Archive for the ‘Export Assistance’ Category

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President Obama Renews Charge to Help Rural Companies and Communities Compete Globally

February 27, 2015

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

Spiral candles proudly made in North Dakota.Yesterday, President Obama announced new commitments in the “Made in Rural America” export and investment initiative, which is charged with bringing together federal trade-related resources for rural communities and businesses. This announcement reflects the Administration’s strategy for ensuring workers and businesses of all sizes, from communities large and small, benefit from the nation’s economic resurgence.

The Department of Commerce also released data yesterday that show 26 states set new export records in 2014, and many of those states are in the nation’s heartland.

The Administration’s next steps in the “Made in Rural America” initiative build on input received from rural businesses and communities throughout the past year.  Following the President’s announcement of the initiative in February 2014, agencies led several regional forums across the country, a Rural Opportunity Investment conference last summer, and new partnerships to help more rural businesses – making everything from amphibious vehicles to aquaculture products – plug in to export assistance.

Last year, we confirmed that rural businesses have the products and services in demand worldwide, and the drive to export – just like urban businesses. The challenge is improving their access to information and export services, including financing and logistics. U.S. Commercial Service – North Dakota Director Heather Ranck and rural companies spoke about that in this “Export Experts” video released last October.

Highlights from yesterday’s announcement include the following:

  • The International Trade Administration has established a new National Rural Export Innovation Team to help more rural businesses access export-related assistance, information and events. The team already has 74 members nationwide.
  • Through the support of the Appalachian Regional Commission, Delta Regional Authority and others, we will double the number of rural businesses served by these partners that international trade shows and missions.
  • The Economic Development Administration (EDA) will launch a new i6 Rural Challenge, based on the previously successful i6 challenges, which will focus on providing funding to rural communities to build capacity for commercializing technology.
  • EDA will establish a mentor-protégé program for rural communities that will help all communities involved learn how to leverage their own assets, build their resources, and foster a culture that drives innovation and entrepreneurial thinking.
  • Agencies will work with state and local partners to raise awareness of federal resources with rural businesses and community lending institutions.  This includes commitments from the Ex-Im Bank, SBA and the Delta Regional authority as well as the U.S. Postal Service’s commitment to host internationally-focused “Grow Your Business” day-long events across the country.
  • The Department of Agriculture and its partners will lead reverse trade missions and ITA will conduct outreach events for rural businesses to meet foreign buyers and commercial experts.

Many at the county, state, and national level responded to the President’s “Made in Rural America” charge, as we saw first-hand in Canonsburg, PA; Memphis, TN; Cortland, NY; Tuscaloosa, AL; Cedar Rapids; Gila County, AZ and Clackamas County, OR. In addition, the Administration has made efforts like Made in Rural America a key priority in our national export strategy, NEI/NEXT.

For more information, visit businessusa.gov/rural-exporting.

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Chamber of Commerce Exec Remains Confident About Middle East Prospects

February 20, 2015

Douglas Barry is an International Trade Specialist for ITA in the Office of Communications and Digital Initiatives, Global Markets.

Discover Global Markets Business ForumDavid Hamod, President & CEO of the National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce in Washington, DC, remains optimistic that the Arab world will solve its problems and that U.S. companies have an important role to play in the region. Last year, Hamod brought that message to the DISCOVER GLOBAL MARKETS: Africa, the Middle East, & India conference. This month, U.S. Commercial Service Officers based in Saudi Arabia and the UAE reiterated that importance when they met with hundreds of U.S. businesspeople at DISCOVER GLOBAL MARKETS: Sustainable Solutions in Santa Clara, California.

Despite ongoing conflict and instability in the region, Hamod said that a major success has been the cooperation councils in the Arabian Gulf. “They’ve been successful in attracting a lot of investment to the region,” he said. “They have some marquis events coming like the Expo 2020 in Dubai, [and] the World Cup 2022 in Doha that will further enlarge the attractiveness to U.S. companies.”

Hamod advises looking at the data carefully to see where help is needed and opportunities abound, noting that U.S. exports to the area are doubling every four years. “Our longer term forecast suggests by the year 2018, U.S. companies will be exporting almost $250 billion worth of goods and services to the region,” he noted. Additionally, there’s a perception that the Arab world has a favorable view of the United States, especially when it involves where to educate their children, get good health care, and take vacations. Hamod believes that people in the region like to do business with Americans.

“They like the fact that Americans are straight forward, and we have something called the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act that helps to cut down on the…under-the-table type of business which serves nobody.”

Hamod said he’s often asked by U.S. companies if the opportunities are only in oil and gas. The answer is an emphatic ‘no’. “For every country in the region, there is a keen effort right now to diversify away from oil and gas.”

“Not every country had it to begin with,” he said. “This area is diversifying, becoming more creative, looking at the natural assets that it has. It is in these efforts to diversify that many different kinds of U.S. suppliers of goods and services will find opportunity.”

One of the best things going for the region, he explained, is its location, with most of the world’s population within an eight-hour flight. “When you look at how the local airlines are now serving the U.S. market, I think it’s going to revolutionize the relationships that we’ve historically had with this part of the world. And you put the new railway lines that are being developed on top of that—there’s going to be a whole new world for U.S. business.”

Hamod advises U.S. exporters to attend future DGMs, noting that it can cost $25,000 to send two people to an area without knowing whether there is a market for your product. It’s better to get expert advice in the United States before you go abroad. For more information, call the nearest U.S. Export Assistance Center to get the ball rolling.

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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.

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Competing to Win: How We Can Help U.S. Exporters Succeed at the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games

December 10, 2014
Fans from many countries watch a sporting event.

Fans are ready for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, and U.S. businesses should get ready for export opportunities related to the games.

Athletes around the world have already begun their preparations for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

For U.S. businesses looking to take advantage of export opportunities, preparations should also begin now.

The good news (for most of us anyway) is that preparations for businesses don’t require any sprints, hours in the pool, or extraordinarily difficult-looking skills on a pommel horse.

Actually, the best advantage for a U.S. company looking to win in Brazil is help from the International Trade Administration’s Commercial Service. We have teams on the ground in Brazil actively working with U.S. industry to identify opportunities presented by Rio 2016 and overcome challenges to capitalizing on these opportunities.

Opportunity

Rio 2016 presents new opportunities for U.S. exporters in a broad range of sectors. Spending tied to the Games between 2010 and 2016 will reach close to $50 billion and includes new investments in sectors including:

  • Construction and Engineering,
  • Transportation,
  • Public Security,
  • Education and Training,
  • Sporting Goods, and
  • Telecommunications.

In addition, new infrastructure-related investments for the Rio 2016 Games will reach $15 billion, targeting major airports throughout the country, new transportation corridors and intelligent transportation systems, and port revitalization. Subcontracting opportunities will also be available to U.S. firms.

The Organizing Committee for the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games will also have a separate budget of $1.3 billion to acquire products and services such as temporary construction for sports venues, mobile equipment, video and broadcasting equipment, marketing, and catering services. U.S. firms, especially those with proven success at previous Olympics and major sporting events are welcome to bid.

What this all adds up to is enormous opportunity for U.S. companies, and the Commercial Service team in Brazil is working closely with the Olympics Organizing Committee to make sure U.S. companies know about all of these opportunities.

Action Plan

The first step for potential suppliers is to register at the Rio 2016 Suppliers Portal website. After registration, U.S. companies will be able to view all available tenders and steps to place a bid.

U.S. companies interested in Rio 2016 opportunities should visit CS Brazil’s website

for information about the games and bidding opportunities.

U.S. firms can also directly visit the Rio 2016 website as well as the Rio 2016 Committee website for information.

The Commercial Service in Brazil is ready to assist you in this process. Please feel free to reach out directly to CS Rio Principal Commercial Officer Mark Russell, mark.russell@trade.gov, or Commercial Officer Jay Carreiro, jay.carreiro@trade.gov for further information.

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We’ve Got Your Six: Vets Go Global Initiative Connects Veterans to Global Markets

December 9, 2014

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

Murat Muftari is an International Trade Specialist in the International Trade Administration’s U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service working out of the Long Island, NY U.S. Export Assistance Center.

Our Vets Go Global team met with veteran-owned businesses at the National Veterans Small Business Engagement to provide export counseling.

Our Vets Go Global team met with veteran-owned businesses at the National Veterans Small Business Engagement to provide export counseling.

As a former U.S. Special Forces soldier with multiple combat tours abroad, I can say with certainty that the camaraderie and trust that exists between soldiers is second to none. The title “We’ve Got Your Six” references what lies behind someone on the battlefield, their most vulnerable blind spot that is covered by their teammate.

Here at the Department of Commerce, we want to help veterans out by watching their six as they start and grow their businesses.

Throughout government, we have been working to support veterans as they transition into civilian life, helping them get back to work through the Veteran Employment Opportunity Act and Veteran Recruitment Act. A number of veterans, me included, have found a home as International Trade Specialists in the U.S. Commercial Service, consulting with U.S. companies on international business development and growth through our global network of trade professionals.

Now, the veteran hires of the U.S. Commercial Service have united together to create Vets Go Global, an initiative that proactively engages veteran-owned businesses to connect them to global markets. Our team will work diligently to support veteran-owned businesses and help them grow their business by:

Our Vets Go Global team believes in veteran-owned businesses and the important business skills they bring to the table — like adaptability, attention-to-detail, discipline, intercultural communications, objective-based focus, leadership, and perseverance.

Those are the skill-sets that increase any company’s probability of success in international business.

As veterans, we look forward to bringing back that battlefield camaraderie to our work with veteran business owners.

To the veteran-owned business community, we’ve got your six in the global marketplace. Let us help you expand your exports and increase your bottom line. Contact your nearest Export Assistance Center to get started.

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Is Your Company Ready to Export?

November 24, 2014

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

Don Aberle has one piece of advice for companies looking to export: Commit to it.

It may take time, but the marketing manager from Titan Machinery Outlet says that commitment can pay off, and “good things will happen.”

That’s the theme of a new video from the Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration (ITA), which provides tips from successful exporters about how a company can become a global player.

Young companies should also be paying attention to and taking advantage of global opportunities. Startups actually can have an important advantage when it comes to pursuing exports, in that engaging in foreign markets early can make global business a continuing part of your company’s culture.

And that can set your company up for continued success in the global economy.

Here are a few tips that can help your young business find success in exporting:

  • Do Your Research: Find the right markets for your company and have a well-defined strategy for approaching them.
  • Differentiate Yourself: Everyone says their company makes the best products and provides the best customer service. Your company needs to explain – from a consumer’s perspective – why someone would want to buy your products.
  • Be Patient: Jon Engelstad of Superior Manufacturing says there are companies he’s worked with for up to three years in order to make them customers of his company. That means a lot of work for an exporter, but it also creates a strong relationship between you and your consumer.
  • Work with ITA’s Commercial Service: Our team can help you find the right research, plan your strategy, and find the most qualified partners to work with.

Just because your company is young doesn’t mean exporting is out of reach for you. If you’re ready to get started, contact your nearest Export Assistance Center.

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Connecting Entrepreneurs to the Global Marketplace

November 13, 2014

The Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration works hard to help companies that are ready to export compete and succeed in global markets.

We want to emphasize that it’s never too early for entrepreneurs to start thinking about exporting – determining financing needs, targeting markets, conducting research, etc.

As we’ve worked with global startups, we’ve learned it can be difficult for entrepreneurs to connect to existing resources to help them go global. We realize that start-ups differ in their capabilities at various stages of the business development process, but want to help young businesses incorporate export plans into their business model as early as possible.

One great way to get started is to be a part of ExporTech, which can help your company develop its export plan, then have it vetted by a panel of experts. More than 575 companies have participated in Exportech, with an average sales increase or retention of $770,000.

Here are four more tips for the busy entrepreneur to help address specific needs to start exporting:

  1. Secure Access to Capital: Many local and state governments have seed capital and investment programs just for their states’ entrepreneurs and start-ups. Many states have small business development programs or start-up-specific outreach programs designed to assist entrepreneurs to access capital — as well as educate them on best practices. On the federal level, there is the Small Business Administration, which has programs like the U.S. Small Business Investment Company program. A list of other loans directed towards helping small businesses go global can be found here.
  2. Secure your Intellectual Property: In order to increase the confidence a startup requires for going global, we need to ensure they know about what our U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is doing to protect American start-ups’ intellectual property. Here are five simple steps to get started, and you can find more information at stopfakes.gov.
  3. Do your Research: One important thing you need to figure out is the right target market for your exports. Understand the market trends and figure out your company’s competitive advantage. You can find market research reports on export.gov or by visiting your nearest Export Assistance Center. Here are some other important questions you should answer from the start.
  4. Find the Right Partners: Every market is different, and having a good partner on the ground — whether it’s your legal representation, a distributor, or a sales representative – can make a huge difference in your company’s success. Consider ITA’s Gold Key Matchmaking Service to help you find the right partner for your needs.

By helping America’s high-growth start-ups go global, trade will become a broader part of doing business in the United States. The International Trade Administration and the Department of Commerce are committed to enabling our next generation of globally fluent businesses.

Contact your nearest Export Assistance Center to get started.

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