12:33pm

Thu December 8, 2011
MTSU Economist Says There is Room for Growth

TNTrade Initiative Seeks to Boost Tenn. Exports

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee’s international exports are way up and the state wants to push them still higher.

A new government initiative to boost exports called TNTrade was announced yesterday. TNTrade is designed to help small and medium businesses increase their exports.

Under the program, eligible businesses will receive a reimbursement equal to half of any one-time export-related expense such as consultant fees or trade show participation. The maximum reimbursement amount is $5,000 per company.

Middle Tennessee State University economist Steven Livingston studies Tennessee exports. He says there is room for improvement.

"If you look around the state there's lots of firms that should be looking at foreign markets that aren't. We're still a little bit behind a lot of the United States in the percentage of our firms that are exporting. So there are definitely sound ground to be gained there."

A report authored by Livingston earlier this month says the value of Tennessee's exports increased in the third quarter by nearly 10 percent to $7.4 billion in goods.  It was the third consecutive quarter topping the $7 billion mark.

However, the state's foreign sales growth lagged the national numbers by a wide margin. Total U.S. exports grew nearly 14% for the quarter