Exporting Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s overall exports were flat at about $23.1 billion in 2013, virtually unchanged from the year before.

However, a deeper dive into the numbers reveals that the fastest-growing export category for the state is its food and beverage sector, led by dairy, eggs, honey, etc. Wisconsin’s FaB exports increased an astounding 41.4 percent in 2013 to $398.7 billion, up from $281.8 billion a year earlier.
In other words, the products Wisconsin has long been known for – dairy products, beer, cheese and sausage – still comprise the state’s fastest-growing export category.

The other Wisconsin export categories that increased in 2013 included: vehicles (such as trucks, military vehicles, fire trucks, construction vehicles and automotive parts), up 11.8 percent; plastics, up 8.24 percent; furniture and bedding, up 4.7 percent; and paper/paperboard, up 2.1 percent.
Those gains were offset by declines in iron/steel products, down 8.0 percent, industrial machinery, down 6.6 percent; printed matter, down 5.6 percent; electrical machinery, down 4.6 percent; and medical and scientific instruments, down 0.9 percent.

Mark Maley, spokesman for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., attributed much of the state’s overall flat export performance in 2013 to a global slowdown in demand for mining equipment, which took significant tolls on manufacturers such as Joy Global Inc. in Milwaukee and Caterpillar Inc.’s Global Mining Division in Oak Creek and South Milwaukee.

The state’s export prospects will be the focus of the 50th annual Wisconsin International Trade Conference, which will take place Tuesday, May 13, at the Wisconsin Center in downtown Milwaukee.

The conference will kick off with a breakfast panel discussion at 8 a.m., featuring: John McDermott, senior vice president of global sales and marketing at Rockwell Automation Inc.; Deb Anguil, chief operating officer at Anguil Environmental Systems Inc.; and Jeff Clark, president and chief executive officer of Waukesha Metal Products.

The panel discussion will be followed by an update on the Global Cities Initiative, a joint project of the Brookings Institution and J.P. Morgan Chase. The Milwaukee Region was selected as one of eight new metropolitan regions to participate in this national program. The goal of the initiative is to double exports from the region in five years and build capacity for greater participation in the global economy. The update will include presentations of the Small Business Administration’s Wisconsin Exporter of the Year Award and the U.S. Export Assistance Center’s Export Achievement certificate. The update will be led by Paul Byrnes, former director of business planning and development at Racine-based Modine Manufacturing Co.

The morning will be capped at 9:45 a.m. with three breakout sessions:

“BRICS and Beyond.”
BRICS is an acronym for the exporting markets of Brazil, Russia, India and China. The panel discussion of WEDC trade representatives will include: South Africa, Botswana, Mauritius, Malawi, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia – Richard Zurba, director of Zurcome International Ltd.; Indonesia – Reymanditya Poerwito, manager of operations at PT; Russia & Ukraine – Valeriia Zasiedatielieva, director at Synchrotech Consulting; and Poland and Czech Republic – Filip Korinek, managing director of EasyLink Business Services.

“Market Development Strategies.”
The panel of exporting CEOs will include Jerry Jendusa of Emteq Inc.; Alan Petelinsek of Power Test Inc. and Dave Rolston of Hatco Corp.

“Export Compliance: Are you Demonstrating Due Diligence?”
The conversation to focus on best practices will include Pete Mento, director of global customs and trade policy at C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc., and Linda Zuehlke, global logistics and international trade controls manager at G.E. Measurement & Control Solutions.

The keynote speaker at the luncheon of the conference will be John Doggett, senior lecturer and senior research fellow at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin (see sidebar Q&A). Doggett and has taught in Austria, China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. He is an expert in the areas of global competition, entrepreneurship and sustainability and has served as CEO advisor to numerous international companies.

The luncheon also will include presentation of the Governor’s Export Awards by Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch. (For a list of the finalists, see the sidebar story.)

The afternoon session at 1:45 p.m. will include two panel discussions:

“China and India.”
The conversation will be led by Rachel Cohen, international trade specialists at the U.S. Department of Commerce Office of Intellectual Property Rights, and Caroline Berube, managing partner of HJM Asia Law.

“Payment Challenges & Opportunities in Global Markets.”
The panel discussion will include: Mike Allen, international business credit manager, Schreiber Foods Inc.; Don Ellingson, credit manager, Alliance Laundry Systems LLC; Bruce Glaub, vice president of trade finance, BMO Capital Markets; Robert Pelka, vice president of structured trade finance, Wells Fargo Bank; and Wayne Ramus, vice president of sales and project finance, General Electric Co.’s Global Growth & Operations unit.
The conference will be capped by a networking reception at 4 p.m. BizTimes Media is the media sponsor for the conference. To register to attend the conference, click here.

WISCONSIN EXPORTS: 2013 Highlights

  • Wisconsin maintained its strong export performance in 2013.
  • State businesses exported $23.08 billion worth of goods in 2013.
  • While less than one-quarter-of-one percent (0.18 percent) or just $41 million below the record set in 2012, the 2013 total represented a $1 billion increase over total exports reported for 2011 and a $6.4 billion increase above 2009.
  • Wisconsin experienced the smallest decline among those states that exported less in 2013 than in 2012.
  • Canada, Mexico, and China continue to be Wisconsin’s top three export destinations
  • While Canadian purchases of some product categories such as Electrical Machinery, Vehicles, Paper, and Plastics were higher in 2013 than 2012, a significant decrease in shipments of Mining- and Construction-related Equipment caused total exports to that country to slip by less than 2 percent.
  • Exports to Mexico grew by 16.15 percent and that country now accounts for more than 10% of Wisconsin exports.
  • Exports to China grew by just over 7 percent.
  • Wisconsin businesses exported to 206 different countries around the world in 2013.

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