments, and targeted advice to help multiple metropolitan areas successfully design and launch (and ultimately implement) their own export plan by the end of the exchange period.
Local teams will be fully responsible for the design and execution of their plans. Brookings will serve as a facilitator and outside advisor to the locally-led process. Much of the learning in this program is designed to occur through two scheduled workshops, associated readings and tools, monthly webinars, and a peer-to-peer exchange. Brookings will also provide some localized data, technical assistance, and guidance and feedback to support metro areas in their efforts to develop tailored metro export plans.
Brookings will host two cohorts with staggered starts - one beginning in fall 2012 and the other in spring 2013. Each cohort will include five to eight metropolitan teams, each involving up to five cross-sector participants. Each cohort will have two in-person peer sessions, with monthly conference calls and webinars scheduled throughout the 12 month program to allow teams to check-in, get feedback on any process issues, and learn about new tools or policy changes that will be helpful to them in their planning process. Teams will need to submit a Statement of Readiness, Capability, and Commitment to be eligible to participate in the Exchange. The purpose of this application will be to ensure that participating metropolitan areas come 'ready' and committed to design and implement their plans within a 12-month period.
July 18-20, 2012 - Targeted distribution of Exchange application for Cohort #1
Aug 17, 2012 - Applications due
Sept 3-7, 2012 - Cohort #1 is announced
Oct 16-17, 2012 - First session
Nov 2012-Jan 2013 - Monthly conference calls/webinar
Feb 2013 - Second session
Nov 2012 - Targeted distribution of Exchange application for Cohort #2
Dec 2012 - Applications due
Jan 2013 - Cohort #2 is announced
Mar 2013 - First session
Apr-Jun 2013 - Monthly conference calls/webinars
Jun-Jul 2013 - Second session
With U.S. consumer spending and the economy growing at a glacial pace, growth opportunities for American companies in the near-term will most likely come from growing markets like Asia and Latin America. Engaging in foreign markets is also a good long-term proposition. The shifting world economic map - with the United States' share of global economic output expected to stay unchanged while emerging economies continue to expand - alongside rapid urbanization and the rise of the global middle class is creating an enormous base of global customers for U.S. firms. Boosting American exports can capitalize on this growth and will yield compelling benefits at the national, state, and metro level. Exports have the potential to deliver new opportunities for economic growth and jobs (directly and through the supply-chain); boost the international competitiveness and global awareness of U.S. companies; create jobs that offer good pay and benefits to workers at all levels of education; and contribute to the rebalancing of the U.S. economy and a lower trade deficit. Metro areas, as the engines of the global economy and home of many of our nation's tradable sectors, have a real opportunity to partner with state and federal leaders to help firms tap growing markets and improve America's global competitiveness.
Yet, the majority of U.S. firms have not positioned themselves to seize new opportunities in the global marketplace. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, just 1 percent of American firms sell a product or service outside of the U.S. Furthermore, many states and metro areas have not adequately emphasized exports as a top economic development opportunity or priority, nor put in place the policies and staff to take advantage of the trade economy.