Expanding exports to Mexico

Kathleen Achtenberg

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Michigan companies travel south of the border; new STEP export funds available for small businesses

Business leaders from 12 Michigan companies are traveling to Mexico to meet with prospective partners, distributors and end customers to increase export opportunities from Michigan to Mexico—with a goal of creating more and better jobs.

The trade mission, taking place Oct. 8-13, is being led by Automation Alley in partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s International Trade Program.

“As a developing global player and our second-largest trade partner, Mexico is an important and viable market for a wide range of products and services,” said MEDC Chief Executive Officer Jeff Mason. “This trade mission will open doors for these companies by helping them identify and enter into new relationships, ultimately growing their businesses and bringing more and better jobs to Michigan residents.”

Participating trade mission companies will travel with Automation Alley to San Luis Potosi for business meetings with potential customers and buyers and then head to Leon for the Automotive Supply Forum 2017 held by the Automotive Cluster of Guanajuato. The Automotive Supply Forum is a two-day, meet-the-buyer-style trade show and will provide one-on-one business-to-business meeting opportunities for participating Michigan companies with OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers from all over the world.

The participating companies are:
  • Air and Liquid Systems (Rochester Hills): Manufacturer of custom pre-treatment filtration, paint sludge removal, drying equipment and water purification systems
  • America Furukawa Inc. (Plymouth): Supplier of advanced electronic and automotive products
  • B & D Cold Headed Products (Taylor): Manufacturer of high strength cold-formed bolts, studs, pins and other metal fasteners
  • Centracore (St. Clair): Supplier of machined and assembled castings, forgings, and extrusions in aluminum, iron, and steel for the automotive and other industries
  • Clayton & McKervey (Southfield): Full-service public accounting firm specializing in international tax, assurance and accounting services
  • Dell Marking Systems (Rochester Hills): Producer of ink marking identification systems
  • DVS Technosofit Inc. (Troy): Provider of industrial automation, electrical engineering, programming and start-up and stand-by support
  • Extol Inc. (Zeeland): Supplier of high-quality, standard and custom plastics-joining equipment
  • Firstronic (Grand Rapids): Provider of electronics manufacturing services including turnkey electronic assembly and materials management services to OEMs in the electronics industry
  • Hydra-Lock (Mt. Clemens): Manufacturer of hydraulic tool holding and part holding devices servicing the aerospace, defense, medical, vehicle and gear industries
  • RoboVent Solutions (Sterling Heights): Provider of air filtration and industrial ventilation systems primarily for weld fumes
  • Superior Business Solutions (Troy): Manufacturer of labels, tags, forms, ribbons and lean manufacturing visuals for OEMs and support tier companies
Mexico’s expanding and highly diversified economy provides strong opportunity for Michigan companies:
  • Mexico is Michigan’s second largest trading partner, after Canada.
  • In 2016, Michigan exported more than $12 billion in goods to Mexico, up from $11.1 billion in 2015.
  • Top Michigan exports to Mexico include transportation equipment, machinery (except electrical), computer and electronic products, and electrical equipment, appliances, and components.
  • Michigan is the No. 3 state in the U.S. for exports to Mexico.

State Trade Expansion Program funds available for fiscal year 2018

Eligible Michigan companies that participate in an export mission can apply to receive 50 percent reimbursement of their expenses through the State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) offered by MEDC.

The STEP grant program provides direct reimbursements to support export development activities, such as foreign market research and international trade missions, for qualifying companies that meet the U.S. Small Business Administration size standards. 

On Oct. 3, MEDC announced it had received another allocation of STEP funds from the SBA. Michigan received the maximum state award of $900,000 for fiscal year 2018 to provide to Michigan small- and medium business for export-related activities. Combined with additional support from the Michigan Strategic Fund, the total funding available for FY 18 is more than $1.6 million. Michigan has participated in the program since 2011. For more information on STEP, visit www.michiganbusiness.org/grow/international-trade-services/#step.

Clients of MEDC’s International Trade Program reported more than $127 million in facilitated export sales to Mexico in FY16. Through the third quarter of FY17, clients have reported $112.7 million in export sales to Mexico, accounting for about 26 percent of total program export sales year-to-date. Last year, the program facilitated $523.9 million in facilitated export sales to 120 countries.

Automation Alley’s award-winning trade mission program introduces small and medium-size Michigan businesses to high-growth markets and opportunities to expand abroad. These missions have generated over $852 million in export sales for local companies.

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