Exporting is the name of the game at networking get-together

Everyone knows about the desire of international companies to do business in the U.S. and New Jersey. But there’s just as big an interest and effort from New Jersey companies to sell their products overseas.

More than 75 professionals attended the U.S. Commercial Service’s fourth annual International Business Networking Event on Thursday, hosted in collaboration with the New Jersey District Export Council and Sobel & Co. at Sobel & Co.’s headquarters in Livingston.

“The New Jersey District Export Council promotes the exports of U.S. products overseas,” Michel Wouters, its chairman, said. “Therefore, we hope this event will help manufacturers and service providers work together to find easier ways to do so.”

Sally Glick, a member of the New Jersey District Export Council and principal and chief growth strategist of Sobel & Co., a certified public accounting and consulting firm, was instrumental in putting the event together, Wouters added.

“Our firm has been focused on the middle-market, family-owned businesses since our inception in 1996, and that is why we are so glad to host annual events like this with the U.S. Department of Commerce and New Jersey District Export Council to support our local manufacturers,” Alan Sobel, managing partner at Sobel & Co., said. “We are proud to be recognized as a valuable resource within this sector and the greater tristate business community.”

This type of event, typically held twice a year in New Jersey by the U.S. Commercial Service, serves to build relationships between new and seasoned exporters, provide information on how local District Export Council members can assist businesses with their export needs, and encourage solution providers and trade professionals in the logistics, finance, distributorship, international sales, manufacturing and legal sectors to discuss current industry challenges.

“It is a small, tight-knit group of people who are heavily involved in international trade, so it is important to know each other and have that chance to chat about what is happening within the business environments,” Susan Widmer, director of the Northern New Jersey Export Assistance Center in Newark and member of the New Jersey District Export Council, said. “It’s also really important that people realize it takes a team (to export), including bankers, lawyers, accountants and more. It can be a lot to handle for those people who have not yet exported and are just beginning to learn and sort through all the information about it.”

Recent international trade relations between the U.S. and multiple other countries was a popular topic of discussion amongst attendees.

“Countries change. Europe is undergoing transformation, as is (Asia). Our country certainly has with the new administration. So, it is difficult to say what will happen,” Wouters said. “People simply have to keep their finger on the pulse. New trade agreements always can influence us in many different ways.”

To conclude the evening, Brian Beams, senior international trade specialist for the U.S. Department of Commerce, presented the Export Achievement Certificate to Sandra Montoya, international sales coordinator for Acrow Bridge, an engineer, manufacturer and supplier of prefabricated modular steel bridges in Parsippany.

“In the last two years, Acrow has worked in more than 80 countries around the world,” Montoya said. “We always are working with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Commercial Service to ensure we are getting fair and transparent deals.”