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Cuomo proposes $35 million fund to promote exports

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on March 19, 2014

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on March 19, 2014 in Suffern. Cuomo proposed on Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014, creating a $35 million bank to help businesses in the state sell goods and services overseas. Credit: Office of the Governor / Darren McGee

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo Tuesday proposed a $35 million state fund to help businesses in New York sell their goods and services overseas.

The fund, which is subject to approval by the State Legislature next year, would supplement the work of the Export-Import Bank of the United States. Ex-Im ensures that U.S. companies get paid for export orders and provides funding to those new to selling internationally.

"For companies to go global . . . is difficult," Cuomo said in Manhattan after speaking to about 400 people at the first Global NY Summit on World Trade and Investment. "It requires an infusion of capital. You have to make connections . . . And we want to help."

New York ranked No. 3 among the states in terms of exports and foreign direct investment in 2012, according to the most recent data from the U.S. International Trade Administration and the Financial Times newspaper. Cuomo said he hopes to improve New York's performance.

Kenneth Adams, the governor's economic development czar, estimated that 700,000 jobs in the state, or 10 percent of all those in the private sector, are linked to export activity.

He also said the proposed Global NY Development Fund would include a revolving loan program -- $25 million in state money matched by $50 million from private banks -- to help small businesses with 100 or fewer employees to do more exporting.

He said another $10 million from the state would be distributed in grants -- up to $25,000 -- for small- and medium-sized companies to develop sales strategies, translate websites, adapt products and make other preparations for selling to foreign markets.

Cuomo also said he plans to lead trade missions to Canada, China, Israel, Italy and Mexico. The trips would promote the state as a destination for foreign investment and showcase the products and services offered by companies that call New York home.

Attracting overseas investors has become increasingly difficult in recent years with the rise of Brazil, India, China and other nations with fast-growing economies.

But John J. Mack, a special adviser to the Cuomo administration and former chief executive of the Morgan Stanley investment bank, said American workers are more productive than their foreign counterparts, "and I think that, in and of itself, gives us a huge advantage" in attracting international capital.

Later Tuesday, Susan Axelrod, founder of Love & Quiches Gourmet in Freeport, advised against being afraid of doing business abroad, even in countries where U.S. foreign policy has sparked protests. She said, "Every place in the world, even where they hate us -- they like American food and that helps my company."

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