Carpenter bill would increase Maine’s domestic exports

Posted: May 12, 2017 | Senator Carpenter

AUGUSTA — A bill by Sen. Mike Carpenter, D-Houlton, would increase Maine’s domestic exports by creating a Maine Domestic Trade Center, modeled on the successful Maine International Trade Center (MITC).

The bill — LD 1353, “An Act to Establish the Maine Domestic Trade Center” — received a public hearing before the Labor, Commerce, Research, and Economic Development Committee on Wednesday.

The MITC was created by the Legislature in 1996 to support Maine’s economy by increasing international exports. It is a public-private partnership, funded through membership dues of businesses and other organizations, that provides technical assistance, training, research and access to grants.

Sen. Carpenter’s bill creates a domestic trade center housed within the MITC for the purpose of expanding Maine’s exports to other states, particularly markets in New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Vermont.

“We all know Maine’s economy is facing serious challenges — paper mills are closing and we must look for other ways to support local economic development and ensure that our young people can live and work in Maine,” said Sen. Carpenter. “This bill presents an opportunity to market Maine business to neighboring state and increase domestic exports.”

According to their annual report in 2016, Maine companies exported nearly $3 billion in goods and services in 2013 and the MITC fielded over 1,200 requests for assistance. Since 2009 Maine jobs related to trade increased by over 25 percent, while overall job growth was only .03 percent over the same period.

A  report released Tuesday by the Maine Economic Growth Council and the Maine Development Foundation, Maine’s exports “outperform the nation’s” and provide a bright spot in Maine’s recent economic performance.

LD 1353 faces further action in the Labor, Commerce, Research, and Economic Development Committee and votes in the House and Senate.