The World Trade Center Arkansas is expanding its partnership with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission with a new work space at the state agency’s offices in Little Rock.
Launched in 2007, the Center was established at the University of Arkansas to help companies in the state access global markets through comprehensive trade promotion services such as market research, consultation, foreign trade mission participation, and business-to-business meetings.
“Trade plays an integral role in our economy and is critical to economic development,” said AEDC Executive Director Mike Preston. “More than 350,000 jobs in Arkansas are supported by trade and foreign investment, and companies in trade-related industries tend to pay higher than those that are not.”
The new office will allow the Center increased access to the entire state as it seeks to improve foreign market access and trade development, WTCAR officials said.
“We offer our services to companies throughout the entire state,” said Dan Hendrix, president and CEO of WTCAR. “This new office in Little Rock will help increase our effectiveness to serve clients statewide and will initially be manned by existing, rotating trade staff.”
Most exporting companies in Arkansas are small businesses, and the top markets are Canada, Mexico, France, China, and the United Kingdom. The state’s largest exporting industries are agriculture, aerospace, and transportation equipment, which combined contributed to nearly half of the $6.3 billion dollars in exports in 2017. Total exported goods and services since 2007 have reached $84 billion, according to AEDC.
The Center also works with diplomats and business leaders from foreign countries to match opportunities for investment between Arkansas firms and international markets.