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Bigger than Meets the Eye: Look South to Chile!

July 29, 2014

Olivia Kantor recently completed an internship in the International Trade Administration’s Office of South America.

A long, narrow country in South America with a relatively small population of 18 million, Chile may not be the first country that comes to mind when considering export markets.

However, Chile’s dynamic economic growth, open markets, and world-class industries make it an attractive option for U.S. companies looking to sell their product abroad.

Chile is the United States’ fourth-largest trading partner in Latin America, and U.S. exports to Chile reached $17.6 billion in 2013. Trade with the country has increased nearly six-fold since the establishment of the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement.

Several key industries in Chile have produced growing markets for U.S. goods and unique opportunities for business investment:

  • Electrical Power Equipment: Chile has the highest energy costs in South America. Efficient, affordable energy sources are at a premium as the Chilean economy continues to expand. Between 2013 and 2020, growth rates of 6 to 7 percent are projected for electricity consumption in Chile, and an estimated $20 billion of foreign investment and electrical power equipment will be needed to complete a variety of energy generation and transmission projects. Additionally, Chile plans to invest in many forms of renewable energy, making it an ideal market for U.S. manufacturers in that industry.
  • Construction: Driven by energy projects and investment in the Chilean mining industry, construction in Chile has grown at record rates. Construction within the mining industry alone is expected to total $50 billion during the next several years. With little construction equipment produced domestically, Chile relies on high-quality machinery from the United States. That puts U.S. businesses in an ideal position to take advantage of the wave of new construction projects, particularly in infrastructure and housing.
  • Agricultural Machinery and Equipment: Chile’s export-driven agricultural industry is looking to boost productivity and efficiency, providing a unique opportunity to U.S. exporters of specialized and energy efficient agricultural machinery. Continued demand for sophisticated agricultural machinery is expected to grow 7 to 8 percent through 2015. Demand is especially high for harvesting machinery, irrigation infrastructure, and precision agriculture equipment.

Many other Chilean industries also offer significant opportunities for U.S. exporters. You can find a complete list of best prospect sectors for Chile in the Country Commercial Guide.  The US- Chile Free Trade Agreement allows U.S. firms to export with fewer barriers than many other markets. In addition, Chile continues to strengthen its commitment to liberalizing trade as a founding member of both the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Pacific Alliance.

If your company is interested in learning more about doing business in the Chilean market, the Look South initiative offers a number of services to help U.S. businesses capitalize on these exciting opportunities, from business matchmaking to trade counseling.

There are also a number of events for companies eager to start making connections in Chile and beyond.

Contact your nearest Export Assistance Center to learn more about how you can take advantage of opportunities in Chile and 11 U.S. free trade agreement partner countries in Latin America!

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Wheels in Motion: Join SelectUSA in Germany at Automechanika and IAA

July 28, 2014

Cora Dickson is a Communications and Outreach Specialist for SelectUSA. Danit Kanal is an International Economist for SelectUSA and the author of a forthcoming report, “Invest in the Auto Industry: Promising Trends and Opportunities for Growth.”

USA Investment Center at Hannover Messe, April 2014

USA Investment Center at Hannover Messe, April 2014.

The exciting news last week that Volkswagen will create 2,000 jobs in Chattanooga, Tennessee was just the latest indication that the United States auto sector is recovering, expanding, and drawing the attention of investors worldwide.

Economic development organizations (EDOs) can capitalize on this limelight, and boost growth in their regions’ auto industry clusters, by joining the USA Investment Center at two trade shows in Germany this fall – Automechanika and the International Automobile Exhibition (Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung – known as the IAA).

Exhibitors at Automechanika (September 16-20 in Frankfurt) represent a wide range of companies in this sector, from parts and components to accessories and electronics. Truly an international showcase, over 80 percent of exhibitors in 2012 were from outside Germany. Meanwhile, the IAA (September 25 – October 2 in Hannover), which can trace its origins back over 100 years, will focus this year on everything in the supply chain related to commercial vehicles.

This is a great time for U.S. EDOs to consider whether the automotive sector offers an opportunity to attract foreign direct investment (FDI). During the period 2008-2012, FDI in the U.S. auto industry grew at the average rate of over 9 percent per year. These trade shows will enable EDOs to meet directly with interested investors.

On top of the appealing factors across the board for all industries – such as lower energy costs, strong intellectual property rights, and high productivity – the United States is increasingly recognized as a solid production base for automakers and their suppliers from around the world. One reason is the rapidly rising consumer demand for vehicles: in June 2014, U.S. consumers purchased new cars and trucks at the fastest pace in eight years.

The evidence is strong that the U.S. automotive sector, which employs approximately 1.7 million U.S. workers, benefits enormously from FDI. Consider these recent statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis:

  • In 2011, U.S. subsidiaries of foreign-owned motor vehicles, bodies and trailers, and parts firms account for nearly 40 percent of total U.S. employment in this sector.
  • The 2012 FDI stock in motor vehicles and motor vehicle parts accounted for almost 3 percent of total industry FDI in the United States and around 8 percent of manufacturing FDI in the United States.

Read more about the support provided to economic development organizations that join the USA Investment Center at these two premier events, and contact Amy Zecha at SelectUSA or Ed Fantasia at the Commercial Service in Munich for further information on how to register to participate.

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U.S.-Africa Business Success Stories: A Kodak Moment: How the Department of Commerce Brokered a Deal between Eastman Kodak and an Egyptian Bank

July 25, 2014

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

When the Department of Commerce helped Eastman Kodak broker an exporting deal with one of Egypt’s largest state-owned banks, it was a true Kodak moment. American businesses like Kodak are becoming increasingly engaged in exporting to Africa, and the reasons why are clear:

  • Africa has made great strides towards achieving sustainable economic growth and widespread poverty alleviation.
  • Gross domestic product (GDP) in Africa is expected to rise 6 percent per year over the next decade.
  • Africa is set to have a larger workforce than India or China by the year 2040.
  • According to the World Bank, almost half of Africa’s countries have attained middle-income status.

Africa’s potential as the world’s next major economic story is why businesses in the United States, like Kodak, want to offer their products, services, and expertise to help unlock even more of Africa’s potential – and the Obama Administration and Department of Commerce are committed to helping these exporting businesses each step of the way.

Kodak, the company best known for pioneering photographic film products, has been an active client of the nearby Rochester U.S. Export Assistance Center (USEAC) for decades. This long-standing relationship connected Kodak with one of the largest state-owned banks in Egypt, Banque Misr. When the bank was about to place an order to purchase Kodak Scanners, Banque Misr was told that Kodak had encountered a financial problem not familiar to many outside the U.S.: Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

To better understand Kodak’s financial situation, Banque Misr contacted the U.S. Commercial Service in Egypt, which then contacted the Rochester USEAC. The Rochester USEAC  was able to confirm that Kodak was still operational and headquartered in Rochester. With the help of Tim McCall, a trade specialist in Rochester, and the U.S. Commercial Service, the bank received the proper paperwork and placed an order to Kodak which amounted to roughly $185,000 in export sales.

The Obama Administration and the Department of Commerce believe that Kodak’s and Banque Misr’s example can encourage other U.S. companies to do business in Africa. That is why, last year, President Obama announced the launch of Trade Africa, a partnership between the United States and East African Community (EAC) – Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. Trade Africa aims to increase exports from the EAC to the U.S. by 40 percent, reduce the average time needed to import or export a container from African ports by 15 percent, and decrease by 30 percent the average time a truck takes to transit certain borders, making it easier for businesses on both side of the Atlantic to trade.

Businesses interested in learning more about exporting should contact their local U.S. Export Assistance Center.

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Connecting African Leaders to U.S. Industry Beyond the Beltway

July 25, 2014

This post originally appeared on the White House Blog.

The Honorable Leocadia I. Zak is the Director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.

Leocadia I. Zak

Leocadia I. Zak

The upcoming U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, which is the largest single engagement by any U.S. President with our African partners, will help the United States play a driving role in the continent’s future development.

Many Americans are aware that sub-Saharan Africa is a fast-growing region with tremendous potential, but they may not know about significant plans to develop infrastructure across the continent. We believe that these plans represent enormous business opportunities for U.S. companies of all sizes, and that is why we have invited key African decision-makers to meet with private-sector leaders in Chicago and Houston prior to the Summit.

These African Leaders’ Visits, which the U.S. Trade and Development Agency is partnering with the U.S. Departments of Transportation and Energy to host from July 30 to August 1, will highlight the United States’ experience fostering economic growth through key infrastructure investments. These Visits are the only commercially focused events to take African leaders to major U.S. cities outside of Washington, D.C. on the occasion of the Summit.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony R. Foxx and I will co-host the African Leaders’ Visit: Transport in Chicago for transportation ministers whose countries have recently announced plans for significant near-term expansions in both rail and aviation infrastructure. Site visits to the Union Pacific Intermodal Terminal and O’Hare International Airport will feature the U.S. rail and aviation industries and demonstrate how the development of transportation infrastructure has made Chicago an international hub for finance, industry, and technological innovation.

U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz and I will lead the African Leaders’ Visit: Energy in Houston for energy ministers as they face important decisions on how best to develop their countries’ extensive natural gas reserves. In Houston, the delegates will visit energy facilities that were developed to transport and utilize the area’s natural gas resources and that have helped create an economic boom.

Logo for the African Leaders VisitThe Visits will provide U.S. companies of all sizes exposure to African leaders in settings that showcase the operation of their cutting-edge technologies and services. In Chicago and Houston, the leaders will discuss investment opportunities in their countries and identify potential areas of partnership with the United States. U.S. businesses interested in participating in the Visits can find additional information at www.ustda.gov/africanleadersvisits or on social media via #ALVTransport and #ALVEnergy.

By emphasizing American ingenuity and innovation that can address the continent’s infrastructure needs, the African Leaders’ Visits will help establish new – and strengthen existing – commercial partnerships between the United States and Africa.

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Making the Most of International Trade Shows

July 25, 2014

Arun Kumar is the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Global Markets and Director General of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service.

The International Trade Administration Commercial Service team may be the most connected business partners you will ever have. Our specialists are export experts, giving your business advice on potential trade partners, ways to market your company, and how to successfully export.

Now our Commercial Service team is making it even easier to succeed in exporting through an exciting video series called Export Experts. This series will provide information on trade shows, tips for exporting to rural areas, international exporting advice, and so much more.

The first video of this series is about making the most of international trade shows, which can be great opportunities to meet lots of different people in one place. They can be efficient and beneficial events for any company looking to expand to new markets.

Here are some tips about trade shows that we as commercial service officers have learned through our years of exporting assistance.

  1. Go prepared. Know your product, understand your client base, be professional. You are at a trade show to create connections with people that could become your business partners. Making a good impression is key, so know your stuff.
  2. Be interactive. One great way to stand out is to have something that attracts people to your booth. Whether it be a video or a product demonstration, keep people engaged.
  3. Make connections. You are there to meet new people, and form potential partnerships, not just to sell your product. If your company can help another company make money, you will always be in business.
  4. Follow up, and follow through. Probably the most important thing to do after a trade show is reconnect with the people you met. The only way to create these lasting business relationships is to stay connected to the people you meet.

Commercial Service officers are here to help you succeed in expanding your business. We have various tools and ideas to prepare you and maximize your time at trade shows. Contact your nearest Export Assistance Center today to find out about upcoming trade shows and how to succeed in the global marketplace.

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Supporting the Best Environment for U.S. Exporters

July 24, 2014

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

The ITA Environmental Technology Team is ready to support your business!

The ITA Environmental Technology Team is ready to support your business!

One way the International Trade Administration (ITA) supports U.S. exporters is through specific teams of specialists who focus on specific industry sectors.

From marine technology, to health care, to automobile manufacturing, ITA offers export support in a variety of sectors.

To promote professional development and to make sure our specialists stay on top of the latest business trends and opportunities, our teams come together to share lessons learned, study best practices, and discuss ways their industry is changing.

This month, the Environmental Technology team did just that.

Their week-long conference included various seminars which built on existing knowledge of export policies and emerging environmental technologies. These conferences benefit exporters because they keep the commercial service specialists up to date on the latest and greatest in their industry. The main focus of this year’s training sessions was ways the team can address pollution issues related to water, air, and soil, and to learn about new recycling technologies.

Other ways ITA supports environmental technology exporters are through programs such as;

The environmental sector is a large and growing industry. Environmental technologies make up a $735 billion global market with U.S. exports currently comprising about $45 billion of this market. Therefore there is much growth potential for U.S. envirotech exporters.

Industry-specific offices are just one of the ways ITA constantly works to make exporting easier for American businesses.

You can find out more about our industry teams and how they support exporters at export.gov. Or you can contact the Environmental Technology Team so they can help lead you in the right direction.

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U.S.-Africa Business Success Stories: How a Texas Oil Company Started Doing Business in Cameroon and Morocco

July 23, 2014

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

The geographic distance between Texas-based Arnold Oil Company and Sub-Saharan Africa may be thousands of miles, but their economic relationship has never been closer. U.S. businesses like the Arnold Oil Company are increasingly finding economic opportunity in Sub-Saharan Africa: between 2001 to 2012, U.S. trade to sub-Saharan Africa tripled from $6.9 billion to $22.5 billion dollars. Africa is now home to six of the top ten fastest growing economies in the world, leading President Obama to call sub-Saharan Africa the “world’s next major economic success story.” That is why the Department of Commerce is working to facilitate and advocate for American businesses in this growing region, and U.S. firms are eager to help unlock even more of Africa’s economic potential.

A family-owned supplier of automotive and oil lubricant products, the Arnold Oil Company became interested in expanding its business abroad. They met with the U.S. Export Assistance Center (USEAC) in Austin to request assistance in developing an exporting and marketing plan for their products. After creating a plan that satisfied the company, the USEAC arranged for a meeting with a representative from the U.S. Export-Import Bank to assist the Arnold Oil Company with financing its exports.

But the USEAC took its assistance one step further, introducing the Arnold Oil Company to a buyer in Cameroon, who eventually was signed as a distributer. As a result of this relationship, the Arnold Oil Company was able to ship their first exports of oil lubricants to Morocco, generating revenue of more than $24,000 in 2013. With assistance from the USEAC, the Arnold Oil Company was able to expand its business into one of the most economically dynamic regions in the world.

In 2012, the Commerce Department launched the Doing Business in Africa Campaign to help U.S. businesses, like the Arnold Oil Company, take advantage of the many export and investment opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa. As part of the campaign, Commerce has expanded trade promotion programs tailored toward Africa and dedicated an online Africa business portal to direct businesses to federal resources. In addition, on August 5, the Department of Commerce and Bloomberg Philanthropies will co-host the U.S.-Africa Business Forum, a day focused on strengthening trade and financial ties between the United States and Africa.  The Forum will be attended by President Obama, Secretary Pritzker, Mayor Bloomberg, and other senior U.S. government officials. The U.S.-Africa Business Forum will intensify efforts to strengthen trade and financial ties between the United States and Africa and seek to create partnerships that will promote trade, accelerate job growth, and encourage investment. These efforts are helping American businesses expand and enter the global market for the first time, and the Department of Commerce remains committed to helping create more exporting success stories.

Businesses interested in learning more about the benefits of exporting should contact their local U.S. Export Assistance Center.

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