Archive for the ‘Strategic Partners’ Category

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The International Trade Administration Signs New Partnership Agreement with FirstMerit

August 18, 2015

Cody Dietrich works in the Strategic Partnerships Office at the International Trade Administration

FirstMerit & ITA celebrate new partnership agreement.

FirstMerit & ITA celebrate new partnership agreement.

The International Trade Administration (ITA)  recently signed a Strategic Partnership agreement with FirstMerit Bank at FirstMerit’s headquarters in Akron, Ohio .

This agreement was made possible through ITA’s Strategic Partnership Program, designed to collaborate with private corporations, trade associations, chambers of commerce, economic development organizations and educational institutions to create a force multiplier effect—increasing our marketing channels, industry expertise, logistical capabilities, and, ultimately, our value in bringing more U.S. companies the assistance they need to grow their exports. Working cooperatively, ITA and partners conduct outreach activities to the U.S. small to medium sized business community and international buyers about ITA programs and services to help them grow international sales.

Here at ITA, we knew FirstMerit’s programs and services could be a crucial resource for businesses looking to go global. FirstMerit’s International Banking Division helps U.S. businesses compete in global markets by providing export financing services. These services include letters of credit, documentary collections, foreign exchange advisory and payments services and U.S. government-guaranteed working capital loan programs.

FirstMerit will work with ITA on programs covering exporting trends, geographic information and industry-specific intelligence.

FirstMerit will work with ITA on programs covering exporting trends, geographic information and industry-specific intelligence.

The Strategic Partnership was signed at FirstMerit’s headquarters in Akron, Ohio. “We are pleased to be recognized by the Department of Commerce as a financial resource partner for Midwest businesses currently exporting or looking to export their goods around the world,” Paul G. Greig, chairman, president and CEO of FirstMerit.  FirstMerit’s expertise in helping small businesses tap into export potential will further ITA’s goals of strengthening the competitiveness of U.S. industry and expand access to export financing.

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First-Ever U.S.-Ukraine Business Forum Provides Important Recommendations For Improved Economic Partnership

July 16, 2015

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

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

Post by Bruce H. Andrews Deputy Secretary of Commerce

Commerce Deputy Secretary Bruce Andrews Addresses First-Ever U.S.-Ukraine Business Forum

Commerce Deputy Secretary Bruce Andrews Addresses First-Ever U.S.-Ukraine Business Forum

This week, I had the opportunity to participate in the first ever U.S.-Ukraine Business Forum, co-hosted by the Department of Commerce and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. At the forum, Vice President Biden, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, U.S. business leaders, other government officials, and I met to discuss the future of American business in Ukraine and an improved economic partnership.

To kick off the forum, Secretary Pritzker highlighted the important steps the Ukrainian government has made in the past year toward increased economic stability. Among other changes made as part of their economic reform agenda, we applaud Ukraine’s commitment to developing their  energy sector, and streamlined electronic systems for new and current businesses. Additionally, the Obama Administration has pledged its support and provided $2 billion in loan guarantees to Ukrainian households, and almost $16 million to economic stabilization programs.

Ukraine has made significant strides over the past year. Forums like this one provided an important platform to jumpstart the conversation between business leaders and government officials, and help set the groundwork for even more progress.

At the forum, American business leaders gave critical input to Ukrainian government officials about the conditions they believe are necessary to improve the investment climate in Ukraine. For example, I heard them present multiple recommendations to Ukrainian government leaders about the need to be more transparent and efficient if they want to attract more foreign investment. Several roundtable discussions held over the course of the day highlighted areas that could benefit from transparency, including agribusiness, energy development, and intellectual property protection. Many U.S. companies see the benefits of investing in a country like Ukraine, but they would like to make sure the government continues to work toward a stronger economy and a stronger investment climate.

The Department of Commerce plays a key role in navigating these global markets. For example, our Foreign Commercial Service offices around the world facilitate engagement and dialogue between the U.S. private sector and foreign governments, including Ukraine. These offices are critical to shaping the best market possible for U.S. businesses.

At the event, Secretary Pritzker announced that she will travel to Kyiv again in October. This upcoming trip shows the Commerce Department’s commitment to maintaining open dialogue between the U.S. and Ukraine. By working together,  we can support a strong, prosperous Ukraine, and foster a transparent and efficient economic partnership that our businesses can thrive in.

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Helping Middle Market Companies Increase Overseas Revenue: ITA’s new partnership with American Express

June 30, 2015

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

Jillian Doody is the International Trade Administration’s Director of Strategic Partnerships.  

Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Analysis Marcus Jadotte (right) and American Express Vice President of Business Development for Middle Market Southeast Franki Lupo Schmidt announce partnership to help increase trade education and awareness of export opportunities for U.S. businesses.

Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Analysis Marcus Jadotte (right) and American Express Vice President of Business Development for Middle Market Southeast Franki Lupo Schmidt announce partnership to help increase trade education and awareness of export opportunities for U.S. businesses.

Earlier today, Assistant Secretary Jadotte joined American Express Vice President of Business Development for Middle Market Southeast Franki Lupo Schmidt to announce a new partnership to help increase trade education and awareness of export opportunities for U.S. businesses. During the ceremony in Atlanta, Jadotte and Schmidt signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA) and American Express (AmEx).

The joint effort will focus on small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and AmEx’s Grow Global program which targets middle market businesses – those generating between $10 million and $1 billion in revenues annually.

The MOA was signed during AmEx’s Grow Global kick-off event. During the kick-off, businesses heard from top industry experts and met one-on-one with agents, distributors, government and industry officials, and other business leaders who are already successfully exporting their goods and services to markets around the world.

Last month, American Express announced the launch of Grow Global at ITA’s Discover Global Markets event in Miami. AmEx’s program is designed for companies that are considering exporting as a growth opportunity, as well as business that are currently expanding their business into markets outside the United States with the goal of increasing goods and services exports to international markets.

As a part of our partnership, ITA and AmEx will work together to increase awareness of the economic benefits of trade; educate U.S. business about exporting as a job creation and growth strategy; generate awareness of ITA and U.S. government resources; and encourage businesses to seek ITA assistance.

With 96 percent of the potential consumers for U.S. goods and services living outside of the United States, ITA has a critical role in helping U.S. companies be more competitive in the global marketplace. In 2013, 59 percent of all small and medium-sized exporters posted sales to only one foreign market. Increasing the number of markets, even by a small percentage, could have a big impact on the U.S. economy, and create more jobs in communities across the country.

One way ITA helps increase the number of markets our clients export to is by partnering with companies like American Express. Our Strategic Partnership Program leverages partnerships with trade associations, private corporations, chambers of commerce, and state and local governments to broaden and deepen the U.S. exporter base. Through these innovative public-private partnerships, the U.S. Department of Commerce communicates with millions of U.S. businesses about global business and export opportunities.

 

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The Push to Increase Exports: National and Local, Public and Private

September 29, 2014

Ken Hyatt is the Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade.

Two hands shakingI say this very often and I mean it every time: This is an incredible time to be working in international trade.

We’ve seen four years of record exports and 1.6 million new U.S. jobs supported by exports since 2009.

To be sure, there are a number of reasons for this growth. We certainly wouldn’t see it if not for the innovative, high-quality goods and services our businesses create.

But a lot of credit also goes to public and private organizations throughout the country that are making it easier for U.S. companies to compete and win in the global marketplace.

I was happy to recently have the opportunity to thank a group of the International Trade Administration’s strategic partners here in Washington D.C. These organizations ranging from private companies to nonprofits and associations are part of a great public-private partnership, committed to supporting U.S. businesses of all sizes as they consider exporting.

Everyone here at the ITA is proud to have such a group of committed partners, and I want to thank them again for what they do.

Outside that group, there are plenty of other organizations working to support trade.

State and local governments are prioritizing global business, from San Francisco’s LatinSF program – promoting opportunities for San Francisco companies in Latin America – to Utah’s office of Economic Development, which just finished a promising trade mission to China and a global forum supporting small businesses.

Then there are economic development groups like Enterprise Florida, which just wrapped up a mission in Singapore and Malaysia, or the Northeastern Pennsylvania Alliance, which just concluded its annual Bringing the World to Northeastern Pennsylvania forum connecting local businesses to global opportunities.

There are countless other nonprofits, private companies, and local/regional governments supporting international trade, and I thank all of them for their efforts. Increasing trade supports jobs, encourages innovation, and brings economic growth to regions throughout the country.

I look forward to working with all of you, and seeing the successes your efforts create for U.S. businesses.

I also invite any organization with a mission of furthering U.S. exports to look into our strategic partnerships program. We would love to officially join forces to support American businesses.

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Plugging Into the Global Marketplace

July 31, 2014

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

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

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

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

In a recent International Trade Administration (ITA) webinar, Melissa O’Malley, Paypal’s director of global merchant and cross border trade initiatives, said that although it may be intimidating, the benefits are exponential.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Global Appeal of Alabama’s Southern Charm

May 19, 2014

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

Robert Stackpole is the Director of the International Trade Administration’s Export Assistance Center in Birmingham, Ala.

Alabama Department of Commerce SealIn a business sense, Alabama can’t be pointed out in one location on a map. As the Alabama Department of Commerce is proud to point out, Alabama is everywhere.

Our Southern state is a global leader, exporting goods to about 200 foreign markets and attracting international business investment in high tech industries like aviation and automobile manufacturing. Our exports are up more than 50 percent since 2009, reaching $19.3 billion in 2013. Our transportation equipment exports have more than doubled in that time frame, reaching $8.3 billion.

There are plenty of reasons why Alabama is helping lead the way in global business. My favorite reason is this: teamwork.

The Export Alabama Alliance is a coalition of state and federal agencies, trade associations, and private organizations that have one mission in mind: helping Alabama grow through trade. We work hand-in-hand to support Alabama’s manufacturers, chemical companies, agriculture producers, and any other business looking to succeed in international markets.

We work with the ports for shipping intelligence, we contact our specialists overseas to understand market regulations, and we keep in touch with the chambers of commerce to understand the needs of Alabama’s businesses.

It’s an extraordinary level of cooperation, and it’s working. Of the eight companies recognized by Governor Bentley this year for export excellence, every one of them worked with the Alliance on some aspect of their international business plan.

As Alabama recognizes World Trade Week this week, we’re excited to celebrate the successes of our exporters and our subsidiaries of foreign-owned companies. We’ll toast to the thousands of jobs supported by global business throughout the state.

We’re also looking forward to bringing more of our small businesses into the global marketplace. If you’re ready to get started, we’re here to help!

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Cash Flow Strategies to Make Your Exports More Competitive

May 13, 2014

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

Jonathan Rees is the Managing Director of Western Union Business Solutions in North America. Western Union Business Solutions is an International Trade Administration Strategic Partner.

U.S. exports have increased dramatically since 2009 but have begun to plateau since 2013.A healthy U.S. economy includes strong exports. In an age of ever-increasing global trade, these exports indicate the demand for U.S. products and services, particularly in countries with an expanding middle class.Since 2010, the government has committed to help U.S. businesses find buyers worldwide, win more contracts, and learn new ways to sell products and services overseas. This commitment highlights the importance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in propelling the American economy.

However, after a sharp appreciation, over the last two years U.S. exports have been showing signs of hitting a plateau.

The good news is this: U.S. exports have abundant room to grow. In fact, compared to other industrialized countries, there are signs that the United States is only beginning to tap into its export potential.

According to the World Bank, exports accounted for only 14 percent of the U.S. GDP in 2012, while other Western industrialized nations, such as Germany, the United Kingdom and France, export between 30 to 52 percent of their GDPs. According to the  U.S. Small Business Administration, SMEs in the United States generate more than 46 percent of the country’s nonfarm private gross domestic product. They also comprise 98 percent of America’s exporters and produce 33 percent of all export value – clear drivers of economic growth.

So what can American SMEs do to expand this export potential? Simply put, make it easy for the buyer.

Successful exporters try to make their goods and services as attractive as possible, regardless of the buyer’s location. American exporters can take some easy steps to do this and protect profits at the same time. By using the right combination of payment and cash management strategies,  SMEs can improve their cash flow and increase overseas demand.

Here are three tips to help:

  1. Plan ahead and create a cross-border payment strategy that supports your company’s cash flow while hedging foreign exchange risk. Most foreign buyers generally prefer to trade in their local currencies to avoid foreign exchange (FX) exposure.  As such, selling in foreign currencies can be a viable option for SMEs who wish to enter and remain competitive in global markets.   It’s important for SMEs to take a critical look at their business needs and build a cross-border payment strategy that can hedge FX risk. Find a partner that can help you determine what your cross-border payment needs are and set your actions accordingly.  One of the possible solutions to hedge FX risk is a forward contract, which enables the exporter to sell at a set amount of foreign currency at a pre-agreed exchange rate with a delivery date from three days to one year into the future.  Forward contracts can be ideal for protecting against FX fluctuations and are useful for budgeting.
  2. Use a budgeting tool that gives visibility to FX exposures and simplify foreign accounts payable. If you are doing business in multiple countries and receiving payment in multiple currencies and from different time zones, it’s helpful to use a payment solution product that will help you keep track of your invoices. Some providers also offer budgeting products that automatically calculate total currency exposure for multiple invoices. This allows businesses to use a single platform to track cross-border incoming and outgoing cash flows so that businesses can make more informed decisions.  Such international budgeting and cash management products are offered by many reputable global financial services firms, including Western Union Business Solutions.
  3. Settle invoices with overseas vendors in their local currency. Setting prices in vendors’ local currency as a practice hasn’t been widely adopted in the  United States., but it’s worth considering. If your company does a high volume of trade in a certain country or currency, it makes sense to bill your customers in that currency. Overseas vendors often charge extra fees for paying companies in U.S. dollars in order to mitigate against currency risk. For example, research from Western Union Business Solutions shows that one in five Chinese suppliers adds roughly 3-4 per-cent to  U.S. dollar invoices to cover FX fluctuations. Making deals with overseas vendors using their local currency also gives business owners the opportunity to negotiate a discount.

This last step represents a simple change in foreign exchange strategy that can send a signal that you, the exporter, understand your overseas customers and want to make it easy for them to do business with you. It is just a matter of thinking about what the customer wants and acting on it – a good strategy for any business.

To learn more about how to manage FX risk and how to export in foreign currencies, you may wish to read the U.S. Commerce Department’s Trade Finance Guide: A Quick Reference for U.S. Exporters.

Happy World Trade Month!

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