U.S. promotes ‘Made in Rural America' exports
The White House’s Rural Council on Friday launched a new “Made in Rural America” export and investment initiative.
“This initiative is charged with bringing together federal resources to help rural businesses and leaders take advantage of new investment opportunities, and access new customers and markets abroad,” council said.
Specifically, the Rural Council — in coordination with the Agriculture and Commerce departments, the Small Business Administration, Export-Import Bank, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and other agencies — is tasked with connecting all types of rural businesses to export information.
During the next nine months, the Rural Council will host five "Made in Rural America" regional forums dedicated to promoting rural exports. This activity requires working with local partners including the National Association of Counties (NACo), Delta Regional Authority and Appalachian Regional Commission.
“These export-focused regional forums will help rural businesses take advantage of new market opportunities by providing training from experienced exporters and federal officials on the basics of exporting, accessing federal support, and participating in major trade events and trade shows across the country, as well as overseas trade missions,” the council said.
Later in the year, the council will hold an "Investing in Rural America" conference to connect major investors with rural business leaders, high-level government officials, economic development experts, and other partners.
The council will provide training sessions to equip local USDA Rural Development staff in all 50 states, plus territories, with tools to counsel businesses on export opportunities and resources. The Commerce Department, through the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee, will cross-train USDA Rural Development staff so they can better deliver support or refer rural businesses to federal services.
In addition, the Rural Council will provide enhanced export counseling to rural businesses to connect them with foreign buyers through the Commerce Department's U.S. Export Assistance Center trade specialists in more than 100 domestic locations and in collaboration with USDA's field staff.
Other Rural Council initiatives include coordinating across the administration to promote rural-produced goods and services at trade events including trade missions, buyer programs, trade shows, and other promotion programs; educating local officials across the country on the importance of rural exports in partnership with NACo and through the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee to connect them with federal resources and information to better support rural business exports; and using the BusinessUSA online platform, which was launched by the White House last year to serve as a "one-stop-shop" that matches businesses and entrepreneurs to the full range of services and resources.
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