Global trade drives the world’s economy. If you’re an importer or exporter, a freight forwarder or a customs broker, you see this play out every day. And you did long before the rest of the world took notice thanks to several years filled with volatility. That’s why, since 1935, May has been designated World Trade Month. It’s a chance to recognize the important role international trade plays in the U.S. economy. It's also a time for people learn about getting started as exporter or expanding their existing business.
In honor of World Trade Month, the World Trade Month Association publishes a calendar of events taking place during May. Many of these events are free and most of them give importers and exporters an opportunity to learn more about the various aspects of global trade.
This year’s theme is “Overcoming Challenges; Unleashing Growth.” Outsized consumer spending in 2021 made for a booming year in international trade. U.S. imports and exports soared and the U.S. trade deficit hit a record high. But consumer demand stretched supply chains to the limit. Now, inflation concerns and the Russia-Ukraine war guarantee that, as we move into the next year, the challenges facing international trade aren't going anywhere.
The History of World Trade Month
World Trade Month, first celebrated as World Trade Week in 1927 by the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, began “during a time of isolationism and under the conditions prevailing during the heyday of the restrictive Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act,” wrote the chamber.
In 1935, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt made World Trade Week a national observance. Since that time, World Trade Week has been celebrated during the entire month of May by a number of federal agencies, state trade offices, area chambers of commerce, World Trade Centers, trade associations and other public and private organizations. World Trade Month is a time to celebrate international trade and learn about many aspects of importing and exporting.
Include Your World Trade Month Events
If your organization is sponsoring an import-export event in May 2022, you can add it to the events calendar by completing the registration form on the World Trade Month Association website. All submissions are subject to review and approval by the association. There is no charge for the listing.
While you're at the World Trade Month website, make sure to sign up for the email newsletter to be notified when additional events are added. Plus, we'll be publishing a fun fact about world trade each day in May.
World Trade Month Webinar Highlights
This year's free online webinars include:
- World Trade Month Kickoff Event, Monday, May 2: An International Trade Status Report
- Tuesday, May 3: Navigating Export Compliance
- Tuesday, May 3: Reaching the World through Trade.gov
- Thursday, May 5: Port Infrastructure to Support World Trade and Global Supply Chain
- Monday, May 9: Elements of an International Business Plan
- Monday, May 16: Identifying the Global Strategic Players for Your Export Growth
- Wednesday, May 18: 11 Documents Required for Exporting
Click the links above or visit the World Trade Month website for all the details about these and all the other World Trade Month events.
It's impossible to predict what the next year will bring for international trade. World Trade Month, and the educational tools that go along with it, are here to help importers and exporters position themselves for success, whatever comes next.
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