Everyone wants American-made, says Raymond W. Fogarty, director of the John H. Chafee Center for International Business at Bryant University, and that’s a reason to pay attention to what he calls a manufacturing renaissance, despite a widely held sentiment that sector has all but disappeared.
“The reality is, even though we’re hearing about the recession and down times, these companies have come through the recession and I think it’s to send a very positive message on where we’re going between now and 2015,” Fogarty said. “You’ll see things getting a little bit better, you’ll see, hopefully, our unemployment [drop].”
So “Made in The USA” appears to be a timely theme for this year’s World Trade Day at Bryant University in Smithfield on May 23.
“We’re seeing in [this] state that many of our companies are bringing work back,” Fogarty said. “Made in the USA” is meant to say that people all around the world want these products. We are becoming very competitive.”
In fact, Rhode Island’s exports are up.
In February they rose 46.9 percent, according to an international trade-statistics report from e-forceasting.com, rising $84.8 million that month and increasing 13.6 percent year-over-year in the first two months of 2012.
That ranked Rhode Island 22nd in export growth in the United States for that period, with manufactured goods counting for 56 percent of all state exports.
“We’re selling more,” Fogarty said. “There [was] a manufacturing birth here that is still doing quite well. [People will be] leaving World Trade Day saying a lot of companies are doing well [that they] didn’t even know existed.”
About 25 companies will participate in the annual event, now in its 27th year. This year’s theme, speakers, and participating companies will help to build on last year’s work on “Competing Beyond Borders” and a national export initiative.
Giovanni Feroce, CEO and of jewelry-maker Alex and Ani in Cranston, and Cheryl Merchant, president and CEO of Hope Global, a Cumberland company that manufactures textiles for automotive, commercial and industrial use, will participate in a forum discussion on “Made in the USA.”