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Fox School of Business Partnering up for Trade Winds—Africa

September 3, 2015

This is a guest blog. Rebecca Geffner is Director of International and Executive Programs and the Center for International Business Education and Research at the Fox School of Business at Temple University, a Marketing Partner for Trade Winds—Africa. 

 Rebecca Geffner

Rebecca Geffner is a Director at the Fox School of Business at Temple University, a Marketing Partner for Trade Winds—Africa.

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

Temple University’s Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) focuses on increasing U.S. competitiveness overseas.  In order to fulfill this mandate, we continue to support programming and other efforts that encourage local business to trade and amplify their potential in global markets.

With existing relationships already in place in Ghana and Morocco, we at Temple CIBER and the Fox School of Business recognize the importance of Africa in the global arena and know that the opportunities for business around the continent are plenty as Africa’s “emergence” continues to be front and center.

We will be participating in Trade Winds—Africa this year as a marketing partner in order to encourage and support our business community in their efforts to expand their trading partnerships with African businesses.

I am looking forward to meeting all of the participants at the conference in South Africa to exchange ideas and also to bring home takeaways for our business students on the significance of the U.S.’s increasing presence in Africa.

At Fox, we are committed to providing a student-centered education and professional development relevant to today’s digital, global economy.  As future business leaders, our students must understand the needs, the opportunities and the climate of business in the region and truly gain a perspective on how some of the fastest growing economies in the world are centered in Sub-Saharan Africa.

I am also excited to meet new university partners and representatives from the embassies to discuss opportunities to further cross cultural dialogue and exchange programs and projects for our business students.

Temple CIBER and the Fox School are delighted to be working with our longstanding partners at the U.S. Commercial Service on this event and hope to see many businesses within the Philadelphia region participate in this important event.

Safe travels and see you in Johannesburg!

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Virginia’s Engagement in the Global Marketplace

September 2, 2015

This is a guest blog by Maurice Jones, Secretary of Commerce and Trade for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

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

Virginia’s International Trade Success

The Virginia International Trade Alliance (VITAL)

Members of the The Virginia International Trade Alliance (VITAL)

The Commonwealth of Virginia was founded as a business venture more than 400 years ago by the Virginia Company of London, a joint-stock company formed both to bring profits to its shareholders and establish an English colony in the New World.  Since its founding, the Commonwealth has remained a journey of economic opportunity, a great place to launch new businesses and grow existing ones.

About 80 percent of the world’s purchasing power resides outside of America.  Thus, helping Virginia businesses sell their goods and services abroad is one of Virginia’s most effective business expansion strategies.

In 2014, Virginia exported goods and services valued at more than $36 billion, including $15.1 billion in manufactured goods, $16.9 billion in services, $3 billion in agriculture products, and more than $1 billion in mineral fuels.   These exports went to 212 destinations throughout the world. Virginia company exports support over 250,000 jobs in Virginia.

Ten years ago, in the mountains of Rocky Gap, Virginia, American Mine Research (AMR) decided it was time to reinvigorate its international sales efforts. AMR provides monitoring and control products for the mining industry, and the company recognized the opportunity for its products to be sold around the world.

AMR contacted the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP), which provides export assistance to companies across Virginia. With VEDP’s assistance, AMR established distributorships in Mexico, Canada, Brazil, Chile, and Peru. Thanks to AMR’s commitment to growing international sales and Virginia’s export assistance programs, the company is growing from every angle.

New Trade Alliance Helps Virginia Companies Expand International Sales

Building on the success stories of hundreds of Virginia exporters like AMR, Governor McAuliffe announced in July 2015 the creation of a new initiative to increase international trade in Virginia. The Virginia International Trade Alliance (VITAL) expands Virginia’s nationally recognized international trade program through formal partnerships with Virginia’s industry associations and public universities to serve their member companies as they expand international sales. During its first five years, VITAL seeks to grow Virginia exports by $1.6 billion and create 14,000 trade-supported jobs. By exponentially accelerating Virginia companies’ engagement with the global economy, VITAL will create stronger, more resilient businesses and more jobs for Virginians.

The VITAL initiative demonstrates the Commonwealth’s commitment to helping existing Virginia businesses succeed in the international marketplace, which makes our economy even stronger. The Governor has made the program a priority and reallocated $1 million toward the initiative through flexibility granted to him in the state budget.

VITAL is managed by VEDP and comprised of 13 partner organizations, including industry associations and public universities.  VITAL will build upon Virginia’s proven export assistance programs, including tailored market research, face-to-face meetings with qualified partners overseas, and VEDP’s award-winning Virginia Leaders in Export Trade (VALET) Program.

For more information, visit www.ExportVirginia.org.

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HANNOVER MESSE 2016: One Place to Showcase the Many Reasons Behind U.S. Global Business Leadership

September 1, 2015

Antwaun Griffin is the International Trade Administration’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for U.S. Operations.

There’s no one reason to explain why global consumers actively seek out U.S. goods and services, and no single explanation why global investors call the United States the best place in the world to invest.

Select USA

Hannover Messe is April 25-29 in Germany. Join leading industry experts & witness innovative technologies from across the globe.

A variety of factors keep American companies at the forefront of innovation, on top of advanced manufacturing, research, technology, and education. A stable currency, an educated workforce, and an enormous consumer base – among other factors – maintain our top investment climate.

And while there’s no one reason to explain why the United States leads the way in these areas, there is one place American companies and economic development organizations (EDOs) can show our leadership: HANNOVER MESSE 2016.

Partner Country USA: An Unequaled Advantage for Companies
and EDOs

Global businesses and learn-hannover_originalinvestors have recognized HANNOVER MESSE as a top trade and investment show for decades, but with the United States as the event Partner Country for the first time in history, there is more opportunity for U.S. companies, EDOs, and the nation as a whole to showcase itself as the global business leader.

I want to invite you to be a part of it, joining HANNOVER MESSE as an exhibitor in a U.S. Pavilion.Companies and EDOs that participate as U.S. exhibitors will find unequaled advantage by participating in the U.S. Pavilions:

  • Connect directly to more than 200,000 attendees, including global investors, buyers, distributors, resellers, and members of the business media.
  • Reach a global audience that comes from more than 70 countries.
  • Network with more than 100 business delegations that come to the event ready to make business deals.
  • Connect across industry sectors from energy, industrial automation, digital factory, industrial supply, and research technology.
  • Take advantage of support from the U.S. Commercial Service and SelectUSA including personalized, 1-on-1 counseling tailored to your needs.

It is rare that any company or EDO would get the opportunity to exhibit products, services or investment opportunities to such a large audience, and with the added exposure from the U.S. Pavilion, this event is a can’t-miss opportunity.

I hope you’ll add HANNOVER MESSE to your global strategy in 2016, and please feel free to contact us with questions at HannoverMesse@trade.gov.

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Katrina 10: Commerce Commemorates 10th Anniversary by Promoting Economic Development and International Trade In Delta Region | Department of Commerce

August 31, 2015
During a panel discussion titled “A Regional Conversation on International Trade and Economic Development,” EDA’s Deputy Assistant Secretary (DAS) Matt Erskine and ITA’s U.S. Export Assistance (USEAC) Director Greg Thompson joined DRA Chairman Chris Masingill, Mayor of Gretna, Louisiana Belinda Constant, as well as representatives from International Commerce and the Port of New Orleans to discuss how economic development efforts can spur international trade.

During a panel discussion titled “A Regional Conversation on International Trade and Economic Development,” EDA’s Deputy Assistant Secretary (DAS) Matt Erskine and ITA’s U.S. Export Assistance (USEAC) Director Greg Thompson joined DRA Chairman Chris Masingill, Mayor of Gretna, Louisiana Belinda Constant, as well as representatives from International Commerce and the Port of New Orleans to discuss how economic development efforts can spur international trade.

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

Ten years ago, Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast.  More than 1,200 people died tragically, and property damage is estimated to have been more than $108 billion. In the ten years since the flood waters subsided, the people of the Gulf Region have demonstrated incredible resiliency and a strong will to restore the area to the vibrant, bustling community it was before the storms hit. That meant not only repairing the physical damage left by the storm, but working to repair the economic havoc the storm wreaked. The U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA) and Economic Development Administration (EDA) are proud to be partners in those efforts.

Over the last decade, EDA has invested more than $32 million, and in the immediate aftermath of the storm, invested nearly $10 million in seven separate projects throughout the region, including supporting strategic capacity rebuilding and counseling for affected small business owners. More than 40 ITA Commercial Service employees volunteered to help in the Gulf immediately following the storm, turning a Trade Information Center into a call center for affected businesses. The volunteers worked proactively with state and local officials to develop export seminars, trade missions, and other business promotion programs.

Both ITA and EDA have continued to support efforts in the Gulf during the past decade. EDA’s Deputy Assistant Secretary (DAS) Matt Erskine and ITA’s U.S. Export Assistance (USEAC) Director Greg Thompson participated in a series of events coordinated by the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) to discuss ways to promote trade and bolster economic resiliency. During a panel discussion titled“A Regional Conversation on International Trade and Economic Development,” Erskine and Thompson joined DRA Chairman Chris Masingill, Mayor of Gretna, Louisiana Belinda Constant, as well as representatives from International Commerce and the Port of New Orleans to discuss how economic development efforts can spur international trade.

DAS Erskine also took the opportunity to announce several grants and a new partnership with DRA to promote resiliency in the region. EDA made four awards, totaling $2.1 million dollars for a variety of projects that support entrepreneurship, promote trade and investment, and enhance emergency and disaster preparedness. EDA’s new partnership with DRA will result in a series of disaster planning and resiliency training programs for public officials and practitioners in the Delta region.

New Orleans and the entire Gulf Region are committed to not just rebuilding their great cities, but making it better and stronger. ITA, EDA, and the entire Department of Commerce have been there as a partner and resource for the last decade and will continue to support the region for decades to come.

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Cloud Computing Exports Drive Growth at Home and Abroad

August 27, 2015

Brian Larkin is a Senior Policy Advisor in ITA’s Office of Digital Services Industries.

Cloud computing, which allows companies of all sizes to easily and inexpensively access computing resources, has become a key enabling tool for firms in many global markets. It should therefore come as no surprise that corporate cloud spending may reach $191 billion by 2020, more than triple the 2013 total, according to Forester Research. U.S. providers have leveraged technological expertise, innovative approaches, first-mover advantages, and other strengths to earn leading international positions in the delivery of cloud services. While they are sure to benefit from growing demand, these trendsetting firms still face challenges in some critical markets.

The 2015 Top Markets Report on Cloud Computing explores this global landscape. International Trade Administration (ITA) policy experts and embassy staff contributed to the report, which features profiles of countries in Europe, Asia, and Latin America, as well as an overall ranking.

All but a few of the world’s top enterprise cloud providers are based in the United States. These firms may specialize in bits and bytes instead of the physical shipments that trade discussions often evoke, but they are major contributors to our nation’s exports. In fact, digitally-deliverable services, a category that includes cloud computing, have accounted for over 60 percent of U.S. service exports in recent years and been an area in which the United States enjoys a substantial trade surplus.

The U.S. economy is far from the only one benefiting from the popularity of cloud services, however. These make it easy for companies, particularly small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to quickly access advanced computing resources without having to invest in and manage costly technical infrastructures. They unlock technologies and platforms that could otherwise be out of reach, enabling firms in all industries to enhance business processes, lower expenses, and raise productivity – a key contributor to broader economic growth. And for those digital startups looking to launch the next must-have app, they provide a host of useful tools. It’s thus little wonder that foreign technology groups like Rovio, Spotify, and Shazam chose U.S. cloud providers to help them achieve global success.

Despite the clear benefits of cloud adoption, some countries are considering or have enacted policies that would limit their domestic companies’ access to these services. These include rules preventing data from moving freely across national borders, such as from an SME in one country to a cloud provider with servers in another, such as the United States. Data flow restrictions undercut economies of scale and make it extremely difficult for cloud firms to offer affordable, reliable access to productivity-boosting resources.

Among other justifications, policymakers may believe that by requiring data to be stored locally, they can stimulate the growth of their domestic technology sector. However, these mandates are far more likely to make it impractical for cloud providers to continue supplying local firms, potentially cutting off a wide array of enterprises from the most sophisticated services available. Accordingly, the European Center for International Political Economy has found that recently proposed or implemented data localization rules in several countries would cause GDP losses.

ITA is a leading voice in the U.S. Government’s global engagement on regulatory issues affecting U.S. cloud providers, such as data localization. Every day, ITA engages with foreign leaders and policymakers, analyzes fast-changing market dynamics, and works with inter-agency colleagues to help ensure that U.S. firms receive equitable market access overseas.

We also strive to provide useful information to U.S. cloud providers big and small as they seek specific export opportunities. We believe that this year’s Top Markets Report on Cloud Computing does just that, and we look forward to hearing your thoughts on it.

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New U.S.-Mexico West Rail Bypass Bridge First in Over a Century

August 26, 2015

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

 On Tuesday, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker joined U.S. and Mexican government leaders in Brownsville, Texas, at a ceremony to inaugurate the West Rail Bypass International Bridge, the first new international rail crossing between the United States and Mexico since 1910.
Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker joined U.S. and Mexican government leaders in Brownsville, Texas, at a ceremony to inaugurate the West Rail Bypass International Bridge, the first new international rail crossing between the United States and Mexico since 1910.

Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker joined U.S. and Mexican government leaders in Brownsville, Texas, at a ceremony to inaugurate the West Rail Bypass International Bridge, the first new international rail crossing between the United States and Mexico since 1910.

During her remarks, Secretary Pritzker highlighted the deep and growing commercial partnership between our two countries; the vital importance of the U.S.-Mexico border to our bilateral economic ties; and the need for action to spur North American competitiveness in the increasingly globalized economy of the 21st century.

Secretary Pritzker noted how the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has led to the creation of jobs and opportunity for both U.S. and Mexican communities. Yet, at the same time, our commercial crossings at the border were not modernized after NAFTA came into force, leaving us with infrastructure that was built to handle roughly a quarter of our current trade volume.

To address these challenges and to ensure that our border region remains a staging ground for greater commercial and economic activity long into the future, Secretary Pritzker and her U.S. and Mexican partners have pledged to make the West Rail Bypass only one part of a long-term, concerted effort to replace outdated infrastructure and continue to develop a modern, efficient, and secure border. Because, as the Secretary stated, “we cannot wait another 100 years before we inaugurate the next new bridge or road connecting our countries.”

To that end, we are prioritizing the development and execution of border infrastructure projects as part of the U.S.-Mexico High Level Economic Dialogue (HLED). So far, in addition to the West Rail, we have seen some progress. For example, we have reduced wait times from 3 hours to roughly 30 minutes at the port of entry between San Diego and Tijuana, the busiest land crossing in the world. And we more than doubled the capacity at the Nogales-Mariposa port of entry; now, that facility can handle trucks as many as 4,000 a day – up from about 1,600 – and process up to $35 billion in goods each year.

This is only the beginning. Our focus on infrastructure will continue long into the future, as we seek to advance the vision of the HLED: to support a vibrant, competitive North American economy, and to make it easier for U.S. and Mexican companies to do business together.

Before the West Rail event, Secretary Pritzker met with a delegation of business leaders from Brownsville to discuss how the city can capitalize on its strategic location and leverage Department of Commerce resources to spur new economic growth and opportunities for local workers and families.

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Six Reasons to Look South to Mexico and Central America’s Infrastructure Build-Out

August 21, 2015

Erin Aucar recently completed an internship with the International Trade Administration’s Office of the Western Hemisphere

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

Infrastructure is the buzzword for companies looking for new business opportunities in Latin America.  The region is undergoing a major infrastructure build-out as economies and populations grow.  Large scale public-private partnership projects in the transportation sector abound, particularly in roadways, airports, and ports.  Numerous opportunities exist in related industries as well, such as renewable energy, water resources, environmental technologies, rural development, aircraft parts, building parts, and more.  If your company works in or supplies the infrastructure sector and its many related industries, this is an opportunity not to be missed!

This September 9th ITA’s Commercial Service Office in Denver is hosting an event to introduce your company to the latest infrastructure opportunities in Mexico and Central America as part of ITA’s Look South initiative. Here’s why you should attend:

  1. Mexico is committed to investing in infrastructure. The Government of Mexico has initiated a series of major reforms known as the National Infrastructure Program (PNI) which includes major projects intended for execution through 2018. For example, the PNI identifies 84 discrete projects in the water sector and 118 electricity sector projects. They are also in the midst of mega transportation projects such as expanding the Metrorail systems and the Mexico City airport. Read more in the U.S. Trade and Development Agency’s Mexico Project Resource Guide.
  2. El Salvador is modernizing its infrastructure with help from multilateral development banks. El Salvador has numerous ports, roads, and airports under expansion, upgrade, or development. Most projects are financed by multilateral development banks such as Inter-American Development Bank, Central American Bank for Economic Integration, as well as foreign development agencies or assistance programs including Millennium Challenge Corporation. Representatives from the Inter-American Development bank will be on hand at the event to discuss the $2.4 billion in approved projects the Bank is financing in El Salvador.
  3. Honduras is a renewable energy star! Honduras is ranked 20th worldwide in ITA’s Top Markets Report for renewable energy exports, and 7th for wind energy exports. The Honduran government is promoting renewable energy projects and offering various incentives for its development.
  4. Guatemala is a team player, working with other Central American nations to advance regional infrastructure. In April 2014, Guatemala signed an agreement with Mexico to build a natural gas pipeline linking both nations and enabling distribution of fuel throughout Central America. Honduras has also signed on to help develop the project which is valued at approximately $1billion and will be bid on in 2016.
  5. Our Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with each of these markets give your company a leg-up. FTAs offer benefits, like zero tariffs, to exporters and protections for investors in partner countries. Our FTAs have transformed Mexico and the group of six Central American countries that form CAFTA-DR into some of our principal trading partners. Together CAFTA-DR ranked 13th largest among U.S. export markets in the world in 2014, and the 3rd largest in Latin America behind Mexico and Brazil.

CS Denver’s September 9th event will introduce your company to the latest projects in each of these markets.  Experts will discuss procurement opportunities, bidding requirements, how to qualify, sources of financing, and more!  Participants will have the chance to meet one-on-one with representatives from the Inter-American Development Bank, Minority Business Development Agency, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, and Commercial Service in Mexico and Central America to discuss opportunities for their company and get their questions answered.  Sign up today!

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