Author Archive

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New Opportunities with TPP – Increasing U.S. Exports to Brunei

November 19, 2015

Craig Allen is the U.S. Ambassador to Brunei with the Department of State.

When I arrived as U.S. Ambassador to Brunei in early 2015, my main goal was to strengthen the economic ties between our two countries. What I have since discovered is that Brunei is a little country with big potential. Its small, well-educated population enjoys a high standard of living thanks to oil and gas reserves. Brunei is also strategically located in the heart of Southeast Asia. Each year, more than $5 trillion in trade passes through this region, including $600 million in trade between the United States and Brunei last year.

Although Brunei is a small market, opportunities for U.S. businesses – big and small – abound. The success stories are all around me.

Every day, hundreds of international passengers step off brand new Boeing 787 Dreamliners. Royal Brunei Airlines was the first country in Southeast Asia to fly Boeing’s newest passenger aircraft. They continue to expand their fleet, creating and sustaining high-skilled jobs in Everett, Washington and North Charleston, South Carolina.

During Brunei’s National Day celebrations, I proudly watched as the Royal Brunei Armed Forces flew new Sikorsky Black Hawk helicopters over thousands of excited celebrants. I knew that for each helicopter I saw in the air that day, thousands of Americans back home had benefited economically. Whether it is Brunei’s state-of-the-art Cancer Center being furbished with sophisticated U.S. radiotherapy medical equipment, or Brunei’s national university partnering with IBM to host the first Blue Gene/P supercomputer in Southeast Asia, Brunei offers many opportunities for U.S. manufacturers.

The successful conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations last month represents a new opportunity to increase exports. In particular, TPP will benefit American machinery exporters, as 80 percent of U.S. machinery exports and 100 percent of U.S. transportation equipment exports will become duty-free when the agreement enters into force.

Now is the right time to do business in Brunei. This little country is making big efforts to diversify its economy away from oil and gas. And with the TPP coming into force, U.S. companies are poised to seize new opportunities. My staff and I at the U.S. Embassy in Brunei are ready to welcome U.S. exporters interested in this small but promising market. We stand ready to help and look forward to hearing from you.

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How to Find Sector Opportunities in Korea

November 16, 2015

Jim Bledsoe is an International Trade Specialist with the U.S. Commercial Service in Little Rock, Arkansas

A business client named Max recently contacted me to ask some general exporting questions pertaining to a few specific markets. It soon occurred to me that a lot of what he was asking about was readily available in our agency’s Country Commercial Guides (CCG), which are posted online for free here. I asked Max if he had ever used a CCG or even heard of them, which led to the following conversation.

Max:  What is a CCG, and why do I, as a U.S. business, care?

Jim:  A CCG is a guide prepared by boots-on-the ground trade and economic professionals at U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad that highlights specific country market conditions. While similar to the CIA World Fact book in concept, the nature of the CCGs is geared more towards giving you market insights so you can sell your product or service in that country.

Max:  I see. A lot of what I’ve found out there on the Internet hasn’t really helped me narrow down the field for potential markets to sell in. So these CCGs then are more useful—how so?

Jim:  There are currently CCGs covering 123 markets. These Guides have the latest on high-demand industry sectors, as well as market-by-market economic overviews, selling techniques, investment climate considerations, trade financing options, and business travel advice and resources. U.S. companies can also find opportunities not only in popular markets, but also in many other less crowded markets. In our earlier conversation, you had asked about the Korea market, so let’s take a closer look. We have a great group of trade professionals that I work with who write about specific areas like Agriculture, or the Defense Industry. Basically, you are getting current market conditions from people—U.S.  Federal Employees—who live and work in the respective markets of the CCG they write.

Max:  How do I use this CCG to get my Defense Industry in Korea-related market information?

Jim:  The easiest and most efficient way to capitalize on the valuable market information contained within the CCGs is to contact your local U.S. Export Assistance Center (USEAC). So right here by calling me, you are already doing it the easy way! But seriously, anyone can contact their local USEAC where an International Trade Specialist can help identify and winnow down potential markets, work with you to develop an export strategy, and help explore  options for business to business matchmaking

Max:  What if I just wanted to do some looking myself?  I would hate to bother you with this….

Jim: It is no bother at all—this is what I do and am happy to help!  However, if you wish to do further research into the markets yourself, it is easy. Here’s what I recommend:

  • First go to the CCG landing page and select which country you want find out more about. They are split up by region: Asia, Europe, Middle East & Africa, and Western Hemisphere.
  • Once you have clicked on a country, you will notice there are eight sections listed with topics you can click on in each of the following:
    • Doing Business in [Country]
    • Political and Economic Environment
    • Selling U.S. Products and Services
    • Leading Sectors for U.S. Exports and Investment
    • Trade Regulations, Customs, and Standards
    • Investment Climate Statement
    • Trade and Project Financing
    • Business Travel

Max:  What if I just want to find out about the Defense Industry in South Korea?  What all would I click on?

Jim:  Well, that depends. First click on the Korea link under the Asia region, then next under the “Leading Sectors for U.S. Exports and Investment” section. I would recommend clicking on the Defense Industry Equipment link. Under this link, you will get a comprehensive view of the Defense Industry market segment in South Korea, including best prospects and opportunities in the market. This section also includes major trade shows and key acquisition contacts for the Defense Industry in Korea. However, I wouldn’t recommend stopping at that link alone, especially for the Defense Industry. I would recommend looking at the “Doing Business in Korea” section, and reading through the overview sections where there is valuable information on how strong a trade partner Korea is with the United States. Then look at Market Opportunity and Challenges insights, as well as where you can find a general Market Entry Strategy specific to Korea.

Seeing as how the “Doing Business in Korea” Market Entry Strategy link explicitly recommends “a local presence is essential for success,” I would highly recommend that you look at the “Selling U.S. Products and Services” section. This explains the various aspects of actually selling in Korea, such as the Using an Agent to Sell US Products and Services or Establishing an Office , where you will find  how to establish the local presence recommended by our Commercial Specialists at the U.S. Embassy in Korea.

Max:  That sounds helpful, is that all I should look at then?

Jim:  Your company has had good success in selling quality U.S. goods to the Defense Industry worldwide. In pursuing opportunities in Korea, you should check out the “Trade Regulations, Customs, and Standards” section for Korea, where topics such as Import Requirements and Documentation and U.S. Export Controls, among others, are covered for the South Korean market.

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Two Events to Make 2016 A Banner Year for Investment

November 12, 2015

This post originally appeared on the International Economic Development Council’s BlogThis post contains external links. Please review our external linking policy.

By Vinai Thummalapally – Executive Director, SelectUSA

It was my pleasure to join the IEDC 2015 Annual Conference in Alaska, and to sign a Memorandum of Understanding formalizing the important relationship between the IEDC and SelectUSA.

I was able to put into words an important reality in which I’ve lived since joining the SelectUSA team in 2013: that IEDC is like family to SelectUSA. You all have done and continue to do some of the most important work to date supporting the U.S. economy, and I thank you for all of your contributions.

The considerable buzz at the road show was exactly what I expected, because the fact is that our joint effort highlighting the importance of foreign direct investment in our economy is still accelerating.  Our momentum will continue in 2016, as we are approaching a very important year for economic development in the global economy.

Two major events on our radar are the Hannover Messe trade fair in April 2016 – the largest industrial technology trade show in the world, and our third SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington, D.C. in June. I know both of these events can be hugely helpful for just about any EDO, and I personally invite IEDC members to participate.

Many of you have attended Hannover Messe in the past, as it has always been a great show for highlighting investment opportunities. In 2016, a great event gets even better for U.S. EDOs.

For the first time ever, the United States is the Partner Country for Hannover Messe, and that means EDOs exhibiting in the U.S. Investment Pavilion will get maximum exposure to the more than 200,000 attendees at this show, thousands of whom are global investors looking to make deals.

Let me be clear: Hannover Messe attendees aren’t window shopping. About 68 percent of attendees come to the show with decision-making authority, meaning they are ready to meet you, negotiate, and close. And with the U.S. Investment Pavilion as the centerpiece of the trade show, your investment opportunities will be front and center for attendees and members of the media to see.

Visit export.gov/hannovermesse to learn more, or contact our team for more information. EDOs should register byNov. 30 to get the most out of the show.

At the SelectUSA Investment Summit in June, our team will do exactly what it’s done twice before: we will connect EDOs directly to global investors. We will attract some of the most brilliant thought leaders in the economic development sector to share their knowledge. We will bring government leaders to hear your thoughts and use your feedback to guide policy.

For EDOs of any size, this event can be an integral part of your growth strategy. In 2015, we welcomed nearly 2,600 participants from more than 70 international markets, including companies and business associations as well as EDOs from all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam.

We are ready to welcome you back to D.C. and to help connect global investors to the opportunities your organizations have to offer. Learn more about the Summit at SelectUSA.gov, and make sure to sign up for updates as we get closer to June.

I know 2016 is a big year for all of us, that money can be tight, and that it can be difficult to decide which events will carry the most impact. I encourage you to contact our team to learn more about Hannover Messe and the SelectUSA Investment Summit, and to help decide which event is best for your unique organization.

I can promise you this: Our SelectUSA teams on the ground at both events will work tirelessly to make sure your organization is exposed to as many potential opportunities as possible.

I hope to see many of you at both events, and I wish you the best of luck in wrapping up 2015!

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Mission Global: Vets Go Global Initiative Assists and Empowers Veteran-Owned Businesses to Expand in International Markets

November 10, 2015

Guest blog post by Murat Muftari, International Trade Specialist, International Trade Administration’s U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service. Muftari also is a former U.S. Special Forces soldier.

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

“History has shown that when you give veterans an opportunity to succeed, they go above and beyond. And we as a nation owe them those opportunities to succeed,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald when recently announcing the expansion of the Veterans Economic Opportunity Initiative – a collaborative initiative to increase economic opportunities for veterans.

Vets Go Global

Vets Go Global Initiative Connects Veterans to Global Markets

As we approach Veterans Day this Wednesday, November 11, let us take a moment to honor America’s veterans for their sacrifice and willingness to serve for the common good of a grateful nation. Their service continues well beyond the battlefield and into the commercial and private sector where transitioning veterans continue their mission and turn to entrepreneurship at greater rates than the rest of the U.S. population. In fact, more than 2.4 million U.S. businesses are owned by veterans, representing about nine percent of all American firms and employing an estimated 5.8 million workers, with $1.22 trillion in sales receipts. Our veterans are significant contributors to America’s global leadership in business and innovation, supporting jobs and furthering our national security.

Although veteran-owned firms (9.9 percent) are less likely to export than minority firms (17.5 percent) and women-owned firms (12.1 percent), veteran-owned firms that do export are often bigger and have more employees than other firms that export. Veteran-owned firms employ an average of 68 employees, compared to 42 employees for women-owned firms and 21 employees for minority-owned firms.

Since only 9.9 percent of veteran-owned firms export, the Department of Commerce sees this as a tremendous opportunity to assist and increase the amount of veteran-owned firms that export through the Vets Go Global initiative, translating to an increase in bottom-lines and jobs.

The Vets Go Global team is committed to assisting veteran-owned businesses through customized export programs and resources. Our team is working diligently to support veteran-owned businesses by:

  • Providing customized export counseling on the frontlines of veteran-owned business events.  This is happening next week at theNational Veteran Small Business Engagement (NVSBE)Conference in Pittsburgh, Pa., November 17-19, where the Vets Go Global team will be exhibiting and engaging with veterans through a seminar and one-on-one counseling opportunities.
  • Collaborating and working with theVeteran Institute for Procurement (VIP) to put together an international business curriculum for veteran-owned businesses. Veteran-owned businesses who graduate the three-day program will then have an opportunity to develop an export strategy and write an export plan for international markets through a veteran focused ExporTech, an export acceleration system for achieving profitable growth.
  • Our team is also working with veteran-focused business associations that will lead trade missions to markets in Latin America and Asia focusing on industry sectors that show the most significant trends for opportunity in these markets. The mission destinations and targeted industry sectors are based on ITA’sTop Markets Series, which is designed to help U.S. exporters identify their next export market by comparing opportunities across borders.

Our Vets Go Global team will continue to collaborate with private and public organizations that offer resources to veterans by presenting additional avenues of economic opportunity to veteran-owned businesses.

Our team calls on the veteran-owned business community to continue to rise to the occasion when opportunity knocks and go above and beyond by joining Mission Global and learning more about the existing export opportunities and resources. To get started, contact the Vets Go Global team at vets@trade.gov or contacting your nearest Export Assistance Center.

As Veterans Day approaches, I would like to personally thank the brave Americans who have served – as well as their families – and those who continue to serve our country as members of the Armed Forces.

Follow the Vets Go Global team on Twitter and join our Vets Go Global LinkedIn Group Page for news about upcoming initiatives!

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Market Research that Challenges Your Assumptions

November 10, 2015

This is a guest blog by Doug Barry PhD, who until recently was a Senior International Trade Specialist with ITA’s Office of Communications and Digital Initiatives  

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

You are in the renewable energy business in the United States, and receive a notice about an upcoming conference on the topic to be held in Brazil. You’re interested, and start thinking about next steps. However, after talking with some colleagues at the office, you are quickly reminded that Brazil is in an economic slump, its politics more volatile than usual. “Slump” and “volatile” are not samba to your ears, and you decide that this isn’t the year to expand to Brazil.

CCGs

Country Commercial Guides showcase market research intelligence for 120+ countries. 

You’ve made a mistake. There’s significant opportunity in the renewable energy market.

What should you have done to get an accurate understanding of the market, even if you decide not to go to a trade show for the industry?  Well, you should have consulted a resource that for many years has been providing reliable, in-depth market research for U.S. companies of all sizes. The publication is called the Country Commercial Guide (CCG) and there are Guides covering some 123 markets. Formerly comprised of large, door stop proportions, the CCGs from 2015 are divided into bite size bits and accessible online via export.gov/ccg/. In case we fail to mention it later, access is FREE. It’s never a good idea to select market opportunities based on faulty assumptions and hearsay.  With the CCG’s, you can get accurate, bankable information with an investment of a few minutes and a couple of mouse clicks. The format is mobile friendly, so you can peruse tidbits at your leisure, emailing yourself, or colleagues, to select pages for closer scrutiny later. Your boss may appreciate receiving this information for its brevity and insightfulness.

Size doesn’t matter

One of the first and most important things you notice is that despite a bumpy economy, caused in part by China’s falling demand for natural resources, Brazil is eager to build up its alternative energy capabilities. A drought in part of the country means that dependence on hydro power must be balanced with more solar and wind power. Businesses in the U.S. specializing in renewable energy should take note: Brazil isn’t your only best bet, and there’s opportunity in the most unlikely places—if you know where to look for it, like the Country Commercial Guide’s best prospect report on Renewable Energy.

A good place to look for buyers is trade shows, and Brazil has many, including in the energy sector. Trade shows inevitably provide a solution to one of businesses biggest challenges:  Where to find buyers—and these shows have a big collection of them under one large roof. Some of these shows will be attended by market and sector experts of the U.S. Commercial Service, based at the U.S. embassy and consulates. These folks know the buyers and will guide you to them, making sure reputations are impeccable and that they have the money and are ready to spend it. In turn the buyers may trust you more because the U.S. government is introducing you.

Here’s a sample of upcoming renewable energy shows in Brazil:

June 30-July 1, 2016, Rio de Janeiro, SP

Now that you’ve changed you mind about attending a trade show in Brazil, you wonder about temporary entry for samples or a popup table display. There’s a section in the CCG on temporary imports.

To your surprise, you learn that in this heavily taxed country, temporary imports are also taxed, but the amount is pro-rated based on the amount of time the goods are in the country. You can calculate the cost ahead of time. You learn that Brazil is examining the Carnet system, whereby participating countries agree not to tax temporary imports and a common document is used to expedite Customs processing. You make a note to check back in six months to see if Brazil has joined the Carnet system. If you make more frequent trips to Brazil, the Carnet, if adopted, will be useful.

Certain business protocols such as dress, perceptions of time, negotiation strategies, and trust are also covered in the CCG and can make the difference between making a sale and losing one. It’s not an overstatement to say that in no other publication, on or offline, can you find this mix of hard data and practical business acumen that you can apply immediately.

Oh, and did we mention that it’s FREE?

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United States Earns Partner Country Status at World’s Largest Industrial Event; Unprecedented Showcase Opportunities for U.S. Manufacturers

November 9, 2015

This is a guest blog by Larry Turner, President & CEO of Hannover Fairs USA, a subsidiary of HANNOVER MESSE.

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

The timing couldn’t be better.  In recognition of the rapid progress to strengthen its industrial sector, the United States has been selected as the partner country for HANNOVER MESSE 2016, the world’s largest and most influential B2B event for industrial technology.

The trade fair, held April 25-29, 2016, in Hannover, Germany, offers an unprecedented opportunity for U.S. manufacturers and U.S. manufacturing solutions producers to showcase the results of modernization and digital integration.  The event attracts more than 220,000 attendees, 6,500 exhibitors and 2,400 global press members from more than 70 countries.

To take advantage of the partner country opportunity, HANNOVER MESSE projects the largest ever U.S. contingent to attend in 2016 to pursue business development and investment attraction.  It offers a significant opportunity for U.S. manufacturers to increase their business through export opportunities.

In addition, using HANNOVER MESSE as a platform will help state and local economic development agencies achieve the United States’ expressed goal of furthering global trade, attracting foreign direct investment, increasing export activities, and opening global markets—all leading to more business, more growth, and more jobs.

Greg Scheu, President of the Americas region for ABB, said, “As an American, I’m proud of ABB’s 67-year history with HANNOVER MESSE and pleased to introduce the United States audience to Hannover’s long tradition as the world’s largest and most important industrial technology trade fair. One of the most important things that ABB does is make manufacturing more competitive by increasing productivity and efficiencies, and HANNOVER MESSE, whose attendees are opinion leaders and decision makers, has long been a showcase for that. Just last year, we exhibited our breakthrough collaborative robot, YuMi, and we registered more than 10,000 qualified visitors to our HANNOVER MESSE booth. That level of exposure is invaluable to us.”

“HANNOVER MESSE is an excellent opportunity to promote American manufacturing and the interconnectedness of advanced manufacturing in a global arena,“ said Dr. Caralynn Collens, CEO of UI LABS, Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDI).  “Hannover Messe’s themes of ‘the Internet of Things” and “Industrie 4.0” are closely aligned with the strategic direction of our Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII), bringing together world-class companies and innovators to transform manufacturing for the digital age.“

Dr. Helmuth Ludwig, Executive Vice President of Digital Enterprise Realization and Chief Manufacturing Officer for Siemens PLM Software, said, “Siemens is the largest exhibitor at HANNOVER MESSE, and we are very pleased to be able to showcase our latest innovations in electrification, automation and digitalization with a focus on the “Digital Enterprise” during the upcoming fair.”

To learn more about exhibiting or attending HANNOVER MESSE 2016, visit http://www.hannovermesse.de/home or contact Ethan Carter, Director of Sales at HFUSA, at ecarter@hfusa.com.

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The U.S. Commercial Service helps Western Shelter Systems export, reduce time to market and avoid mistakes

November 4, 2015

This is a guest blog by Brice Barrett, Director of Sales for Western Shelter Systems and a client of the Commercial Service U.S. Export Assistance Center in Portland, Oregon.

Since 1988, Western Shelter Systems, based in Eugene, Oregon, has manufactured shelters that are easy to transport, simple to erect, and weather-secure for operations in remote locations. The shelters are used by fire, rescue, medical, military, and disaster response teams.

About 15 years ago, we exported our first shelter system to an Australian distributor to be used by wildfire firefighting teams. Our firm made other international sales through the years, mainly in response to inquiries from foreign buyers. The U.S. market for our products is seasonal and exporting became very important to us to achieve our long-term strategic growth objectives.

When I joined the company in 2013, my first priority was to identify the most appropriate export markets for our products in Latin America. I contacted the U.S. Commercial Service (CS) for assistance. I worked with Latin America specialists in Washington, D.C., and CS trade specialists in Portland to develop a data-driven methodology for selecting export markets. We analyzed key criteria across a number of markets and determined that Brazil, Chile, and Argentina represented the best prospects for us in Latin America.

CS Staff in Portland and Brazil organized more than 10 meetings for me with qualified distributors in three cities. As a result of the trip, we signed distributors in Brazil, Chile, and Argentina and have already realized significant sales in in all three countries.

We wouldn’t be where we are today in Latin America without the help of the CS and the U.S. Department of Commerce.  The team helped us get to market 12 months faster than would have been possible if we were going it alone.

We recently decided to enter the Korean market, and I again called upon the CS to help arrange meetings with key players in this new market for us. There is no way we could have made these connections without the CS. We’re working on significant opportunities with our new Korean distributor, and we have product demonstrations scheduled throughout the next year. We’re progressing pretty quickly.

We now sell our products in more than 20 countries, and I admit that exporting can be a difficult and long process, particularly in a country where you don’t know the language or the market. Before you export, you need to do your homework and there are people out there to help you. I urge you to take advantage of the CS’ local expertise in foreign markets. The CS saves me from making a bunch of mistakes.

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