Opportunities Are Abroad

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Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade, the Honorable Francisco Sanchez

“Look for opportunities to work abroad (and) make a positive impact on the U.S. economy,” said Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade, the Honorable Francisco Sanchez. During the AIA’s annual Grassroots Leadership and Legislative Conferencelast week, Sanchez challenged the profession to increase the export of architectural services abroad.

He asked the profession to consider these facts

  • 95% of the world’s consumers live outside the U.S. boundaries
  • According to the International Monetary Fund, within five years 85% of all economic growth will occur outside U.S. boundaries
  • Only 1% of American businesses export and only 4% of total architectural billings are from international markets
  • In 2010, U.S. exports had a record year of over $2.1 trillion (14% of GDP)
  • 80% of the world’s purchasing power is outside the U.S. borders

Want more data? Click here for detailed stats about U.S. exports.

According to Undersecretary Sanchez, exporting American services leads to more customers, increased access to trade markets, and more purchasing power. Further, the exporting of architectural services has a ripple effect by including engineers and consultants throughout the process. In these challenging economic times, Sanchez encouraged architects to “look for opportunities to diversify your practice and consider exporting your services oversees.” As part of the Obama Administration’s national export initiative to create policies that are opening new markets and reducing barriers, www.export.gov has been created as a portal to find resources, provide tools to identify new markets, gain insight on trade issues, and as a means to secure individualized counseling for firms who need assistance in navigating these opportunities.

Opportunities are abroad; look beyond our borders for a new market and improve your bottom line.


Nicki Dennis Stephens

Nicki Dennis Stephens is the Senior Director for The American Institute of Architects, California Council. Focusing on expanding the value of architects and architecture, Nicki is dedicated to serving the needs of members and AIA components throughout California.

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