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Trade conference highlights importance of recent exports

Updated: 2013-12-17 12:53
By Amy He in New York ( China Daily USA)

Trade conference highlights importance of recent exports

Helene Herman (second from right), director of global marketing for Lee Spring, is one of the some 100 participants at a conference which promotes US exports. Amy He / China Daily

Helene Herman, director of global marketing for Brooklyn, New York-based Lee Spring, which has a distribution center and sales offices in China, was one of more than 100 business and trade organizations representatives at a conference on the importance of exports and international investment in the US.

The event on Monday was sponsored by the US Commercial Service's New York Export Assistance Center and the New York District Export Council, and celebrated the 100th birthday of the center. The Export Assistance Center provides counseling services for small and mid-sized US businesses looking to export their products and the New York office is the oldest one in the country, according to a spokesman.

Lee Spring manufactures springs in Arizona for use in the energy, oil and gas, and medical sectors. It was founded in 1918 in Brooklyn, New York. The company sells its product in China and opened its first Chinese distribution facility in Shanghai in 2007 to serve the Chinese and Pacific Rim market. It also has four sales offices in China - Suzhou, Shanghai, Tianjin, Chengdu.

China is "definitely a growth market," Herman said, contributing to about 5 percent of Lee Spring's sales. "This is a product that we're producing here that companies in China can't make yet," Herman said. "We wanted to see if the same product could be manufactured in China, so we tried to make it there, and we couldn't get the same high-precision product."

Herman said overseas clients often have a perception of American products as being higher quality.

"Sometimes buyers in China will buy locally because of price, but we have a lot of unique products and that's what a lot of people are looking for in China," she said. "They're looking for products that are very highly engineered and can be customized."

Though Herman said the springs that the company produces are not the most price-competitive, Chinese buyers are "absolutely willing to pay the higher price." She also said she found that Chinese buyers are "more quality-oriented to a large degree than American ones."

American products still embody a standard that people are willing to pay a premium for, she said.

"For a long time, people in the US looked to places like France for perfume and cosmetics," said Herman. "For precision products and also for innovation, people look to America."

New York exports hit an all-time high for the first half of 2013 with 45.7 billion products shipped out of the state, following only Texas and California in number of exports, according to New York congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, who spoke at the conference.

"If we keep that up, we're going to be exporting over 100 billion out of New York State alone, and that is around 200,000 jobs tied to exports," she said. "This is a resounding success and one that we need to build on."

amyhe@chinadailyusa.com

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