Fish Radio

Grants help Alaska companies compete with imports

December 29, 2016                        imports

This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – There’s help for Alaska companies getting clobbered by imports.

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Companies getting clobbered by low cost imports can get some relief from federal trade adjustment assistance programs.

Basically if it’s a product that competes with imports and the domestic firm is losing ground and the imports are rising, the assistance can be available to the company. 

David Holbert is director of the Northwest Trade Adjustment Assistance Center, part of a nationwide program started over 30 years ago by the US Commerce Department. It began as a way to help US manufacturers facing competitive disadvantages often caused by global trade deals.  The TAAC programs now include small and medium sized businesses in other sectors, like agriculture and fishing.

That company is going to have to do something different. They are not going to win by just trying harder. They are going to need outside expertise. And that is the key as to why this program is so successful.     

The North West Center team handles all the paper work –

Free of charge or obligation, we will help a company with the application.  

Then, an eligible company gets help with a strategic plan. The North West Center then contracts with experts to put the plans into action. Holbert says creating marketing tools such as brochures and labels, branding and logos, and especially website development are clients’ top choices.

It’s all customized, they are not off the shelf programs. We talk to the company and see what their ideas are, what they need and want, and work with management to do the things that matter most.  

Eligible businesses need to show a drop in employment and in sales or production and other trade criteria. It requires some costs – smaller companies with less than $1 million dollars in sales   receive up to 75 percent in matching funds for up to $30,000.

So a company would pay $7,500 for projects that would otherwise cost $30,000.  

The limit for larger companies is $150,000 for which the Center matches half.  Holbert     believes many Alaska salmon businesses and  organizations are good candidates for the funds.

One would expect with this extreme swing in prices, some fishermen would choose not to fish and that would bring down domestic production, also one has to suspect that this is the availability of cheaper imports. There is a tangible valuable to the wild caught fish. Alaska’s salmon and other fisheries are known as sustainable   – there are tremendous values other than the pure price that can be brought into play regarding Alaska seafood.  

Holbert stresses the program is completely confidential.  Learn more about the trade assistance program and find links at our website

Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods – who salutes and says thanks to the men and women fishing across Alaska for their hard work and dedication. ( In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.