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Brazil’s Energy Sectors Seek U.S. Exporters

July 30, 2015

Commercial Officer Tom Hanson just completed his three-year tour at the U.S. Commercial Service in São Paulo.

Brazil’s enormous offshore oil and gas finds, called the pre-salt fields, are located 200 miles off its southern coast and lie approximately 7,000 feet below the ocean’s surface. As these logistically and technologically challenging discoveries are explored, substantial business opportunities arise for U.S. suppliers of oil and gas equipment and services.

Although Brazil’s largest oil player, Petrobras, has yet to publish its revised five-year investment plan for the 2015-2019 period, industry sources estimate that it may range between US$130 billion to US$ 140 billion.  The exploration and production subsector should take 80% of the total planned investment. However, due to financial constraints brought about by investigations surrounding budget improprieties, Petrobras is likely to reduce its investment plan substantially, and may sell off some of its assets to offset its cash flow issues.

As Petrobras has not yet issued its 2015-2019 equipment and services demand forecast, based on its previous Business Plan as of February 2014, U.S. providers of supplies and operating systems for platforms and tankers and manufacturers of workboats and transport vessels would stand a great chance of winning new business. Despite the current crisis involving Petrobras and its main turnkey contractors, Petrobras’ expansion plans may represent one of the world’s largest business opportunities in the oil and gas sector until at least 2020. Commercial Service (CS) Brazil counsels U.S. exporters who are not already established in Brazil to partner with a local firm that is registered as a supplier to Petrobras – a prerequisite – rather than attempting to register directly.

Meanwhile, CS Brazil is engaged in the dynamic Renewable Energy sector. Brazil generates nearly 80 percent of its electricity from renewable sources – hydro, wind, solar, bio-mass, waste-to-energy – driven by both its immense renewable energy resource potential and rising energy demand. In fact, renewable energy capacity in Brazil is registering an average annual expansion of 12 percent, with special emphasis on wind energy, biomass from sugarcane, and small hydropower plants.

To date, most U.S. exports have been in the form of services and high value-added products that are not available domestically. However, exports to Brazil are hindered by significant import tariff barriers. Brazil imposes a 14 percent tariff on wind turbines, component parts for the wind industry, and hydropower turbines; and a 12 percent tariff on imported solar equipment, both PV and thermal.

CS Brazil can assist U.S. exporters navigate the complex path of market entry to find their niche markets and identify partners in these and other industry segments. Other, indirect costs of doing business in Brazil (referred to as “Custo Brasil) are often related to distribution, government procedures, employee benefits, environmental laws, and a complex tax structure.

Brazil has a large and diversified economy that offers U.S. companies many opportunities to partner and to export their goods and services, and U.S. exports are increasing rapidly. For more information about export opportunities in these energy sectors, please review the Country Commercial Guide and Top Market reports.

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U.S. Innovators, Entrepreneurs and Business Owners Capitalize on Emerging Markets in Africa

July 30, 2015

Evi Fuelle is an intern in the International Trade Administration’s Trade Promotion and Coordinating Committee Office.

Earlier this week, several young innovators and entrepreneurs convened in Nairobi, Kenya, for one of the most exciting entrepreneurial opportunities in the world: the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES).

President Obama and U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker traveled to Africa for the 2015 GES, the global business community’s equivalent of the “World Cup.”

During the sixth annual GES, the President addressed more than 1,200 attendees. The first to be held in sub-Saharan Africa, the 2015 GES shined a spotlight on the growing importance of the Continent as a center of business.

Secretary Pritzker led a delegation of roughly 200 U.S. investors to the Summit, including entrepreneurs at various points of their business development, and a diverse group of leaders and mentors from the business community.

As the Obama administration’s lead for entrepreneurship, Secretary Pritzker participated in a number of events during the GES, including the official pre-summit youth and women session, which brought together 150 entrepreneurs from around the world to provide them with an opportunity to discuss specific challenges, interact with industry experts, and pitch their business ideas to companies. Secretary Pritzker also hosted roundtables and meetings with select entrepreneurs, business leaders, and government officials.

Entrepreneurship is critical to generating economic growth, stimulating employment, and providing a basis for better economic and political stability. The U.S. government continues to lead numerous initiatives to encourage entrepreneurship and business in Africa, including the U.S. Commercial Service’s Trade Winds program, which will begin in South Africa on September 14, and will continue across the Continent through September 21.

The 2015 Trade Winds program offers U.S. companies the opportunity to explore eight markets in Sub-Saharan Africa. Featuring an Africa-focused business forum, the program consists of regional and industry specific conference sessions, as well as pre-arranged consultations with U.S. Senior Government Diplomats representing commercial markets from 19 African countries.

A Business Development Conference will be held from September 16-18 in Johannesburg as a feature of Trade Winds South Africa, giving businesses access to high visibility networking events with leading industry and government officials. The Business Development Conference will also provide businesses with the opportunity to conduct individual consultations with eight U.S. Commercial Service officers and 13 U.S. State Department posts from U.S. Embassies.

Other trade mission stops during Trade Winds Africa will give participants the opportunity to conduct customized business-to-business meetings with pre-screened firms in Angola, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, and Tanzania.

Both the GES and Trade Winds South Africa will provide unparalleled opportunities for U.S. innovators, entrepreneurs and business owners to capitalize on emerging markets in Africa, and the chance to seek out new innovation partners, demonstrating the administration’s commitment to helping entrepreneurs around the world realize the benefits of ingenuity.

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U.S. Health IT Companies Experience a Boost in Export Opportunities

July 29, 2015

By Matthew Hein, International Trade Specialist in the Office of Health Information Technology at the International Trade Administration.  

The Health Information Technology (Health IT) sector has become an important, dynamic sector reshaping the healthcare system in the United States.  As other countries increase investments in their healthcare systems, they are interested in investing in digital products and services, driven by computers and mobile phones, rather than through paper-based systems. As a result, U.S. Health IT companies have become prime candidates to offer the technologies and services needed to meet the requirements of the 96 percent of patients based outside of the United States. The International Trade Administration (ITA) is committed to providing U.S. Health IT exporters the data-driven market intelligence they need to succeed globally – whether finding a company’s next export market or comparing opportunities for first-time exporters.

This is the first Top Markets Report on the Health IT sector, providing exporters with analysis of future export opportunities, and possible barriers companies may encounter overseas. The Health IT Top Markets Report, part of the larger Top Markets Series, includes a methodology used to rank 80 potential export markets, eight country case studies, and several charts and graphs which show the market potential for the sector. The Health IT Top Market Report is forward looking, using data and analytics to project the strongest markets for future export growth; designed to help exporters compare opportunities across borders, identify opportunities for market expansion and/or market entry; and help exporters prepare effective strategies for entering or expanding their presence in foreign markets.

So what does the future hold for the sector? With approximately $7 trillion in healthcare expenditures worldwide, the opportunities available for the Health IT sector are vast. However, since the rules and regulations governing the sector may not be keeping up with the innovations being developed, companies would greatly benefit from counseling and guidance from ITA when exploring opportunities overseas, both from the Top Market Report, but also through the ITA network of resources located worldwide.

Here are some important findings in the report:

  1. Japan, Switzerland, Netherlands rank 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in the Export Market Rankings.
  2. Several smaller countries (such as Kenya, Saudi Arabia, and Singapore) profiled in the Report offer exciting export opportunities for Health IT companies. Health IT market access for exporters to Low- and Middle-Income Countries may be easier than that found in larger, more developed countries.
  3. A high rating of physician worker density/capita (as a proxy for healthcare workers) may result in a less intensive need for Health IT solutions in a country.
  4. Current data on mobile phone penetration rates offers an incomplete (and potentially inaccurate) picture of mobile health/telehealth potential in a country.
  5. A high prevalence of prepaid mobile phone plans in a country can be a significant encumbrance to widespread adoption of mobile health and telehealth solutions.
  6. A high level of healthcare expenditures (used as a proxy for Health IT expenditures) in a country did not necessarily result in a high ranking for a country using the Report’s methodology.

This post has only touched on some of the analysis you’ll find in the full report. I invite you to download the full report for our in-depth market analysis; and welcome feedback on our methodologies, viewpoints, and rankings.

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Commercial Service Philippines Completes Renewable Fuels Association Trade Mission

July 28, 2015

Andrew Edlefsen is the Director of the Las Vegas U.S. Export Assistance Center and currently serves as Global Asia Team Leader. He has been with ITA for eight years.

Glacial Lakes Energy in B2B meeting

Glacial Lakes Energy in B2B meeting

As part of my summer 2015 Asia Team outreach, I went to Manila, where the U.S. Renewable Fuels Association, along with six U.S. ethanol companies, met as part of a U.S. Commercial Service-organized trade mission. The objective of the mission was for U.S companies to gain a deeper understanding of the ethanol market and business potential in the Philippines. The U.S. Embassy Commerce, Economic and Agriculture officers and local government agencies provided in-depth presentations on the renewable fuel environment, rules and regulations, and business opportunities.

As part of the trade mission, the Commercial Service Manila office arranged more than 50 B2B meetings between the U.S. delegates and local Philippine companies to discuss industry trends and potential opportunities for partnership.

On the evening of the first day, a reception was held gathering the mission delegates to mingle with local businesses, organizations, and industry practitioners.  Day two included a tour of the International Container Terminal Services at the Manila port, followed by an up-close and personal meeting with the President of the San Miguel Corporation, one of the Philippines’ most diversified conglomerates in beverages, food, packaging, fuel, oil, power, mining and infrastructure.

The six mission participants represented some of the U.S.’s leaders in ethanol production, namely: Buffalo Lake Advanced Biofuels; Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company; CHS, Inc.; Glacial Lakes Energy, LLC; Lakeview Energy LLC; and Renewable Products Marketing Group.

Commercial Attaché Totayo introduces U.S. companies at reception

Commercial Attaché Totayo introduces U.S. companies at reception

Commercial Attaché Aliza Totayo and the Commercial Service Manila staff worked diligently for several months to organize this important trade mission. As a result, the delegates expressed praise for the quality and value of the trade mission and referred to the excellent business potential and insights provided into the Philippine ethanol market.

Find out about upcoming trade missions.

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Nearly 50 Countries Reach Historic Agreement to Eliminate Tariffs on Information and Communication Technologies

July 24, 2015

Stefan M. Selig is the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade.

Today, representatives from 47 countries reached the first tariff-cutting agreement at the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 18 years. After negotiating one of the largest agreements in recent history, the countries—including the United States, the EU, and Japan, among others—agreed to expand the scope of products that receive duty-free treatment under the WTO Information Technology Agreement (ITA). As a result, numerous countries will eliminate tariffs on roughly 200 information and communication technology (ICT) products which have a value of more $1 trillion in global trade.

I am proud to say that the International Trade Administration has played a critical role since the negotiations began. Our industry and policy experts helped shape U.S. negotiating proposals, reviewed hundreds of product proposals from other countries, delved into the commercial relevance for each item, and ensured that products exported by small- and medium-sized companies were factored into the mix.

The ITA expansion will open overseas markets for Made-in-America ICT exports without the imposition of costly and burdensome tariffs, and will support thousands of well-paying U.S. manufacturing and technology jobs. Last year, exports of goods and services directly and indirectly supported an estimated 11.7 million U.S. jobs, of which 6.2 million jobs were supported by manufactured products exports. We want to see these numbers continue to grow—and this agreement can help do just that.

The agreement today is a step in the right direction. Addressing barriers and opening markets, as the ITA expansion agreement will, are the central forces that drive President Obama’s trade agenda, which will spur economic growth, create jobs, and level the playing field for American businesses and their workers. This is why the United States has been a staunch supporter and leader in the effort to expand the product coverage of the ITA.

The Information Technology Agreement will provide new opportunities for U.S. companies, and the International Trade Administration is committed to helping U.S. firms reap the benefits of the agreement. Now, U.S. ICT companies will be able to export their products duty-free to some of the largest markets in the world including Canada, Malaysia, and China. Medical equipment, GPS devices, video game consoles, computer software, and next generation semiconductors are among the high-tech products that will see tariff elimination. These and other highly competitive U.S. ICT products worth over $100 billion will no longer face high tariffs in key markets.

For example, U.S. exports of loudspeakers face tariffs of up to 30 percent. Next generation semiconductors face tariffs of up to 25 percent, medical devices such as MRIs and CT scanners face tariffs up to 8 percent, and printed matter/cards to download software and games face tariffs up to 10 percent. And, in some countries, certain U.S. ICT exports are effectively shut out of the market because of those high tariffs. Thanks to the new agreement, all these tariffs will be reduced to zero.

I look forward to making sure these negotiating wins translate into meaningful commercial realities for U.S. firms. With more than 100 U.S. export assistance centers across our nation and staff in the ITA expansion agreement countries, the International Trade Administration stands ready to help U.S. ICT companies take advantage of the new opportunities from the expansion of the WTO Information Technology Agreement.

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Five Drivers of Export Opportunity: U.S. Building Products and Green Building

July 23, 2015

This post contains external links. Please review our external linking policy.

Joanne Littlefair is Senior International Trade Specialist in the Office of Materials Industries, Industry & Analysis

The vibrant global trend seeking a greener built environment will help create some $46 billion in export opportunity for a group of U.S. building product manufacturers by 2017, according to new report Top Markets, Building Products and Sustainable Construction from the International Trade Administration. U.S. manufacturers of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration equipment (HVACR), lighting, plumbing, insulation, wood products, doors and windows and glass construction products are well positioned to deliver on the resource conservation and environmental improvement benefits that are key goals of green building, and to meet traditional construction requirements.

The ITA Top Markets study ranks 75 international markets in terms of 2017 sector export prospects, supported by country-specific case studies detailing market trends and the competitive state of play.  The study elaborates at least 5 key drivers of export opportunity:

  1. Buildings matter, and the world knows it. Buildings account for more than 40% of global energy use and 25% of global water use, according to the United Nations Environment Program’s 2012 reporting. It is easy to understand how nearly one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions are attributed to buildings. These figures underscore that buildings cannot be ignored when resource conservation is the goal.
  1. Consumers, businesses, and governments all want to conserve resources. Whether it is policymakers seeking to meet national objectives, developers seeking to boost asset values via more efficient buildings, or occupants pursuing higher quality indoor environments and lower utility bills, greener buildings are a shared goal. This is a deepening trend globally. The ITA Top Markets report includes country case studies for leading export markets, showing how public policies and market trends are shaping opportunities.
  1. It’s not just about conserving, it’s about improving. Buildings with green attributes have been shown to have benefits beyond immediate resource savings. Improved access to natural light, better indoor air quality, and other green improvements have been linked to better outcomes in schools, hospitals, and the workplace. Results matter.  This creates opportunity around the world for U.S. building products with demonstrated performance strengths.
  1. U.S. products are globally competitive. Based on a strong global reputation for quality and value, U.S. buildings products compete in developed and developing markets alike, around the globe. The ITA Top Markets report can help U.S. building product suppliers and industry associations identify high-prospect export markets and learn about ITA resources in support of the export strategies. The study looks sector-wide and then at each industry in turn to identify top 2017 export markets for HVACR, lighting, plumbing, insulation, wood products, doors and windows and glass construction product manufacturers.
  1. Everyone can win – SMEs and large corporations. Small and medium-sized U.S. companies, as well as major corporations, have a meaningful role to play in global construction markets. Both traditional and green building markets show continuing demand for high-quality niche solutions to meet common challenges. ITA trade specialists in the U.S. and around the globe stand ready to assist U.S. companies with their international market development objectives.

For further information on these key drivers of export opportunities and global market prospects, download the full new report Top Markets, Building Products and Sustainable Construction.

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Understanding Renewable Energy Export Markets and the Opportunity for U.S. Companies

July 21, 2015

This post contains external links. Please review our external linking policy.

Ryan Mulholland is a Senior Advisor for Industry & Analysis. 

The renewable energy industry remains one of the most transformative sectors of the global economy. The International Trade Administration is committed to providing U.S. renewable energy exporters the data-driven market intelligence they need to succeed globally – whether finding your next export market or comparing opportunities to export for the first time.

Last year, we released our first-ever Top Markets Report to provide exporters analysis of future export opportunities in the renewable energy sector.  This year’s Renewable Energy Top Markets Report, now part of a larger Top Markets Series from ITA, has been updated with expanded analysis, new sections, updated case studies, and improved methodology. The result is a report that can prepare exporters to compete effectively in foreign markets by providing the analysis firms need to invest resources more strategically.

So what does the future hold for the sector? In short, we believe that the next two years will likely be as transformative as any two-year period in the history of the clean energy sector.  Technology improvements, cost declines, and the catalytic influence of new financing structures, have turned the sector into a driver of economic growth – both at home and abroad.

Here are some important findings in the report:

  • China is expected to account for more than one-third of all non-U.S. capacity installations over the next two years. Its renewable energy investment is expected to be split relatively evenly between solar, wind, and hydropower through 2020.
  • The sector’s growth is now global in nature, escaping the traditional markets of Western Europe and strongly taking root in Asia, Latin America, and Africa. Over the remainder of the decade, this trend will continue with important consequences for U.S. export competitiveness.
  • The United States does – and should continue to – capture a larger share of the import market in the Western Hemisphere. In fact, the share of the import market captured by U.S. renewable energy exporters more than doubles in the Hemisphere across technology sub sectors.
  • While opportunities can be found in most markets, the destination of U.S. renewable energy exports will continue to be highly concentrated. The top 4 export markets are expected to account for over 50 percent of all exports in the sector through 2016, while the top 12 markets should support three-quarters of all exports.

ITA’s framework for considering renewable energy export opportunities based on market size and market share was the most commented on and lasting impact of the 2014 edition of the Top Markets Report. ITA continues to encourage exporters to develop market entry and market expansion strategies based on these two variables.

  • If a market is large and U.S. exporters are likely to capture a significant market share, efforts should focus on making as many connections as possible. Exporters can feel good about their prospects, but may find other American competitors also having success in the market. Participation in trade missions, reverse trade missions, trade shows, and other “traditional” export promotion activities is encouraged in these markets.
  • In markets that are large, but in which the United States captures only a tiny fraction of the import market, exporters should consider the cause of the United States’ insufficient competitive position before pursuing opportunities. Perhaps importers are demanding products not often sold competitively by U.S. exporters, in which case a niche product might play well in the market. In markets, where U.S. market share is low because of a specific trade barrier, then exporters may want to prioritize other markets and alert U.S. Government entities, so that appropriate action can be taken.
  • In some markets, U.S. firms capture a large market share, but a relatively small market in which to do business. Exporters are encouraged to help the U.S. Government pursue market development activities in these locations, as any market development should lead to future export opportunities.
  • And finally, some markets are neither large nor support significant U.S. market share. While some companies may find niche opportunities, most exporters would be wise to consider opportunities elsewhere.

This post has only touched on some of the analysis you will find in this year’s Top Markets Report. We invite you to download the full report for our in-depth market analysis; and welcome feedback on our methodologies, viewpoints, and rankings.

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