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Build on U.S.-Africa Business Forum by Discovering Opportunities in Africa

August 7, 2014

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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.

The United States is putting full focus on doing business in Africa, following President Obama’s  U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit and the U.S.-Africa Business Forum. Business Forum co-hosts Bloomberg.org and the Department of Commerce project the event will catalyze $14 billion in new business deals.

Even though the Forum is now behind us, there are still plenty of new opportunities available in Africa, and the International Trade Administration wants to help you find them.

Our new Doing Business in Africa portal is a one-stop shop for finding resources, seeing success stories, and learning about opportunities on the continent.

Our upcoming DISCOVER GLOBAL MARKETS: Sub-Saharan Africa event in Atlanta, Nov. 5-6, will bring together private and public sector experts to discuss:

  • practical advice on trade finance;
  • African market entry strategies;
  • risk mitigation on the continent; and,
  • opportunities in a broad array of industry sectors — including oil and gas, agribusiness, health care, information technology, franchising, and consumer goods.

Register Now for DISCOVER: Sub-Saharan Africa

 

 

DISCOVER also offers pre-scheduled, one-on-one meetings with U.S. Embassy personnel from Angola, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, and Tanzania.

These specialists work in African markets every day, and can counsel U.S. businesses on market potential, bidding on government contracts, qualification of business partners, and the local regulatory environment.

With the ongoing government emphasis on Africa, there’s never been a better time for your business to look at these promising markets. Register for the Discover Forum now, and contact your nearest Export Assistance Center to learn about more opportunities.

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Plugging Into the Global Marketplace

July 31, 2014

Anne Grey is the Executive Director of  the International Trade Administration’s Trade Programs and Strategic Partnerships. Bob McEntire is the Acting Director of ITA’s Office of Strategic Partnerships.

eBay CEO John Donahoe and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker formalized a strategic partnership between ITA and eBay in February 2014, agreeing to cooperate to support U.S. exporters.

eBay CEO John Donahoe and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker formalized a strategic partnership between ITA and eBay in February 2014, agreeing to cooperate to support U.S. exporters.

Taking your business online can be a daunting task. Exporting to global markets online can be even scarier.

In a recent International Trade Administration (ITA) webinar, Melissa O’Malley, Paypal’s director of global merchant and cross border trade initiatives, said that although it may be intimidating, the benefits are exponential. Note: We will upload a recording of this webinar as soon as possible.

With the rise of Internet connected devices, more people around the world are plugging in and shopping online, and when it comes to online shopping, it’s becoming increasingly prevalent for goods to be purchased and shipped across borders.

O’Malley has found that people are driven online for cross-border shopping for two reasons:

  1. There is often more variety available online, and
  2. It’s often cheaper for consumers to shop online.

Cyber Monday and Black Friday are two days that have changed the ways Americans make their purchases. But “holidays” like these happen all over the world and are amazing opportunities for businesses to market their products. Here are some examples:

  • Singles Day. A Chinese holiday celebrating, you guessed it, the singles of the world. It happens every year on 11/11, representing the 1 person in your life that really matters, and every year people go crazy for shopping. In fact, Singles Day is the world’s biggest annual shopping day, dwarfing both Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In 2013 $8.2 billion was spent in a 24-hour period. That’s a lot of new clothes.
  • Boxing Day. This is the day after Christmas in the UK, Australia, and Canada. In 2013, 9.8 million people shopped and $3.6 billion was spent. With 17 million hours spent online shopping, Boxing Day is the biggest online shopping day ever in the UK.
  • Lover’s Day or Dia dos Namaorados. The Brazilian version of Valentine’s Day takes place on June 12th and the cross-border online shopping is due to grow 546% in the next 4 years. That means about $8.4 billion to be spent in 2018. The U.S. is the main market for Brazilian goods bought online and this market continues to grow.

International Trade Specialist Doug Barry says that businesses using digital tools including social media and websites tend to be more successful.

This webinar was part of a larger strategic partnership between ITA and Paypal’s parent company, eBay. ITA works with all of its strategic partners to help more businesses learn about support available to help any business compete and win in the global marketplace.

We are excited to work with eBay to help more businesses export through digital channels.

ITA’s Commercial Service team is a worldwide network of experts who strive to help companies expand their reach and build their businesses. Contact your local export assistance center to find out how you can start exporting.

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U.S.-Africa Business Success Stories: How a Supplier of Powerboats to the U.S. Military Started Doing Business in Nigeria

July 31, 2014

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

Hann Powerboats’ customers include the United States Air Force, United States Navy, and the United States Army Corps of Engineers – and now, because of assistance that the company received from the Department of Commerce, they can add another name to their impressive list: the Nigerian oil and gas company, MOP Marine.

U.S. businesses like Hann Powerboats are increasingly seeing tremendous economic opportunity in Africa, and the reason why is simple: Africa is thriving. From 1995 to 2013, Africa experienced an average annual GDP growth rate of 4.5 percent. In 2012, eight of the twenty fastest growing economies in the world were in sub-Saharan Africa, and, according to the IMF, in 2013, total U.S. two-way goods with the region were $63 billion. Africa’s potential to be the world’s next major economic story is why businesses in the United States, like Hann Powerboats, want to offer their products, services, and expertise to help unlock even more of Africa’s potential – that is why the Obama Administration and the Department of Commerce remain committed to assisting American businesses in finding opportunity in this economically expanding region.

Hann Powerboats became interested in expanding its business to Africa when it was approached by a potential client in Nigeria to secure MOP Marine’s need for patrol boats. Hann Powerboats asked for assistance from the Tampa Bay U.S. Export Assistance Center (USEAC) and the U.S. Commercial Service (CS) team in Lagos to help with vetting this potential partner, and CS Lagos was able to facilitate meetings between Hann Powerboats and MOP Marine. The Tampa Bay USEAC then helped put Hann Powerboats in touch with the Nigerian Embassy in Washington D.C. to help with them acquire proper documentation. The result of this assistance allowed Hann Powerboats to make sales to MOP Marine for over $4 million.

The U.S. Commercial Service is the face of the Department of Commerce around the world, and each day they help U.S. businesses like Hann Powerboats start exporting or increase sales to new global markets. That is why the Department of Commerce is dedicating more human resources to Africa by expanding its commercial service teams in Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, and Libya. For the first time ever, the Commerce Department is also opening offices in Angola, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Mozambique. With a greater footprint in Africa, the Obama Administration and the Department of Commerce aim to make Hann Powerboats’s and MOP Marine’s story just another common example of the United States and Africa doing business.

Businesses interested in learning more about the benefits of exporting should contact their local U.S. Export Assistance Center

Please check back regularly for more success stories about companies doing business in Africa.

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Beyond the Border: United States and Canada Enhance Their Trade Relationship

July 29, 2014

Isabel Sackner-Bernstein is an intern in the International Trade Administration’s Office of Public Affairs. She is studying Strategic Communication at Elon University.

The United States and Canada share more than just a border, and I’m not talking about the dual citizenship of famous pop star, Justin Bieber. The two countries share common values, deep links among their citizens, and deeply rooted economic ties.

To improve this already strong relationship, President Obama and Primer Minister Harper announced the Beyond the Border initiative (BTB) in 2011. BTB programs, developed by the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, will create effective solutions to manage the flow of traffic across our shared borders. The BTB initiative has already helped U.S. travelers and businesses by reducing wait times at the border.

These reduced wait times will also support our trade relationship, reducing the time and cost of shipping goods across the border.

One of the programs linked to this initiative is the NEXUS program. It allows pre-screened, low-risk travelers to proceed with little or no delay across the border from Canada or the United States. NEXUS membership has increased by nearly 50 percent since BTB’s announcement in 2011, and NEXUS enrolled its one-millionth member in July 2014.

NEXUS isn’t the only BTB program that is making the U.S.-Canada border crossing easier and more secure. Below are a few of the BTB accomplishments to date:

 So why does the BTB initiative matter to you or your company? Here are some key facts about the U.S.-Canada relationship that help explain the importance of BTB:

The United States and Canada have the largest trading relationship in the world. More than $1 billion in trade cross our shared border each day;

  • Canada is one of the largest sources of foreign direct investment in the U.S. economy and vice versa; and,
  • More than 350,000 people cross our shared border each day for work, school, tourism, and to visit family and friends.

Now imagine all those people and products crossing the border every day. BTB is working to make that journey easier for thousands of people so that trade and travel can flourish in both the United States and Canada.

We look forward to the BTB initiative helping Canada become an even more attractive market for U.S. exporters! If you’re ready to explore Canada as a potential market, contact your nearest Export Assistance Center!

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Bigger than Meets the Eye: Look South to Chile!

July 29, 2014

Olivia Kantor recently completed an internship in the International Trade Administration’s Office of South America.

A long, narrow country in South America with a relatively small population of 18 million, Chile may not be the first country that comes to mind when considering export markets.

However, Chile’s dynamic economic growth, open markets, and world-class industries make it an attractive option for U.S. companies looking to sell their product abroad.

Chile is the United States’ fourth-largest trading partner in Latin America, and U.S. exports to Chile reached $17.6 billion in 2013. Trade with the country has increased nearly six-fold since the establishment of the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement.

Several key industries in Chile have produced growing markets for U.S. goods and unique opportunities for business investment:

  • Electrical Power Equipment: Chile has the highest energy costs in South America. Efficient, affordable energy sources are at a premium as the Chilean economy continues to expand. Between 2013 and 2020, growth rates of 6 to 7 percent are projected for electricity consumption in Chile, and an estimated $20 billion of foreign investment and electrical power equipment will be needed to complete a variety of energy generation and transmission projects. Additionally, Chile plans to invest in many forms of renewable energy, making it an ideal market for U.S. manufacturers in that industry.
  • Construction: Driven by energy projects and investment in the Chilean mining industry, construction in Chile has grown at record rates. Construction within the mining industry alone is expected to total $50 billion during the next several years. With little construction equipment produced domestically, Chile relies on high-quality machinery from the United States. That puts U.S. businesses in an ideal position to take advantage of the wave of new construction projects, particularly in infrastructure and housing.
  • Agricultural Machinery and Equipment: Chile’s export-driven agricultural industry is looking to boost productivity and efficiency, providing a unique opportunity to U.S. exporters of specialized and energy efficient agricultural machinery. Continued demand for sophisticated agricultural machinery is expected to grow 7 to 8 percent through 2015. Demand is especially high for harvesting machinery, irrigation infrastructure, and precision agriculture equipment.

Many other Chilean industries also offer significant opportunities for U.S. exporters. You can find a complete list of best prospect sectors for Chile in the Country Commercial Guide.  The US- Chile Free Trade Agreement allows U.S. firms to export with fewer barriers than many other markets. In addition, Chile continues to strengthen its commitment to liberalizing trade as a founding member of both the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Pacific Alliance.

If your company is interested in learning more about doing business in the Chilean market, the Look South initiative offers a number of services to help U.S. businesses capitalize on these exciting opportunities, from business matchmaking to trade counseling.

There are also a number of events for companies eager to start making connections in Chile and beyond.

Contact your nearest Export Assistance Center to learn more about how you can take advantage of opportunities in Chile and 11 U.S. free trade agreement partner countries in Latin America!

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Wheels in Motion: Join SelectUSA in Germany at Automechanika and IAA

July 28, 2014

Cora Dickson is a Communications and Outreach Specialist for SelectUSA. Danit Kanal is an International Economist for SelectUSA and the author of a forthcoming report, “Invest in the Auto Industry: Promising Trends and Opportunities for Growth.”

USA Investment Center at Hannover Messe, April 2014

USA Investment Center at Hannover Messe, April 2014.

The exciting news last week that Volkswagen will create 2,000 jobs in Chattanooga, Tennessee was just the latest indication that the United States auto sector is recovering, expanding, and drawing the attention of investors worldwide.

Economic development organizations (EDOs) can capitalize on this limelight, and boost growth in their regions’ auto industry clusters, by joining the USA Investment Center at two trade shows in Germany this fall – Automechanika and the International Automobile Exhibition (Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung – known as the IAA).

Exhibitors at Automechanika (September 16-20 in Frankfurt) represent a wide range of companies in this sector, from parts and components to accessories and electronics. Truly an international showcase, over 80 percent of exhibitors in 2012 were from outside Germany. Meanwhile, the IAA (September 25 – October 2 in Hannover), which can trace its origins back over 100 years, will focus this year on everything in the supply chain related to commercial vehicles.

This is a great time for U.S. EDOs to consider whether the automotive sector offers an opportunity to attract foreign direct investment (FDI). During the period 2008-2012, FDI in the U.S. auto industry grew at the average rate of over 9 percent per year. These trade shows will enable EDOs to meet directly with interested investors.

On top of the appealing factors across the board for all industries – such as lower energy costs, strong intellectual property rights, and high productivity – the United States is increasingly recognized as a solid production base for automakers and their suppliers from around the world. One reason is the rapidly rising consumer demand for vehicles: in June 2014, U.S. consumers purchased new cars and trucks at the fastest pace in eight years.

The evidence is strong that the U.S. automotive sector, which employs approximately 1.7 million U.S. workers, benefits enormously from FDI. Consider these recent statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis:

  • In 2011, U.S. subsidiaries of foreign-owned motor vehicles, bodies and trailers, and parts firms account for nearly 40 percent of total U.S. employment in this sector.
  • The 2012 FDI stock in motor vehicles and motor vehicle parts accounted for almost 3 percent of total industry FDI in the United States and around 8 percent of manufacturing FDI in the United States.

Read more about the support provided to economic development organizations that join the USA Investment Center at these two premier events, and contact Amy Zecha at SelectUSA or Ed Fantasia at the Commercial Service in Munich for further information on how to register to participate.

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U.S.-Africa Business Success Stories: A Kodak Moment: How the Department of Commerce Brokered a Deal between Eastman Kodak and an Egyptian Bank

July 25, 2014

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

When the Department of Commerce helped Eastman Kodak broker an exporting deal with one of Egypt’s largest state-owned banks, it was a true Kodak moment. American businesses like Kodak are becoming increasingly engaged in exporting to Africa, and the reasons why are clear:

  • Africa has made great strides towards achieving sustainable economic growth and widespread poverty alleviation.
  • Gross domestic product (GDP) in Africa is expected to rise 6 percent per year over the next decade.
  • Africa is set to have a larger workforce than India or China by the year 2040.
  • According to the World Bank, almost half of Africa’s countries have attained middle-income status.

Africa’s potential as the world’s next major economic story is why businesses in the United States, like Kodak, want to offer their products, services, and expertise to help unlock even more of Africa’s potential – and the Obama Administration and Department of Commerce are committed to helping these exporting businesses each step of the way.

Kodak, the company best known for pioneering photographic film products, has been an active client of the nearby Rochester U.S. Export Assistance Center (USEAC) for decades. This long-standing relationship connected Kodak with one of the largest state-owned banks in Egypt, Banque Misr. When the bank was about to place an order to purchase Kodak Scanners, Banque Misr was told that Kodak had encountered a financial problem not familiar to many outside the U.S.: Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

To better understand Kodak’s financial situation, Banque Misr contacted the U.S. Commercial Service in Egypt, which then contacted the Rochester USEAC. The Rochester USEAC  was able to confirm that Kodak was still operational and headquartered in Rochester. With the help of Tim McCall, a trade specialist in Rochester, and the U.S. Commercial Service, the bank received the proper paperwork and placed an order to Kodak which amounted to roughly $185,000 in export sales.

The Obama Administration and the Department of Commerce believe that Kodak’s and Banque Misr’s example can encourage other U.S. companies to do business in Africa. That is why, last year, President Obama announced the launch of Trade Africa, a partnership between the United States and East African Community (EAC) – Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. Trade Africa aims to increase exports from the EAC to the U.S. by 40 percent, reduce the average time needed to import or export a container from African ports by 15 percent, and decrease by 30 percent the average time a truck takes to transit certain borders, making it easier for businesses on both side of the Atlantic to trade.

Businesses interested in learning more about exporting should contact their local U.S. Export Assistance Center.

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