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Federal center to help export business

A new federal center will help smaller businesses start export operations.

Recognizing Silicon Valley as a leader in U.S. exports, the Commerce Department, the Export-Import Bank, and the Small Business Administration are opening a federal center in San Jose. California, to give a hand to small and medium-sized local businesses that want to ship products overseas.

The center was announced today at a news conference that included San Jose Mayor Susan Hammer, Commerce Secretary Mickey Kantor, and White House chief of staff Leon Panetta. The Commerce Department hopes to have the new San Jose center open and running by the end of the year.

The center will join 15 established U.S. Export Assistance Centers across the country in assisting businesses with under 1,000 employees with export finance, market research, locating foreign distributors, and export licenses.

The Silicon Valley economy has grown nearly 25 percent since the end of the recession in mid-1995, and the Valley's products, including high technology, account for nearly one-third of all California's foreign exports, Hammer said in a statement.