Dear NAITA Members,
International trade is becoming big business in Alabama. In 2014, Alabama businesses exported a record $19.5 billion in goods and services, a 123 percent increase in the past decade. Most of this increase was fueled by the emergence of the automotive industry which continues to be an economic driver in our state, and small and medium size businesses in Alabama also experienced a significant gain in the export of their products and services.
In North Alabama, the Huntsville Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) alone had over $1.4 billion in exports in 2014, ranking fourth among all MSAs in the state. The three MSAs which the North Alabama International Trade Association (NAITA) serves – Florence-Muscle Shoals, Decatur and Huntsville – accounted for 12 percent of the total exports from Alabama. More recently in a 2014 survey conducted by NAITA and the University of Alabama Huntsville, two-thirds of respondents in North Alabama who were involved in trade reported an increase in trade revenue over the previous year.
NAITA has been a central player, along with our strategic partners in the Export Alabama Alliance, in facilitating the growth of trade in our region and will continue to do so in the future. Some of the major annual activities and events your business will want to sponsor and attend include:
NAITA Annual Meeting and World Trade Day You can hear some of the most interesting speakers in our country share their insights on international trade at these two annual events. Both present excellent opportunities to collaborate and make your products and services known in North Alabama and around the globe.
Advocating for Free Trade NAITA and the Export Alabama Alliance successfully promoted renewal of the Export-Import Bank Charter last year with our local Alabama Congressional representatives and will be advocating for the Trans-Pacific Partnership in 2016.
U.S. Army Security Assistance Command Day The USASAC Commander and his senior staff share the opportunities for industry participation in Foreign Military Sales. Our most popular event of the year is attended by large and small businesses from throughout the United States.
Export Control and Trade Compliance Roundtable Sessions These events held throughout the year provide a great opportunity to meet and share in an informal session with our local compliance experts as well as those from the federal government.
We live in an area known for our business acumen and willingness to go “where no man has gone before.” I challenge our members to explore new markets overseas for their products and services and use the resources of NAITA and our many partners to make your business successful.
John R. Hamilton