Help available for businesses to get into international trade |

Help available for businesses to get into international trade

Richard Swanson told the Northern Nevada Development Authority on Wednesday his office exists to help Nevada and other western U.S. businesses get into international trade.

Swanson is director of the Pacific South Network of the U.S. Commerce Department’s U.S. & Foreign & Commercial Service.

He said particularly on steel and aluminum, the North American Fair Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is being renegotiated.

He made clear his office isn’t in the political fight over tariffs but said, “I think Canada and Mexico would agree a trade agreement that’s over 25 years old needs to be updated.”

“Our main focus is not tariffs,” he said. “It’s basically trying to promote your service, your product.”

He said his staff’s job is to show business people, such as those attending the luncheon at the Governor’s Mansion, opportunities in other countries and connect them with the people who can make those opportunities reality. That includes providing on-the-ground specialists in a long list of different countries who can help a Nevada business understand what they need to do to expand into other nations, how those nations’ laws work and what kinds of things they need to bring to the table to make those connections. And, he said they can put Nevada business operators in touch with the right people to get it done.

Beyond that, he said his agency can connect them with a variety of grant opportunities, “to see if we can kick start some small and medium size businesses here.”

The goal, he said, “is to generate more revenue into the United States, invest in America, invest in our infrastructure, invest in trade.”

Swanson said Nevada’s export market has expanded dramatically in the past few years from $9.8 billion in 2016 to now $12.1 billion and the fastest growing sector is services.

“I’ve been in Las Vegas before, but I think the action is happening up here in Northern Nevada,” he said specifically pointing to the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center in Storey County.

Despite the expansion of services, Swanson said he’s still “bullish on manufacturing.”

He said that’s because manufacturing creates some 2.5 other jobs for every manufacturing job.

He said Northern Nevada is involved in several of the priority sectors including advanced manufacturing which has grown 100 percent in six years, and information and communications technology which has increased nearly 60 percent in that period.

But he said he also loves to promote Nevada’s historic mainstay, tourism, which, in terms of the economy and trade, “leads to so much more.”

Swanson said his Reno/Carson City director is Janis Halnins, 775-301-0037 and that information is available at