Eric Nielsen, U.S. Commercial Service Arizona

from Eric Nielsen

There was a time when businesspeople from Arizona struggled to become known on the world market. Doing business with Mexico and Canada was common trade in Arizona, but doing business with China, Brazil and others of today’s best-known trade hot spots was nearly unthinkable for even the largest companies located here.

However, with 95 percent of global consumers living outside of the U.S. and millions of households entering the middle class each year in these emerging markets, Arizona businesses are increasingly reaching beyond North America. The Internet, improved transportation options and the array of U.S. government export and financing assistance available has greatly streamlined the export process for small and medium-sized enterprises. In 2011, Arizona companies shipped $17.8 billion in merchandise exports to world destinations, a 14-percent increase over the previous year. But there is still much more room to grow, especially in areas in which Arizona has a competitive edge, such as IT, aerospace, healthcare technology and tourism.

Offices of the U.S. Commercial Service in Arizona — in Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tucson — serve as a gateway to global markets for hundreds of Arizona businesses each year. Worldwide, the CS has offices in 108 U.S. cities and more than 70 countries, providing a seamless network of on-the-ground assistance, which includes everything from developing a business plan to finding the right business partner or distribution channel to financing. We also work closely with key local partners, including the Arizona Commerce Authority and the U.S. Small Business Administration, who together make export-related business development funds available through the State Trade Export Promotion grant.

Today, international trade has become something businesspeople are not only familiar with as a part of Arizona business but see as a way to grow business here. Don Rodriguez, in this issue’s cover story “Today’s Global Economy: How Are Arizona Businesses Getting a Piece of It?,” looks at Arizona’s strengthened stature in global commerce and explores factors and businesses that have contributed to this growth as well as avenues of opportunity for continued growth.

In an article that overlaps the cover story in some aspects, In Business Magazine editor RaeAnne Marsh’s “Sector” feature on manufacturing examines strengths and challenges that impact the Valley’s, and the state’s, manufacturing industry — a business sector at the core of other economic growth.

The value of strategic plans as well as tips to make them flexible and effective, and a feature that addresses difficulties businesses face in developing a compelling website, are among the other features in this issue that business owners will see as helpful in building their business. Greg Crabtree gives business owners a possible rude awakening in his article on the need for them to set a value to properly remunerate themselves as they do their employees. Mona Pearl challenges business leaders to recognize a changed world economy and reestablish U.S. business as a global leader.

With its focus on building business for our community, In Business Magazine offers relevant and timely information for entrepreneurs and corporate leaders. I hope you will enjoy this “Global Economy” issue of In Business Magazine.


Eric Nielsen
U.S. Commercial Service — Arizona

As director of the U.S. Commercial Service in Arizona, Eric Nielsen is responsible for operations of the U.S. Export Assistance Center in Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tucson. In fiscal year 2010, the Arizona USEAC helped more than 100 different customers generate 263 export transactions to 50-plus countries, with total sales valued at approximately $51 million. Nielsen manages a team of four international trade specialists and coordinates partnerships with a wide variety of economic development organizations.

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