GVSU offers detailed howto on exporting

April 30, 2012
| By Pete Daly |
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Michigan's global exports have put the state in the top 10 nationwide over the past two years, according to Grand Valley State University, but there is plenty of room for more businesses to get on the exporting fast track.

The annual World Trade Week presented by GVSU will offer a special program Tuesday afternoon, May 8, for companies that are interested in "achieving export growth," whether they are novice or experienced exporters. Experts and specialists will share strategies, opportunities and resources available to help all types of businesses increase international sales.

The first major event of World Trade Week, however, takes place Monday, May 7, with a noon luncheon meeting of the Economics Club of Grand Rapids at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. The featured guest speaker is Bernard Weinstein, associate director of Maguire Energy Institute within the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Weinstein will provide a detailed analysis of "Our Rapidly Changing Energy Equation."

Weinstein, who is also an adjunct professor of business economics in the Cox School of Business at SMU, has worked for several U.S. government agencies including a previous administration's President's Commission on School Finance, the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Trade Commission. He also works as a consultant to corporations, nonprofit organizations and government agencies, with his clients including AT&T, Texas Instruments, Reliant, Entergy, Devon Energy, the Nuclear Energy Institute, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the Western and Southern Governors Associations, the cities of Dallas and San Antonio, and the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress.

The how-to on exporting runs 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesday at the Eberhard Center, kicked off with a keynote address by John Hendrickson, executive vice president, global operations and supply chain, at the Perrigo pharmaceutical company in Allegan. His talk is titled "Doing Business with Overseas Partners: The Do's and Don'ts."

Perrigo is one of the world's largest manufacturers of over-the-counter drugs and medications, with much of its production exported to markets around the globe.

A panel discussion on South Korea follows, moderated by Scott Hibbard, vice president of Comerica Bank. Experts will talk about their work in the Korean market and ways others can take advantage of the newly implemented Free Trade Agreement between the U.S. and South Korea. The panel will include David Hemmings, president, PRA Global; Young Oh, Seattle office director, U.S. Commercial Service; and Darwin Rader, international sales manager, Zeeland Farm Services.

Zeeland Farm Services, which was the Michigan agricultural exporter of the year in 2010, began exporting soybean products in 2001 and is now a major supplier to Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Central America, South America, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and China. In 2009, ZFS president Cliff Meeuwsen said ZFS was a $300 million family-owned business.

PRA Global is an international business services and consulting firm with headquarters in Grand Rapids for almost 12 years. It has more than 100 people working in Asia, India and South America to support clients doing business or attempting to set up business in emerging markets. Staff includes project managers, engineers and professionals in sales, manufacturing, quality assurance and logistics. The firm also has strategic alliances in each country to provide legal and accounting services.

In addition to the Hendrickson presentation and panel discussion, the Tuesday afternoon World Trade Week events at the GVSU Eberhard Center include two separate tracks of simultaneous break-out sessions. Track A – New-to-Export features a session on Export Documentation and another session on Building Your Export Road Map. Track B, which is intended for experienced exports, has a session on International Disputes: Pitfalls & Strategies, and another on Tax Planning for Exporters.

The registration fee for Tuesday afternoon is $125. For more information, see www.worldtradeweekmi.org, or call GVSU at (616) 331-6811.

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