NMMA launches new export program

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The National Marine Manufacturers Association announced a new export development initiative that expands and formalizes existing international efforts and offerings for its members.

The new program helps NMMA members better connect with emerging international growth opportunities and realize untapped potential in the international market.

Nearly 96 percent of consumers live outside the United States, creating significant potential for the U.S. recreational boating industry, which is already a net exporting industry.

“More and more marine businesses are embracing exporting as a way to increase sales and navigate seasonal downturns,” NMMA president Thom Dammrich said in a statement. “The U.S. Department of Commerce reports that, on average, companies that export grow faster, pay higher wages and are more profitable than those that do not, so it’s critical that the U.S. marine industry capture its share of the global market.”

Since 2007 there has been a positive balance in U.S. trade of recreational boats and marine engines, totaling $2.2 billion in 2011, up 0.6 percent from 2010.

The NMMA’s export development program will be led by Julie Balzano, who joins the NMMA as export development director, bringing more than 20 years of exporting experience. Together with the U.S. Commerce Department, Balzano will focus on developing and implementing a comprehensive program that works with NMMA members to target established and long-term emerging international markets through counseling, training, group pavilions at key international boat shows and relationship building.

The NMMA also will work with the Commerce Department to identify key U.S. boat and sport shows to which they would bring potential dealers and distributors. These reverse trade missions would supplement the proactive and more vital efforts of attending international shows and will further solidify relationships made overseas.

“Julie brings a level of international expertise we have never had before that allows us to deliver a more comprehensive export and international program for our members,” Dammrich said.

Prior to joining the NMMA team, Balzano was director for Mexico and the marine industry sector in the International Trade Division of Enterprise Florida.

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