The Export Resource Service (ERS), located at the Franklin Furniture Institute on the campus of Mississippi State University, offers assistance to domestic furniture manufacturers in developing export markets and expanding export sales. ERS is a collaborative effort among the Franklin Furniture Institute (FFI), the U.S. Department of Commerce's Mississippi Export Assistance Center (MEAC), and the Mississippi Development Authority's (MDA) International Trade Office. The overall goal of ERS is to provide the furniture industry with information and opportunities to help them begin and/or expand exporting activities to increase sales and grow their international markets.
Today's market for furniture and related products is worldwide and exports have remained an important part of the U.S. economy. Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom were the world's top goods exporters in 2015, with Saudi Arabia and Egypt rounding out the top five. Furniture exports ranked 14 in 2015 state exports from Mississippi and Mississippi furniture ranked number 14 in all U.S. furniture exported to the world. The value of U.S. furniture exports rose 8% in 2014, from $19.7 billion in 2013 to $21.4 billion. The U.S. currently has 14 Free Trade Agreements in effect with 20 countries. In 2014, 47 percent of U.S. goods exports, or $765 billion, went to FTA partner countries, up 4% from 2013. The U.S. trade surplus in manufactured goods with FTA partners totaled $55 billion in 2014.
Exporting offers huge opportunities to grow, thereby creating and retaining high-quality, high-paying jobs in the United States. “Made in the USA” products are in demand all over the world and U.S. businesses are seizing the great opportunities in the global markets. Furniture products from the U.S. already have a high prestige factor in many countries, thus providing domestic furniture producers with an opportunity to increase revenues and expand their breadth of market.
Services of ERS are targeted towards Mississippi furniture manufacturers, suppliers, and stakeholders included in the furniture value chain. ERS serves as a central distribution point for furniture related export opportunities, information, resources, and links to current trade data, statistics and sources of assistance available to the local, regional, and national furniture industry. By disseminating relevant trade information, a link is created between potential foreign customers and domestic manufacturers. This resource center offers manufacturers comprehensive assistance with market assessment, problem solving, competitive pricing strategies, and logistical issues. Assistance is available to companies seeking to showcase their products at trade shows in other countries. By collaborating with federal and state agencies, ERS is also able to encourage participation of international buyers at trade shows here in the U.S.