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SLCO’s Export Economy

Jul 29, 2016 09:18AM ● Published by Bryan Scott

By Salt Lake County Councilwoman Aimee Winder Newton


One of the most important functions of Salt Lake County Government is supporting a good environment for job growth and free enterprise. Salt Lake County drives much of the Utah economy, and a big part of that is based on our business exports. We have a Salt Lake County Regional Export Plan, which outlines the impact the county has on Utah’s export economy, as well as a path forward for continued growth. There are a few things from this plan that I believe are valuable for residents to know. 

Exporting means that a Utah business sells products or services outside the country. It is important for a healthy economy because it opens up products to additional markets, essentially growing the demand for what we produce locally. It also helps a regional economy expand and diversify. Businesses that export goods and services tend to have higher wages and higher worker productivity. 

You may not know that businesses in our Salt Lake County export to places like Canada, Mexico, China, Australia, Japan, Germany, and Korea. Salt Lake County accounted for $10.24 billion, nearly half of the Utah’s $21.6 billion in exports in 2014. 

Still, some businesses may be reluctant to explore exporting. We want to help small businesses understand all the options available to them to grow their business, and create more, high-paying jobs for county residents. 

The county export plan includes a few steps to educate, then assist local employers as they explore exporting as a viable option for their business. The first step is awareness. Any businesses that might be interested can contact our Office of Regional Development to learn about the opportunities for exporting, and how to go about actually doing it. 

The county’s goal is to help small and medium businesses, in particular, expand their products into new international markets. We have hundreds of “middle market” companies that could benefit significantly from exporting. Helping these firms understand the opportunity, connect them with resources in the county as well as the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, and utilize the resources of World Trade Center Utah are just a few of the objectives the county is focusing on. 

These steps will help Salt Lake County’s economy continue to grow and create more opportunity for all. We’ve seen firsthand the power of free enterprise to pull families out of poverty, and pull states out of recessions. We saw Utah’s recovery, as well as Salt Lake County’s, following the Great Recession. Thanks to reasonable and restrained government, and a support system for the private sector to innovate and grow, our county and our state are economic beacons to the rest of the nation. 

Our governmental and economic principles are already being exported. And there is so much more potential for our goods and services to be exported as well. 

For more information on the many economic opportunities for employers in Salt Lake County, visit www.slco.org/economic-development.    

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