Author Archive


Back-to-School Means More International Trade in Education

September 10, 2015

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog

Student in University Classroom

Student in University Classroom

Guest blog post by John Siegmund, International Trade Specialist, International Trade Administration

As the summer comes to an end, millions of students are returning to campuses all over the country.  A good portion of these students are coming from abroad. Did you know that the tuition and living expenses of foreign students make up an important services export?  In 2013 the total came to $27 billion in U.S. exports, roughly twice the amount of a decade ago.  The total number of international students has also grown steadily.

The Department of Commerce recently released the Top Markets Report on Education.  The report highlights market dynamics, trends and key challenges to studying in the United States.

About 886,000 foreign students were studying at colleges and universities in the United States in 2013/14. The top five sending countries that year were; China (274,000 students), India (101,000 students), South Korea (68,000 students), Saudi Arabia (54,000 students), and Canada (28,000 students).

The report also projects future export opportunities based on research and trends. The eight markets that offer potentially the best opportunities to increase foreign enrollments in the years ahead are Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Vietnam.  Selection of these key markets, described in the report’s methodology, is based on the number of students from a given country studying in the United States, the total number studying abroad, and historical growth rates of students studying in the United States.

Enrollment of international students is important to U.S. institutions, but they face competitive challenges, notably (1) growing competition from other English-language countries primarily the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia; (2) competition from English-language programs in countries where English is not the language of the country; and (3) the perception of difficulties and delays in getting U.S. student visas.

The report also offers reasons that students choose to study abroad.  Demographics, economics, secondary school completion rates, tuition costs, household income, and employer needs all play a role.  The most popular fields of study include business and management, and the STEM fields.

Although the United States is the largest destination country for international students, the U.S. percentage share of international students has eroded over the past decade. The number of international students worldwide has increased faster than has the number of international students coming to the United States. I would encourage you to take a look at the Top Markets Report on Education to learn more about this surprising industry!


Expanding Small Business Owners’ Access to Our Data with Census Business Builder

September 10, 2015

This post originally appeared on the U.S. Census Bureau’s Director’s BlogThis post contains external links. Please review our external linking policy.

Map Depicting Employer Establishments in Fairfax County, Virginia

Map Depicting Employer Establishments in Fairfax County, Virginia

The U.S. Census Bureau is the premiere source of data about America’s economy and businesses, and we’re committed to making our data more accessible than ever before. I’m pleased to introduce our latest tool in that effort: Census Business Builder: Small Business Edition.

Every day, businesses large and small use Census Bureau data to make important decisions. Large companies have sophisticated research staff to do this work for them, but small business owners are often left to their own devices. We’ve talked to many entrepreneurs across the country, and a common request is for more Census Bureau data in an easier-to-use format. We listened, and in response, we developed Census Business Builder: Small Business Edition to provide them with easier access to more data.

Census Business Builder: Small Business Edition combines economic and demographic data in meaningful ways that are useful to the small business owner. Uniquely, Census Business Builder also uses third party data on consumer spending. While not produced by Census, we believe that the addition of this data will help deliver the information that’s most useful for small business owners’ needs. The result is an innovative data tool that will help small business entrepreneurs determine the best type and location for their small business.

To start, select your business type from a list of over 40 categories – such as a restaurant, construction company or beauty salon – and where you’re considering setting up shop.

Once you input this information, you see a map view of your selected location (county, city, town or ZIP code), along with relevant demographic, economic and housing characteristics for that area’s residents. You can pull up features of other businesses like yours – such as number of establishments or similar businesses, average payroll and consumer spending. You can also add filters in order to see cities, counties and neighborhoods with their potential customers’ desired income, education, poverty and employment characteristics.

The combination of economic and demographic data allows small business owners to make an informed decision about what type of business to open and where to locate it. Once you’ve gathered all of the information you want, Census Business Builder generates a detailed report on the characteristics of your desired geography, its residents and businesses. This critical information can be incorporated into a business plan, a business loan application or shared with others.

Census Business Builder increases the availability and usefulness of the statistics the Census Bureau collects, and it’s a valuable tool for small business owners across America. This is the latest in the Census Bureau’s digital transformation effort, along with major upgrades to, an expanding open API, mobile apps and other interactive data tools.

We hope you visit Census Business Builder and give us your thoughts via the feedback button. Ideas for improvements to future versions of the tool will come from you, the user.


Collaboration and Awareness Key to Local Minority Business Success

September 9, 2015

Antwaun Griffin is the International Trade Administration’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for U.S. Operations.

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

MMBA Power Luncheon

Deputy Assistant Secretary for U.S. Operations delivers keynote at MMBA Power Luncheon.

Last week, I, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant and my esteemed colleague Joann J. Hill, Chief, Office of Business Development for the Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency, participated in the Mississippi Minority Business Alliance Power Luncheon in Jackson, Mississippi. I was honored to deliver keynote remarks at the luncheon hosted by the Mississippi Minority Business Alliance, Inc. (MMBA) to promote international trade and economic development in Mississippi by providing information on business opportunities for individuals and businesses, including minority and women-owned companies, major corporations and institutions.

In Washington, DC, relatively far from Jackson, I lead the International Trade Administration’s (ITA) U.S. Commercial Service domestic network of more than 100 U.S. Export Assistance Centers (USEACs). I frequently visit our offices and the organizations our USEACs partner with to help U.S. businesses begin exporting or export to more markets overseas. My part of the economic development pie is only exports; however, the Department of Commerce as a whole touches numerous aspects of economic development. Among many other resources — like the National Weather Service, which is always an interesting thing to point out — Department of Commerce bureaus offer trade counseling, technical programs, regional planning, and a variety of other resources that benefit U.S. businesses.

Within Commerce, my peers like Joann Hill collaborate across the country with other federal, state, local and private organizations similar to MMBA. These are critical relationships because the more robust, collaborative, and widespread they are – as in Jackson – the more of a synergy they create.

Across the country, organizations like MMBA that work to create or expand mutually beneficial relationships between women- and minority-owned businesses, suppliers and service organizations, are critical to minority businesses’ success. The reality is that minority businesses are more likely to export than other businesses. It is also true that we have seen a spike in minority women entrepreneurship.

There are numerous reasons why minority businesses should export more. Minority-owned exporting firms are typically larger than their non-exporting minority-owned counterparts. In fact, average annual receipts for minority exporting firms were $7.4 million as compared to $141,776 for minority-owned non-exporting firms in the most recent data available.

For all U.S. companies, the news on exporting is good. In July, the Department of Commerce highlighted data about the export totals achieved in U.S. metropolitan areas in 2014, which helped our country reach a national record of $2.34 trillion in exports for the year. In 2013, companies that exported to one market averaged just over $400,000 each in export sales, while companies that exported to 2-4 markets that year averaged more than triple that value.

Presently, exports support an estimated 11.7 million U.S. jobs, up 1.6 million since 2009. On average, export-related jobs pay up to 18 percent more than non-export related positions.

So, beyond the terrific group of small, medium, and large businesses; service providers; trade organizations; and fellow government organizations I spoke to last week, I will continue my trek around the country, touting the immense benefits of exporting. But I leave minority businesses with this one piece of advice: if you run a small shop, you know that keeping it going takes two things: time and money.

If you are going to be serious about pursuing global markets, you have to invest the time and be prepared to invest capital as well. You can’t do this all alone, which is why we are here to help. Be sure to take advantage of the numerous resources available from the Department of Commerce, your state and local economic development organizations (including places like MMBA), and forge ahead with confidence!

Note: Following the luncheon, DAS Griffin spoke with Mississippi Public Broadcasting. To listen to the interview, visit


CONEXPO Latin America: “Loads” of Opportunity for the Construction and Mining Business

September 8, 2015

Erin Aucar recently completed an internship at the International Trade Administration’s Office of the Western Hemisphere. 

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

The owners and organizers of CONEXPO, the world-renowned construction equipment trade show, are bringing 100 years of experience to Latin America! From October 21-24, 2015, in the city of Santiago, Chile, CONEXPO Latin America will bring together international experts, the latest equipment, and groundbreaking (literally) technologies. The event allows manufacturers and buyers to build their international presence and show new products, technology, and future developments for the region.

Market Development Cooperator Program grant winner, the Small Business Development Center at Duquesne University, is helping U.S. companies take advantage of this exciting opportunity with assistance through the IMPACT Project. The IMPACT Project is part of a four-year MDCP grant to designed to increase trade with Pacific Alliance countries (Mexico, Colombia, Peru, and Chile) while sustaining economic growth, supporting American jobs, and strengthening the global competitiveness of U.S. firms. While shared booth space through the IMPACT Project is already sold out, there are three other ways your company can still participate:

  1. Send a Catalogue. The IMPACT Project can accept catalogues from 7 more companies to show in the booth. With this option the company does not need to travel to the country, just provide the catalogue or company literature. Cost is $300 and includes up to two pages of Spanish language translation. Contact Dr. Mary McKinney at Deadline is September 21st, 2015.
  2. Secure your own booth space at the show. Contact Kathy Arnold of Association of Equipment Manufacturers at for more information.
  3. Walk the show. If you’d like to network in Chile, but aren’t ready to set up your own booth display, entry to the show is only $10 and no-preregistration is required. If you do make the trip down to Chile, be sure to stop by the IMPACT booth! ITA’s Commercial Service team from Chile will be there to answer questions and provide assistance.

CONEXPO Latin America’s host country, Chile, is a Pacific Alliance member whose economic growth has averaged over 5% a year for the last 20 years. A mining and exporting powerhouse, Chile is investing in infrastructure for its ports, mining, and construction industries. The show promises to attract qualified buyers from all over Latin America. Projected growth of the construction industry in the region is $47.4 billion between 2013 and 2022. The Pacific Alliance countries, including Chile, tend to favor U.S. products for their high quality and technological innovation. This advantage, along with the protections and benefits afforded to U.S. companies through our Free Trade Agreements with all four Alliance members, makes CONEXPO Latin America a prime opportunity to develop your business in the region. Indeed, there are ‘loads” of reasons to participate on CONEXPO Latin America!


Fox School of Business Partnering up for Trade Winds—Africa

September 3, 2015

This is a guest blog. Rebecca Geffner is Director of International and Executive Programs and the Center for International Business Education and Research at the Fox School of Business at Temple University, a Marketing Partner for Trade Winds—Africa. 

 Rebecca Geffner

Rebecca Geffner is a Director at the Fox School of Business at Temple University, a Marketing Partner for Trade Winds—Africa.

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

Temple University’s Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) focuses on increasing U.S. competitiveness overseas.  In order to fulfill this mandate, we continue to support programming and other efforts that encourage local business to trade and amplify their potential in global markets.

With existing relationships already in place in Ghana and Morocco, we at Temple CIBER and the Fox School of Business recognize the importance of Africa in the global arena and know that the opportunities for business around the continent are plenty as Africa’s “emergence” continues to be front and center.

We will be participating in Trade Winds—Africa this year as a marketing partner in order to encourage and support our business community in their efforts to expand their trading partnerships with African businesses.

I am looking forward to meeting all of the participants at the conference in South Africa to exchange ideas and also to bring home takeaways for our business students on the significance of the U.S.’s increasing presence in Africa.

At Fox, we are committed to providing a student-centered education and professional development relevant to today’s digital, global economy.  As future business leaders, our students must understand the needs, the opportunities and the climate of business in the region and truly gain a perspective on how some of the fastest growing economies in the world are centered in Sub-Saharan Africa.

I am also excited to meet new university partners and representatives from the embassies to discuss opportunities to further cross cultural dialogue and exchange programs and projects for our business students.

Temple CIBER and the Fox School are delighted to be working with our longstanding partners at the U.S. Commercial Service on this event and hope to see many businesses within the Philadelphia region participate in this important event.

Safe travels and see you in Johannesburg!


Virginia’s Engagement in the Global Marketplace

September 2, 2015

This is a guest blog by Maurice Jones, Secretary of Commerce and Trade for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

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

Virginia’s International Trade Success

The Virginia International Trade Alliance (VITAL)

Members of the The Virginia International Trade Alliance (VITAL)

The Commonwealth of Virginia was founded as a business venture more than 400 years ago by the Virginia Company of London, a joint-stock company formed both to bring profits to its shareholders and establish an English colony in the New World.  Since its founding, the Commonwealth has remained a journey of economic opportunity, a great place to launch new businesses and grow existing ones.

About 80 percent of the world’s purchasing power resides outside of America.  Thus, helping Virginia businesses sell their goods and services abroad is one of Virginia’s most effective business expansion strategies.

In 2014, Virginia exported goods and services valued at more than $36 billion, including $15.1 billion in manufactured goods, $16.9 billion in services, $3 billion in agriculture products, and more than $1 billion in mineral fuels.   These exports went to 212 destinations throughout the world. Virginia company exports support over 250,000 jobs in Virginia.

Ten years ago, in the mountains of Rocky Gap, Virginia, American Mine Research (AMR) decided it was time to reinvigorate its international sales efforts. AMR provides monitoring and control products for the mining industry, and the company recognized the opportunity for its products to be sold around the world.

AMR contacted the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP), which provides export assistance to companies across Virginia. With VEDP’s assistance, AMR established distributorships in Mexico, Canada, Brazil, Chile, and Peru. Thanks to AMR’s commitment to growing international sales and Virginia’s export assistance programs, the company is growing from every angle.

New Trade Alliance Helps Virginia Companies Expand International Sales

Building on the success stories of hundreds of Virginia exporters like AMR, Governor McAuliffe announced in July 2015 the creation of a new initiative to increase international trade in Virginia. The Virginia International Trade Alliance (VITAL) expands Virginia’s nationally recognized international trade program through formal partnerships with Virginia’s industry associations and public universities to serve their member companies as they expand international sales. During its first five years, VITAL seeks to grow Virginia exports by $1.6 billion and create 14,000 trade-supported jobs. By exponentially accelerating Virginia companies’ engagement with the global economy, VITAL will create stronger, more resilient businesses and more jobs for Virginians.

The VITAL initiative demonstrates the Commonwealth’s commitment to helping existing Virginia businesses succeed in the international marketplace, which makes our economy even stronger. The Governor has made the program a priority and reallocated $1 million toward the initiative through flexibility granted to him in the state budget.

VITAL is managed by VEDP and comprised of 13 partner organizations, including industry associations and public universities.  VITAL will build upon Virginia’s proven export assistance programs, including tailored market research, face-to-face meetings with qualified partners overseas, and VEDP’s award-winning Virginia Leaders in Export Trade (VALET) Program.

For more information, visit


HANNOVER MESSE 2016: One Place to Showcase the Many Reasons Behind U.S. Global Business Leadership

September 1, 2015

Antwaun Griffin is the International Trade Administration’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for U.S. Operations.

There’s no one reason to explain why global consumers actively seek out U.S. goods and services, and no single explanation why global investors call the United States the best place in the world to invest.

Select USA

Hannover Messe is April 25-29 in Germany. Join leading industry experts & witness innovative technologies from across the globe.

A variety of factors keep American companies at the forefront of innovation, on top of advanced manufacturing, research, technology, and education. A stable currency, an educated workforce, and an enormous consumer base – among other factors – maintain our top investment climate.

And while there’s no one reason to explain why the United States leads the way in these areas, there is one place American companies and economic development organizations (EDOs) can show our leadership: HANNOVER MESSE 2016.

Partner Country USA: An Unequaled Advantage for Companies
and EDOs

Global businesses and learn-hannover_originalinvestors have recognized HANNOVER MESSE as a top trade and investment show for decades, but with the United States as the event Partner Country for the first time in history, there is more opportunity for U.S. companies, EDOs, and the nation as a whole to showcase itself as the global business leader.

I want to invite you to be a part of it, joining HANNOVER MESSE as an exhibitor in a U.S. Pavilion.Companies and EDOs that participate as U.S. exhibitors will find unequaled advantage by participating in the U.S. Pavilions:

  • Connect directly to more than 200,000 attendees, including global investors, buyers, distributors, resellers, and members of the business media.
  • Reach a global audience that comes from more than 70 countries.
  • Network with more than 100 business delegations that come to the event ready to make business deals.
  • Connect across industry sectors from energy, industrial automation, digital factory, industrial supply, and research technology.
  • Take advantage of support from the U.S. Commercial Service and SelectUSA including personalized, 1-on-1 counseling tailored to your needs.

It is rare that any company or EDO would get the opportunity to exhibit products, services or investment opportunities to such a large audience, and with the added exposure from the U.S. Pavilion, this event is a can’t-miss opportunity.

I hope you’ll add HANNOVER MESSE to your global strategy in 2016, and please feel free to contact us with questions at


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