Author Archive

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May is World Trade Month 2014

May 1, 2014

Ken Hyatt is the Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade.

Happy World Trade Month!

For years, May has been the time to not only recognize the benefits of international trade, but also for organizations around the country to support more American companies competing overseas.

For the United States, the benefits of trade have been great, as have our successes. We recently announced that for the fourth straight year, the United States set a record for annual exports in 2013, at $2.3 trillion. That is a 40 percent growth in total exports since 2009.

Behind those exports are millions of well-paying American jobs – a record 11.3 million jobs to be exact. That number is an increase of 1.6 million from 2009.

As more American businesses compete and succeed in the global marketplace, the entire national economy reaps benefit.

Around the country, state and local governments, nonprofit organizations, and private sector entities are supporting events to help more American companies engage in the global marketplace. We tip our hat to every organization throughout the country that is supporting world trade events this month and all year long.

Here are just a few of the events going on:

From Los Angeles to New York City, Montana to Alabama, trade-promotion seminars are connecting small companies to opportunities and helping get more business leaders involved in the global market.

We encourage small businesses to connect with events in their area to learn more about how engaging in the global marketplace can support your business! Contact your nearest Export Assistance Center to find events or to learn how you can tap into the 95 percent of global consumers who live outside the United States.

We also encourage you to follow the International Trade Administration on Twitter at @TradeGov where we will be highlighting many of the great events going on. Share pictures from your events and lessons learned using #WorldTradeMonth.

I’m very excited to celebrate World Trade Month with all of you!

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Discover the Next Markets for Your Business

May 1, 2014

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

Logo. The DISCOVER Series is your business's link to expanding your exports all over the world.

The DISCOVER Series is your business’s link to expanding your exports all over the world.

Succeeding in the global marketplace is all about intelligence. Businesses need to understand their target markets, identify the key opportunities, and have the resources to compete.

That’s what the DISCOVER GLOBAL MARKETS (DGM) Business Forum Series is all about.

Today in San Antonio, business leaders from around the country are joining U.S. Commercial Service staff from around the world to help companies do three things: Compete, win, and grow in the global marketplace.

The next two days will be full of market insight, best practices, key tips, and lessons learned for businesses looking to succeed in Africa, the Middle East, and India. These are three growing and promising global markets for U.S. companies.

What better place to for this event than in San Antonio, Texas, where exports have tripled since 2009!

But DGM isn’t about just one city or one region; it’s about opportunities – global opportunities. The DISCOVER series is traveling the country, providing unrivaled insight into growing export markets and key U.S. industries. Upcoming forums include the following:

Attendees at these conferences not only get to network with other business leaders and market specialists, they can receive one-on-one counseling with commercial officers working in target markets. They can also receive personalized strategic advice to make sure they have every advantage available when competing overseas.

If you couldn’t make this event in San Antonio, you can follow updates from the conference on Twitter at @DiscoverForums and with #DGMSanAntonio. You’ll be able to catch some of the insights participating businesses are learning and see first-hand testimonials as to how beneficial events like this can be for your company.

Make sure to check out the upcoming DISCOVER events and register for one near you. If you have questions, you can contact us right now at DiscoverGlobalMarkets@trade.gov.

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New Expansion to Support New Opportunities

April 29, 2014

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

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

Arun Kumar

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

Last week, Commerce Secretary Pritzker made an important announcement that demonstrates the United States’ commitment to supporting developing economies and the Department of Commerce’s commitment to U.S. businesses competing overseas.

The Department’s International Trade Administration will open offices in five new markets, bringing Foreign Commercial Service (CS) officers into some of the world’s most rapidly developing economies. In cooperation with the U.S. State Department, we will open offices in Angola, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Burma this calendar year.

These new offices, and our staff additions in other offices around the world, will make us more capable of supporting U.S. exporters. We can support more Gold Key Matchmaking, we can conduct more market research, and we can help connect U.S. companies to more global markets.

As a new member of the Department of Commerce team, I’m very excited to be a part of this major expansion – especially in such important markets for U.S. businesses.

Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the fastest growing economic regions in the world. The International Monetary Fund predicts continued growth throughout the continent, as part of a broad continental economic transformation.

Our new offices will support White House initiatives like Trade Africa and Power Africa, which have spearheaded a larger campaign to bolster development throughout the continent.

As U.S. companies look to ship goods to Africa, help increase electrical capacity, or help improve transportation networks, they will receive unparalleled assistance and expertise from our staff. With our new offices on the continent, we will be able to find partners for American companies, help navigate regulatory hurdles, and support the development that will make Africa thrive.

Our team in Thailand is already assisting American companies doing business in Burma, and our new office in Rangoon is a symbol of the importance of this market and of America’s commitment to Burmese reform, growth, and increased openness. We know that the Burmese people see U.S. goods as being of high quality, and the nation’s businesses are looking to get involved with American companies.

As this expansion takes place, these markets are where we will truly see the mutual benefits of trade.

As U.S. companies find more opportunities in these growing economies, they will bring the infrastructure and ideas that improves quality of life for citizens and they will support the partnerships that spur innovation among local businesses.

This announcement is just the start. I’m very excited to see how this expansion will help support existing partnerships, create new opportunities, and bring about the kind of development that is only possible through global trade.

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Houston, We Have a…Conference!

April 25, 2014

Austin Redington is a Communications Specialist with the SelectUSA Program.

The U.S. energy sector is a hot topic, from renewable energy to the high-tech recovery of natural gas to the exploration of untapped resources. With so much buzz – and significant investment inflows – this year’s Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, Texas from May 5-8, promises to be both timely and exciting.

Naturally, the International Trade Administration (ITA) will be there, and we hope to see you there too!

OTC 2014, which is supported by ITA’s International Buyer Program, is a leading international trade show focusing on opportunities in the fields of drilling, exploration, production, and environmental protection.

For attendees, ITA will be onsite offering services to international and U.S. investors, U.S. exporters, and international buyers. Here’s a brief look at what we’ll be up to:

  • For investors & U.S. economic development organizations: SelectUSA, the U.S. investment promotion program, will be hosting a “Build Your Business in the United States” lunch symposium, as an opportunity for attendees to meet federal and regional partners. The event will offer a case study about the U.S. investment climate, resources, and services. Attendees will also learn best practices from companies that have already invested. Register here by April 29th.
  • For exporters and buyers: We’re also offering our B2B Matchmaking service, which connects U.S. suppliers with interested international buyers. We recruit and screen each international buyer through our network of U.S. Embassies and face-to-face meetings to ensure the highest likelihood of connecting the “right” partners. Companies interested in engaging in this service are encouraged to sign up (click here for more).
  • For U.S. exporters: Our Global Markets team will be offering export counseling meetings and country-specific information. U.S. exporters will have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with our U.S. Embassy oil and gas industry specialists. Team members from 25 embassies will be available: Algeria, Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Cyprus, Egypt, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates. Representatives from the Small Business Administration and Export-Import Bank of the United States will also be on site.

ITA experts will be offering country briefings and procurement seminars. Stop by to learn about deep water exploration in Colombia or about oil and gas opportunities in Ghana.

As you can see, it will be a busy and interesting week full of opportunities to learn, meet, share, and connect. If you’re planning on going, we hope you’ll stop by and see us!

For more information on OTC 2014, go to the OTC 2014 website.

Further details on our OTC presence can be found on the Houston, Texas U.S. Export Assistance Center’s website

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Driving German FDI – the U.S. as a Manufacturing & Distribution Hub, and an Export Platform

April 24, 2014

Amy Zecha is an International Investment Specialist with SelectUSA. Her portfolio covers Central and Eastern Europe, including Germany.

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.Inward foreign direct investment (FDI) stock totaled $2.7 trillion in 2012, a 6 percent increase from the prior year, which equals the average annual growth rate between 2001-2011.

SelectUSA just finished another successful event at the Hannover Messe manufacturing trade fair – the largest in the world – and now we’re gearing up for another big event in Germany. In September, we’ll be participating in Automechanika, a global trade show for the automotive industry. We hope you’ll join us!

It’s been a great couple of months for German investment in the United States, and we’ve had some exciting news in the auto industry. In a post last month, ITA’s Tradeology blog highlighted some impressive figures – including the 115% growth in U.S. auto exports of passenger vehicles between 2009 and 2013.

It is therefore no surprise to see international automakers – such as Germany’s BMW – continue to grow their U.S. manufacturing operations. At the end of March, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker joined BMW officials and others in Spartanburg, SC in celebrating the start of production of the X4 – and the announcement of the brand new X7. The addition of this model line will make Spartanburg BMW’s largest manufacturing facility in the world.

BMW, as a business, knows the value of manufacturing in the United States, and also the advantages of using the U.S. as an export platform. Today, BMW is one of the top auto exporters in the United States. More than half of all the cars produced by BMW at their Spartanburg plant are shipped to other markets beyond our borders. BMW has clearly harnessed the power of U.S. manufacturing and successfully coupled it with the export opportunities offered by U.S. trade agreements to maximize the potential of their U.S. operations.

This is just one case study of German success in the U.S. market. Success comes in many sizes – sometimes it’s the small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) that makes the commitment to the United States, like PTF Pfuller, a manufacturer of precision parts and assemblies for the semiconductor, food, medical technology, laser and aerospace industries. The CEO, Mr. Oliver Zintl spent two years working with Jenny Trick of Racine County Economic Development Corporation, after an initial meeting at the USA Investment Center organized by SelectUSA and CS Germany at Hannover Messe 2011. PTF established its U.S. division in Sturtevant, Wisconsin in August 2013 with initial plans to start with a small sales staff – but then noted the potential to add manufacturing and a distribution center within five years, creating at least 50 jobs. PTF cited the tremendous work of Racine County and Milwaukee 7 (a regional economic development organization), as well as the central location, access to existing customers in the region, and the quality of theGateway Technical College – which offers the potential for a nearby source of talent for the company.

These are two great case studies of German-owned companies setting up shop or expanding existing ones in the United States – and further evidence of why SelectUSA has identified Germany as a key focus market for FDI attraction. German investment in the U.S. accounts for over 10 percent of all FDI in the country, a significant figure when taken into account that the U.S. is the largest recipient of FDI in the world. In an effort to support this continued economic relationship, SelectUSA is already planning events in Frankfurt in conjunction with Automechanika in September.

This is just part of a great line-up of events SelectUSA has planned for the rest of the year. Stay tuned for more details around Automechanika and other events – and make sure to sign up for our free online newsletter to stay up to date on all our latest events!

To learn more about SelectUSA and our global programs for both EDOs and international investors please visitwww.selectUSA.gov or follow us on Twitter at @SelectUSA.

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Five Tips for Protecting Your Intellectual Property in Global Business

April 23, 2014

Ken Mouradian is the Director of the International Trade Administration’s Orlando Export Assistance Center.

You spent the time and money to build your business, including the development of products and services (patents, trade secrets and copyrights), business methods (trade secrets), brands (trademarks and service marks), and your presence on the Internet (trademarks and associated domain names, copyrights). Why wouldn’t you protect these Intellectual Property (IP) assets from unauthorized use?

Stopfakes.gov is your portal to resources for protecting intellectual property.Many small businesses are at a disadvantage in not having the expertise or resources to prevent theft of their intellectual property in the global marketplace. So in recognition of World IP Day on April 26, here are some simple, practical measures that any exporter can take to protect their IP assets:

  1. Conduct an IP audit. An IP audit will document the assets that you own, the assets that you may be acquiring, and how you’re using other people’s IP. It should support your export marketing plan, as an IP audit allows you to make business decisions about which assets to protect in each market. It doesn’t have to be elaborate; and it’s something that you can do yourself.
  2. Own your business… all of it! If you allow your foreign business partner to register your IP, in most foreign countries, they become the “right holder.” You need to register your own IP assets and record trademark and copyright registrations (and in some countries, design patents) with the customs administration to block the import and export of infringing items.
  3. Know your partners. Your local U.S. Export Assistance Center can help you to qualify existing or potential foreign business partners. Include provisions in your contracts that require the use of original and unaltered products and preclude the partners’ registration of your IP.
  4. Monitor the use of your IP. Plan to visit the market regularly; and use track-and-trace technology like RFID or bar codes to make it easier to audit products and spot fakes. Monitor domain names, e-commerce and auction platforms; and use Internet search engines – including image search – to find infringing products online. Include the obligation to report instances of infringement in your contracts with foreign business partners; and train business partners to spot fakes.
  5. Have an enforcement strategy. Make it part of your export marketing plan to know the administrative and legal relief available to you to enforce your Intellectual Property Rights in each export market. STOPfakes.gov offers country toolkits for select markets. You can also obtain country-specific information from U.S. embassies by contacting your local U.S. Export Assistance Center.

There is no substitute for qualified legal counsel. However, there is a lot that you can do yourself to get started. For more information, please visit www.STOPfakes.gov and the Inventors Resources Center from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

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Florida Company Looks to Panama for Export Growth

April 21, 2014

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

Mechanical equipment excavating a ravine.

Ambient Technologies is a U.S. exporter providing support in environmental and engineering fields.

Florida-based Ambient Technologies is one of many U.S. companies looking south and finding new business opportunities.

Ambient provides a number of support services to companies and government organizations in environmental and engineering-related fields, including drilling, surveying, and mapping. With operations in Florida, the Gulf Coast, Central America, and the Caribbean, the business is well positioned to take advantage of opportunities throughout Central America.

The Look South campaign is helping companies take advantage of abundant business opportunities that exist throughout Latin America. For Ambient, prime opportunities exist in Panama, where the company is supporting the Panama Canal expansion.

“Over the past few years, our work with the Panama Canal expansion has continued to drive our export sales—and we expect to see even more opportunity,” said Ambient President and CEO Carlos Lemos.

The growing economies of Latin America mean more opportunities for your business as well. U.S. free trade agreements in the region can also mean a simpler export process and lower costs of doing business.

“The United States has 11 free trade agreements in Latin America, which is one reason we’ve been encouraging so many Florida business to look at those markets,” said Sandra Campbell, director of the International Trade Administration’s Export Assistance Center in Clearwater.

If you’re ready to explore opportunities for your business in Latin America, visit your nearest Export Assistance Center or export.gov/looksouth.

 

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¡Hola Investors! The SelectUSA Mexico Road Show is Coming Your Way!

April 16, 2014

Austin Redington is a Communications Specialist with the SelectUSA Program.

Our team in Mexico is standing by to support our efforts to increase foreign direct investment in the United States.

Our team in Mexico is standing by to support our efforts to increase foreign direct investment in the United States.

Spring is officially here and along with the new blossoms and sunshine come new events and opportunities to help investors bring their business to the United States. It’s already been a busy season, with recent visits to Japan, Korea, Austria, and Germany for the Hannover Messe trade show, and there’s much more on the horizon. 

As part of SelectUSA’s mission to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) to the United States, we’re launching several SelectUSA Road Shows aimed at connecting investors in specific markets with U.S. economic development organizations (EDOs). 

One exciting Road Show that is just around the corner is taking place in Mexico on May 20-21, 2014. U.S. Commercial Service staff members in Mexico are eager to connect U.S. EDOs with investors who are looking for opportunities. The Road Show is a two-day event, covering two of Mexico’s most important business centers: Querétaro and Mérida, Yucatán. 

Why Mexico?

In a word—opportunity! As our third largest goods trading partner and one of the fifteen largest sources of FDI into the United States, Mexico is home to hundreds of businesses looking to expand their operations. 

Mexico’s investment in the United States has been growing at a rapid pace over recent years, more than doubling its total FDI stock of $12.6 billion in 2010 to $29.2 billion in 2012. Clearly, Mexican companies are increasingly finding the U.S. market as an attractive place to do business. We couldn’t agree more!

Where the Investors Are

The Road Show’s two stops, Querétaro and Mérida, are among Mexico’s largest commercial and manufacturing hubs. 

Among Mexico’s most dynamic economies, Querétaro is recognized for its stable public finances, safe environment and competitive economy. Located 130 miles north of Mexico City, transportation is convenient with direct highway connections to the United States. The region has a strong presence in advanced manufacturing industries, including aerospace, automotive, and appliances, as well as the biotechnology and information technology industries. 

Yucatán may be the most important business region in southern Mexico, and is conveniently located to serve as a platform for commercial routes with the United States. Mérida, the state’s capital, is among competitive cities in southern Mexico and hosts a variety of investors and companies looking for growth opportunities. Primary industries in this region include construction, professional services, textiles, and transportation and logistics.

Register Today!

As everything is coming together for this event, we’re just missing one thing: YOU! The Mexico Road Show is coming up soon and we’d love to see you there. We’re still recruiting state, regional, and local U.S. EDOs, but space is limited and time is running out, so don’t delay! For more information or to sign up, click here or contact Rebecca Torres

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SelectUSA: Investing in the United States, Creating Jobs, and Spurring Economic Growth

April 10, 2014

This post originally appeared on the White House blog.

Jeff Zients is Director of the National Economic Council and Assistant to the President for Economic Policy. Secretary Penny Pritzker is the Secretary of Commerce.

Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla join Lufthansa's August Wilhelm Henningsen and German Ambassador Peter Ammon in a signing ceremony for an agreement to create a new Lufthansa Aviation Facility in Puerto Rico.

Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla join Lufthansa’s August Wilhelm Henningsen and German Ambassador Peter Ammon in a signing ceremony for an agreement to create a new Lufthansa Aviation Facility in Puerto Rico.

Today, Lufthansa Technik announced a significant new investment in Puerto Rico that demonstrates how efforts to deploy the full resources of the federal government to win job-creating investments in U.S. states and territories pay off. Through the advocacy of several high-level U.S. officials, including the Vice President and the Secretary of Commerce, as well as the work of SelectUSA, the government of Puerto Rico was able to secure this new investment, which will create up to 400 permanent jobs and strengthen Puerto Rico’s burgeoning civil aviation sector.

Lufthansa Technik, a wholly owned subsidiary of Germany-based Lufthansa AG, is making a significant new investment in Puerto Rico to build a maintenance, repair, and operations facility. Thanks to the persistent support of the Administration through our SelectUSA investment initiative, local efforts led by Governor Garcia Padilla of Puerto Rico, and the strengths of Puerto Rico’s growing aviation industry, the United States won this new investment despite strong competition.

SelectUSA – launched in 2011 and housed in the Department of Commerce – is the first-ever federal effort to bring job-creating investment from around the world to the United States in partnership with state and local economic development organizations. Today, Ambassador-led teams at our posts overseas directly support foreign investors looking to make investments in the U.S. by providing resources and information, and when needed, connecting them to investment experts at the Department of Commerce and throughout the SelectUSA interagency network.

Each investor, and investment case, gets tailor-made attention from our case managers at SelectUSA, who rely on ombudsman efforts to answer questions, as well as a sophisticated advocacy network that leverages key Administration officials all the way up to the President of the United States. Lufthansa is a perfect example of our coordinated efforts to bring job-creating investment here to the United States. In addition to Vice President Biden and the Secretary of Commerce and her team, SelectUSA involved other key federal officials, and coordinated with several federal agencies to provide the needed assistance to secure the project. And, when it came time to seal the deal, SelectUSA coordinated an effort across the federal government, including the support of the President’s Taskforce on Puerto Rico, to present Lufthansa with the case for locating their investment in the United States.

The Lufthansa investment is yet another example that demonstrates that the United States is an increasingly attractive location for job-creating business investment from around the world. Last year, for the first time in a decade, global business executives ranked the United States the number one destination for foreign investment. And the Department of Commerce released new data showing that foreign direct investment flows into the United States and our territories rose from $160 billion in 2012 to $187.5 billion in 2013.

With our booming natural gas sector, our skilled workforce, our status as home of the some of the top research universities and innovation hubs, and our resurgent manufacturing communities, the United States is primed for business investment. Businesses increasingly cite the U.S. open investment climate, rule of law, the ability to efficiently export their goods, access to high-quality supply chains, and proximity to robust consumer markets as key factors to locate their operations in the United States. And now, with the help of SelectUSA, the federal government is undertaking a coordinated and concerted effort to showcase our strengths and make the case with even more investors that the United States should be their top choice.

To put it simply, the United States is Open for Business.

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Making It Easier to Clear Customs in Latin America

April 10, 2014

Diana Alvarez recently completed an internship in the International Trade Administration’s Office of South America.The Look South campaign is encouraging companies to seek export opportunities in Latin America.

More than 40 percent of current U.S. exports go to Mexico, Central America, and South America. Both its geographic proximity and the presence of 11 free trade agreements in the region make these markets attractive for U.S. businesses.

As the U.S. government continues to support businesses expanding in Latin America through the Look South Initiative, one key aspect being addressed is working through potential barriers to trade.

Issues like long customs-clearance times, inconsistent interpretation of customs regulations, and subjectivity of customs inspectors can add to the time and cost of the exporting process. These costs can especially affect small business exporters.

To address these problems, the International Trade Administration is working alongside U.S. Customs and Border Protection, governments across Latin America, and other public and private sector partners on the Customs Modernization and Border Management Reform Program.

This program brings business and government together to discuss the challenges faced at the border and to develop solutions that will make clearing customs easier, faster, and more efficient.

The program began in Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Honduras and has already helped create a simpler and more efficient border-crossing process:

  • Honduras extended its operating hours at many border posts and harmonized them across the many different border agencies.
  • El Salvador eliminated several administrative requirements for express shipments, saving companies time and money.
  • Costa Rica recently launched its one-stop web portal that will allow companies and government agencies to submit and review all customs-related documents in one place.

As part of a second phase of the program, training workshops and dialogues were held in Peru and the Dominican Republic in March, with events in Guatemala and Uruguay scheduled to take place soon.

We’re excited to see more businesses expand to Latin America under the Look South Initiative, and we look forward to being a part of a smoother trade process under the Customs Modernization and Border Management program.

If you’re ready to increase your business’s presence in Latin America, contact your nearest Export Assistance Center or visit export.gov/looksouth.

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