Award is Nation’s Highest Honor for Promoting Export Trade

WASHINGTON, D.C. — May 20, 2013 — The Port of Los Angeles’ Trade Connect program has earned the nation’s highest honor for promoting American export trade, the President’s “E Star” Award for Export Service. The Port was among the 2013 honorees recognized for export sales or service during an “E” Award ceremony today at U.S Department of Commerce headquarters in Washington, D.C.

“I am delighted to be recognizing this year’s Presidential ‘E’ Award winners for their outstanding contributions to U.S. exports and congratulate the Port of Los Angles on its outstanding export achievement,” said U.S. Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank, who presented the award. “It is organizations like the Port of Los Angeles that are strengthening the economies of local communities, creating jobs, and contributing to the worldwide demand for ‘Made in the USA’ goods and services.”

“Trade Connect opens the door to foreign markets for small and midsize businesses in California and across the nation,” said Los Angeles Harbor Commission President Cindy Miscikowski. “We are proud to receive this prestigious honor for doing our part to strengthen the U.S. economy and helping American companies of all sizes and their workers enjoy the benefits of international trade.”

“Many smaller U.S. businesses don’t know how to begin to access markets overseas,” said Port Executive Director Geraldine Knatz, Ph.D. “We have now begun to track companies that have gone through our program and we’ve seen many success stories. We’re proud to bridge that gap and serve as America’s No. 1 ‘gateway’ in every sense of the word.”

U.S. companies are nominated for the “E” Award for Export Service through the Department of Commerce’s U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service office network, located within the Department’s International Trade Administration, which has offices in 108 U.S. cities and more than 70 countries, to help U.S. exporters. Criteria for the award is based on four years of successive export growth and case studies which demonstrate valuable support to exporters resulting in increased exports for the company’s clients.

Trade Connect is an outreach program that offers a series of workshops to small and midsize American companies to educate them on the opportunities, costs and requirements of exporting their goods and services. Trainings range from introductory courses on the basics of commercial transactions, foreign markets, financing, documentation and logistics, to advanced seminars on international demand for specific products and emerging global consumer markets. Speakers include government experts and trade representatives from key federal, state and local agencies that promote and regulate trade. Professional associations such as the Los Angeles Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Association also provide expert speakers.

The Port of Los Angeles launched Trade Connect in 2007 in response to the imbalance between U.S. spending on foreign goods and sales of U.S. products to international markets. This imbalance is reflected in ships leaving the Port with load factors generally lower than 50%. Increasing exports increases revenue to the Port. The program supports President Obama’s 2010 National Export Initiative aimed at closing America’s trade deficit by growing its exports abroad and thereby also increasing employment.

Since its inception, Trade Connect has held more than 150 workshops and events attended by more than 15,000 people. The program also has participated in trade shows in Hong Kong and Japan and has drawn nearly 5,000 people to exhibits showcasing California companies and their products.

Workshops are offered throughout Southern California. California’s food and beverage industry; fashion and accessories; medical, dental and veterinarian equipment and supplies; aerospace and aircraft parts; environmental remediation equipment; and health and beauty products are in demand overseas and have tremendous potential for export growth.

In response to a request from grain producers in the Midwest, Trade Connect staff conducted an introductory export workshop in Iowa in 2012. Also last year, Trade Connect offered its first workshop in Spanish. In April, it held its first workshop in Mandarin.

Port Deputy Executive Director of Development Mike Christensen and Director of Trade Development Jim MacLellan, who started and manages the Trade Connect program, accepted the award on the Port’s behalf. The honor allows the Port to fly the award’s signature blue and white banner, display its certificate of commendation, wear and issue employees an “E” lapel pin, and refer to the award in advertising Trade Connect programs.

President Kennedy revived the World War II “E” symbol of excellence to honor and provide recognition to America's exporters. The “E” Award Program was established by Executive Order 10978 on December 5, 1961. A total of 57 U.S. companies were presented with the President’s “E” Award this year.

Today’s ceremony marks the second time the Port of Los Angeles has received the President’s “E Star” Award for excellence in promoting export trade. President Ronald Reagan awarded the honor to the Port in 1983.

The Port of Los Angeles is America’s premier port and has a strong commitment to developing innovative strategic and sustainable operations that benefit the economy as well as the quality of life for the region and the nation it serves. As the leading seaport in North America in terms of shipping container volume and cargo value, the Port generates more than 830,000 regional jobs and $35 billion in annual wages and tax revenues. The Port of Los Angeles – A cleaner port. A brighter future.