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Swiss Executives Announce $3 Billion Investment in the United States During Meeting with Secretary Pritzker

January 14, 2015

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

Swiss Executives Announce $3 Billion Investment in the United States During Meeting with Secretary PritzkerToday, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, NEC Director Jeff Zients and Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett, hosted a delegation of Swiss business leaders, who are making significant U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States. The eight executives announced plans to invest $3 billion in their U.S. operations in 2015. The participants also discussed the importance of job-driven workforce training initiatives, which enhance the United States’ attractiveness as a destination for investment by better enabling employers to hire workers with the necessary skills and providing employers with the technical assistance needed to launch training programs.

The U.S.-Swiss diplomatic relationship dates back more than 160 years and currently, the U.S.-Swiss trading relationship totals nearly $100 billion annually. The total value of Swiss FDI in the U.S. has more than doubled between 2009 and 2013, growing from $65 billion to $140 billion, making Switzerland the 6th largest source. Additionally, Swiss investors are the top international source of R&D investment in the United States, spending nearly $9.4 billion in 2012. U.S. subsidiaries of Swiss firms employed over 472,200 U.S. workers in 2012, with an average annual salary of over $99,091. The apprenticeship model has become a major tool for developing a skilled workforce. Today’s meeting provided an opportunity for Swiss business leaders to share their experiences with apprenticeships and how that model can be expanded in the U.S. By partnering with Swiss companies to expand and start new registered apprenticeship programs, the pipeline of U.S. workers for in-demand jobs will be strengthened.

The investor delegation also covered the importance of SelectUSA, a government effort to attract, retain and expand business investment to and within the United States. SelectUSA leads the Interagency Investment Working Group to ensure investors, get the answers and assistance they need across the federal government. SelectUSA provides services to international investors of all sizes and U.S. state, regional and local economic development organizations (EDOs). The upcoming Summit will showcase investment opportunities from every corner of the United States, while high-profile business and government leaders share their insight on the latest business trends.

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One Year Later, Look South Looking Brighter

January 9, 2015

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

Joe Matthews recently completed an internship in the International Trade Administration’s Office for Export Policy, Promotion, and Strategy.

As yet another polar vortex bears down on much of the United States, we in the trade community can still find some sunshine in the fresh trade data through November 2014. Our export numbers are up globally, and some bright spots are appearing for trade with our friends to the south one year after launching the Look South initiative — they include:

  • U.S. goods exports to Look South markets (our 11 Free Trade Agreement (FTA) partner countries in Latin America) increased by $16.0 billion through November 2014, which accounts for more than one-third of the increase in U.S. global exports over the same period in 2013.
  • Despite most being small- and medium-sized economies, these 11 trade partners represent 20.3 percent of total U.S. good exports through November 2014, up from 16.7 percent in 2009.
  • In 2012 (the latest data available), more than 89,000 American companies exported to Look South markets. This is an increase of more than 2,600 from 2011.
  • In particular, Mexico stands out as an excellent place for U.S. companies to look for new opportunities as 1,700 of those 2,600 new firms entered the Mexican market.

Mexico is one hot destination, as goods exported to Mexico rose more than $13 billion through November 2014, an increase of 6.5 percent.  The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projects Mexico’s economic growth at 3.5 percent in 2015, which is a sizeable increase from the IMF’s 2014 prediction of 2.4 percent and bodes well for U.S. exports.

Colombia is an emerging export market thanks to the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement that entered into force in 2012. U.S. exports to Colombia have increased by $1.8 billion through November 2014, a 10.8 percent increase over the same period 2013. Colombia was also a recent winner in the World Bank’s 2015 Doing Business reports, jumping from 53 to 34 to take the top spot for all of Latin America.

The popularity of Latin American FTA markets as export destinations is heightened by improvements in economic growth. According to IMF estimates, in 2014, the top four economic growth performers in the region are Panama, the Dominican Republic, Bolivia, and Colombia, three of which have FTAs with the United States. Strong growth in both the United States and these countries will positively affect one another, helping encourage trade.

Through November 2014, our progress with the Look South Initiative shines. So grab your warm weather gear and Look South for bright new opportunities—don’t forget your shades!

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How Trade Stats Can Help US Businesses Expand Abroad

January 9, 2015

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

Guest blog post by Dale Kelly, Chief of the International Trade Management Division, U.S. Census Bureau

International markets provide an opportunity for U.S. businesses to increase sales and overall competitiveness, but knowing how to get started and learning about foreign markets can be daunting The U.S. Census Bureau can help.

Although known most widely as the home of the decennial Census of U.S. households, the Census Bureau also is responsible for collecting, compiling, and publishing monthly trade statistics on all goods imported and exported from the United States. Every month, the Census Bureau releases information on the import and export of commodities such as soybeans, corn, rice, chemicals, steel, aircraft, and lumber. Together with the Bureau of Economic Analysis, which collects similar data on services imports and exports, the Census Bureau releases the  “U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services” report. This report provides detailed information on import and export of merchandise by commodity and end-use category as well as by the multitude of countries and areas with which the U.S. conducts international trade. All of these reports are available at the Census Bureau’s foreign trade web page.

How can this information help U.S. businesses? The Census Bureau provides detailed information on more than 9,000 export commodities and 18,000 import commodities. Easily accessible online, this information assists U.S. businesses in making informed decision by tracking the global marketplace for their product and identifying possible opportunities to expand to new markets.

In addition to data, the Census Bureau provides resources and tools to help businesses export. The Census Bureau’s International Trade Management Division conducts outreach and training around the country. Training includes webinars, seminars, workshops, and blog posts on using trade data, understanding foreign trade regulations and utilizing the Automated Export System, which allows the electronic filing of export information directly to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. These same data are the source of the Census Bureau’s merchandise export and import statistics. The next two-day training on the Automated Export System begins on January 21 in Houston, Texas.  Trade is a vital part of our economy, and the Census Bureau plays an important role in providing detailed timely information to U.S. businesses to make informed decisions.

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2015 SelectUSA Investment Summit is Now Open for Business

January 8, 2015

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.
This post contains external links. Please review our external linking policy.

Guest blog post by Secretary Penny Pritzker 

SelectUSA Investment Summit Washington, DC March 23-24, 2015In my first year as Secretary, one of my proudest moments was welcoming international investors to the 2013 SelectUSA Investment Summit. Alongside President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, we made it clear that America is “Open for Business.”

As 2015 begins, we are moving full speed ahead with registration for the second SelectUSA Investment Summit, which will take place in the DC metro area on March 23-24, 2015.

In November, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released new data showing why efforts to attract international investment are so important. U.S. affiliates of foreign firms employed 5.8 million people in the United States in 2012. These companies spent $48 billion on U.S. research and development, and they exported nearly $344 billion worth of goods manufactured in the United States. In 2013, the United States attracted $231 billion in FDI, up from $170 billion in 2012.

There has never been a better time to consider establishing or expanding operations in the United States, and it is clear that investors recognize the opportunities that America offers.  We are home to an attractive consumer market, a thriving culture of innovation, and a talented workforce.  The U.S. economic recovery is outshining others, and investors are increasingly confident.  In fact, A.T. Kearney’s 2014 Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Confidence Index said, “the United States tops the index for the second year in a row,” with the highest net positive rating in the index’s 16-year history.

The 2015 SelectUSA Investment Summit aims to build on the tremendous success of the inaugural event, which connected investors from 60 countries with representatives from nearly every U.S. state and territory.  At this year’s Summit, economic development organizations (EDOs) from across the United States will once again gather to showcase investment opportunities to companies from around the world. This event will bring together the tools, information, and connections companies need to grow their business here. The two-day summit will include many sessions with high-profile CEOs, breakout panels with practical tools for investors, one-on-one matchmaking meetings, and pitches on the trade show floor.

Given the incredible interest in the first event, we are doubling the size of the Summit and adding some new features, including a pre-Summit SelectUSA Academy that will cover the basics for first-time investors and the fundamentals of attracting FDI for economic developers.  We are also including sessions on rural investment, infrastructure investment, and other new features like robust online matchmaking and a more expansive trade show floor.

U.S. economic development organizations and companies that are interested in establishing operations in the United States – including reshoring and foreign investment – can learn more at the SelectUSA Summit website.

The SelectUSA team stands by to assist with investments at any time.  Learn more about their services at www.SelectUSA.gov.

SelectUSA is the U.S. government-wide program, housed within the U.S. Department of Commerce, to facilitate investment into the United States.

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U.S.-China Relations: Great for TV, but Greater for the U.S. Economy

December 11, 2014

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

Picture of the capitolFrank Underwood doesn’t understand the purpose of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT).

Maybe you know of Frank Underwood, the main character on the show House of Cards, played by Kevin Spacey. If so, you may remember how he conspired with colleagues in the White House and State Department to orchestrate a trade war with China.

How did he do it? Through the JCCT negotiations.

While Mr. Underwood is commonly known in the United States, it’s much less likely that the average American knows what the JCCT is, aside from it being some way for a fictional administration to create tension with a major U.S. international partner.

Though it isn’t a household term, the importance of the JCCT can’t be overlooked. While Mr. Underwood used the JCCT to start a trade war, the reality is that the United States and China use it to support trade peace – resolving bilateral tensions and exploring areas of mutual cooperation.

The United States and China established the JCCT in 1983 as the primary forum for addressing trade and investment issues, and promoting commercial opportunities between the two countries.

The JCCT has since resulted in significant progress on issues U.S. businesses have identified as priority concerns in China, including:

  • protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights;
  • government procurement;
  • standards, testing, and certifications; and
  • issues specific to certain sectors like information technology, energy, and travel and tourism.

Improving American businesses’ ability to compete on a level playing field in China through the JCCT and other bilateral engagements has contributed to growth of U.S. exports and business activity in China’s market, supporting the American economy and job growth. It has also helped drive important reform in China’s economy, supporting innovation and growth there as well.

The next round of high-level JCCT Meetings are in Chicago this month and we’re looking forward to using this opportunity to address bilateral trade concerns and deepen positive economic engagement between our governments and commercial sectors.

Why does JCCT matter to the average U.S. citizen?

  • China is our second largest trading partner. U.S. total exports to China have nearly tripled since 2005, reaching $122 billion in 2013.
  • U.S. goods & services exports to China support nearly 796,000 U.S. jobs.
  • Continued growth in China’s middle class will create even more promising export opportunities for U.S. companies.
  • To continue with Mr. Underwood’s example, China is now the top goods export market for his home state of South Carolina. The state’s goods exports to China reached $4.9 billion in 2013, which is nearly eight times greater than in 2005.

Lastly, not to quibble with the House of Cards writers, the show makes one important error: the Secretary of State was in charge of the JCCT discussions, and provided guidance to the U.S. team of negotiators.

In fact, that team would have been led by the Secretary of Commerce and the U.S. Trade Representative. Secretary Pritzker and Ambassador Froman will lead the U.S. delegation and be joined by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack. The Chinese delegation will be led by Vice Premier Wang Yang.

While we have yet to see those officials portrayed in the show, we look forward to seeing them play prominent roles in upcoming seasons…

More importantly, we look forward to the 25th JCCT this month, and to seeing the continued positive effects these important meetings have on the U.S. and Chinese economies and our commercial relationship.

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Competing to Win: How We Can Help U.S. Exporters Succeed at the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games

December 10, 2014
Fans from many countries watch a sporting event.

Fans are ready for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, and U.S. businesses should get ready for export opportunities related to the games.

Athletes around the world have already begun their preparations for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

For U.S. businesses looking to take advantage of export opportunities, preparations should also begin now.

The good news (for most of us anyway) is that preparations for businesses don’t require any sprints, hours in the pool, or extraordinarily difficult-looking skills on a pommel horse.

Actually, the best advantage for a U.S. company looking to win in Brazil is help from the International Trade Administration’s Commercial Service. We have teams on the ground in Brazil actively working with U.S. industry to identify opportunities presented by Rio 2016 and overcome challenges to capitalizing on these opportunities.

Opportunity

Rio 2016 presents new opportunities for U.S. exporters in a broad range of sectors. Spending tied to the Games between 2010 and 2016 will reach close to $50 billion and includes new investments in sectors including:

  • Construction and Engineering,
  • Transportation,
  • Public Security,
  • Education and Training,
  • Sporting Goods, and
  • Telecommunications.

In addition, new infrastructure-related investments for the Rio 2016 Games will reach $15 billion, targeting major airports throughout the country, new transportation corridors and intelligent transportation systems, and port revitalization. Subcontracting opportunities will also be available to U.S. firms.

The Organizing Committee for the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games will also have a separate budget of $1.3 billion to acquire products and services such as temporary construction for sports venues, mobile equipment, video and broadcasting equipment, marketing, and catering services. U.S. firms, especially those with proven success at previous Olympics and major sporting events are welcome to bid.

What this all adds up to is enormous opportunity for U.S. companies, and the Commercial Service team in Brazil is working closely with the Olympics Organizing Committee to make sure U.S. companies know about all of these opportunities.

Action Plan

The first step for potential suppliers is to register at the Rio 2016 Suppliers Portal website. After registration, U.S. companies will be able to view all available tenders and steps to place a bid.

U.S. companies interested in Rio 2016 opportunities should visit CS Brazil’s website

for information about the games and bidding opportunities.

U.S. firms can also directly visit the Rio 2016 website as well as the Rio 2016 Committee website for information.

The Commercial Service in Brazil is ready to assist you in this process. Please feel free to reach out directly to CS Rio Principal Commercial Officer Mark Russell, mark.russell@trade.gov, or Commercial Officer Jay Carreiro, jay.carreiro@trade.gov for further information.

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We’ve Got Your Six: Vets Go Global Initiative Connects Veterans to Global Markets

December 9, 2014

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

Murat Muftari is an International Trade Specialist in the International Trade Administration’s U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service working out of the Long Island, NY U.S. Export Assistance Center.

Our Vets Go Global team met with veteran-owned businesses at the National Veterans Small Business Engagement to provide export counseling.

Our Vets Go Global team met with veteran-owned businesses at the National Veterans Small Business Engagement to provide export counseling.

As a former U.S. Special Forces soldier with multiple combat tours abroad, I can say with certainty that the camaraderie and trust that exists between soldiers is second to none. The title “We’ve Got Your Six” references what lies behind someone on the battlefield, their most vulnerable blind spot that is covered by their teammate.

Here at the Department of Commerce, we want to help veterans out by watching their six as they start and grow their businesses.

Throughout government, we have been working to support veterans as they transition into civilian life, helping them get back to work through the Veteran Employment Opportunity Act and Veteran Recruitment Act. A number of veterans, me included, have found a home as International Trade Specialists in the U.S. Commercial Service, consulting with U.S. companies on international business development and growth through our global network of trade professionals.

Now, the veteran hires of the U.S. Commercial Service have united together to create Vets Go Global, an initiative that proactively engages veteran-owned businesses to connect them to global markets. Our team will work diligently to support veteran-owned businesses and help them grow their business by:

Our Vets Go Global team believes in veteran-owned businesses and the important business skills they bring to the table — like adaptability, attention-to-detail, discipline, intercultural communications, objective-based focus, leadership, and perseverance.

Those are the skill-sets that increase any company’s probability of success in international business.

As veterans, we look forward to bringing back that battlefield camaraderie to our work with veteran business owners.

To the veteran-owned business community, we’ve got your six in the global marketplace. Let us help you expand your exports and increase your bottom line. Contact your nearest Export Assistance Center to get started.

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