He highlighted data from a Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce member survey this year that showed 94 percent of respondents think the state is headed in the right direction.
“87 percent of our employers believe they’re actually going to add jobs in 2012,” he said.
Wisconsin’s exports now exceed $22 billion, he said, which is up about 11 percent from 2011.
Dairy is a big part of the state’s exports, he said. Walker set a goal for Wisconsin to make 30 billion pounds of milk by 2020 so the state doesn’t have to get milk from other states to make enough cheese for export.
He said the state wants to provide assistance to small manufacturers who are hoping to increase their international presence.
Transportation and infrastructure are keys to paving the way for export growth, he said.
“If you’re a small company, we want to help you grow exports because we know it’s not just the big dogs out there,” Walker said. “In so many ways we are proud to help grow the export industry in the state of Wisconsin.”
Walker also distributed the Wisconsin Governor’s Export Award to three companies: Madison-based dairy equipment manufacturer Boumatic, New Berlin aviation solutions company Emteq and Milwaukee-based food equipment manufacturer Hatco.
Milwaukee aircraft spare parts and repair company S3 International won the Wisconsin SBA Exporter of the Year award.
The conference also featured morning and afternoon sessions on exporting topics like payment terms, compliance and advice on doing business in countries like India and China.