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US companies see international trade as growth opportunity

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But process remains complex.

According to a recent report by SunTrust Banks, more than 17% of businesses plan to enter or expand into new international markets within the next five years. For many small and mid-market companies, global trade could lead to increased profits and sustained growth.

The US Department of Commerce found that the US had a record level of goods and services exports in 2014 – the fifth year in a row.

"Falling trade barriers and the ability to leverage technology– especially the Internet – have made it easier for small and mid-market companies to engage in international trade."

"Falling trade barriers and the ability to leverage technology– especially the Internet – have made it easier for small and mid-market companies to engage in international trade," said Susanne Keough, head of the Global Trade Solutions at SunTrust Bank. "But it's still a complex process. Successful businesses know there are numerous risks when entering the global market and they should take the time to fully understand the resources and tools available to help protect profits and ensure a smooth expansion."

The report identifies five key risk management elements for companies planning to either import or export:

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