Maine exports drop 14%, but trade expert predicts 2021 rebound

Maine companies exported $1.5 billion of products to 153 countries from January through August, which represents a 14.4% year-to-date decline versus 2019, according to U.S. Census Bureau data provided by the Maine International Trade Center in Portland.

But the opportunities for small businesses to grow by exporting are substantial, especially during this unprecedented time, the center believes.

Wade Merritt, MITC president and the state’s director of international trade, told Mainebiz the international market should rebound in 2021.

“Global trade is down. There’s no question about that,” Merritt said. “But one of the things we’re excited about, and that we’ve been encouraging companies to think about, is that, as sharp as the downturn has been, the international market is expected to rebound quite substantially in 2021.”

He added, “I think a good part of the recovery strategy for companies is to be thinking about global markets, and to think about investing in contacts and connections overseas, so that when the rebound comes, they’ll be confident in taking advantage of it.”

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