Arkansas DEC History

The Arkansas District Export Council (ArDEC) has been a key resource serving the businesses within our state for over 40 years.

The ArDEC was established in 1978 as one of over 60 District Export Councils (DECs) nationwide, whose members are appointed by the Secretary of Commerce, to promote and support international trade activities and awareness throughout the State of Arkansas, through their cooperation and support of the U.S. Export Assistance Center.

Composed of leaders from the Arkansas business community the ArDEC represents a wide range of business, government, and academic organizations whose knowledge of international business provides a critical source of professional advice and support for Arkansas firms. 

Since its establishment, ArDEC, a not-for-profit corporation, has been in the forefront of Arkansas business community to provide advice and counsel about foreign markets, effective and innovative market strategies, and to conduct and participate in export education workshops and seminars throughout the State. This tradition of offering export education continues today. The ArDEC’s focus on promoting the impact of international trade on State and local economies by serving as speakers at local export promotion programs and highlighting the efforts of successful Arkansas exporters underscores the ArDEC members’ commitment and dedication to this mission. 

In May 2010, the Arkansas District Export Council, in close cooperation with the Office of the Governor and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, successfully launched the first ever Arkansas Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Global Trade that recognized the global trade successes of four Arkansas companies.

In August 2010, the ArDEC organized a highly successful Arkansas Exporters Roundtable Business Luncheon, at the Clinton Center, in honor of visiting Under Secretary for International Trade Francisco Sanchez’s visit to Arkansas to promote President Obama’s National Export Initiative. The Roundtable, with some 30 Arkansas exporters, provided the most effective forum to share the critical issues/opportunities facing Arkansas exporters with the Under Secretary. 

ArDEC members are dedicated to foster and promote the importance of international trade on the State’s economy and are proud to serve in this vital role to the benefit of their fellow Arkansans.

Currently, ArDEC members meet every quarter. Most of the meetings are held in Little Rock but at least one of them is in another part of the state. ArDEC typically hosts a networking reception for Arkansas exporters in the evening prior to ArDEC’s meeting. A company tour is held on the day of a meeting and non-members can join in this activity as well.