Former Gov. Blanchard, MEDC’s Finney among speakers to headline Port Lansing 2012 Global Logistics Conference

Former Michigan Governor and past U.S. Ambassador to Canada James Blanchard and Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) President and CEO Michael Finney are among the governmental and business leaders slated to speak at the Port Lansing 2012 Global Logistics Conference.

The event, scheduled for May 15, 2012, at Michigan State University’s Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center, will also feature a video welcome by U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan.

The conference will provide business owners and managers with insights and expertise on how international trade can help diversify their customer base, provide long-term stability and support higher-paying jobs. According to a recent report by the Brookings Institute, U.S. exports increased nearly 11 percent in 2010, the fastest growth since 1997. Export-related jobs grew by almost 6 percent during the same timeframe, despite job losses in the overall economy.

“Attendees will hear from other business leaders who have successfully leveraged available resources to expand into foreign markets,” said Brent Case, vice president of international business services for the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce.

“They’ll also learn how they can localize global logistics, finance their international efforts and optimize their global supply chain,” Case said. “Michigan has an increasing number of businesses that recognize the value of global trade, and we’re fortunate to have robust systems that can assist our companies to grow globally.”

Port Lansing, located at the Capital Region International Airport, allows passengers and cargo to clear customs through a U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The port’s Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) allows goods to be delivered directly to the airport with the ability to defer, reduce or eliminate some duties and fees.

Port Lansing and the FTZ are key to Michigan’s efforts to enhance the competitiveness of regional businesses in the global marketplace, promote Michigan to domestic and international businesses, and increase the Greater Lansing region’s role in the ever-expanding global economy.

In addition, Port Lansing is utilizing tax incentives through the Next Michigan Development designation to attract new tenants and serve as a freight and commerce hub for the Midwest. Port Lansing is also involved in MEDC’s effort that helps companies to start or improve exporting opportunities. MEDC’s State Trade & Export Promotion (STEP), for example, is providing cash incentives along with expert training to businesses interested in exports.

At the 2012 Global Logistics Conference, Blanchard will discuss the significance of the Michigan-Canada trade relationship and the importance of continuing to grow global commerce with Canada, Michigan’s largest trading partner. Finney will discuss Michigan’s global trade strategy and the impact trade has on the state’s economy.

Conference sponsors are Capital Region International Airport, MSU’s International Business Center, Foster Swift Collins & Smith PC, MSU’s Canadian Studies Center, CN railroad, MEDC, The Greater Lansing Business Monthly, Sandler & Travis Trade Advisory Services Inc. and the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Registration information is available at portlansing.com/conference or 517-886-3714.