He said the new trade association will meet regularly so owners of businesses and factories can get to know each other. "They'll be able to sit down and talk to each other about marketing, their problems and their products," Ross said.
About 12 percent of the products made in Franklin County are sold to overseas markets, Ross said. "There's a lot more exporting going on here than most people realize," he said.
Businesses that export their products include the area's big manufacturers - Grove Worldwide of Shady Grove, Pa., makers of cranes; JLG Industries of Fulton County, makers of aerial work platforms; and Ingersoll-Rand Co. of Shippensburg, Pa., makers of forklifts, Ross said. Smaller firms include Hennessey Products of Chambersburg, Chambersburg Engineering and Tri Fab Inc. of Waynesboro, Pa., Ross said.
"The smaller companies are starting to build their export markets, too," he said.
The trade association will work with the Southcentral PA International Network, an eight-county group dedicated to increasing exports. It also will seek advice from state agencies involved in promoting business overseas.
Ross said Pennsylvania maintains offices in five foreign countries in an effort to increase business for state companies.
The new two-county consortium also will help products from local businesses and companies to be represented at international trade shows, he said.
The group's next meeting will be held March 11 at the Holiday Inn, Ross said.