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SelectUSA Greater China Roadshow Promotes Foreign Direct Investment Opportunities in the USA

May 21, 2015

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Arun Kumar is the International Trade Administration’s Assistant Secretary for Global Markets and Director General of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service.

SelectUSA logoI have to say that 2015 has been a big year for the International Trade Administration’s SelectUSA team — and it’s only getting better!

The SelectUSA initiative was developed in 2011 to attract more foreign direct investment (FDI) into the United States, resulting in a stronger economy and new jobs across the nation. Through 2014, SelectUSA has helped generate more than $20 billion of investments in the United States.  In 2014, 5.8 million people in the United States were employed by U.S. subsidiaries of foreign firms.

It seems like just yesterday that more than 2,600 senior U.S. officials, international investors, economic development organizations (EDOs), local elected officials, and academics gathered at the 2015 SelectUSA Investment Summit just outside Washington, D.C., in March, to explore and advance investment opportunities across the United States.

On the heels of that very successful event, I am delighted to participate in the SelectUSA Greater China Roadshow, May 18-29. We have great programs scheduled in nine cities, starting in Hong Kong and continuing to Shenzhen, Dongguan, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Dalian, Anshan, and Shenyang.

China is among the fastest-growing sources of investment in the United States, with a compound annual growth rate (2009-2013) exceeding 41.5 percent. China also brought the largest private-sector delegation to the SelectUSA Summit in March. Clearly, there is a great deal of interest in exploring investment opportunities in the United States among our Chinese colleagues.

On May 22, I will join officials from the 24 U.S. EDOs and their partners, as well as potential Chinese investors, in Guangzhou – ranked the No. 1 city for business by Forbes China. Representatives from 11 states and the District of Columbia will present their investment projects to leading Chinese investors.

Here’s the impressive list of participating EDOs:

  1. Brooks City Base – San Antonio, Texas
  2. California-China Office of Trade and Investment – San Francisco, Calif.
  3. City of Canton – Canton, Ohio
  4. Columbus 2020 – Columbus, Ohio
  5. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Center for Direct Investment – Harrisburg, Pa.
  6. District of Columbia Center China – Washington, D.C.
  7. Empire State Development Corporation – Buffalo, N.Y.
  8. Enterprise Florida – Tallahassee, Fla.
  9. Great Lakes Regional Center, LLC – Chicago, Ill.
  10. Greater Washington China Investment Center – Washington, D.C.
  11. Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity – Chicago, Ill.
  12. Ironwood Global Advisors – Columbia, S.C.
  13. Jobs Ohio – Columbus, Ohio
  14. Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation – Los Angeles, Calif.
  15. Mayor’s Association of Portage, Stark, and Summit Counties – Akron, Ohio
  16. Michigan Economic Development Corporation – Lansing, Mich.
  17. Missouri Department of Economic Development – Jefferson City, Mo.
  18. Morton Economic Development Council – Morton, Ill.
  19. Team Northeast Ohio – Cleveland, Ohio
  20. South Carolina Department of Commerce – Columbia, S.C.
  21. Texas International Business Accelerator – San Antonio, Texas
  22. Union Station Technology Center – South Bend, Ind.
  23. Village of Reminderville – Reminderville, Ohio
  24. Virginia Economic Development Partnership – Richmond, Va.

This year’s event builds on the tremendously successful roadshow that highlighted opportunities within China’s Pearl River Delta region last year. Our aggressive itinerary offers participants an unprecedented opportunity to meet with hundreds of potential investors.

The potential investors understand that the United States has a great deal to offer. Last year, FDI into the United States totaled $92 billion, based on preliminary estimates by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Our nation continues to host more FDI than any other country in the world, with a total stock of $2.8 trillion. We were just ranked No. 1 in the A.T. Kearney Foreign Direct Investment Confidence Index for a third straight year in 2015.

The United States is the land of opportunity, and I know the SelectUSA roadshow is presenting an entirely new view of that opportunity to our friends throughout China.

Representatives from 24 U.S. economic development organizations and their partners participate in the SelectUSA Greater China Roadshow, visiting nine cities in China to promote investment opportunities throughout the United States.


President’s “E” Awards Recognize the Importance of Exporting To “Main Street” America

May 19, 2015

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Presents U.S. Companies with President's "E" Award for Export Success

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Presents U.S. Companies with President’s “E” Award for Export Success

Today, U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker honored 45 American companies and organizations at the 2015 President’s “E” Awards ceremony.  The President’s “E” Award is the highest recognition any U.S. entity can receive for making a significant contribution to the expansion of U.S. exports.

Exports are critical to spurring economic growth and job creation and this year, 26 companies were honored with the “E” Award for Exports for demonstrating a sustained increase in export sales over a four-year period. This year’s ceremony also honored, twelve companies with the “E” Award for Export Service for their work assisting and facilitating export activities, and another four firms received the “E” Star Award for Exports, which recognizes previous “E” Award winners who have reported four years of increased export growth. Secretary Pritzker also awarded three companies with the “E” Star Award for Export Service, which recognizes previous “E” Award winners that have shown four years of continued support of exporters since first winning the “E” Award.

Winners of the 2015 “E” Awards represent diverse communities in 20 states across the country including Van Nuys, Calif.; Edina, Minn.; Gilbert, Ariz.; Chicago, Ill.; Sanford, Fla.; and Ellington, Conn. Among the awardees were 35 small- and medium-sized businesses and 21 manufacturers representing a cross-section of American ingenuity and innovation.

This year’s award recipients include Chicago-based Garrett Popcorn which sells gourmet popcorn from retail shops, and has expanded to sell their products throughout Asia and the Middle East; Nanci’s Frozen Yogurt of Mesa, Arizona, which makes and sells soft serve, flavorings, and smoothie mixes to frozen yogurt chains and restaurants in dozens of countries around the world; and Hernon Manufacturing, Inc. of Sanford, Florida, which makes high-performance adhesives, sealants,  and precision processing equipment, and exports to 44 countries. Each of this year’s “E” Award companies are selling high-quality products and services in every corner of the world and most importantly, are helping to create good jobs for American workers.

Many of the “E” Awardees are able to conduct business internationally as a result of the 14 Trade Agreements with 20 countries currently in place. The Obama administration is working closely with Congress to pass trade promotion legislation, which outlines Congressional priorities on trade agreements, so that the deals currently being negotiated can be put in place.

The “E” Award ceremony is one of the highlights of World Trade Month, a month-long celebration of the benefits that U.S. exports bring to national, state, and local economies through job creation and growth. This year marks the 53rd annual “E” Awards presentation, which recognizes companies for their contributions to increasing U.S. exports. In 1961, President Kennedy signed an executive order reviving the World War II “E” symbol of excellence to honor and provide recognition to America’s exporters.

American companies are nominated for “E” Awards through the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service office network, located within the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration. Record years of successive export growth and an applicant’s demonstration of an innovative international marketing plan that led to the increase in exports is a significant factor in selecting winners.

For the full list of 2015 “E” Awardees, visit


Smart Growth Trade Mission to Guangzhou: The Start of Something Great

May 19, 2015

Tim Truman is the supervisory public affairs specialist in the International Trade Administration’s Office of Public Affairs. 

Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and Deputy Secretary of Energy Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall witness the signing of an agreement between Cummins, Inc., and the Guangzhou No. 1 Public Transit Co., during the Smart Cities-Smart Growth trade mission stop in Guangzhou, China, on April 17.

Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and Deputy Secretary of Energy Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall  witness the signing of an agreement between Cummins, Inc., and the Guangzhou No. 1 Public Transit Co., during the Smart Cities-Smart Growth trade mission stop in Guangzhou, China, on April 17.

The next time someone asks me to name my favorite city in China, I won’t say Beijing or Shanghai. I will immediately say “Guangzhou”! Known as Canton in 1784, Guangzhou, the beautiful capital city of the Guangdong Province, is the original hub of international business between the United States and China. The city was recently recognized for a second time as the No. 1 city for business in China by Forbes China. It was also the final stop on the Smart Cities – Smart Growth Trade Mission jointly led by Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and Deputy Secretary of Energy Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall in April.

I was honored to help our Commercial Service Guangzhou (CS Guangzhou) team welcome representatives from 24 U.S. companies to Guangzhou. CS Guangzhou secured meetings with an unprecedented roster of provincial and municipal government officials—including the Guangdong Party Secretary, Guangdong Governor, Guangzhou Party Secretary and the Guangzhou Mayor—for the visit. The team also arranged a full day of matchmaking meetings with potential clients for the delegation. In all, the U.S. companies held 162 important matchmaking meetings with Chinese businesses from six provinces in China seeking their world-class products and services.

The delegation’s full schedule during their short visit to Guangzhou kept everyone busy and brought with it some early results that offer a glimpse of future growth in the Pearl River Delta region. A few immediate successes include:

  • Commerce Secretary Pritzker and Energy Deputy Secretary Sherwood-Randall witnessed Cummins, Inc., sign a long-term Cooperation Memorandum with Guangzhou No. 1 Public Transit Co., Ltd., (GZPT) the primary municipal bus company of Guangzhou. The agreement includes GZPT purchasing Cummins natural gas engines to promote clean public transportation in Guangzhou City and Guangdong Province.‎
  • The Digit Group, Inc., announced that it will open a four-person office in Guangzhou as a direct result of the interest it received in preparation for the stop in Guangzhou. The company provides Smart City solutions in the form of Master Architectural Design Services and the development of cloud-based software and hardware.‎
  • The Guangdong Development and Reform Commission (GD DRC) invited Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., to join the Guangdong Governor’s Economic Advisory Conference. Later this year, Qualcomm will be one of 10 companies to participate in an exclusive, high-level international consultancy conference to solicit ideas, suggestions, and proposals on the Guangdong province’s economic development and modernization plans.

In addition, there was a special signing ceremony to finalize a major investment by a Chinese firm in the United States. Amer International Group, a leading Chinese multinational non-ferrous metals company, signed a contract with General Moly International – its U.S. counterpart – that finalized an initial $700 million investment in a mining deal in Nevada. This investment – the first of what will eventually be a multi-billion dollar deal – will create 1,200 jobs in the United States.

These early successes only scratch the surface of potential exports to south China. Opportunities abound for U.S. companies in a variety of industry sectors—from energy and aviation, to information and communications technology, and travel and tourism—in this region that covers a significant part of China’s manufacturing heartland.

Guangzhou and the Guangdong Province have a great deal to offer U.S. companies. Guangdong is China’s largest province by population (106.44 million) and GDP ($1.10 trillion). If Guangdong were a country, its GDP would rank 16th in the world just behind Mexico in 2014. It would also, on its own, be the sixth largest trading partner of the United States, with last year’s total trade volume totaling $121.76 billion.

While Guangzhou may not immediately come to mind as the place to do business in China, there are at least 24 U.S. firms that will not soon forget this city on the Pearl River. It might just become their favorite city in China, too.


What’s New with the 11th Edition of ‘A Basic Guide to Exporting’?

May 14, 2015

Curt Cultice is a Senior Communications Specialist for the International Trade Administration’s U.S. Commercial Service.

Basic Guide to Exporting CoverFor more than 75 years, A Basic Guide to Exporting has helped U.S. companies make their first international sale and grow their businesses through exporting. Now, with an 11th edition, you may ask, what’s different? I’ll give you a few examples.

In this new edition, there is expanded information on cross-border e-commerce and export controls, as well as a new chapter on rules of origin in Free Trade Agreements. This edition also provides updated content on creating export plans to strategically start or increase export sales. Good news for the many small- and medium-sized businesses who might be “winging” their current export sales.

Additionally, A Basic Guide to Exporting features all new case studies including “micro multinationals,” which are small U.S. companies that sell to buyers in 30 or more countries. For example, Chapter 3 profiles Pennsylvania-based Zeigler Bros., Inc., a firm that researches and develops foods for animal and aquatic diets. The company made an early strategic decision to boost its bottom line by doing business overseas and has never looked back. Today, Zeigler supplies 300 different products to 50 countries, with exports accounting for more than 50 percent of overall sales. In Chapter 3, the guide describes how International Sales Manager Chris Stock overcame the challenges the company faced when trying to sell internationally, including helping customers deal with localized issues such as diseases that affect fish species being farmed, finding reputable partners, and gaining an understanding of environmental regulations in the countries where the firm does business.

What are the keys to Zeigler’s export success? For one, the company focuses on markets that are perceived as being more risky than some others: Nigeria and Ghana in West Africa; Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia in Southeast Asia; and India and China. “Africa is on the cusp, I think. A lot of people see the opportunity, so it’s a great time to get in early, because it’s a huge emerging middle class that’s developing there with spending power,” said Stock. “They need things more than any other part of the world. They have a lack of access to some of the higher-tech products and things that the United States can offer.”

Related Post: Exporting is an Open Book: 11th Edition of ‘A Basic Guide to Exporting’ Now Available

U.S. companies, particularly SME’s that are new to exporting, as well as those looking to expand their current export sales, will find this filly revise and expanded publication an invaluable tool.

Another solution for Zeigler is the U.S. Commercial Service, which helped the firm develop its export plan, and which Stock calls “a reliable go-to kind of hub.”

“In general, we come to them when we have export regulatory issues and we need somebody inside the government to guide us,” Stock added. “A big thing about exporting is realizing that you don’t know it all and that you’re always going to need support. The [U.S.] government has helped bring us into new markets. We went on a trade mission to Ghana when we were getting our Africa business warmed up and met people there that are clients now and important partners.”

This is part two in a series of four blog posts. Next week, in part three, we will provide a snapshot from A Basic Guide to Exporting on how to write an export plan. 


Three Reasons Africa Should Be Your Business’ Next Export Market

May 12, 2015

Shannon Christenbury is an International Trade Specialist at the U.S. Export Assistance Center in Charlotte, NC. More and more American companies are looking outside the United States to find new customers. Expanding to new markets leads to increased revenue and more growth – great results for any American business. For many companies I work with in Charlotte, growing markets in Sub-Saharan Africa are some of the most promising markets to explore. In fact, a number of area businesses are already growing because they have taken advantage of opportunities on the continent. Here are three reasons U.S. companies need to consider Africa as an export market:

  1. There’s never been a better time to do business there. Years of steady economic growth have created a growing middle class, and that means there are more consumers looking for quality goods and services. And an increased focus on the market is making the export process simpler.
  1. African leaders and consumers are seeking the Made-in-America label. Not only do customers appreciate the quality of American products, they also recognize the positive contributions U.S. companies make through corporate social responsibility programs.
  1. Support from the International Trade Administration’s Commercial Service is an unparalleled advantage. We have increased staff on the ground in Africa and an unequaled amount of expertise on the market, so there’s no better way for your company to have success on the continent than to work with us.

The best way to get started in taking advantage of opportunities in Africa is to join us at Trade Winds—Africa in September. Our team is leading the largest-ever U.S. trade mission to Sub-Saharan Africa, and we will connect your company to qualified, vetted partners who can help your business succeed. We will give you access to the African leaders and decision-makers that can give you the access you need.

register now button

Are you ready to find your next customer and grow your business? Join us at Trade Winds! To get more information or if you have questions, contact us at and follow the conversation on Twitter: #TradeWinds15.


Department of Commerce Hosts Forum to Better Aid Internet Exporters

May 11, 2015

Ashley Zuelke is the International Trade Administration’s senior advisor for Export Policy, Promotion and Strategy.

(Left to right) Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, Stefan Selig,  Secretary of Commerce Penny Prtizker, and Devin Wenig, Chief Executive Officer of eBay at a "Listen and Learn" session.

(Left to right) Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, Stefan Selig, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, and Devin Wenig, Chief Executive Officer of eBay at a “Listen and Learn” session.

Recently, incoming eBay CEO Devin Wenig, eBay executives, and Department of Commerce leadership including Secretary Penny Pritzker and Under Secretary Stefan Selig hosted a first-of-its-kind “Listen and Learn” session with small businesses who are successfully making international sales online through eBay Marketplace.

For policymakers, the session brought to life the experiences of technology-enabled exporters, and for participating businesses, it provided valuable insight into the scope of available U.S. government export resources and how to effectively use them.

In many ways, the listen and learn session focused on access – both to global customers and to export assistance.

Advances in technology have given U.S. small businesses unprecedented opportunity to have an online storefront facing the 96 percent of consumers outside the United States. Platforms like eBay, with seller and customer rating systems and payment facilitation tools, are helping small businesses overcome common challenges for exporters: meeting foreign buyers, building trust, and ensuring payment.

While available federal government data shows that less than five percent of U.S. goods-producing companies export, eBay research on its sellers demonstrates that more than 90 percent of U.S. companies on the platform are selling to international customers. eBay sellers at the roundtable each shared the percentage of their sales that go to international customers, which ranged from 5 to 45 percent.

Sellers detailed what factors into their decision to sell internationally. Providing excellent customer service is paramount, so steps in the export process that are unclear or uncertain provide the biggest roadblocks: pricing for the full cost of a shipment, ensuring shipments reach the customer and clears overseas customs agencies, and ensuring the necessary paperwork is complete.

Many of the company challenges discussed are what prompted the President’s Export Council to make a recommendation to President Obama on how agencies can better serve technology-enabled exporters, leading to a key focus on responding to customer needs and modernizing U.S. export assistance in our national efforts to promote trade, the National Export Initiative/NEXT, launched in May 2014.

Two of the 10 sellers participating were aware of U.S. government export assistance resources, pinpointing why building partnerships with e-commerce platforms like eBay is critical to the international success of small business exporters.

Key U.S. government resources sellers said more U.S. businesses need to know:

  • Start by connecting with your local office in more than 100 offices across the country for business planning, verifying buyers and distributors, strategies for selling online, and troubleshooting.
  • Local offices are the gateway to help from Commercial Service Officers in more than 75 markets, an opportunity that sellers navigating overseas customs procedures should not miss.
  • The Small Business Administration has representatives in 20 of the domestic offices listed above, and both and the U.S. Export-Import Bank have financing and insurance products that can be right-sized for micro multinationals to expand production facilities, translate product literature, and insure against commercial and political risks.
  • Participate in Discover Global Markets: E-Commerce Strategies for Exporters in Dallas/Fort Worth, TX October 8-9, 2015. This event, organized by the U.S. Commercial Service, will bring together industry leaders and U.S. commercial diplomats from over 20 countries to present e-commerce strategies to U.S exporters.

For more information on international solutions and logistics, visit


Exporting is an Open Book: 11th Edition of ‘A Basic Guide to Exporting’ Now Available 

May 7, 2015

Curt Cultice is a Senior Communications Specialist for the International Trade Administration’s U.S. Commercial Service.

Basic Guide to Exporting CoverSince May is World Trade Month, it’s only fitting that the U.S. Department of Commerce reiterate its commitment to helping companies—especially small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) —that are interested in exporting. Earlier today, we released the 11th edition of ‘A Basic Guide to Exporting’ which will help businesses navigate the avenues of trade.

U.S. companies, particularly SMEs that are new to exporting, as well as those looking to expand their current export sales, will find this fully revised and expanded publication an invaluable tool. With 96 percent of the world’s consumers outside of the United States, exporting holds excellent opportunities for U.S. businesses to expand market share, build competitiveness, and add to their bottom lines.

For many businesses, the export process can seem overwhelming and too difficult to pursue. This book dispels the myths that exporters need to be big, or that exporting needs to be complicated, making exporting more viable than ever for even the smallest businesses. In A Basic Guide to Exporting, first-time exporters will find information on topics including:

In addition to practical, “how to” advice, the publication includes case studies of successful exporters. Take for example, Dallas-based Avazzia, Inc., highlighted in Chapter 8: Preparing Your Product for Export. Founder and CEO Tim Smith, whose father taught him the basics of electronics as a youngster, applied his engineering expertise honed in high school to help the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) put a man on the moon. After leaving NASA, Smith created electronic devices that manage chronic and acute pain, and started his own company in 2004. The firm manufactures 11 varieties of therapy devices and 50 accessories, selling to markets in Canada, Malaysia, Korea, Singapore, United Kingdom, and India.

Today, Avazzia’s exports account for 20 percent of the company’s overall sales, and could well grow to 50 percent within two years. As its sales have grown, so have the number of employees, which now total 15. Along the way, the firm has benefitted from U.S. government export assistance dealing with quality and safety certification issues, and the business matchmaking services of the worldwide U.S. Commercial Service that helped the company connect with international partners. “Our sales generate increased cash flow, which helps us meet payroll; so you might say I’m bullish on our export potential,” said Tim Smith. To those companies interested in exporting, Smith advises them to, “Leverage your ongoing business experience, [because] you may have a greater skillset than you realize. If you’ve sold here in the United States, that’s a great asset to becoming a successful exporter.”

Smith is by no means the sole source of export encouragement you will find in the book. Read the chapters on export advice and the experiences of entrepreneurs who took on the challenge of selling internationally and never looked back. We hope you will be inspired to join their ranks.

This is part one in a series of four blogs. Next week, we will discuss what’s new in the 11th edition of A Basic Guide to Exporting, available at, and soon in hardcopy at GPO Bookstores.



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