The Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors held its quarterly meeting in Topeka on Tuesday. The meeting highlighted the importance of trade and exporting for Kansas and the region with presentations from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, state officials and a Kansas business.
“Kansas has enjoyed strong growth in exports because of the hard work and innovation of many Kansas companies, both large and small,” Gov. Sam Brownback said. “It is important to support these businesses and help additional firms export in order to support continued economic growth through trade.”
Harland Priddle, former Kansas secretary of Agriculture and Commerce, presented to the Council the results of his work as part of an International Trade Working Group appointed by Gov. Brownback. Priddle identified services currently provided by Commerce, including the hosting of foreign trade delegations, participating in international trade shows and providing support for Kansas exporters. He also identified several other state services vital to trade, such as research and education, along with new programs that could be implemented to support further growth in trade.
Dr. Troy Davig, senior vice president and director of research for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, provided an overview of trade at the national and state level. Every $1 billion in U.S. exports supports 5,500 jobs, and 8.3 percent of all U.S. jobs are supported by exporting. However, only one percent of firms export, according to Davig. Kansas outperforms neighboring states in exporting, in large part due to the diverse base of industries exporting.
Chad Lane, vice president of global and emerging business at Excel Industries, discussed the success Excel has found in the export market. Lane pointed to Kansas’ workforce, energy supply and entrepreneurial culture as a few of the factors that give businesses in the state an advantage in exporting. Excel, a Hesston-based manufacturer of mowing equipment, employs more than 500 workers and exports to 30 countries. The company was named 2013 Governor’s Exporter of the Year.
Kansas exports totaled $12.45 billion in 2013, a 25 percent increase since 2010. In the five-state region that includes Kansas, Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma, the average export value during 2013 was $9.67 billion.