FormerGovMADISONVILLE, Ky. (7/18/13) – The message from State Export Representatives was clear — "People in other countries want Kentucky products". The Kentucky Export Initiative luncheon Thursday, July 18 included speakers from several agencies including former Kentucky Gov. Martha Layne Collins, ambassador at large for the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.

"There are a lot of developing countries out there," Collins told the audience. "There are a lot of people who say, 'You know, American-made products are great. Kentucky-made products are really, really great.' I mean, people love Kentucky. I've never been to another country that hasn't heard about Kentucky — Kentucky Fried Chicken, Kentucky bourbon, Kentucky Derby. It's Kentucky, Kentucky, Kentucky."

The luncheon was sponsored by the Madisonville Area Manufacturers Association and the Madisonville-Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce and held at the office of the Madisonville-Hopkins County Economic Development on Industrial Drive. Other speakers included Kent Waide, president of the MAMA, Lee Lingo, president of the local chamber, Sherry Mulkins of the World Trade Center Kentucky, Ali Crain of Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Executives, David Hunter from the Hopkinsville office of the Small Business Development Center and Peggy Pauley with the U.S. Commercial Service.

Collins said Kentuckians should put a greater emphasis on trade.

"I'm on the road because we need to get more money in this state," she said. "We need to sell our goods and services to another country and get that money in Kentucky."

The export team offered resource information to help businesses in their quests to export their products outside the U.S.

Former2Waide, who is also president of Ruby Concrete in Madisonville, talked about his recent trip to Canada and making contact with a company that is leading to follow up meetings.

"While it may sound difficult for us to export to Canada," he said, "You never know. We have a lot of custom capabilities at our facilities. A designer may come up with something they need like a multi-color product and we're one of the few that can make that."

Waide described some of the challenges of meeting with potential customers in Canada including language barriers. Many Canadians speak only French.

Pauley told the audience that the U.S. Commercial Service has contacts around the world and talked about the changing economic environment.

"With the technologies we have now, the barriers are gone," Pauley said. "Now days, they're probably hitting your website."

Pauley and Mulkins described some of the services and resource their departments could provide including language translations.

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