ST. PETERSBURG (09/03/2013) - World leaders meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia to discuss global trade aren't just getting the attention of economists and politicians.
Carver International in Erie has a big stake in the talks.
"More and more businesses are realizing they need to get into [exporting], but it has been a real fight in many areas because they are afraid of it," said Gary Carver, president of Carver International.
Carver International is calming those fears by helping local companies like Lord Corporation and Erie Strayer navigate international trade.
"When done properly and intelligently, [exporting] can be very lucrative," explained Carver.
Globes and maps are everywhere at Carver International, where international shipping consultants address the very sophisticated, sometimes subtle-but-real barriers to trade for many companies.
The team has relationships with bankers and steamship liners. They know the ins and outs of international tariffs, duties, quotas, and certifications.
But Carver says their work is a challenge because, "you just can't avoid the political aspects of world trade."
That's why what's happening at the G20 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia is in the forefront of Carver's mind.
Carver says he wants compromise between world leaders.
"It's where they say, ‘We will lower our trade barriers if you will eliminate yours.' Now that's a fair playing field," he said.
An American flag hangs from the bookshelf and Carver unfurls the President's "E" Flag, a gift from the Department of Commerce to recognize the job Carver International does promoting export.
Despite praise from the Obama Administration, Carver points to shortcomings at home that lead to slow growth in international trade.
"It's politics," Carver explained. "The politicians are being coerced by their other special interest groups not to promote free trade agreements, or if they do, with these certain restrictions which are almost guaranteed to kill them."
Carver says other counties have more trade agreements than the U.S., and while our lawmakers perfect picayune details and discuss politics, other countries are expanding trade and getting ahead.
However, Carver concedes he's still optimistic about the changes this G20 might bring.
"If these summits can break down these barriers, we know American business will improve and that improves business for us as well," he said.