The Valdosta Daily Times
A group of international trade representatives stopped in Lowndes County Friday to see the fruits of their labor efforts to open international markets to Georgia businesses.
During a tour of businesses throughout the state, Georgia Department of Economic Development International Trade representatives stopped in Valdosta Friday and were given a tour of Steeda Autosports to learn how international trade connections are making an impact in South Georgia.
The international trade representatives assist Georgia companies to establish export markets throughout Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the Americas, said Meghan Dukes with the Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority.
Steeda has had success in developing markets for its products overseas, and Allan Ricketts, industrial authority project manager, sees that as a good thing.
Steeda recently signed a contract to produce Ford car parts to be exported to China, and the company already has export deals with Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom, said Ricketts.
“We are always looking for opportunities that will be good for our community,” said Ricketts, “and exporting products creates more jobs in the community.”
Ricketts also pointed to the possibility of Steeda constructing a test track next to its facility as another way to create jobs in Lowndes County. The test track would allow Steeda to more readily test its products and create another revenue stream for the company through partnerships with other companies that would use the track.
Kathe Falls, the head of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, was one of the many representatives on the tour and highlighted the importance of creating international markets for American businesses.
“Whenever a company like Steeda sells products overseas, they create twice as many jobs,” said Falls.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal announced Monday that the state had a “record-breaking year in international trade” in 2013 and became the 11th largest exporting state in the country.
“This is a clear indication that Georgia companies are aggressively pursuing international markets and that international companies are looking to Georgia for business,” said Chris Carr, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development.
Steeda recently fulfilled and received payment for its first shipment of products to China and is optimistic about further opportunities to expand, said Seth Jacobs, a representative with the economic development department.