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Southeast Queens is a leading exporter of goods to China: Feds

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With an international airport and thousands of wares in great demand, southeast Queens is one of the leading American cities that export goods to China, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said last week.

The chamber hosted an event at John F. Kennedy International Airport last week that encouraged borough small businesses to expand their operations to the Asian nation as it continues to rise as an economic power. More than 100 entrepreneurs from 10 Queens businesses attended the International Trade Summit that was hosted by the chamber’s TradeRoots program, according to U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica), who gave the keynote speech.

Meeks said several small businesses in the area have been trading with China and have been successful despite America’s recession.

“Here in Queens County, according to a York College Small Business Development Center study, more than 650 Queens-based firms are involved in global trade-related activity,” he said in a statement. “Thousands of Queens firms could readily adjust their operations to global trade.”

Southeast Queens has been growing tremendously over the years in its trading with the Far East, according to Kathleen McInerney, manager of TradeRoots. While the rest of the world has had a 4 percent decrease in exports to China over the last decade, the 6th Congressional District, which includes Jamaica, St. Albans, JFK Airport and the Rockaways, has recorded a 101 percent increase, according to the manager.

“The top exports to China are waste and scrap, machinery, computers, electronics, chemicals and transportation products,” McInerney said.

China recently surpassed Japan as the second-largest economy in the world, right behind the United States.

Meeks also noted that the area has a key advantage that helps exporting: the airport.

“JFK is also the borough’s largest employer,” he said. “Increased exports mean increasing trade capacity, increased trade capacity means jobs with the expansion of terminals, freight forwarding, warehousing, transportation and business services in and around the airport.”

McInerney said the event was a success because several business owners were able to collect valuable information from Chinese officials and expressed interest in expanding in the nation.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

Updated 6:10 pm, October 10, 2011
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