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NH Trade Center launches aerospace, defense group

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- New Hampshire is starting a program that will aim to unite the hundreds of companies in the state involved in the aerospace and defense industries.

The International Trade Resources Center at the state Division of Economic Development is starting the program next month.

Program manager Tina Kasim says the Aerospace and Defense Export Consortium will focus on boosting sales in an increasingly competitive global market.

"We have identified about 300 companies around the state — from Madison to Lisbon to the Upper Valley and southern New Hampshire — that make components for these industries," Kasim said. "They produce the tiniest components to sophisticated parts for these industries and, in some cases, are the only companies in the world that have perfected technology that no one else has. New Hampshire needs a strong presence to be able to compete."

Kasim said while domestic sales are lagging because of cutbacks, there is increased demand for parts and components in other countries.

"This is a prime time for New Hampshire companies to connect with the international market," she said.

Funding to establish the consortium is provided through the state Trade and Export Promotion program; in its second year, New Hampshire received nearly $300,000 to help businesses begin or increase export activities.

Presentations to introduce the consortium are scheduled for 10 a.m. March 5 at Great Bay Community College in Portsmouth and 1 p.m. March 7 at the Department of Resources and Economic Development in Concord.