US exports are increasing
As the Daily Beast reported in 2013, the notion that America doesn’t make anything that the world wants is a misconception. They point to a report last year by the US Commerce Department which indicates US exports had reached a record high of $191.1 billion. The report also outlined how the US is exporting a diversity of products and services including grain, oil, machines and services including education and tourism.
As Fox Business reported earlier this year — most potential consumers are outside the United States. Indeed the U.S. population “accounts for less than 5 percent of the world’s roughly 7.2 billion people”. And while US consumers on average have more disposable income, the gap in disposable income between American consumers and consumers in developing markets is projected to continue to narrow.
Developing nations playing an increasing role in world trade
The markets for US exports are both expanding and diversifying. For example, as the Latin American Herald Tribune recently reported: According to a new report from the World Trade Organization (WTO) — for the first time — “the participation of developing countries in world trade accounts for nearly half of global trade”,
The report highlights that between 2000 and 2012 the involvement of developing countries in world trade increased from 33 percent to 48 percent of global totals.
Obama Administration actively promoting the expansion of US exports
Importantly, the Obama Administration is actively promoting the expansion of US exports. As Bill Krist II has outlined in America’s Trade Policy (@Trade_Policy), this effort is in “fact…just one of many such efforts by the U.S. Government over the past 40 years.
As Krist outlined: “On March 11, 2010 the [Obama] Administration issued Executive Order 13534, “National Export Initiative” (NEI), which called for the following actions, among others:
- Expanding the number of trade missions;
- Strengthening commercial advocacy on behalf of U.S. companies;
- Increasing the availability of export credit to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs);
- Rebalancing the global economy; and
- Reducing barriers to our exports and robustly enforcing our trade agreements.”
Importantly for lawyers (which I’ll explain below) is that Krist cautions that: “Traditional trade promotion techniques implemented since 2010 are very limited in potential. If the U.S. really wants to substantially increase our exports – e.g. to double our exports – we would need to make some serious structural changes.”
Implications for law firms
The forces I’ve described above bode well for lawyers who would seek to act in an entrepreneurial fashion to meet the needs of US companies exporting globally. US exports are up, developing nations are buying more – and the likelihood is that this trend will continue. US lawyers can seek to act for those companies – and foreign lawyers in both developed and developing economies – can do so also. Each in unique ways. That the US government is supporting the efforts of US companies (and has done for decades) reflects both a continued commitment to increasing US exports and the likelihood exports will continue to increase.
Importantly for lawyers, however, is that as I’ve outlined above, US efforts to promote exports point to a need in the market for private sector support to help US exporters find and capitalize upon new markets and niches in existing markets. Law firms can act as this private sector support if they seek to become a resource to companies in America already exporting or seeking to export. But this type of initiative requires law firms to understand comprehensively how to go about becoming this resource – and then acting upon the development of this initiative by maintaining an active and disciplined effort to see it to fruition (i.e. the development of new US export client base).
John Grimley assists legal, financial services and public affairs professionals create and implement custom international business development plans. To enquire about his services, contact him at +1.213.814.2855 or at email@example.com or on Skype at: JohnGrimley