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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Help for “Made in America” companies
By Patrick Meuleman


February 26, 2013
Tuesday PM

Alaska can be a tough place to do business. That is especially true in today’s global economy, where competition from imports makes the business climate even more difficult.

 A federal grant program is available to help “Made in America” companies become more competitive, and save US jobs. The funds come from the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program of the U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration to assist a wide range of businesses and service industries.

Companies that are losing sales to foreign imports, or have been forced to lay off workers or cut back on hours are likely eligible for the TAA grants.

Alaska’s seafood industry is a prime example. Wild salmon faces intense competition from less expensive farmed fish from Chile and Norway. Alaska king crab gets clobbered by Russian product; snow crab sales get squeezed by imports from Eastern Canada. Most recently, Alaska cod markets have crumbled due to enormous amounts of fish coming from the Barents Sea.

Alaska seafood companies, fish processors and brokers, and other related businesses may be eligible to receive up to $75,000 in grants for a wide range of projects of their choice. The funds enable recipients to develop and complete projects that they might not otherwise have considered.

 For example, with the help of TAA funds, an Alaska salmon processor created a new corporate brand identity, and developed product labels, brochures and other marketing materials in several languages. Sales increased by 20% from increased catalog and internet sales. An Alaska fishing family was able to start marketing their own products by using TAA funds to develop a web presence.

Other projects can include marketing and branding, designing trade show booths, new product development, site layouts, customer service analysis, custom software creation, manufacturing design and site layouts, and specialized staff training, to name but a few.

Seafood companies are just one example of the many kinds of businesses and services that may be eligible for TAA grants. Sawmills, farmers, co-ops and trade groups or association members also may qualify.

Our staff at the Northwest Trade Adjustment Assistance Center will work with you at no cost to determine if your company is eligible for TAA grant funding. We .help clients develop a strategic plan, and make sure it is accomplished by hiring outside experts to complete the projects. All information is treated as confidential.

 Find more information about TAA grants for “Made in America” companies at

Patrick Meuleman
Seattle, WA

About:The Northwest Trade Adjustment Assistance Center (NWTAAC) is a non-profit organization that administers the Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms (TAAF) program for the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA). NWTAAC is part of a national network of 11 independent non-profit organizations and universities that manage the TAAF program.

NWTAAC works with firms in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.

Received February 26, 2013 - Published February 26, 2013



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