This annual event draws U.S. companies from across the Northwest who export their goods or services to foreign markets, and offers insight on the most pressing export issues facing companies today.
The keynote address, “Free Trade Agreements and American Jobs,” will feature Ambassador Islam Siddiqui, chief agriculture negotiator, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Featured speakers include Robert Lang, Brookings Institution; Katja Kravetsky, U.S. Commercial Service, St. Petersburg, Russia; Brad Frazer, Hawley Troxell; Stephen E. Alley, U.S. Embassy, Mexico; Vince Brascia, Transform Solar; Charles Herrington, Micron Technology; and successful Idaho entrepreneurs who are developing new foreign markets.
World Trade Day is presented by the Idaho District Export Council, in cooperation with Boise State’s International Business Program. IB is involved with a number of initiatives aimed at helping students further their knowledge of foreign trade while assisting Idaho companies develop their export potential.
For example, the Heidelberg Project pairs four Idaho firms that desire to enter European markets with teams of students for a three-phase project. Students in the IB 320 “Managing in a Global Economy” course completed preliminary company and product research. Their data was handed off to MBA students at Applied Sciences University in Heidelberg, Germany who engaged in “on-the-ground” research in the targeted market and industry. Finally, a third set of students in the IB 443 “Exporting and Importing Procedures” class will complete a capstone project on the findings. Student assignments include administering surveys, interviewing potential buyers for the products, collecting information on local trade fairs and exploring additional marketing avenues.
“The companies will walk away with a full assessment and a strategic plan for exporting their products,” said department chair Meredith Taylor Black. “And our students will gain valuable experience and understanding of international business markets.”
Opportunities for involvement are not limited to in-class projects. IB students were integral to the success of last year’s Export Excellence program, a partnership between TechHelp, the Idaho District Export Council and the U.S. Commercial Service. Seven international business majors, serving as interns, were matched with seven Idaho-based companies and worked alongside international business experts to help develop export plans for the companies’ products.
Joe DeGano, the marketing manager for 2011 Export Excellence company Rekluse, praised the quality of the participating interns.
“One of the key benefits of the program was our Boise State University international business intern, Leo Raya,” he said. “We have since kept him on because he produces results and adds great enthusiasm and resources.”
The success of the Export Excellence program highlighted the relevancy of international business education, added Black. And the department is seeking additional programs and opportunities for students. “One of the long-term goals in our internationalization strategy is the establishment of international (research) cooperation with our partner institutions,” Black said. “Idaho has a unique trade agreement with Taiwan and this particular relationship holds many possibilities.”
Black visited Taiwan last October as a distinguished member of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office’s (TECO) Young Scholar and Expert Delegation. During her visit, she met with government officials, political leaders, and business executives. Since her return, the International Business department has increased its focus on exploring collaborative opportunities with Taiwanese institutions and is currently hosting an intern from Taiwan’s renowned International Trade Institute. A recent Boise State graduate is working in Taipei as an ambassador for the Department and is actively assisting with the development of additional partnerships.
Finally, in an effort to expand its educational offering to graduate students and local professionals, the International Business department is developing an International Trade Certificate (ITC) Program, incorporating training for the nationally-recognized Certificate of Global Business Professionals (CGBP). As the only program of its type in Idaho, the ITC will seek to stimulate the export sector by providing its holders with a strong background in international business principles and trade practices.
The program is expected to begin in fall 2013.
By: Sherry Squires