Photo: Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) Deputy Commissioner for International Trade Mary Waters with U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves
Atlanta, GA — At a formal ceremony in Washington, D.C., today, Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) Deputy Commissioner for International Trade Mary Waters accepted the President’s “E Star” Award for Export Service on behalf of the State of Georgia. The award, which is the highest honor given to providers of services to U.S. exporters, was presented by U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.
Georgia’s International Trade division earned the award in 2020, but due to COVID-19 restrictions, the ceremony was postponed. GDEcD is the first entity in the nation to earn a fourth “E” Award, and Georgia entered the Top Ten exporting states for the first time in 2020. Waters accepted the honor in recognition of ongoing “significant contributions to an increase in U.S. exports.”
“I applaud the work of Georgia’s International Trade office for successfully assisting our state’s small and medium-sized businesses into new markets,” said Governor Brian P. Kemp. “The personalized support provided by our International Trade team highlights how Georgia continues to be named the top state for business and a global hub for jobs, innovation, and investment.”
In addition, Waters is the current President of State International Development Organizations, Inc. (SIDO), the premier U.S. organization dedicated to supporting state international trade agencies and state export development programs.
“Trade development is a significant factor in strong economic development and a thriving economy, and this award is a testament to the effectiveness of Georgia’s International Trade team,” said GDEcD Deputy Commissioner for International Trade Mary Waters. “It’s an honor to serve with both the team in Georgia to help them deliver customized assistance and services to our businesses, and with SIDO to enhance trade services across the spectrum to the benefit of all exporters.”
The Georgia Department of Economic Development actively supports export development through long-standing representation in 12 strategic international markets including Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Europe, Israel, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Peru, and the United Kingdom. These representatives play a crucial role in facilitating international connections that generate economic success. Approximately two-thirds of Georgia trade involves markets where the state has representation.
The Georgia Department of Economic Development’s International Trade division first earned the President’s “E” Award for Exports in 1975. Since that time, the Department has been awarded the President’s “E Star” Award for Export Service three times, in 2007, 2014, and 2020. The letter announcing this accomplishment called it “a feat not achieved by any other entity in the 59-year history of the program.”
“I again extend my congratulations and thanks to our International Trade team in Georgia and around the world for their quality work, which has earned so many accolades from the federal commerce department,” said Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson. “Georgia businesses and Georgia products make a difference to a thriving U.S. and global economy, and our reach continues to grow thanks to decades of dedication and investments in the right channels for success.”
In 2020, Georgia merchandise exports reached 215 unique countries and territories and experienced the lowest rate of export contraction among all top ten states, despite headwinds from a global pandemic. Georgia exported $38.8 billion in goods as the state’s diverse industry base and global connectivity continued to drive its competitiveness. Total trade reached $137.7 billion, spanning 221 countries and territories.
About GDEcD’s International Trade division
The nationally recognized International Trade division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development works to bolster Georgia exports and brand the state as a competitive source of quality products and services. The division includes International Representatives located in 12 strategic global markets and assists Georgia companies with expanding their sales worldwide. The International Trade division provides Georgia businesses with the Global Insight and Global Connections they need to successfully diversify their international customer base.
The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) is the state’s sales and marketing arm, the lead agency for attracting new business investment, encouraging the expansion of existing industry and small businesses, locating new markets for Georgia products, attracting tourists to Georgia, and promoting the state as a destination for arts and location for film, music and digital entertainment projects, as well as planning and mobilizing state resources for economic development. Visit www.georgia.org for more information.