Rock to Road

Hope for U.S. construction machinery exports?

March 8, 2010  By  Andy Bateman

6, 2010 – U.S.
construction equipment exports dropped more than 38 percent in 2009 compared to
the previous year for a total $12.8 billion worth of machinery shipped to other
nations, with declines of between nearly 30 to 50 percent for major world
regions. South and Central America as well as Asia
were among the regions experiencing the smallest 2009 yearly declines.

good news is that overall, quarter-to-quarter declines steadily improved, ending
with a fourth-quarter 2009 gain of 26 percent over the third quarter, according
to the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM). The AEM trade group
consolidates U.S. Commerce Department data for off-road equipment with other
sources into quarterly export trend reports.

have literally been a lifeline for the construction equipment industry, which
saw U.S.
business plummet more than 40 percent last year and unemployment soar to more
than double the national average," stated AEM President Dennis Slater.
"Global trade has been a significant source of industry expansion in
recent years, and many economies are now rebounding faster than the U.S."

provided additional commentary on the need for trade-friendly government


help boost U.S. exports, it
is essential that federal government policies make it easier for American
companies to pursue international business, and for international buyers to
more easily travel to the United
States to examine and buy American products.

applauds President Obama's recent "National Export Initiative" to
promote trade, which includes expanded Export-Import Bank funding for small to
medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from 20 percent to 50 percent of budget.

of our smaller companies increasingly rely on exports to keep their businesses
operating, and we have launched a pilot program with Ex-Im Bank to guide
companies through the loan-application process and maximize their export

also welcomes the Administration's renewed focus on revamping the U.S.
visa-application process. International attendance at our trade shows would be
much higher if qualified buyers were not subjected to an overly complicated and
seemingly arbitrary process. These are established business people, and many
just give up and vow to spend their money in other countries.

continue to hear numerous complaints of long waiting times and denial after a
superficial review. We have experienced up to a 20-percent refusal rate for our
CONEXPO-CON/AGG construction show, and we estimate our recent AG CONNECT Expo
agriculture show lost significant international attendance because of visa
issues. For example, with one potential Indian delegation of about 80 business
people, some 90 percent were denied visas."

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