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Campus Hosts U.S. Department of Commerce Seminar on Exporting Medical Products

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“It’s all about jobs,” said Steve Silverman, Director, Montgomery County Department of Economic Development (DED), in his opening remarks for the Manufacture America National Export Initiative Medical Products Seminar.

The full-day seminar was planned by the U.S. Department of Commerce and DED and hosted by the Johns Hopkins Montgomery County Campus.

Peter Perez, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Manufacturing and Services, U.S. Department of Commerce, launched the morning by praising the vibrant I-270 corridor for its innovative research initiatives and strong biotechnology community.

“Montgomery County’s vibrant I-270 Technology Corridor, anchored by innovative biotechnology research and development activity associated with federal government laboratories and private sector investment, makes this region a prime candidate to take advantage of a range of federal, state and local government resources to boost exports of medical products,” Perez said.

Silverman furthered Perez’s sentiment when he told the audience of more than 75 attendees that, “we are from the government and we are here to help.”

Judith A. Britz, Ph.D., Executive Director, Maryland Biotechnology Center, focused her opening remarks on the tremendous opportunities that exist in this arena.

After welcoming remarks from Perez, Silverman, and Britz, Nicole Lamb-Hale, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Manufacturing and Services, U.S. Department of Commerce, took the stage for her keynote address.

During her talk, Lamb-Hale focused on the U.S. President’s National Export Initiative, providing a great deal of insight into how small and medium-size businesses could take advantage of the opportunities.

“We need to raise awareness as to the quality and availability of medical devices from the U.S.,” she said. “The increasing money being spent on healthcare provides a prime opportunity in the medical products arena.”

Lamb-Hale referenced the increasing purchasing power of India, China, the Middle East, and Brazil during the next decade, and the commitment a number of countries have expressed to investing more money in healthcare.

She also cited the aging population as another reason there would be increased opportunities for medical product companies.

“By 2018, the number of people 65 years or older will outnumber the number of people under five,” she said, adding that it was the first time in history that that would be the case.

After Lamb-Hale’s keynote, Matthew Hein, International Trade Specialist, U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Health and Consumer Goods, provided a brief overview of medical product global export opportunities and Martin Herbst, Senior International Trade Specialist, Baltimore U.S. Export Assistance Center, provided exporting do’s and don’ts.

Panel discussions included a discussion between executives from medical product companies, moderated by the Elaine Amir, Executive Director, Johns Hopkins Montgomery County, and a conversation about trade financing opportunities for small and medium size medical product enterprises, moderated by Renee Winsky, Chief Executive Officer, Tech Council of Maryland.

The afternoon concluded with an overview of regulatory requirements for medical devices from William Sutton, Acting Director, Division of Small Manufacturers, International and Consumer Assistance, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and export requirements for medical devices from Larry Spears, Deputy Director, Regulatory Affairs, Office of Compliance, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“This conference was enormously useful,” said Elaine Amir, Executive Director, Johns Hopkins Montgomery County, as the event came to a close. “It brought to light a myriad of face-to-face services that our local companies can access right here in our region. One corporate CEO called his company right from the floor of the conference, saying 'stop everything you're doing. We’ve been spinning our wheels, but now I have all the answers!'”

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CATEGORY: In The Community