Gov: Maine to Build on Foreign Trade Momentum 

Maine’s international exports are faring well so far this year, compared to a tough 2009. The state’s exports for the first quarter of the year are up 20 percent. That’s the word from Governor Baldacci at Maine International Trade Day.”Our pulp and paper industries are up 100 percent and 73 percent over last year, the deepest part of the recession. So they’re showing progress. Also our semiconductor business is up 23 percent,” Baldacci says. “So we’re making progress. It’s employing people back here in Maine.”The Governor says 24-thousand people in Maine are involved in jobs related to exports. He calls it a big part of Maine’s economy, and one the folks here say has the potential to grow. The Maine International Trade Center spotlighted several Maine companies they say have found success by diversifying into international markets.”Anybody who’s thinking they can survive as a manufacturer, as any company really, just looking at the domestic market…you may be leaving some sales behind,” says Wade Merritt, vice president of the Maine International Trade Center. “And so the more sales companies make, the more people they employ. That’s really what we’re interested in, the job creation aspects of it.”The Governor is also introducing a new foreign investment initiative he says will attract business in Maine’s energy and composites industries.”We’re coming out with an initiative today, we’re going to recognize renewable energy, composite materials and advanced materials as a cluster, to promote getting companies in the Asian markets to come back to Maine and the United States,” Badacci says.They say after last year’s decreased trade numbers for the nation and the state, now it’s time to be hopeful for the future of trade.