Thursday, May 23, 2013

POLA Trade Program Receives Presidential Award

The Port of Los Angeles’ Trade Connect program has earned the nation’s highest honor for promoting American export trade, the President’s “E Star” Award for Export Service. The port was among the 2013 honorees recognized for export sales or service during a May 20 ceremony at US Department of Commerce’s Washington, DC headquarters.

Trade Connect is an outreach program that offers a series of workshops to small and midsize American companies to educate them on the opportunities, costs and requirements of exporting their goods and services.

Training ranges from introductory courses on the basics of commercial transactions, foreign markets, financing, documentation and logistics, to advanced seminars on international demand for specific products and emerging global consumer markets.

The Port LA launched Trade Connect in 2007 in response to the imbalance between US spending on foreign goods and sales of US products to international markets. This imbalance is reflected in ships leaving the port with load factors generally lower than 50 percent.

Since its inception, Trade Connect has held more than 150 workshops and events attended by more than 15,000 people, according to the POLA. The program also has participated in trade shows in Hong Kong and Japan and has drawn nearly 5,000 people to exhibits showcasing California companies and their products.

“It is organizations like the Port of Los Angeles that are strengthening the economies of local communities, creating jobs and contributing to the worldwide demand for ‘Made in the USA’ goods and services,” US Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank, who presented the award, said.

Port Deputy Executive Director of Development Mike Christensen and Director of Trade Development Jim MacLellan, who started and manages the Trade Connect program, accepted the award in Washington, DC on the port’s behalf.

US companies are nominated for the “E” Award through the Department of Commerce’s US and Foreign Commercial Service office network, located within the Department’s International Trade Administration, which helps US exporters. Qualifications for the award include four years of successive export growth and case studies which demonstrate valuable support to exporters resulting in increased exports for the company’s clients.

Monday’s ceremony marked the second time the Port of Los Angeles has received the “E Star” Award for excellence in promoting export trade. President Ronald Reagan awarded the honor to the port in 1983.