Author Archive

h1

African Ambassadors Make the Case for U.S. Companies to Do Business in Africa

February 5, 2015

Bill Fanjoy is the Director of the U.S. Export Assistance Center in Northern Virginia.

H.E. Ambassador Girma Birru of Ethiopia discussed the bilateral benefits of U.S.-Africa trade at a networking event with business leaders at the Embassy of Ethiopia.

H.E. Ambassador Girma Birru of Ethiopia discussed the bilateral benefits of U.S.-Africa trade at a networking event with business leaders at the Embassy of Ethiopia.

It was our honor for the International Trade Administration to join the Virginia-Washington D.C. District Export Council and Ambassadors from three of Africa’s fastest-growing economies at a recent networking event focused on U.S. companies doing business in Africa.

The message from the Ambassadors from Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania was loud and clear: “We are ready for your business to come to Africa.”

It’s not just these Ambassadors who think your business should be looking at Africa. The facts support them:

  • Six of the 10 fastest-growing economies in the world are in Africa.
  • Consumer spending is expected to reach $1.4 trillion by 2020, up from $860 billion in 2008.
  • Programs like Trade Africa and Power Africa under the President’s Doing Business in Africa campaign make it easier than ever for U.S. companies to take advantage of opportunities.
  • Demand is growing across sectors, from infrastructure to mining to retail.

That’s why we were glad to be a part of this networking event, and why we’re taking it a step further this year with Trade Winds—Africa, the largest-ever U.S. government-led trade mission to Africa.

Participating in Trade Winds is a great opportunity to connect your business directly to opportunities in eight of the continent’s most promising markets. Our team will introduce you to the government leaders you need to know, connect you with the most qualified local partners, and provide you with the market insight to put you on the right track.

With Africa’s steady supply of resources, a growing population, an expanding consumer base, and increasing demand across sectors, there’s opportunity for almost any company—and there are a number of ways for you to take advantage:

Still not convinced? Stay tuned for details on an upcoming networking event at the South African Embassy, and let more African ambassadors tell you the truth—that Africa is ready for your business, and that there are few markets in the world as ready to help take your business to the next level.

(This post was edited on February 9, 2015 to include a link to the Doing Business in Africa website.)

h1

America’s Economic Resurgence: Invest in the U.S.A – The 2015 SelectUSA Summit Agenda

January 30, 2015

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

There has never been a better time to invest in the United States. With a resurgent economy and a strong economic foundation to support growth for years to come, it is no wonder the United States is the world’s top destination for businesses looking to expand.

SelectUSA Investment Summit - Washington, DC, March 23-24, 2015Building on this, President Obama is hosting the second SelectUSA Investment Summit, which is right around the corner.  On March 23-24, more than 2,500 people from around the world and every corner of the United States will gather in Washington to explore opportunities to grow their businesses.  This is a “don’t miss” event, and we are excited to unveil the Summit agenda. We hope you will consider joining us.

More than 1,200 people from 70 international markets have already registered, and we anticipate that the event will be filled to capacity well in advance of the Summit.

Why is interest so strong?  The United States offers an unprecedented investment climate for foreign investors of all sizes, a skilled and productive workforce, an unmatched higher education system, strong intellectual property protections, a serious commitment to innovation, and an abundant and stable energy supply.

The U.S. domestic market remains the world’s most attractive for foreign investment. Real GDP grew at a 5.0 percent annual rate in the third quarter of 2014, and businesses have added 11.2 million jobs during a record 58 straight months of private-sector job growth. U.S.-based companies offer access to millions of global consumers through high quality Free Trade Agreements. More than ever, the U.S. market is driving global competitiveness.

How can investors learn more about this unparalleled opportunity? Attend the 2015 SelectUSA Investment Summitin Washington, D.C., March 23-24, of course.

The SelectUSA Investment Summit offers participants the practical tools, information, and connections they need to move investments forward. The trade show floor and online matchmaking will showcase diverse investment opportunities available throughout the United States.

Investors and economic developers will have the chance to learn about and discuss critical important investment topics through a variety of sessions featuring high-profile business leaders and government officials. Topics include:

  • Innovation, R&D, intellectual property, and university partnerships
  • Manufacturing, infrastructure, and agriculture investment in rural America
  • Infrastructure and public-private partnerships
  • Supply chains, including advanced manufacturing
  • Tax policy and implications for foreign investors
  • Project finance and incentives
  • Workforce development
  • The new energy economy
  • Startups and opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses
  • Foreign Trade Zones
  • Capital markets and economic growth
  • The U.S. immigration system

Additionally, first-time investors and economic development organizations can learn the basics of investing in the United States at the SelectUSA Academy. This pre-conference session will be held on Sunday, March 22, and attendees can register through the Summit website.

At the first SelectUSA Investment Summit in 2013, President Barack Obama sent a strong message to investors in the room and around the world: “We want to be your partner in helping to write the next chapter in our history.  We want you to join the generations of immigrants and entrepreneurs and foreign investors who have discovered exactly what it means when we say we are the land of opportunity.”

About SelectUSA:  Learn more about the Summit agenda and register at www.selectusasummit.com, and explore how SelectUSA can help you at www.selectusa.gov. SelectUSA is the U.S. government-wide program created to facilitate business investment in the United States. It helps investors find the information they need to make their investment decisions, navigate the federal regulatory system, and connect them to the right people at the local level.

h1

U.S. Manufacturing Attracts Foreign Investment

January 29, 2015

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

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

By Mark Schmit, National Accounts Manager, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership

U.S. Manufacturing Attracts Foreign InvestmentThe United States is an attractive destination for foreign investment dollars for a variety of reasons, including a large economy with diverse consumer markets, a skilled labor force (thanks to community colleges with skill-development missions as well as research universities) and a predictable and stable regulatory system. These reasons and more explain why the U.S. has been the world’s largest recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI) since 2006 according to an October 2013 White House report, Foreign Direct Investment in the U.S.

Working for NIST’s Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), I wasn’t surprised to learn that the manufacturing industry is the largest beneficiary of FDI in the United States, accounting for more than one-third of that investment, according to data from the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis. “Made in America” is, after all, a de facto stamp of approval the world over. We are a manufacturer’s dream!

And investments in manufacturing have powerful multiplier effects on the U.S. economy. Every $1 spent in manufacturing generates $1.35 in additional economic activity. Since 1988, MEP has been committed to strengthening U.S. manufacturing and individual manufacturers, contributing to the growth of well-paying jobs, the development of dynamic manufacturing communities, and the enhancement of American innovation and global competitiveness.

MEP delivers its own high return on investment to taxpayers. For every dollar of federal investment, MEP clients generate nearly $19 in new sales, which translates into $2.5 billion annually. Last year, MEP centers served more than 30,000 manufacturing clients—a subset of which are foreign-owned. For example, since 2012, MEP centers worked on 900 projects with 322 manufacturers in the U.S. that have ownership ties to other countries. These projects helped those companies create and retain more than $700 million dollars in sales, save about $77 million and create or retain more than 6,000 U.S. jobs.

Looking beyond the statistics, we find many interesting success stories that illustrate how MEP centers across the country help make the most of foreign investment in U.S. manufacturing.

  • Pasta Montanais a contract manufacturer that uses durum semolina to craft specialty pasta. About 40 percent of the 100-employee, 24-7 operation’s business goes to the Japanese market, and it sells to other countries as well. When a key customer asked the company to certify its products to the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), Pasta Montana called Montana MEP affiliate MMEC to help prepare for the GFSI audit—which they did in less than four months. The successful effort helped the company retain millions of dollars in sales (about 15 percent of its business), and achieve 3 to 5 percent growth through new business opportunities.
  • Eagle Bend Manufacturing, Inc., manufactures automotive parts for cars and light weight trucks worldwide. A division of Magna International, Inc., of Canada, Eagle Bend has been in Clinton, Tenn., for more than 25 years and employs more than 450 workers. When the increasing number and volume of parts the company made started to create inefficiencies, Eagle Bend turned toTennessee MEPfor help optimizing both its product flow and use of space. This resulted in projected benefits that will top $2 million annually and a $64 million dollar facility expansion that will create 188 jobs over the next five years and add 100,000 square feet of floor space.
  • With more than a century of design and manufacturing experience, RECARO Aircraft SeatingAmericas Inc. is a global supplier of premium aircraft seats for leading airlines around the world. Based in Schwäbisch Hall, Germany, the company employs more than 1,600 worldwide including 350 at its facility in Fort Worth, Tex. To meet growing demand, the company partnered with TMAC, the Texas MEP affiliate, on a series of operational excellence initiatives. As a result of that investment, RECARE has seen a 15 percent increase in production, 38 percent increase in on-time delivery, and an 86 percent improvement in the time needed to retrieve parts.
  • Igus Bearings, Inc., is a global company with headquarters in Germany and a new, 162,000- square-foot factory and office facility in East Providence, R.I. Igus has served the North American market for almost 30 years, making polymer bearings and chains that are sold across many industries, including agriculture, construction and automotive. The economic downturn of 2008 changed business operations for Igus, as smaller orders replaced the large orders it was efficiently fulfilling. The ability to handle any order of any size was key to survival against larger (but slower) competitors. Providence-based Polaris MEPhelped Igus implement lean practices, leading to 50 percent fewer customer complaints and faster shipping times—96 percent of orders now ship within 24 hours.

We should see even more of these success stories thanks to high investor confidence in the strength of the U.S. economic recovery. For the second year in a row, the U.S. topped A.T. Kearney’s 2014 Foreign Direct Investment Confidence Index, a survey of 300 companies worldwide. The U.S. is not only the most likely destination for FDI, but never in the 16-year history of this index has a country had such a positive net position. Foreign investment is clearly good for foreign investors, U.S. manufacturers and the communities they support.

h1

3 Groundbreaking Mega-Trends on View at CES 2015

January 26, 2015

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

Jesse M. Lapierre is the Principal Commercial Officer at the U.S. Consulate in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.

International CES 2015 represented the perfect nexus of American innovation and global participation, with over 160,000 visitors and 2 million square feet of the newest and most innovative products limited not just to consumer electronics, but representing a whole new world of human and technological interaction. As a part of Commerce’s International Buyer Program (IBP), our US Ambassador and I led a delegation of 45 Saudi companies to the show, and came away with some seriously groundbreaking mega-trends which I’d like to share with the ITA blogosphere.

U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Joseph W. Westphal, at breakfast with the delegation of Saudi Arabian companies brought to the International Electronics Show on January 8, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada by the U.S. Department of Commerce's International Buyer Program.

U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Joseph W. Westphal, at breakfast with the delegation of Saudi Arabian companies brought to the International Electronics Show on January 8, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Buyer Program (IBP).

The IBP is a joint government-industry effort that brings thousands of international buyers to the United States for business-to-business matchmaking with U.S. firms exhibiting at major industry trade shows. Every year, the IBP results in approximately a billion dollars in new business for U.S. companies, and increased international attendance for participating U.S. trade show organizers.

The first, and most ubiquitous, mega-trend was that of the Internet of Everything (IoE), which was described in great detail by Intel’s CEO Brian Krzanich. In his view, we are now on the cusp of a revolution of roughly the same magnitude as the one in micro-processing that brought us the smartphones, laptops, and tablets that drive our mobile society. This current revolution is the result of the convergence of nano-sized chips, sensors, and transmitters which will enable the world to react to the individual, and vice-versa, with new levels of integration never seen in our lifetime. He highlighted the level of integration by examples of pills that can tell doctors when they’ve been swallowed; doors that open when the see the face of the occupant; and movie streaming services that can pick a movie based on mood of the viewer as sensed by the player. The future, truly, is now.

The second mega-trend was the blurring of lines between the auto industry and the electronics industry, highlighted in a stirring keynote by Ford CEO Mark Fields. Fields boldly stated that the automotive industry had moved from simply a product-based industry to a mobility industry, creating solutions for moving people on a global scale. From cures for traffic in Chennai and Chongqing, to mobile health solutions in Johannesburg, Fields gave a vision of a new world where auto tech utilizes data and connectivity from the Internet of Everything to create mobility solutions that mean more than just cars. In his vision, cars and technology intersect to provide answers to some of our most pressing problems. He also demonstrated how Ford is crowdsourcing these solutions and integrating them into product design for the next generation of Ford vehicles.

The third mega-trend introduced the theory of seamless movement from 2D to 3D and back again. The idea raised by HP Inc.’s new CEO Dion Wiesler was that by combining device-integrated 3D scanners, 3D printers, and new advances in material nanoscience, we can accomplish unbroken transitions between the 3D world that we inhabit and the 2D screen that we interact with. He demonstrated this concept with their new ‘Sprout’ device, which integrates 3D scanning and image manipulation with 3D printing capabilities, all in real time. It was also the first time I heard the consistent use of the word ‘voxel’ or ‘volumetric pixel’ to describe the movement from the 2D pixel on your screen into a 3D physical unit that can shape and reflect the space we inhabit.

I hope that I’ve whet your appetite to discover more about these trends and technologies, and that you’ll also notice that all of these concepts were driven by US companies. Along with EurekaPark, an area devoted just to start-ups, International CES confirmed that “American Innovation” is by no means dead, but alive, thriving, and on display for the world to see. Ma’salama from Saudi Arabia.

h1

Data Snapshot: How Much Do Small- and Medium-sized Businesses Contribute to U.S. Exports?

January 22, 2015

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

Guest blog post by Jane Callen, Economics and Statistics Administration.

In his State of the Union address, President Obama said that “21st century businesses, including small businesses, need to sell more American products overseas.  Today, our businesses export more than ever, and exporters tend to pay their workers higher wages…”

Following on the President’s remarks, we thought it would be valuable to take a quick “data snapshot” of the most recent annual report on exporting companies published by the U.S. Census Bureau. The 2014 report shows that small-and-medium-sized companies continue to contribute a larger share of our exports than in the past. As the below graph shows, in 2013 (the most recent year for which we have data), these companies accounted for approximately 35 percent of total goods export value — continuing a steady growth trend of the past decade.

Exports of American products overseas are important to the economic health of the U.S., and these data highlight the significant ongoing role of small-and-medium-sized companies. Stay tuned to this space for regular data “snapshots” of what is happening in the world around us, as seen through our statistical lens.

h1

2015 Will Be the Biggest Year Yet for International Opportunities for Regional Economic Development

January 22, 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 JoAnn Crary, CEcD, President of Saginaw Future, Inc. and 2015 Chair of the Board of Directors of the International Economic Development Council

2015 is off to a great start for International Economic Development Council (IEDC) and I am excited and honored to spend the next 12 months as the Chair of our Board of Directors. In this capacity, I will be traveling the globe and conferring with my fellow economic developers on many of the pressing issues and opportunities our profession is facing. One event I am particularly looking forward to attending is the 2nd SelectUSA Investment Summit. Having attended the first Investment Summit in 2013, I can personally attest to the value of coming to Washington to meet with colleagues from across the U.S., hundreds of international investors – I’m told this year’s summit will feature twice as many investors – and hear from a robust speaking program featuring top administration leaders in foreign direct investment attraction.

Foreign direct investment has proven to be a vital tool in the economic developer’s toolbox in the years following the Great Recession. In my own community, Saginaw, Michigan, it has contributed to the creation or retention of thousands of jobs over the past five years. One company, Nexteer, has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in expanding their operations in Saginaw, which has resulted in thousands of jobs being created or retained. As an economic developer, I cannot overstate the importance of the resources that SelectUSA has provided my organization and countless others within my profession. Simply put: SelectUSA brings clarity, focus and action to the role of the federal government in supporting FDI attraction at the local, regional and state level. They are an essential partner in the work of economic developers to create jobs and improve the quality of life in our communities. They are also a valued partner of IEDC in Washington and have played a key role in raising the profile of our profession over the past few years.

Over the course of this year, IEDC will embark on the important work of creating training resources related to FDI attraction and export promotion. This work has been made possible through the generosity of the JPMorgan Chase Foundation and will include training manuals and training courses on best practices and emerging trends in FDI attraction and export promotion. We will also be launching an effort to support reshoring activities, a project made possible by the Economic Development Administration with support from SelectUSA and other Department of Commerce resources, such as the Assessing Costs Everywhere (ACE) program. ACE is a useful tool for helping companies asses the real costs of doing business here at home versus overseas. No doubt we will have many opportunities to bring attention to the NEI/NEXT initiative, which is the second phase of the administration’s high-priority export promotion program that is already helping U.S. businesses expand the market reach of products and services made in the USA.

2015 will be a busy year for IEDC and the most productive year yet for programs and initiatives supporting attracting foreign investment, luring back previously U.S.-based business operations, and expanding opportunities for U.S. exporters. As we celebrate the end of 2015 next December, I am certain IEDC, our members, and our many partners within the Department of Commerce will be able to reflect on a long-list of accomplishments we can be proud of. I hope to see you at the SelectUSA Investment Summit in March, as well as at one of our exciting upcoming conferences.

h1

Doing Business in Burma – A Webinar Highlighting Key Opportunities and Challenges

January 21, 2015

Eduard Roytberg is a Senior International Trade Specialist at the U.S. Export Assistance Center in Ontario, California, and a member of U.S. Commercial Service’s Global Asia Team.

Geoffrey Parish is a Commercial Officer currently assigned to the U.S. Export Assistance Center in Boston, Massachusetts and is a member of the U.S. Commercial Service’s Global Asia Team.

In 2011, the Government of Burma embarked on a series of reforms aimed at opening Burma’s economy to the global marketplace. In response to this reform effort, the United States waived many of its economic sanctions on Burma. These policy changes opened the door for U.S. businesses to trade and invest in the country.

The United States supports the Burmese Government’s ongoing reform efforts, and believes that the participation of U.S. businesses in Burma’s economy can be a model for responsible investment and business operations, encouraging further change, promoting inclusive economic development, and contributing to the welfare of the Burmese people. Increasing U.S. trade and investment in Burma—a key priority for the U.S. Embassy in Rangoon—brings substantial benefits to both countries.

Last year, ITA’s U.S. Commercial Service opened its first-ever office in Rangoon, Burma. With U.S. merchandise exports to Burma more than doubling from 2012 to 2013, Burma is becoming a rapidly growing market for American products and services. Establishing a permanent ITA presence in Rangoon will enhance the critical role that ITA plays in supporting U.S. businesses seeking to grow and expand in foreign markets, and also supports the Commerce Department’s Open for Business Agenda.

A country of 51 million people, Burma boasts a rich natural resources base, a young labor force, and a prime geographic location. It has attracted strong interest from the international business community and our global competitors are already focused on the unique opportunities the country presents in a variety of sectors.

To help U.S. exporters better understand the business opportunities and challenges in this dynamic market, the U.S. Commercial Service will host a webinar on doing business in Burma on Wednesday, February 4, at 7:30pm EST. The webinar will provide a market overview and highlight key opportunities and challenges to help U.S. exporters working in a various industries.

The webinar will be led by James Golsen, the Senior Commercial Officer at the newly opened U.S. Commercial Service office in Rangoon. Golsen and his team are ready to assist U.S. exporters with market entry or expansion through a range of services, including market intelligence, international partner searches, trade counseling and business matchmaking with potential partners.

To register or for additional details about the webinar, visit http://go.usa.gov/MrmY.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 488 other followers