Category Archives: Uncategorized

How the thawing Arctic could make money for Maine

For Maine, climate change’s silver lining may well turn out to be that the thawing of the Arctic Ocean boosts the state’s economy, according to public officials who gathered here this week.

“I see opportunities,” said Dana Eidsness, director of Maine North Atlantic Development Office, which is part of the Maine International Trade Center.

Alaska is positioned to be a more dominant player in Arctic issues because much of it lies north of the Arctic Circle. But Maine is the state closest the Arctic nations of Iceland, Greenland and Scandinavia.

Read full article on BDN Maine

Conference hints at potential for Maine’s maritime economy

An intergovernmental forum of Arctic nations will convene in Portland this week, suggesting the region has an outsized role – and job opportunities – as warming seas open trade routes.

Last month, Bar Harbor became the first American port of call for the first large cruise ship to traverse the Arctic’s fabled Northwest Passage, signaling what some say is Maine’s revival as a thriving maritime economy in a rapidly warming world.

U.S. Sen. Angus King says Crystal Serenity and its 1,000 passengers, some of whom paid up to $120,000 for the trip, are proof Maine can capitalize on the changes already underway in the region at the same time many of its scientists and policymakers, including himself, are trying to study and slow the Arctic melt.

If a large cruise ship can make it, commercial shipping will follow, King said. Not tomorrow, but in 10 to 20 years. While he would hope to slow climate change as much as possible, King said Maine should be pragmatic as it considers how to exploit the economic opportunities that will follow the melt.

Read full article on Portland Press Herald


Maine’s lobster exports going full steam, with Asian market growing

Maine’s lobster industry is on pace for its best year ever, having sold $103 million worth of lobster abroad in the first half of 2016.

That’s more than twice as much as the $48.3 million it sold over the same period in 2015, and is even better than in 2014, when Maine had sold $54.7 million worth of lobster by July and ended the year with a record $365.5 million in foreign sales.

That success isn’t a coincidence, said Jeff Bennett, a senior trade specialist at the Maine International Trade Center. While the industry has enjoyed record catches over the past few years, that alone doesn’t equal higher exports.

“The fishery itself has worked hard to establish itself as a sustainable one, and that goes a long way with consumers and buyers,” Bennett said. “And the dealers have really knocked themselves out building the Asian market.”

Read full article on Portland Press Herald

Southern Maine exports on the rise

A spike in aircraft turbines and semiconductor manufacturing helped the Portland metro area grow its exports by more than 8 percent in 2015, making it the fastest-growing billion-dollar-plus exporting region in New England, according to newly released federal data.

Goods exported from the metro area, which includes Cumberland, York and Sagadahoc counties, totaled $1.1 billion in 2015, an increase of $88 million over 2014, according to a report this month from the International Trade Administration. This is the second year the metro area has increased its exports.

In contrast, Maine exports remained relatively flat last year, growing just 1 percent.

“I am very encouraged to see the significant role that exports are starting to play in our metro areas,” said Janine Bisaillon-Cary, president of the Maine International Trade Center. “We’ll take the export growth anywhere we can get it, but we hope to see it spread throughout the state, and in our smaller and medium-sized companies.”

Read full article on Portland Press Herald

Partnership to Attract Top Talent to Maine

Maine International Trade Center, Maine Turnpike Authority, Maine Department of Economic Development, Maine & Company and Live +Work in Maine Create Public Awareness Campaign

Surfer Banner

A partnership between top Maine economic development organizations and the Maine Turnpike Authority is helping fund a pilot program to attract top talent to Maine. The Maine Department of Economic Development (DECD), Maine International Trade Center (MITC), Maine & Company, Live + Work in Maine and Maine Turnpike Authority (MTA) recognized the immediate – and possibly long-term – opportunity to capitalize on the busy tourist season. While out of state tourists enjoy Maine from a recreational standpoint, the program aims to demonstrate the professional opportunities that also exist. As DECD Commissioner George Gervais states, “Where most see lines of tourists, we see opportunity.”

These organizations all bring critical areas of expertise and resources to the program. MITC’s StudyMaine program focuses on student attraction, Maine & Company focuses on business attraction, Live + Work in Maine focuses on talent attraction and DECD focuses on business development for the state. The Turnpike Authority’s physical locations – such as rest areas – allow for program messages to be seen by the over 34 million out-of-state visitors expected to pass through this summer.

The organic collaboration focuses on bringing new talent to the state to support growth in three specific areas – attracting individuals in the life science and advanced manufacturing industries, as well as encouraging students from out of state to consider Maine high schools, universities, and colleges.

Kayaker Banner

Over 2,000 companies in Maine are internationally active with 180,000 existing jobs tied to international trade. Maine is also home to 6 world-class bio-medical research institutions and Maine ranks #1 in the US for its infrastructure connectivity.

The pilot program kicks off with 3 banner signs at top tourist rest areas – Kennebunk North/Kennebunk South and West Gardiner – that focus on the work/life balance that exists in Maine. “We wanted to capture the imagination of tourists who may have dreams of studying, working or doing business here and feature photos of surfer scientists, mountain biking engineers and students bringing kayaks on campus,” explains Janine Cary, President of MITC. “At the Gardiner rest area, the ad includes French language as a nod to the large Canadian French population coming through.” The ads will also appear in Portland Magazine’s Summerguide and the Mainebiz Fact Book.

The creative drives to a dedicated page on the Live + Work in Maine site where more information on Maine employers, career events, Maine’s employment market and additional quality of life insight is available. Additionally, an informational kiosk is available at the Kennebunk (North) rest area and will provide instant access to explore the Live and Work in Maine site. The site, created by Ed McKersie, is designed to attract workforce for the knowledge-based industries to Maine. The kiosk will also capture and build a database of individuals interested in working in Maine.

Mountain Biker Banner

Maine & Company, which provides free and confidential consulting services to businesses looking to relocate to or expand in Maine, has also funded a weekly lobster drawing to further encourage interest. “We realize that we need to take a collaborative and multi-faceted approach to driving business growth in Maine,” said Peter DelGreco, president and CEO of Maine & Company. “Our board of directors consists of successful Maine business leaders who provide real-life expertise on working and growing your business in Maine. These executives could have selected anywhere in the US, and deliberately chose Maine.”

Ripple effects from ‘Brexit’ vote could impact Maine trade

The United Kingdom’s surprising vote Thursday to leave the European Union sent its national currency, the pound sterling, tumbling to a 30-year low. If that holds, it could put a dent in exports to the country, according to Maine’s top trade official.

Janine Bisaillon-Cary said Friday morning the immediate reaction to the “Brexit” vote does not bode well for U.S. exporters, as the pound sterling’s fall against the dollar makes U.S. goods more expensive there. The UK was Maine’s ninth-largest export market in 2015.

“If the dollar gets too expensive, then that makes our products all the more expensive to purchase,” Bisaillon-Cary said.

Read full article on BDN Maine


State leading its first trade mission to Scandinavia

The opening of a direct shipping line to the North Atlantic and growing world interest in Arctic affairs have prompted state government to lead its first trade mission to Scandinavia.

The Maine International Trade Center will guide a dozen companies, research groups and educational institutions on a 10-day trip to Norway, Sweden and Finland. The participants, who leave Tuesday, bring interests ranging from the possible export of Maine-made medical devices to Norway hospitals, to the import of advanced forest-industry machinery from Finland, to development of Arctic-viable marine technology with researchers in Trondheim, Norway, said MITC’s Dana Eidsness.

Maine has increased its export of goods to Scandinavia by 50 percent over the past five years, from $18.5 million in 2010 to $27.7 million in 2015, according to federal export statistics. Eidsness attributes the growth to the 2013 arrival in Portland of the Icelandic shipping company Eimskip, which created the state’s first direct shipping line into the North Atlantic and opened up an entirely new market for even small Maine companies.

Maine lobster industry prepares for big season with dual focus on domestic, foreign markets

Two chief marketers of Maine lobsters are preparing for a busy summer, as expectations are high that they’ll have lots of product to sell once the main fishing season gets underway, even if the predictions of an extremely early start to the season prove true.

Jeffrey Bennett, senior trade specialist with the Maine International Trade Center, and Matt Jacobson, the executive director of the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative, said the industry has been buoyed by growing export numbers and a recent survey showing restaurants are charging an average of USD 6.22 (EUR 5.57) more per lobster when its provenance is identified as Maine on menus, a phenomenon that was the recent subject of a Portland Press Herald article.

Bennett and Jacobson remain positive even in the face of a Gulf of Maine Research Institute prediction of an “extremely early” start to the season, which is now expected to get underway in June rather than July due to a warmer-than-usual winter in New England. They said the industry is much more prepared for an early season than it was in 2012, when an early glut of lobsters created turmoil in the industry, overwhelming processors and cratering prices.

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US officials honor Maine trade office for boosting exports

The U.S. Department of Commerce gave the Maine International Trade Center its highest award for helping to promote and expand U.S. exports.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker presented the award to the Maine trade office Monday, complementing the organization for working to increase U.S. exports.

The group was one of 123 honorees receiving the annual “E” awards, created under President John F. Kennedy’s administration in 1961. Of those, 105 of the winners were small or medium-sized businesses.

The Maine International Trade Center, or MITC, was among 28 groups or companies recognized for continuing to support U.S. exports since first winning the “E” award. The center was nominated for the award by Jeffrey Porter, a regional Commerce Department representative who leads the department’s Export Assistance Center in Portland.

Read full article on BDN Maine

With Maine International Trade Center, even small companies can export successfully

Export compliance may not sound like a sexy topic compared to the excitement of selling products internationally. But it can get exciting quickly if you ignore it: civil penalties for export license violations or sending sensitive goods to banned countries, for example, can run up to $250,000 per violation, and criminal penalties can carry jail time with fines topping $1 million, experts say. Companies may even be prohibited from exporting going forward.

“A lot of companies in Maine don’t have compliance offices,” says Janine Bisaillon-Cary, director of the Maine International Trade Center, which helps companies export and import.

Companies like IDEXX are large enough to have internal compliance offices, Bisaillon-Cary says, but most Maine companies are small- to medium-sized enterprises, and have to rely on freight forwarders, consultants, groups like MITC and others to make sure they’re selecting the correct paperwork to export a certain type of sneaker, for example, rather than a boot in the regulator’s list of codes for export products.

Read full article in Mainebiz