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      Centerstate wants to double area exports in 5 years

      Next week, Centerstate CEO will unveil an ambitious plan to double the amount of exports produced in the Central New York Region within 5 years.

      C urrently area businesses and manufacturers export about $3.3 billion worth of goods and services annually. The "Metropolitan Export Initiative" intends to double exports to more than $6 billion by 2017. Kevin Schwab says Centerstate is working hand in hand with the Brookings Institution, one of the most prestigious think tanks in the nation.

      Schwab told CNY Central's Jim Kenyon, "We think with strategies in place and opportunities that exist around the world, growing countries such as Brazil, Korea, China, India, and even right next to us in Canada, there's real opportunity to find new markets for companies here and to help them really grow."

      S chwab says the Obama administration is pushing a national effort to increase exports. He says the Brookings Institution chose this area as one of four in the country to serve as national models mainly because of its diverse mix of business and industry,educational institutions, local governments, location and infrastructure. "We have great rails. We have a great airport, and we have the Port of Oswego." Schwab explained.

      On Tuesday, the New York State Senate passed legislation to include Oswego, Madison and Cayuga counties into Onondaga County's Foreign Trade Zone. Such a designation could lead to some big changes at the Port of Oswego.

      D irector Jonathan Daniels says the facility recently received a load of shavings from a steel mill in Auburn to be shipped to China. Daniels says itâ??s the first overseas export that has come through the port in 4 years. Daniels says placing the Port of Oswego in a Foreign Trade Zone makes it more attractive to international trade because merchandise could be brought in an out duty free. He feels companies will take advantage of the port's location on Lake Ontario. "You can build facilities, but you can't build geography. we sit right in the heart of central new york."

      P erhaps in anticipation of the Metropolitan Export Initiative, Centerstate CEO recently helped secure $1.7 million dollars so the port can expand its operations. This ambitious plan to double local exports in 5 years will be unveiled at Centerstate's annual meeting April 4th.