Businesses must play role in trumping global phobia. In keynote speech to National Forum on Trade Policy, UPS International President says exporting is key to US economy

American business’s ability to strengthen its exporting skills will play a key role in the country’s economic future, UPS International President David Abney said in a keynote address Dec. 9 at the National Forum on Trade Policy hosted by Duke University, the University of North Carolina and the state of North Carolina.

As he spoke to an audience of 200 national leaders in economic development, public policy and academia, Abney pointed out that the tension the United States faces today in a global economy is not unlike that faced by 19th century America. Then, innovative technologies like the railroad and telegraph transformed the United States from a local to a national economy.

“The result of visionary policies by President Lincoln and the Congress of 1860 became the catalyst for America’s 20th century economic expansion,” Abney said.

“Policy makers today have a similar opportunity,” he will add, “by embracing, rather than fearing global trade. Instead of an ‘us vs. them’ mindset, we need an ‘us and them’ mindset.”

Abney also said that education initiatives would be the catalyst for innovating in a global economy and would require a collaboration of corporate America, educators, economic development professionals and lawmakers.

“We’ve got to come together to inspire a new generation of global-savvy, digital age leaders, much like Sputnik inspired a generation of engineers to lead the race to space,” Abney remarked.

Abney stated that finding creative ways to help workers dislocated by global economy volatility would also be critical. He challenged conference attendees to develop new ways to help US-based businesses export.

He detailed a three-level approach UPS is taking to help exporters through its 3,600 locations of The UPS Store, its Global Advisor Web site and by integrating exporters’ business systems with UPS’s synchronized supply chain systems.

Abney’s remarks were part of a conference sponsored by Duke University that focuses on proactive solutions to challenges arising around issues of international trade.