U.S. Commerce Secretary honors IFAI Expo Asia 2011

(Roseville, MN - Dec. 2, 2010)—U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke presented IFAI President and CEO Stephen Warner with a recognition award Dec. 1 for receiving the Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP) Grant for its IFAI Expo Asia 2011 trade show development.

The MDCP award is bestowed by the International Trade Administration (ITA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and includes a $250,000 grant plus technical assistance from ITA to support well-defined business plans aimed at increasing exports and U.S. competitiveness within certain industries. The MDCP award establishes a partnership between ITA and nonprofit industry groups to help strengthen global competitiveness and create jobs through exports.

"These funds will help U.S. firms compete globally so they can sell more of their goods and services abroad and create jobs here in the U.S.," Secretary Locke said. "The MDCP is a good example of how public/private sector partnerships can leverage limited public resources to help small- and medium-sized businesses expand their exports to compete in the global marketplace."

IFAI's funding is specifically intended to encourage U.S.-based specialty fabric suppliers to export into the Asia Pacific region. The funds will be used to lower costs for U.S. companies exhibiting at IFAI Expo Asia 2011 in Singapore, 22-25 March 2011, and to bring qualified targeted buyers to the event to meet with these U.S. companies.

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) chairs the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Competitiveness, Innovation and Export Promotion, and in her presentation she commended IFAI saying, "I am very proud that one of the five organizations receiving the MDCP grant is from Minnesota."

IFAI Expo Asia 2011 has also received Trade Fair Certification from the U.S. Commercial Service of the Department of Commerce. This government certification is an elite status and has never before been given by the Department of Commerce to a first-time trade fair. The Trade Fair Certification program is a cooperative arrangement between private sector trade show organizers and the U.S. government to increase U.S. exports and expand U.S. participation in overseas trade shows.

According to Warner, "The boom is on in the Asia Pacific region for specialty fabrics. In the last two years the region's governments committed more than $300 billion for green industrial projects, energy and water conservation, renewable energy, air and water quality and coastal regeneration. All these applications can involve products made from specialty fabrics."

Echoing Secretary Locke and Sen. Klobuchar, Warner added, "Ninety-five percent of consumers live outside the U.S. Only one percent of U.S. manufacturers export and sixty percent of those companies only export to Mexico and Canada. There is a world filled with opportunities, but you have to strike quickly in this fast-changing environment," Warner said.

Since MDCP's inception in 1993, the Department of Commerce has made 102 awards under the program. In an average year, MDCP is projected to generate $219 million in U.S. exports. In this year's State of the Union address, President Obama set a goal for America–to double U.S. exports of goods and services over the next five years.

IFAI Expo Asia 2011 Visitor Registration and Exhibit stand reservations information is available at www.ifaiexpoasia.com. For more information about the Industrial Fabrics Association International visit www.ifai.com.