Archive for the ‘Service Industries’ Category

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Studying Up on March Madness

March 28, 2013

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Chris Higginbotham is a Communications Specialist in ITA’s Office of Public Affairs. John Siegmund is an International Trade Specialist in the International Trade Administration’s Office of Services. 

iStock photo of a university campus

Steve Shepard – iStock photo

When it comes to filling out our NCAA Tournament brackets, we probably all have a lot to learn. While there isn’t necessarily a college course available on that, it’s important to remember that the teams in our brackets represent educational institutions that provide a major source of American exports.

More than 764,000 international students attended higher education institutions in the United States in 2011-2012, representing 3.7 percent of the U.S. student body. Some of those students are (or were) playing on the courts at this year’s NCAA Tournament. California’s women’s team’s Avigiel Cohen is from Israel, Gonzaga’s player-of-the-year candidate Kelly Olynyk is Canadian, and New Mexico State’s eight foreign players are known as the “Foreign Legion.”

International students, whether or not they came here to play basketball, accounted for nearly $23 billion in American exports in 2012.

How can education be considered an export? When a student comes from overseas to study in the United States, that student pays for tuition and fees, books, and all other living expenses. Just like medical services and travel and tourism, education is an export even though it isn’t shipped across a border to a customer.

Top Institutions hosting international students that are represented in the NCAA Tournament

Top institutions hosting international students that are represented in the NCAA Tournament (2011-2012 data from the Institute of International Education)

With 9,269 foreign students, the University of Southern California was ranked number one for hosting students from overseas in 2012. That wasn’t good enough to earn them a seed in the NCAA Tournament this year, but nine of the top 20 higher education students for hosting foreign students are in this year’s men’s tournament.

Education is a huge part of America’s service industry and education exports support tens of thousands of American jobs. The NCAA tournament supports education by giving a portion of the revenue from events like March Madness back to Division I institutions. Each time you attend a game or watch one on TV, you’re supporting exports, you’re supporting jobs, and you’re supporting education.

Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez discussed the importance of education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology this week – not just as an export, but also in its capacity to support tomorrow’s leaders. The Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship helps student entrepreneurs create successful businesses that create jobs, and its efforts have brought results: companies founded or co-founded by MIT alumni employ about one million people in Massachusetts.

Don’t forget to keep checking back on our blog as we continue to show how the NCAA Tournament contributes American exports and supports American jobs.

Enjoy the games!

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Let the Games – and the Exports – Begin!

March 21, 2013

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

Chris's Final Four is the University of North Carolina, Indiana, Ohio State and Louisville. He has UNC beating Louisville in the final. Notable upsets include UNC beating Kansas, Florida and Indiana; Wichita State knocking off Gonzaga and Creighton making the Elite 8. He has Duke losing to Creighton in the second round, but a UNC alumnus predicting a Duke loss is hardly notable.

As a UNC alumnus, Chris Higginbotham showed a bias toward the Tar Heels in his bracket.

Well, we all had a couple of days to fill out our brackets. Now the men’s NCAA Tournament games have officially begun and the women’s games are soon to follow. You may have been watching as your brackets were already busted in the First Four games (like mine), or you might be four for four at this point.

One thing we can rely on is that millions of sports fans will be glued to the TV during the next couple of weeks to cheer on alma maters, rivals, and cinderellas. CBS estimates that 21 million sports fans watched last year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship game.

On top of those 21 million viewers in the United States were viewers watching licensed broadcasts of the game overseas. That’s not just true for basketball; American sporting events from the Super Bowl to tennis tournaments, golf and auto racing are licensed overseas. And those licensing agreements are considered exports.

Based on the most recent data available, licensing for broadcasting and recording of live events totaled $675 million in 2011. That includes more than just sports; that also counts live entertainment events in other fields, like the Oscars. It counts licenses for both TV and radio. The largest market for these exports in 2011 was Japan, at $57 million.

Sports contribute to exports in other ways than just broadcast licenses; sports and performing arts are a significant part of America’s strong service industry (which achieved record exports in 2012). Exports in sports and performing arts totaled $893 million in 2011. This category includes services in the production, promotion, and organization of live entertainers including athletes, singers, and dancers.

Combining the above figures shows that the entertainment aspect of sports and entertainment events like the NCAA Tournament contributed to more than $1.5 billion in exports in 2011. Those exports continue to support thousands of jobs; it’s now estimated that every billion dollars in exports supports 4,926 jobs in the United States.

So remember, when you watch the NCAA Tournament – or any American sports or entertainment event – you’re supporting American exports and jobs.

I wouldn’t recommend using that justification if your boss catches you watching games at work this week though.

Keep checking back here as we continue to show how events like March Madness help support American exports. Enjoy the games!

(note: the data behind this post can be found from the Bureau of Economic Analysis tables 1 and 4)

(This article was edited on March 22 to clarify that the $1.5 billion figure represents the sum of broadcast licensing export figures and sports and performing arts figures)

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2012 International Travel and Tourism Shows Record Figures

February 22, 2013

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

Nicole Y. Lamb-Hale is the Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Services in the International Trade Administration.

For some Americans, the phrase travel and tourism simply brings to mind family road-trips, Caribbean vacations, and foreign tourists at Disneyland. For me it brings to mind the successful business model of economic growth and job creation we support at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration.

In January of 2012, President Obama charged the Departments of Commerce and Interior with developing and presenting to him a National Travel & Tourism Strategy. The strategy, delivered in May 2012, is the first federal government-wide travel and tourism strategy and is already bearing fruit.

Last year, the travel and tourism industry contributed nearly $1.4 trillion to the U.S. GDP and provided more than 7.5 million jobs for American workers. In 2012, the industry created $168.1 billion worth of U.S. exports, representing a 10 percent growth over last year. Over a two-year period the industry has grown nearly 25 percent. Moreover, as in years past, the travel and tourism industry is the largest service-export industry in the United States.

You may be thinking, how is the spending of an international tourist an “export?”   That such spending is an export is illustrated through the following hypothetical: A Brazilian family travels to Miami for vacation. Upon arrival, the family books several nights in a U.S. hotel. The next morning, the family shops at U.S. retail stores, buys American products, and eats three meals a day at U.S. restaurants. The family pays U.S. taxes with every purchase. The family’s visit is by all accounts a foreign investment in the U.S. economy – and, by extension, a job creator.

Numerous opportunities exist for the continued success of the U.S. travel and tourism industry. Global trends point to increased foreign travel and a growing middle class in Brazil, China, and India. The industry stands poised to achieve even greater growth.

Consider these interesting facts:

  • By 2017, the number of travelers from Brazil, China, and India –as compared to 2011− is expected to grow by 83 percent, 259 percent, and 47 percent, respectively. This represents a total of 4.4 million additional travelers from these three countries by 2017.
  • On average, each tourist that we attract from these areas will spend $4,000 during their stay in the United States.

These facts point to an increase in global tourism that we as a nation must attract and welcome. And that is exactly what we intend to do.

In fact, our strategy sets the goal of attracting over 100 million international visitors annually by 2021. These international visitors are projected to spend an estimated $250 billion per year, creating jobs and spurring economic growth in communities across the country.

Here at the International Trade Administration, we are excited about the wealth of opportunities that lie ahead for our nation’s travel and tourism industry. We have room to grow and we are excited about doing everything we can to support the industry and the millions of America jobs the industry supports.

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Showing Exports the Love on Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2013

Andrea DaSilva is the Senior Media & Entertainment Analyst for the International Trade Administration (ITA). Chris Higginbotham is a Communication Specialist with ITA’s Office of Public Affairs. What are you doing with your Valentine today? Maybe a movie? Dancing the night away? Or you could be reading poetry to one another… Maybe you don’t have a Valentine but you’re doing one of those things anyway. Either way, you’re supporting creative industries that provide the United States with some of its most unique—and sometimes romantic— exports! Exports in filmed entertainment, which includes movies and television content distributed abroad, reached $14.3 billion in 2011. That includes everything from romantic comedies to game shows, war movies to animated features. This was an increase of almost $700 million from 2010 numbers. Exports in books, records and tapes achieved $1.3 billion. This category includes everything from easy listening to jazz and metal (romantic or otherwise), romantic novels to cookbooks. All of these categories include media or entertainment content that is streamed online or digitally downloaded for a fee to protect the intellectual property and copyrights of the owners and creators. The International Trade Administration (ITA) works closely with professionals in these industries to promote exports and create jobs. We’re supporting both the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) and the Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA) with Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP) awards. These are competitive financial assistance awards ITA provides to industry groups pursuing projects that will help U.S. firms export and create jobs. Whether you’re picking up the tab for your Valentine, going dutch or flying solo, don’t be a cheapskate! Make sure to show love to your date and the creative professionals in these industries by avoiding pirated content or illegal file sharing. Nothing kills the romance more quickly than a computer virus you inadvertently downloaded while stealing music from an illegal site, or if you are an artist, writer, or musician – having your works shared without getting paid. We hope you enjoy whatever entertainment you’re seeking for Valentine’s Day or any other occasion. And remember, there really is no such thing as free except for sharing romance with a loved one!

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Keeping Tune with American Exports

February 5, 2013

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

Nicole Y. Lamb-Hale is the Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Services in the International Trade Administration (ITA). Andrea DaSilva is ITA’s Senior Media & Entertainment Analyst and Project Leader for the Market Development Coordinator Program award with the American Association of Independent Music.

Last week, we stood at the intersection of creativity, technology and intellectual property.

We stood there with the American independent music industry, a provider of American jobs and a significant contributor to American culture. It’s an industry facing a difficult road through technology advancements, piracy concerns and a changing business structure.

That’s one reason why the U.S. government is supporting the independent music industry with a financial award. It’s happening through a joint public-private sector program called the Market Development Cooperator Program, or MDCP. This is a competitive financial assistance award the International Trade Administration (ITA) provides to industry groups pursuing projects that will help U.S. firms export and create jobs.

Assistant Secretary Nicole Y. Lamb-Hale (center) and Andrea DaSilva announce the awarding of a Market Development Cooperator Program award to the American Association of Independent Music.

Assistant Secretary Nicole Y. Lamb-Hale (center) and Andrea DaSilva (right) announce the awarding of a Market Development Cooperator Program award to the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) at a music industry trade show. (photo courtesy A2IM)

In 2012, ITA selected the proposal submitted by the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) for an MDCP. Indie music artists may not fit the traditional profile of a U.S. exporter, but the music industry directly supports American jobs. Most music labels and music publishers are small businesses. Behind music recordings are musicians, makers of music instruments, sound engineers, recording technicians, tour promoters, band managers, talent agents,  marketing executives,  and myriad other professions.

Indie music constitutes some of the most vibrant and uniquely American exports, supporting American culture and encouraging tourism to the U.S. Supporting American music exports creates American jobs, especially for small and medium sized businesses, and meets our National Export Initiative goals.

As a group representing a wide array of independent musicians, A2IM is working hard to protect the interests of artists in international markets. ITA is partnering with A2IM to help ensure a competitive market for American indie music on the global scene.

We announced this export project at MIDEM, the principal global trade show for the music industry, in Cannes, France in January. Via the MDCP, ITA will accompany A2IM representatives to trade shows, bring delegations to select markets to increase music licensing, and join forces with the music industry to support enforcement of copyright laws and educate consumers on the cost of “free” music. ITA’s Manufacturing and Services unit is providing one-third of the award, or about $285,000, to support A2IM’s mission to increase exports of American culture in the form of music. A2IM provides the remaining two-thirds in financial and in-kind contributions.

ITA looks forward to working with A2IM and the other eight industry groups who earned MDCP awards in 2012. ITA is currently accepting applications for the next round of awards and the 2013 application deadline is February 28. Interested industry associations or nonprofits should visit the MDCP website to learn more about the award and how to apply.

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Efforts to Make the U.S. the Number One Tourist Destination

December 4, 2012

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

Marc Buergi is a fellow in the International Trade Administration’s Office of Public Affairs, and is an International Affairs graduate student at the George Washington University.

Many of us will be traveling during the upcoming holiday season.

Visiting family, friends and discovering new places is enjoyable. So is knowing that every time we travel we are also aiding our economy: travel expenditures help support the 7.5 million Americans employed in the U.S. travel and tourism industry.

Not only is the industry benefiting from domestic travelers like ourselves, but as more and more people visit our country from abroad, international visitor spending is becoming a growing share of the industry’s success in recent years. In fact, over 66 million tourists and travelers are expected to come to the U.S. this year alone, which would represent an increase of 6 percent over last year’s figures.

The good news is that upward trend is likely to continue: travel and tourism is expected to grow by 3.6 to 4.3 percent each year for the next five years according to a new report released this week.

The biggest growth markets are Asia and South America. The number of Chinese visitors alone is expected to increase by 259 percent in the next five years, while the number of Brazilian tourists is projected to swell by 83 percent.

The new travel forecast underscores the importance of international tourism to the U.S. economy, and the exponential opportunities these favorable trends can bring. That is why the President has set out a goal to make the United States the number one tourism destination worldwide.

In May 2012, the U.S. Commerce Department and the Department of the Interior presented the National Travel and Tourism Strategy to the President which is our roadmap to accomplish this ambitious goal. The Strategy lays out concrete steps which will be taken to make the U.S. even more attractive for international visitors, for instance travel promotion campaigns in key markets, improvements in the visa waiver program, and in the security procedures at U.S. airports.

The strategy is already bearing fruit. For example, last month Taiwan was included into the U.S. visa waiver program. The citizens of that country will now be able to visit the U.S. for up to 90 days without a visa – and many Taiwanese will use that opportunity.

The International Trade Administration (ITA) is at the forefront of the government’s efforts to implement the Strategy. ITA is continuing to supply the travel and tourism industry with important data, including international arrivals to the United States, the forecast of international travel to America for more than 30 countries, and estimates of the total impact of travel and tourism on the economy, among other services.

Earlier this month, Acting Deputy Under Secretary for International Trade Kenneth Hyatt highlighted these efforts at a Washington Post Travel and Tourism Forum where he emphasized the need to consider the customer experience.

Millions of people from abroad would love to visit our county – the U.S. government is making sure that as many of them as possible actually choose the U.S. as their holiday destination.

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Interest in Overseas Pension Markets Continues to Grow, Spurring Public-Private Cooperation

December 4, 2012

Michael Corbin is an international trade specialist for asset management and private pensions in the International Trade Administration’s Manufacturing and Services unit. In nearly fourteen years of service his portfolio has included asset management, hedge and sovereign wealth funds, insurance and private pensions

The U.S. asset management sector has long been one of the great success stories of U.S. business, both at home and abroad.  U.S. companies accounted for nearly half of the world’s $85.2 trillion in assets under management in 2011.  U.S. asset managers are increasingly looking abroad to secure future business and take advantage of developing growth opportunities in the sector.

Why look overseas?

A month ago I had a conversation with an executive from a fortune 500 investment company. He told me that the U.S. market has become saturated, with many individuals receiving payouts rather than paying into the system.  He explained that we also are witnessing a major shift globally from defined benefit plans to defined contribution plans.  In a defined benefit plan, the employer promises to pay a certain monthly benefit upon retirement based on a specified criteria (e.g.,  age and  years worked). In a defined contribution plan, individual accounts are set up for participants and benefits are based on the amounts credited to these accounts (through employer contributions and, if applicable, employee contributions) plus any earnings on the money invested in the account. In the vast majority of the developing world, defined contribution systems are the default pension schemes.

The need for greater cooperation

Manufacturing and Services’ (MAS) Office of Financial Services Industries (OFSI) has seen an increased demand for assistance to companies seeking  to secure greater market access and increase brand awareness.  Just in the past few months OFSI’s asset management related work has included:

  • Collaborating with U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia and the Principal FinancialGroup as it unveiled a new agreement to manage private pensions in Malaysia.  The agreement will allow CIMB – Principal to establish a collaboration with employers to systematically introduce their employees to Private Retirement Schemes (PRS) and encourage greater retirement savings. A signing ceremony on 21 November publicly highlighted this historic agreement and market access success for an American asset manager.  (photo included)
  • In June I participated in a conference in Russia where I presented an overview of the U.S. insurance and pension systems to their membership and select regulatory officials and discussed steps Russia needed to take to accede to the OECD Insurance and Private Pension Committee.
  • OFSI provided critical analysis and recommendations to a U.S. insurer requiring immediate assistance regarding potential legislation impacting the Polish pension market.
  • OFSI, Embassy Lima in Peru, and the Investment Company Institute collaborated to organize a conference call between major U.S. mutual funds and insurers and the Peruvian Supervisory Authority. The Peruvians specifically requested U.S. expert opinion on their new pension reform before the scheduled public announcement in December.

These examples highlight how the International Trade Administration’s MAS unit is working with U.S.-based asset management firms to  expand U.S. financial services exports and their business  in foreign markets.  We anticipate the need for MAS’s services and expertise to grow as will opportunities and successes for U.S. companies.

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