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Delaware exports to the United Kingdom and beyond

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By Michael Bradley

Despite England’s break from the European Union, the country remains extremely interested in maintaining close ties with the United States in many ways – especially economically.

“I think we’ve proved that the United Kingdom is an open and competitive place to do business,” said one British official. “We are working hard to make ourselves as business-friendly as we can be.

Beth Pomper, export advisor

The UK has demonstrated his optimism in recent reports detailing the nation’s relationship with U.S. exporters, including Delaware. The UK produced state-by-state trade breakdowns, and the one for the First State showed that in 2015 theUnited Kingdom was Delaware’s largest export market. Although the total of those exports the state’s exported products. Still, pharmaceuticals and health goods remain the leaders among Delaware’s shipments abroad.

“Producing this allows us to celebrate the depth and strength of the U.S.-United Kingdom relationship on the national and local levels,” the official said.

According to statistics provided by the UK government, in 2015, Delaware exported $881 million in goods to the UK.

Andrea Tinianow, director of Global Delaware

That number dropped the next year, to $549 million. Still, that tops the charts. And in 2015, Delaware exported an additional $385 million in services to the United Kingdom. Delaware exports supported 5,000 jobs in 2015, according to the British government, and there are an estimated 45 UK subsidiaries in Delaware.

After pharmaceuticals and medicine, the leading goods categories exported from Delaware to the UK aerospace products and parts, basic chemicals, plastics products and resins & synthetic fibers. The top five service exports to the United Kingdom are credit-related services, management and advisory services, insurance services, miscellaneous financial services, and travel. It’s part of an overall strong economic bond between the United States and the UK.

“This new report about the ties that bind our two countries couldn’t be better timed,” British Ambassador Sir Kim Darroch said in a statement. “From coast to coast, and in every state, the strength of our $200 billion trade and investment relationship is clear. For instance, in Delaware, exports to the UK support 5,000 jobs. As we look ahead to a new era of trade, and our future outside the EU, we’ll be strengthening our ties around the world – especially with our top trading partner, the U.S.”

Pomper reports that Delaware’s second-largest export client is Canada, with $542 million in sales, followed by the United Arab Emirates ($381.7 million), Germany ($310.9 million) and Japan ($163.7 million). Although the numbers with Great Britain dropped, those with Germany and Japan have risen. And from 2014-16, exports to the UAE rose 30.9 percent.

Delaware may be a small state, but its efforts to grow export totals are by no means minor. During the two years Global Delaware has been in existence, it has been extremely active in helping companies in the state reach out to other nations and to establish footholds that will lead directly to sales. Although Global Delaware director Andrea Tinianow said that it is “hard to get a full feel for exports” from the state, because often products land in one country but are directed to others, there is no denying the impact the organization has had.

Using a multilayered and comprehensive strategy, Global Delaware identifies firms that are interested and prepared to expand their reaches and provides training, knowledge and resources necessary to help them move forward. Those just beginning can take part in export technology classes that provide them with blueprints for future expansion. Those more mature in their export journeys can participate in trade missions designed to establish direct contacts with overseas customers.

“Companies like AstraZeneca, DuPont and Perdue don’t need our help,” Pomper said. “We focus on small and midsize businesses. We try to figure out what companies Delaware has and who wants to buy what they have to sell.”

It is not a “fire hose” type of approach. Because much of Global Delaware’s budget comes from the federal government, it is important to demonstrate clear sales results. Therefore, the companies encouraged to look overseas must be ready to add foreign revenues to their domestic income. And Global Delaware must work hard to match the business with the correct market. When it schedules trade missions to other countries, it does its best to research both sides, in order to arrange a profitable marriage. Different countries have different rules for foreign businesses, and it’s important to eliminate circumstances that could lead to failure.

“We will say to a company that has registered for a trade mission to Mexico, “˜We don’t feel your company and product are suited for this market,'” Pomper said. “So, we’ll suggest another market.”

Those trade missions can have great benefits for the firms that participate. And federal grants mitigate the costs of making overseas connections. According to Pomper, the money from Washington handles the costs of trade agents who set up appointments for Delaware businesses in foreign countries, can cover up to 50 percent of travel costs and many of the incidentals once company representatives arrive, such as drivers and interpreters.

The result is a targeted approach that brings together the right businesses with the right targets, the better to produce revenues. Every six months, Global Delaware is required by the federal government to provide sales and job creation figures, along with reports on which companies signed new distributor agreements abroad.

“It’s all based on return on investment,” Pomper said.

As Global Delaware continues to recruit and train new companies for export markets, the United Kingdom remains extremely interested in working with U.S. firms in general and Delaware companies specifically.

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