Archive for the ‘Export Assistance’ Category

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Celebrating World Trade, Growth, Expansion and Job Creation

May 21, 2015

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

This is a guest blog post by Harry Arnon, the President and CEO of Hernon Manufacturing, Inc.

I am honored to have received the President’s “E” Award for Exports on Monday. As a worldwide innovator in high performance adhesive sealants and precision dispensing equipment, Hernon Manufacturing, Inc. creates adhesives and sealants for companies across the globe. During World Trade Month 2015, HERNON has a lot to celebrate!

Several years ago, I believed there was an unrealized potential in international markets, and decided to refocus the company’s efforts and make exporting a top priority for our growth strategy. Those efforts have paid off. Today, HERNON exports to 44 countries and has a number of partners across the globe including China, India, Brazil, Singapore and South Korea.

In the last four years, HERNON has doubled sales, with exports being a key contributor in our growth. In fact, the team is projecting continued development, through innovative, efficient, and cost-effective design and production processes.

Our company has been bursting at the seams. Two years ago we had to move our equipment division to a separate rental space to accommodate our rapid increase in business. In March of this year, HERNON held a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate its new building expansion and job growth. Even Rick Scott, Florida’s governor, attended.

The new building expansion will add 27,000 square feet of additional space to HERNON’s current building space. Ever focused on efficiency, we look forward to the completion of the construction to bring all divisions back under one roof.

HERNON also forecasts increasing its workforce by nearly 50 percent over the next two years to keep up with production need. In the years to come, the team will continue to work together, to advance and secure our future through international trade and logistics. Exports are helping build a stronger economy and HERNON is proud to be part of that effort!

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What’s New with the 11th Edition of ‘A Basic Guide to Exporting’?

May 14, 2015

Curt Cultice is a Senior Communications Specialist for the International Trade Administration’s U.S. Commercial Service.

Basic Guide to Exporting CoverFor more than 75 years, A Basic Guide to Exporting has helped U.S. companies make their first international sale and grow their businesses through exporting. Now, with an 11th edition, you may ask, what’s different? I’ll give you a few examples.

In this new edition, there is expanded information on cross-border e-commerce and export controls, as well as a new chapter on rules of origin in Free Trade Agreements. This edition also provides updated content on creating export plans to strategically start or increase export sales. Good news for the many small- and medium-sized businesses who might be “winging” their current export sales.

Additionally, A Basic Guide to Exporting features all new case studies including “micro multinationals,” which are small U.S. companies that sell to buyers in 30 or more countries. For example, Chapter 3 profiles Pennsylvania-based Zeigler Bros., Inc., a firm that researches and develops foods for animal and aquatic diets. The company made an early strategic decision to boost its bottom line by doing business overseas and has never looked back. Today, Zeigler supplies 300 different products to 50 countries, with exports accounting for more than 50 percent of overall sales. In Chapter 3, the guide describes how International Sales Manager Chris Stock overcame the challenges the company faced when trying to sell internationally, including helping customers deal with localized issues such as diseases that affect fish species being farmed, finding reputable partners, and gaining an understanding of environmental regulations in the countries where the firm does business.

What are the keys to Zeigler’s export success? For one, the company focuses on markets that are perceived as being more risky than some others: Nigeria and Ghana in West Africa; Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia in Southeast Asia; and India and China. “Africa is on the cusp, I think. A lot of people see the opportunity, so it’s a great time to get in early, because it’s a huge emerging middle class that’s developing there with spending power,” said Stock. “They need things more than any other part of the world. They have a lack of access to some of the higher-tech products and things that the United States can offer.”

Related Post: Exporting is an Open Book: 11th Edition of ‘A Basic Guide to Exporting’ Now Available

U.S. companies, particularly SME’s that are new to exporting, as well as those looking to expand their current export sales, will find this filly revise and expanded publication an invaluable tool.

Another solution for Zeigler is the U.S. Commercial Service, which helped the firm develop its export plan, and which Stock calls “a reliable go-to kind of hub.”

“In general, we come to them when we have export regulatory issues and we need somebody inside the government to guide us,” Stock added. “A big thing about exporting is realizing that you don’t know it all and that you’re always going to need support. The [U.S.] government has helped bring us into new markets. We went on a trade mission to Ghana when we were getting our Africa business warmed up and met people there that are clients now and important partners.”

This is part two in a series of four blog posts. Next week, in part three, we will provide a snapshot from A Basic Guide to Exporting on how to write an export plan. 

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Exporting is an Open Book: 11th Edition of ‘A Basic Guide to Exporting’ Now Available 

May 7, 2015

Curt Cultice is a Senior Communications Specialist for the International Trade Administration’s U.S. Commercial Service.

Basic Guide to Exporting CoverSince May is World Trade Month, it’s only fitting that the U.S. Department of Commerce reiterate its commitment to helping companies—especially small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) —that are interested in exporting. Earlier today, we released the 11th edition of ‘A Basic Guide to Exporting’ which will help businesses navigate the avenues of trade.

U.S. companies, particularly SMEs that are new to exporting, as well as those looking to expand their current export sales, will find this fully revised and expanded publication an invaluable tool. With 96 percent of the world’s consumers outside of the United States, exporting holds excellent opportunities for U.S. businesses to expand market share, build competitiveness, and add to their bottom lines.

For many businesses, the export process can seem overwhelming and too difficult to pursue. This book dispels the myths that exporters need to be big, or that exporting needs to be complicated, making exporting more viable than ever for even the smallest businesses. In A Basic Guide to Exporting, first-time exporters will find information on topics including:

In addition to practical, “how to” advice, the publication includes case studies of successful exporters. Take for example, Dallas-based Avazzia, Inc., highlighted in Chapter 8: Preparing Your Product for Export. Founder and CEO Tim Smith, whose father taught him the basics of electronics as a youngster, applied his engineering expertise honed in high school to help the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) put a man on the moon. After leaving NASA, Smith created electronic devices that manage chronic and acute pain, and started his own company in 2004. The firm manufactures 11 varieties of therapy devices and 50 accessories, selling to markets in Canada, Malaysia, Korea, Singapore, United Kingdom, and India.

Today, Avazzia’s exports account for 20 percent of the company’s overall sales, and could well grow to 50 percent within two years. As its sales have grown, so have the number of employees, which now total 15. Along the way, the firm has benefitted from U.S. government export assistance dealing with quality and safety certification issues, and the business matchmaking services of the worldwide U.S. Commercial Service that helped the company connect with international partners. “Our sales generate increased cash flow, which helps us meet payroll; so you might say I’m bullish on our export potential,” said Tim Smith. To those companies interested in exporting, Smith advises them to, “Leverage your ongoing business experience, [because] you may have a greater skillset than you realize. If you’ve sold here in the United States, that’s a great asset to becoming a successful exporter.”

Smith is by no means the sole source of export encouragement you will find in the book. Read the chapters on export advice and the experiences of entrepreneurs who took on the challenge of selling internationally and never looked back. We hope you will be inspired to join their ranks.

This is part one in a series of four blogs. Next week, we will discuss what’s new in the 11th edition of A Basic Guide to Exporting, available at www.export.gov/basicguide, and soon in hardcopy at GPO Bookstores.

 

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Exporting: Mission Possible – Two Companies’ Stories

March 3, 2015

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

Laura Ebert is a Trade Specialist at the International Trade Administration.

First Choice Marine Supply CEO Craig Ruda and interpreter Gabriela Schulten meet with potential distributor Maress Supply in Santiago, Chile

First Choice Marine Supply CEO Craig Ruda and interpreter Gabriela Schulten meet with potential distributor Maress Supply in Santiago, Chile

At the end of last year, 14 companies from the Tampa Bay area in Florida traveled to Santiago, Chile on a trade mission. Led by the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation, the companies came armed with market assessments and meeting agendas prepared by the U.S. Commercial Service in Chile. Their mission: to find new export opportunities in Chile.

Joining a trade mission is a great way to learn firsthand about new export markets and meet face-to-face with potential partners and clients. Increasingly, city, state, and regional organizations are teaming up with the U.S. Commercial Service to offer tailored missions for local companies. What is it like to participate in a trade mission? To find out, we recently spoke with two companies that participated in the mission to Chile.

Hydro-Dyne Engineering is a manufacturer of screening and grit removal equipment for water and waste water treatment plants. The company began exporting to help diversify its sales base. Initially, joining the mission was a hard sell to President Jay Conroy. “I was afraid that going down with a government contingency could slow us down and thought we could do it on our own,” said Conroy. “The biggest surprise was how well the mission was organized. Even putting a lot of resources behind it, we wouldn’t have done as good a job on our own.”

Conroy joined the mission with the goal of interviewing and selecting a representative in Chile. For Hydro-Dyne, this kind of long-term commitment is necessary to market its products, provide design and installation support, and build momentum in a market. Conroy was impressed with the quality of the meetings that were scheduled for him. “We went on the mission to find a representative and I am confident we will have one now because of the trip,” Conroy stated. “The icing on the cake was getting to meet with customers who have already asked for proposals on equipment for specific projects.”

His biggest surprise about Chile? How modern it is. “Most water services are privately operated and run like a business looking for a return,” Conroy added.

First Choice Marine Supply designs, manufactures, and distributes solar lighting for the commercial and industrial marine industry, among others. CEO Craig Ruda came across the mission while doing research on expanding to Brazil. He decided to turn his attention to Chile when he learned of the relative ease of doing business there—especially with the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the United States and Chile in place. “Given the FTA, Chile’s growing economy, and their interest in new, energy efficient technologies, it just made sense,” said Ruda.

Ruda went to Chile looking to gather market intelligence and to meet a diverse client base. For him, nothing beats face-to-face interactions for getting an assessment of the true capabilities of a potential agent and for establishing trust with clients. He was impressed by how comfortable Chilean companies were with importing and surprised by the strength of the infrastructure there. Does he consider the mission a success? “Yes, we met all our objectives,” Ruda said enthusiastically.

After all the time and effort put into exploring markets halfway around the world, has exporting been good for business? “Absolutely. Exporting has increased our sales and allowed us to hire,” says Conroy. Hydro-Dyne has doubled its staff over the last two years as exporting has become a larger part of the company’s sales. Exports have driven growth at First Choice Marine as well. “About 50 percent of our market is served through exports. Every one of our people has relationships in other countries on a daily basis,” Ruda added.

If you would like to explore export opportunities for your company and learn more about upcoming trade missions led by the International Trade Administration (ITA), visit our trade mission page. For trade missions to Latin American FTA markets led by ITA and state and local partners, visit our Look South events page.

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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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