The labels "Made in USA" and even "Made in California" don't just help a business sell its product in the United States.
They also can help sales overseas, said Fernando Fischbach, vice president of Golden Supreme and Cinderella Hair, a manufacturer of curling irons and hair extensions, at a forum that his company hosted Tuesday on exporting.
"The words, 'Made in USA' carries a big weight for any product to people outside the United States," Fischbach said.
"We as exporters should take advantage of the 'Made in USA' in our advertising campaigns abroad," he said. "And don't underestimate the importance of the label, 'Made in California.' People across the world know that great products originate in our state."
More than 80 people were present at the forum sponsored by the Center for International Trade Development and U.S. Department of Commerce held at Golden Supreme and Cinderella Hair in Santa Fe Springs.
The forum was aimed at helping local businesses increase their international exports.
Exports account for about a quarter of Golden Supreme and Cinderella Hair's $10 million in annual sales.
Exports are important to the U.S. economy, said Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Cerritos, who also spoke at the conference.
Small business creates two of three new jobs in the country, and exports are a great way for them to survive, Sanchez said.
The goal of President Barack Obama's Export Council, which Sanchez is a member of, is to double the amount of exports by the end of 2014, she said.
"Exports hit an all-time high of $2.2 trillion in sales," said Sanchez. "For the first time, growth in exports is outpacing our imports. Selling more goods leads to higher profit margins and more jobs. "
Sanchez said Congress needs to help American businesses by removing trade barriers and helping them with financing so they can overcome hurdles to enter foreign markets.
Sanchez is working with Republican Rep. Jim Gerlach of Pennsylvania, to lead a task force on manufacturing in the United States to develop a tax policy that will be beneficial and help the country grow.
Members of a panel told the audience that exports offer an opportunity for growth because people in other countries want to buy American products.
"Worldwide, they look to drink American coffee - Starbucks, and buy hamburgers - McDonald's," said Jim Ajmal, president of Gardena- based Valley of the Sun Cosmetics. "They want to be Americanized. There's a huge potential out there other than just Walmart and Kmart. "
Ajmal said price isn't the key to making sales - quality is.
However, making sales overseas won't happen overnight, said Tony Michalski, a senior trade specialist for U.S. Commercial Services.
"You just can't go out today and expect to be exporting tomorrow," Michalski said.
You need a long-term commitment, involve your whole company and be prepared to make changes to adjust to the market, he said.
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