White House report highlights SC business exports

Transfer Point CEO Marilyn Becker (center) with employees and shareholders Rachael Scott (left) and Jennifer Williams
Transfer Point CEO Marilyn Becker (center) with employees and shareholders Rachael Scott (left) and Jennifer Williams Provided photo

As Marilyn Becker saw the U.S. appetite for her dietary supplement shrinking with the shuttering of health food stores during the Great Recession, her sales in Europe were spiking.

The decreasing value of the dollar essentially put her product “on sale” overseas, said the Columbia chief executive of Transfer Point, one of 50 U.S. companies featured in a report detailing the impact of trade exports on business, released Thursday.

“That’s when I understood the value of stabilizing our sales by approaching both” domestic and foreign markets to sell her product, said Becker, whose company earned a third of its sales from exports last year.

South Carolina saw a $29.7 billion value in goods exported in 2014, up 121 percent from 2004 in the report, compiled by U.S. Department of Commerce and called, “The United States of Trade.”

The report comes as President Barack Obama and U.S. Commerce officials push Congress to adopt trade legislation that could clear the way for the country to complete a 12-nation pact called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The agreement would expand U.S. trade in Asia.

Becker said she supports expanding trade agreements, which would allow businesses like hers to continue growing.

“A lot of products are being sold in the United States and other countries are looking for products,” she said.

A bill could come as early as next week, U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said Tuesday on a conference call with reporters.

Pritzker said Congress needs to pass trade-promotion legislation quickly to open export opportunities for businesses that will help companies “hire more people at home and pay them better wages.”

The report highlights the roughly 300,000 small- and medium-size U.S. businesses that make up 98 percent of all U.S. goods exporters.

Exports from U.S. companies in 2014 were valued at $2.3 trillion – a 102 percent increase from 2004, according to the report.

Exports also supported 11.7 million U.S. jobs last year – the fifth consecutive record-breaking year, according to the report.

Reach Self at (803) 771-8658

Impact of trade exports on South Carolina

$29.7 billion – Value of goods exported in 2014, up 121 percent since 2004

153,816 – U.S. jobs supported by goods exports in 2014

5,832 – Number of goods exporting companies in 2013

84.8 percent – Goods exporters that were small- or medium-size businesses in 2013

SOURCE: “The United States of Trade”