Increasingly, American companies rely on parts from overseas to reflect prices, quality or supply. That can get complicated because of trade rules, financing issues and differing quality rules among nations. However, for American companies to have a solid future, they must export to other available markets.
There can be some of the same issues in imports, as some local companies heard Thursday during a seminar sponsored by World Trade Center Buffalo Niagara.
"Companies really can't afford to just focus on domestic markets," said World Trade Center Buffalo Niagara President and CEO John Manzella. "U.S. companies have no choice but to expand internationally or, I think, face severe consequences in the near future. So it's not a question of: Should we export or should we not? The question is you really have to export."
It is a quest for survival, he told the event at the Larkin at Exchange.
"You find that companies that are involved internationally, they tend to have a stronger, a more sustainable strategy and tend to be a more sustainable provider of taxes in the region," Manzella said. "They tend to be a more sustainable employer. The bottom line is companies that export overall tend to be stronger than those that don't."
Jim Trubits, Vice President of Mohawk Global Logistics, said companies can cause problems for themselves because they often do not understand the markets of other countries.
"I had someone that wanted to sell into another country and the Department of Commerce came and saw them and said, 'Look it, out of all these countries, the one that you're interested in is probably the lowest one. You selling into these markets, you're going to have more sales.' And that's really what it comes down to," Trubits said.
Trubits said there is help from many government agencies, who can watch imports carefully for compliance rules and exports to make sure a company does not ship something strategically important to a country with U.S. issues. He said there is a lot of help, with Albany often helping pay for translations of operating manuals for products to be exported.
"World population 95 percent. U.S. population 5 percent," Trubits said.