Archive for the ‘Service Industries’ Category

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Study in the States, Inshallah

June 19, 2014

Doug Barry of ITA’s Global Knowledge Center and Senior Commercial Officer Dao Le of the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait produced the “Study in the States” video series.

Faris al-Obaid is one Kuwaiti citizen featured in the video series who enjoyed his experience as a student in the United States.

Faris al-Obaid is one Kuwaiti citizen who enjoyed his experience as a student in the United States. You can see his story, and the story of other citizens, courtesy of the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait.

Every year thousands of international students travel to America to pursue degrees at our world-class colleges and universities. In fact, educating international students represents a huge chunk of our annual service exports.

Not only do students gain valuable experience studying abroad, but they often return to the United States after graduating and bring family members and friends who help stimulate the travel and tourism industry. So, it’s no wonder then that the U.S. government works hard to recruit more students, especially because there is a lot of competition from countries that are also popular destinations for students, such as the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada.

To remain competitive, the Departments of State and Commerce teamed up with the embassy in Kuwait City to produce short video spots aimed at Kuwaiti high school students to highlight the benefits of studying abroad in America.

The videos address some common beliefs Kuwaitis have when they think about studying abroad – commonly that the process of applying for a visa is overly burdensome or that it’s difficult to fit in in the United States. The spots are designed to assure young students that these beliefs are untrue.

The videos feature Kuwaiti citizens who graduated from U.S. schools, and now enjoy rewarding careers, which they attribute to their time studying in the United States.

The first group of videos includes speakers such as a senior advisor to the Kuwait government, the regional sales manager for Microsoft, and a high school English language teacher. Some key points they discuss are that:

  • The visa application process is not discriminatory.
  • There are important deadlines the applicants need to adhere by.
  • Americans are welcoming to foreign students and universities are accepting to the different culture these students bring with them. For example, often colleges offer prayer rooms and halal food for Muslim students
  • Studying abroad in America is extremely important in creating an independent, creative, and self-assured student.

Through this program, we hope that international students will feel more comfortable applying to American study abroad programs and at the end of the day be better prepared for their quest to “Study in the States, Inshallah (if God wills it).”

 

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Transport Company Drives U.S. Service Exports

May 23, 2014

Doug Barry is a Senior International Trade Specialist in the International Trade Administration’s Global Knowledge Center.

U.S. exports of services topped $682 billion in 2013, up $50 billion from 2012. As we explained in a recent blog post, service exports come from a number of industries, from medicine to law.

One other important contributor is transportation services, like those provided by Virginia-based MV Global Transport, which organizes bus and other kinds of transportation for some of the most exciting events you’ve seen around the world.

The company got into global business with help from the International Trade Administration’s (ITA) Commercial Service, and now relies on international sales for 100 percent of its revenue.

Brad Kurtz, the company’s president, recently shared his company’s story with Doug Barry of ITA’s Global Knowledge Center.

Barry: You have some pretty impressive clients.

Kurtz: We provide special event transportation for large events all around the world. We have been fortunate enough to support the Olympics – in Salt Lake, Vancouver, as well as in London.

Barry: How did you get into international business?

Kurtz: We got in through the U.S. Commercial Service. They assisted us with work in Doha (Qatar) for the Asian games in 2006 and then also down in South Africa for the World Cup with introductions through their office there.

Barry: How did they do the introduction?

Kurtz: We were invited to a number of networking functions. They brought in the South African Football Delegation into Washington, D.C., and we had the opportunity to meet with them. From there they helped us further along our negotiations and assisted us while we were in South Africa.

Barry: How important has exporting been to your bottom line?

Kurtz: It’s the only way we have survived. Being a service industry, it’s difficult. You have the emerging markets, you have new markets. How do you know where to find the business? With the expertise and industry knowledge of the U.S. government, it’s been instrumental in helping us.

Barry: What percentage of your revenues is international now?

Kurtz: Currently, it’s 100 percent. I would have to say that the U.S. Commercial Service has helped us with about 80-plus percent of that.

Barry: Any new projects coming up?

Kurtz: We just opened up an office in Brazil, as well as in Qatar. So we are working already on the World Cup coming up in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016.

Barry: Any advice for U.S. companies that are thinking about exporting or expanding their international markets?

Kurtz: Enjoy the Gold Key program offered by the Department of Commerce. It’s very beneficial and definitely will help curb any concerns you may have in entering an international market.

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U.S. Workers Are At Your Service

May 22, 2014

Barb Rawdon is the Director of the International Trade Administration’s Professional Services & Education Team. Natalie Soroka is an economist in the Office of Trade and Economic Analysis. 

A dentist performs work on a patient with the help of a dental assistant

Many service industry professionals work in high-skilled fields like health care, science, and law. (Photo courtesy U.S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet)

Fact: U.S. service industries support four out of five jobs in the country.

I can’t think of a better statistic to show how important the non-manufacturing sector is to the U.S. economy.

As crucial as service industries are, they’re also often misunderstood. It’s common for observers to limit perception of service industries to food preparation and service workers, but the industry also includes scientists, healthcare providers, financial analysts, architects and engineers, lawyers, accountants, and many other professions.

According to the Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) service-sector index, April was the 51st consecutive month of growth for economic activity in the non-manufacturing sector, with the most job growth happening in the higher-skilled, higher-paying professions.

These professional services are also key to U.S. participation in the global economy. U.S. service exports totaled a record $682 billion in 2013 with a trade surplus of $229 billion. Workers in export-intensive services industries earn 15 to 20 percent more than comparable workers in other services industries.

Services trade connects our world through integrated supply chains, telecommunications, financial services, computer services, energy services, environmental services, audiovisual services, a broad range of business and professional services. Modern services enhance innovation and cut production costs for manufactured goods while increasing quality and variety, benefitting consumers.

Our team is proud to work with businesses in the service industries, professional associations, and organizations in both the public and private sector.

For more information on trends in services trade, see “Recent Trends in U.S. Services Trade, 2013 Annual Report.”

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College Looks South for Students

May 11, 2014

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

Moshtayeen Ahmad recently completed an internship in the International Trade Administration’s Office for Export Policy, Promotion, and Strategy.

Like many other American higher education institutions, Michigan-based College for Creative Studies (CCS) has an important corps of foreign students contributing to the school’s cultural and educational experience.

Those international students are also making an important contribution to the American economy.

When a student comes to the United States from overseas to study, it is a service export. Foreign students accounted for $24.7 billion of U.S. exports in 2013.

At CCS, international students represent 6 percent of the student body and come from 17 different countries.

In an effort to recruit more qualified students from overseas, the International Trade Administration’s Michigan Export Assistant Center helped the College sign an agreement with Universidad de Monterrey in Mexico to foster both student and faculty exchanges between the schools.

This exchange supports more than just increased exports; it also supports cultural exchange between students of the United States and Mexico. These exchanges help further develop our overall relationship with other nations.

Thanks to their positive experience with this initial agreement, CCS has scheduled two additional Gold Key matchmaking services to find new potential partners in Mexico, and intends to recruit students from additional international markets.

Helping American exporters find new partners in Latin America is what the Department of Commerce’s Look South campaign is all about!

We want to help U.S. businesses, as well as colleges and universities, that are already exporting to Mexico to use their experience as a springboard to pursue other markets in the Latin American region.  The markets featured in the Look South campaign all have growing middle classes which increasingly desire high-quality American goods, including an American education.

Universities or educational institutions interested in developing partnerships or recruiting students from the region can find support from the International Trade Administration and our partner institutions.  Start by visiting www.export.gov/looksouth to learn more about the available resources and consider the many opportunities ahead.

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Pack Your Bags, Support Jobs!

May 5, 2014

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

Isabel Hill is the Director of the International Trade Administration’s National Travel and Tourism Office. 

National Travel and Tourism Week is May 3-11, 2014.

National Travel and Tourism Week is May 3-11, 2014.  (Photo courtesy U.S. National Park Service)

It’s National Travel and Tourism Week, and there may not be an industry in the country that contributes so much to the U.S. economy and is so fun to celebrate!

You may not have thought about it, but your last road trip, night in a hotel, or weekend at the coast contributed to an industry that supports millions of jobs here in the United States. Travel and tourism generated $1.51 trillion for the U.S. economy in 2013.

This industry is also the country’s largest services export industry, contributing a record $180.7 billion to U.S. export totals in 2013. Those exports support 1.3 million U.S. jobs.

On top of the numbers is the contribution this industry makes to quality of life. Research shows that travel has a positive effect on relationships, education, and health!

So what’s not to celebrate?

We at the International Trade Administration’s National Travel and Tourism Office  are proud to work with the U.S. Travel Association, numerous state agencies, and the private sector to support travel and tourism and highlight its beneficial effects on the economy.

How has travel affected your life? Be sure to join the conversation on Twitter and share your story using #NTTW14. Then pull out your calendar – it’s time to plan your next vacation!

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From Westerns to Dance Dramas, U.S. Filmmakers Pitch Their Projects to Chinese Investors

April 2, 2014

Marsha McDaniel is a Commercial Officer at the U.S. Consulate for Hong Kong and Macau.

Our team met with U.S. film producers and Chinese investors at Hong Kong Filmart to support investment.

Our Commercial Service team met with U.S. film producers and Chinese investors at Hong Kong Filmart to support investment in upcoming projects.

What do cowboy shows, hip hop dancer dramas, and adventure thrillers have in common? These are some of the exciting projects that U.S. filmmakers pitched to Chinese investors during SelectUSA’s debut at Hong Kong’s Filmart, Asia’s largest film and media trade show and the third largest film industry trade show in the world.

Commercial Service staff at the U.S. Consulates in Hong Kong and Guangzhou jointly organized this first-ever SelectUSA event at the trade show. The event, which was titled “China’s Pearl River Delta: Opportunities to Finance U.S. Productions” introduced investors to some of the exciting projects that U.S. filmmakers are currently developing.

A Captivated Audience

Five independent U.S. production companies presented a broad range of film projects to a captivated audience of roughly 30 investors. Audience members were clearly excited as U.S. filmmakers pitched numerous movie and television ideas, all with significant revenue potential.

According to Scott Shaw, Senior Commercial Officer at the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong: “It is an exciting time for U.S. and China movie producers to work together as U.S.-China co-production benefits both the U.S. and Chinese film industries.”

Jim Rigassio, Principal Commercial Officer at the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, China, noted: “From a diplomatic perspective, activities such as this help to bring our two countries closer together, and I hope to see more U.S.-China coproduction in the future.”

Filmmakers: Opportunity to pitch in 2015

Based on the fantastic feedback from participants, Commercial Service teams in Hong Kong and Guangzhou will explore hosting a similar event at the 2015 Filmart show in Hong Kong. U.S. filmmakers with an interest in seeking investment and co-production opportunities are encouraged to get in touch with our Commercial Service staff to learn more.

This was the first of many events that will be organized under the Commercial Service’s Pearl River Delta Initiative, which aims to assist U.S. companies tap into south China’s $1 trillion dollar economy.

How else can we help you?

SelectUSA, along with our teams in Hong Kong and Guangzhou, work with investors and U.S. economic development organizations to facilitate investment into the United States. We provide information and counseling, help you connect to the right people, and serve as an ombudsman to resolve issues related to the federal regulatory system. We also create platforms, such as our upcoming Pearl River Delta Road Show, to bring investors and economic developers face to face.

If you have questions about foreign investment or if we can help you at all, visit the SelectUSA website for more information!

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Destination: Sports! How Sporting Events like the NCAA Tournament Support U.S. Travel Exports

March 27, 2014

Ron Erdman is the Deputy Director of the International Trade Administration’s National Travel and Tourism Office.

Sporting events are a huge draw for travelers. The first competitive event for major international events like the Olympics and the World Cup is between the global cities competing to be host.

Major sports events draw visitors from all around the world and that can be a huge contributor to a region’s economic growth and development.

For tonight’s start to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16, Memphis, Anaheim, Indianapolis, and New York will host thousands of college basketball’s biggest fans, visiting from all around the country. Those visitors are buying tickets, purchasing meals, getting hotel rooms – all supporting these cities’ local economies.

Among those visitors will likely also be some international travelers.

This is another way that sporting events like the NCAA Tournament support export industries. Our data show that of the 51.2 million international visitors the United States hosted in 2011, nearly 8 percent of them attended a sports event while they were here. That means more than 4 million people attended U.S. sports events while visiting from overseas.

We estimate that in 2013, that number increased to 4.4 million people.

Those are huge numbers and significant contributors to U.S. exports. Recently released data show travel and tourism exports totaling a record $180.7 billion in 2013, accounting for about 8 percent of total national exports.

Those numbers matter because behind them are the jobs supported by both international and domestic travel and tourism. The industry supports 7.7 million jobs throughout the country according to the most recent data.

Travel and tourism exports are much like education exports in that they never leave U.S. borders. But since the sports tickets, food, and lodging costs are paid for from sources outside the United States, they are considered exports.

So when you watch the games this weekend, remember that even if your team is no longer alive, the 16 teams still playing are helping draw crowds and creating exports.

That’s something we should all cheer for!

Want to learn more about the Travel and Tourism industry? Check out our website for more data and subscribe to our newsletter!

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March Madness Earns an A in Economics

March 24, 2014

Chris Higginbotham is a Public Affairs Specialist in the International Trade Administration’s Office of Public Affairs.

This infographic from the International Institute of Education shows that more than 819,000 international students studied in the United States in 2013.

Institute of International Education. (2013). Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange. Retrieved from http://www.iie.org/opendoors

If you’re anything like me, you spent the weekend locked in front of the television, watching the NCAA Tournament. Hearts were broken (including mine), underdogs were victorious, and former champions were sent packing.

Perhaps the best part of it all is that we were supporting the U.S. economy the entire time!

Maybe you didn’t realize it, but the NCAA Tournament, one of the pinnacle sporting and cultural events in the United States, is a tremendous supporter of several export industries.

One obvious industry the Tournament supports is education. The athletes competing in this event are students representing some of America’s great universities.

The education industry is a huge part of the American economy, supporting jobs and fostering research and innovation.

Education is also a major service export. The United States has some of the world’s best universities, hosting hundreds of thousands of foreign students. Those students pay tuition and living expenses, including room and board, transportation, books, and health insurance. Since most of those expenditures come from sources outside the United States, they are considered exports.

Commerce data show that international students contributed a record $24.7 billion to the U.S. economy, part of a record $682 billion in services exports.

The NAFSA Association of International Educators says that education exports support 313,000 jobs in the United States, a 6.2 percent increase from 2012 and a crucial contributor to our economic growth.

Here are some more key highlights about education exports from the Institute of International Education:

·         A record 819,644 international students studied in the United States in 2012-2013;

·         The top two fields of study for international students are business and engineering;

·         The University of Southern California hosts the most foreign students, at 9,840.

Outside of the classroom, you’ll also see some international students competing on the basketball court.

The standout is Kansas University’s Andrew Wiggins, the Canadian player who was a top basketball recruit last year. There’s also NC State’s Jordan Vandenberg from Australia, UCLA’s Sooren Derboghosian from Iran, and Notre Dame’s Natalie Achonwa from Canada, among others.

As NAFSA points out, the benefits of international students studying in the United States last a lot longer than the road to the Final Four. Foreign students bring unique perspectives into American classrooms, broadening horizons for everyone involved. The relationships formed and cultural exchanges made help build bridges across borders.

So just remember the next time you watch a game, even if your team loses, you’re helping the U.S. economy win!

For more information about the education industry and how the International Trade Administration supports it, check out our updates on the ITA blog.

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Valentine’s Day “Suites” Support U.S. Exports

February 14, 2014

Amy Wasserbach is an intern in the International Trade Administration’s Office of Public Affairs. She majored in International Studies at Colorado State University.

During the Valentine’s season, people all around the world take time out of their daily routine to show affection toward each other.

We embody this special occasion through exchanging gifts, sharing a meal, or making cards, but what better way to spend the holiday than a romantic get-away with your “suite-y”?

From the snowy peaks of the Rocky Mountains to the tropical beaches of Hawaii, America has many romantic vacation spots to offer foreign visitors. More and more people around the world are taking the opportunity to share a romantic sunset or a candlelight toast in the United States. The United States hosted 4.4 million international visitors in February 2013, six percent more than the same month in 2012.

Travel and tourism exports totaled $180.7 billion in 2013, an increase of more than 9 percent when compared to 2012. This makes the United States number one globally for world travel receipts and second in international visitors.

Tourism and travel are a vital part of the US economy, making up 26 percent of service exports in 2013. The travel and tourism industry is a combination of sectors (e.g., traveler accommodations, food and beverage establishments, air transportation, etc.) that collectively supported nearly eight million American jobs last year. More than one million of those jobs were supported by international visitors alone.

Historically the largest numbers of international visitors enjoying a vacation in America came from Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom in. In 2014, the number of international visitors is expected to reach 71.8 million. Your travel and tourism business could benefit from this consistently growing industry through international exports!

ITA’s National Travel and Tourism Office can help guide U.S. Travel and Tourism industry businesses to connections with their perfect international market match. Let ITA help your  travel and tourism business to sweep America’s future Valentine visitors off their feet!

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‘Tis the Season For a Movie!

January 2, 2014

Andrea DaSilva is a Senior Analyst for Media & Entertainment Industries in the International Trade Administration’s Office of Digital Services Industries.

For the movie industry, this weekend is considered the official end of the holiday season.

For me, the holidays aren’t complete until I’ve caught a couple of new releases at the movie theater.  I’m not alone on that; box office sales are normally higher in November and December. According to Box Office Mojo, movie ticket sales during the 2012 holiday season were more than 26 percent of total box office sales for the year, totaling more than $2.6 billion. That’s a lot of movie tickets over a two-month period!

The film and television industry does more than just entertain us during the holiday season; it also supports the U.S. economy. According to the Motion Picture Association of America, the industry directly supports 284,000 American jobs in fields like marketing, production, and distribution. The industry also supports more than 350,000 jobs in related businesses, from caterers to hardware suppliers.

As in other business sectors, exports are a huge contributor to the entertainment industry. U.S. exports of film and television recordings in 2012 were more than $16.2 billion.

We at the International Trade Administration are working hard with the film and television industry to support U.S. exports. Our staff based at Export Assistance Centers across the U.S. and at embassies and consulates around the world, as well as in-house export programs such as the International Buyer Program and the Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP), serve to connect American producers with global buyers, licensors and distributors.

We worked closely with the Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA) at industry trade shows Filmart in Hong Kong and the American Film Market in Santa Monica. IFTA has been working hard to support exports of film and television products and we’ve been glad to support the organization through the MDCP.

We’ll continue to work with American producers to make sure that global consumers always have access to American creative content. That way, movie viewers around the world will always be able to enjoy their favorite new films over any holiday.

If you have questions about how the American media and entertainment industry competes overseas, please visit our website or contact me at andrea.dasilva@trade.gov.

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