Nevada's interest in trade rises as dollar stays weak

Seminars on exporting and personalized counseling session for potential exporters among Nevada companies fill up quickly.

At least twice a week, Al Di Stefano, the state's director of global trade and investment, fields a call from a

Nevada company that wants to tap overseas markets. More calls come from experienced exporters that are looking to widen their international reach.

The upshot: During the first quarter, exports from Nevada rose 10.6 percent over year-earlier figures, accelerating the 4 percent growth posted during 2007.

The boom in export trade, Di Stefano says, largely reflects the weakness of the U.S. dollar. That makes products produced in Nevada cheap on world markets.

At the same time, the state export official says some companies are benefiting from international awareness of the quality of American manufacturing especially in the wake of highly publicized problems with some Chinese-made goods.

"The quality problem is starting to bite them," he says.

The interest among Nevada companies in selling more overseas began to develop last year as domestic markets began to weaken.

"There was no question last year that this was coming," Di Stefano says.

Gold and other precious metals account for about half the state's exports $708 million out of total exports of $1.5 billion in the first quarter and Switzerland is the state's biggest trading partner because much of the gold lands in its vaults.

Also accounting for big chunks of the state's exports are games and sports equipment, a category that includes slot machines and other gaming devices.

That category accounted for $145 million in export sales during the first quarter. Reno's International Game

Technology, which reported $83.8 million in international sales during that quarter, accounted for about 58 percent of the total.


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