Archive for the ‘Success Stories’ Category

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Advocacy Center Helps Keep the Ball in Colorado’s Court

July 8, 2013

Nicholas Barter is an intern in the International Trade Administration’s Office of Public Affairs. He’s a graduate of Eastern Connecticut University, taking graduate courses at the George Washington University.

Representatives from Ball Aerospace and the Korean Aerospace Research Institute signed their business contract during the Trade Winds Asia 2013 trade mission.

Representatives from Ball Aerospace and the Korean Aerospace Research Institute signed their business contract during the Trade Winds Asia 2013 trade mission.

Odds are you don’t need a scanning UV-visible spectrometer. You may not even know what that is. But the Korean Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) does need one, and it contracted with Colorado-based Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. to provide it.

Contracts like these will continue to bring quality American-made products to organizations across the globe.

Ball signed the contract with KARI on May 13, and will deliver a scanning UV-visible spectrometer to detect pollution and monitor long-term climate change in the Asia-Pacific region.

The contract will support an estimated 100 American jobs. It also supports Colorado’s top export sector — Computer and Electronics. The sector was the state’s leading merchandise export category in 2012, accounting for $2.1 billion in export sales.

Competing for foreign public contracts can be difficult. There could be a home-field advantage, as foreign governments may want to support their own country’s businesses. There could be artificial roadblocks, customs issues, or any number of potential hurdles.

That’s when the Department of Commerce’s Advocacy Center can be helpful.

The Advocacy Center has helped hundreds of small, medium, and large U.S. businesses win contracts across the world. Its goal is to guarantee that U.S. products and services can compete abroad on a level playing field. For this contract, Ball beat out companies from Germany and the Netherlands.

Advocacy Center Regional Manager, Frederick Helfrich, attended the signing of the contract by Ball and KARI during the Trade Winds Asia 2013 trade mission. Under Secretary Francisco Sánchez extended his congratulations to Ball at the mission as well.

If your business is in need of assistance to expand globally, please contact the Advocacy Center. Our team would be glad to help your company compete for foreign government contracts.

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Harnessing the Power of Nature; Harnessing the Benefits of Exporting

June 26, 2013

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

Lighting Eliminators products protect everything from industrial complexes to cell phone towers.

Lighting Eliminators’ products are used to protect everything from industrial complexes to cell phone towers.

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

Lightning Eliminators is a Boulder, Colorado company that does what its name says, according to chief executive Avrum Saunders. Saunders points to his many satisfied customers around the world who have purchased the hardware and related services to protect their oil drilling rigs, airports, schools, and many other kinds of infrastructure.

The company was highlighted in the Washington Post, in an article highlighting global success for American small businesses. As the article points out, many small businesses are getting export help from government agencies like the International Trade Administration, the Export-Import Bank, and the Small Business Administration.

In business since 1971, Lightning Eliminators recently expanded internationally in such diverse places ranging from Australia to Africa – and is thriving as a result. I was able to speak with Saunders about his company’s success when he was in Washington, DC to accept the Presidential “E” Award for export excellence.

Barry: Why do we need to eliminate lightning and how do you do it?

Saunders: We build very specialized and unique equipment to protect sensitive facilities from lightning strikes. If you have an oil facility, for example, a lightning strike can be catastrophic. Ours is a very different technology than the traditional lightning rod. We avoid lightning strikes, whereas lightning rods attract it.

Barry: Can you tell us a bit about how the technology works?

Saunders: Basically, lightning forms in the following way: Energy forms from the ground up and from the clouds down. And where the two meet, you’ll see the lightning strike or the lightning flash. Our equipment is designed to keep that upward-forming energy from reaching sufficient strength to attract the downward energy. It will seek some other location to connect.

Barry: What percentage of your sales is export?

Saunders: It’s 60-plus percent. I think this year it’ll probably reach about 62 to 63 percent. And we’ve grown that 200 percent over the last three and a half years.

Barry: How helpful is the U.S. government in helping your international business grow?

Saunders: Extraordinarily helpful. The people at the Export Assistance Center in Denver have been extraordinarily helpful to us. They have helped us open five or six new markets in the last two years. In fact my international sales manager is in Australia as we speak on a trip organized by the International Trade Administration, working with a local staff member in Australia to introduce our technology more fully and to help us find representation. That’s been the single most important thing that they’ve helped us do, is find good representation in a number of different countries – highly, highly recommend it to anybody who is looking to export. They’re good folk.

Lightning Eliminaters products protect oil rigs in the Indian Ocean

Lightning Eliminators products protect oil rigs in the Indian Ocean

In fact, the services they provide, you could not obtain for 20, 30 times the cost it costs us to work with them. It’s one of the programs that most people don’t know about, unfortunately, but is a really, really good use of our tax dollars because for every dollar spent we’re returning a considerably higher sum to the economy in Colorado and the U.S.

Barry: Advice to the companies that aren’t exporting now?

Saunders: There are three areas that I think are crucial. One, you need quality representation in the local economies because you cannot, from the United States, fully comprehend what goes on day-to-day in a place like Nigeria. You just can’t do it. You need that local help. Secondly, you have to pay attention to the details – details such as financing instruments, like letters of credit and bank transfers, things of that sort. Third, and perhaps most important, is that you really have to understand the business culture.

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How a Career Change Led to a Successful Export Business in Africa

June 21, 2013

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

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

HERO Florida President Leslie Smith (right) stands in a gold mine in Ghana with his son, HERO Vice President Carlton Smith.

HERO Florida President Leslie Smith (right) stands in a gold mine in Ghana with his son, HERO Vice President Carlton Smith.

Perpetually suntanned and jovial, Leslie Smith operated a successful commercial landscaping business for several decades.

Then one day, he read an item in a local newsletter that caught his fancy. It was about exporting and how to do it.

Four years later, he was in Washington, DC to accept a presidential award for excellence in exporting. Leslie and his company, HERO Florida, export heavy machinery and spare parts to multiple markets in Africa, South America and Central America.

Here are some excerpts from a discussion I had with Leslie while he was in Washington:

Barry: How did you get started in exporting?

Smith: My son and I went to Export 101 put on by the Jacksonville, Fla. Port; the Chamber of Commerce; and the Department of Commerce.

We took the knowledge from the course there and applied it to mining equipment, which is what we were interested in and believed we could make a business out of. So we went to Las Vegas to the big mining show that happens every four years.

We decided to have a reception and invited all the commercial specialists from our embassies who were there with delegates from their countries. The delegates were buyers representing mining companies from around the world. And to our surprise 200 or 300 showed up, so it was really nice. And so we made a deal with an outfit there in Ghana and sold some equipment. And so that’s how we got started in the African market.

Barry: Why did you decide to go to the export course in the first place? You had a good business.

Smith: I don’t know. I just thought it was interesting. I read it in a business journal and I called my son into the office. “Carlton, this course on exporting, it looks interesting.” I always wanted to do something like that. I just thought it would be an opportunity to travel and spend time with my son who is also my business partner.

Barry: How many countries are you in now?

Smith: We’re in a bunch. I think probably 10, including Ghana, Nigeria on the west side, and then lots of South Africa – Botswana, Zambia, Tanzania and Namibia. Gosh, lots in that region.

Barry: Were you concerned about the risks of doing business in some parts of Africa?

Smith: Yeah, we really were. When we started we could do nothing more than cash and carry. People are not going to be able to open letters of credit and so forth, so it has to be cash and carry. And a lot of times they just don’t have the cash. So as things have progressed we’ve got help from the Export-Import Bank of the U.S., and we’re able to finance companies once they’re checked out through Ex-Im. So now we’re able to give companies terms.

Barry: In addition to Ex-Im Bank, did you get help from other government agencies and programs?

Smith: The Export Assistance Center of the U.S. Department of Commerce and the state of Florida through Enterprise Florida, those guys are great. I mean, they’re constantly – constantly bringing people to our office and trying to marry us with other people and inviting us to go on trade missions, and really doing their job. And if you’ve got a question, that’s where the support from the Commerce Department really comes in, because you can ask that question. And I would advise anyone that decides to get into the exporting business to use those resources because that’s what they’re there for.

Barry: So one aspect of the help you received was the International Buyer Program show in Las Vegas?

Smith: It’s the Mine Expo that only happens every four years. It’s the biggest in the world. The U.S. Commercial Service brings buyer delegations from many different countries that have mining equipment needs. In 2008, they had brought delegations from – I mean, you name the country; they were there. So it was fortunate for us.

Barry: What advice do you have for companies that aren’t exporting now?

Smith: It’s the American dream. It’s the entrepreneurial spirit. You go out there and you get it. I’ve always been in my own business, so it’s a lot of fun. And then I think my son thinks the same way, and his friends. If you want to travel and you want to do something exciting –I would take as many classes and talk to as many people like me as I could before I just jumped off the cliff. Otherwise, you could spend a lot of money and not go anywhere.

You need to do your homework. You need to use all the resources that the Commerce Department has to offer, because they have a lot. A lot. And maybe start out slow and go on some of these (Commerce Department or state government) trade missions and do it like that. And number one, have a good product—one that sells.

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America’s Small Businesses Find a Competitive Edge with Creativity

June 19, 2013

Michael Masserman and Ashley Zuelke work in the Office of Export Policy, Promotion & Strategy.

People in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights neighborhood know artist Nikolas Weinstein for his cascading glass sculpture at a local restaurant, but U.S. customers are only 10 percent of Weinstein’s business. As we celebrate National Small Business Week, Nikolas Weinstein Studios deserves recognition as proof that – with a product or service that can be sold internationally – no business is too small or specialized to succeed in the global marketplace.


With a team of 10, Nikolas Weinstein Studios produces large-scale glass sculptural installations that hang in luxury hotels, commercial spaces, and private residences across the globe.

Initially, Weinstein met global customers by word-of-mouth. In 2009, they began working with the U.S. Commercial Service in San Francisco to seek counseling on international markets in Japan, China and Hong Kong. Since teaming with the U.S. Commerce Department, their international business has increased more than four-fold. In the past two years, more than 70 percent of their total business has resulted from working with the Commercial Service.

Businesses with stories like Nikolas Weinstein Studios support our efforts under the President’s National Export Initiative to increase U.S. exports and support millions of jobs here at home.  We’re committed to helping all U.S. businesses start selling internationally or expand global sales, but we recognize that small businesses have unique needs. In fact, small businesses represent nearly 85 percent of the companies we help at the International Trade Administration.

Small businesses also account for 98 percent of known U.S. exporting companies, and they are increasing their share of exports. In 2011, small and medium-sized businesses accounted for 33 percent of the overall value of U.S. goods exports – up from 27 percent nine years ago.

We also know small businesses create two out of three net new private sector jobs in our economy.  And today, half of all working Americans either own or work for a small business.

That’s why the Administration has focused its efforts on increasing the number of U.S. small and medium-sized exporters and making it easier for them to access federal export assistance.

We’re working to accomplish this by expanding access to trade financing and ensuring the most efficient delivery of our services to help small businesses establish a foothold abroad, compete on a level playing field, diversify their markets, and support additional good-paying American jobs.

Small businesses like Nikolas Weinstein Studios characterize the American entrepreneurial spirit. At the International Trade Administration, we see American products as the gold standard of quality and innovation. For small businesses interested in the global market, Weinstein has some simple advice – “Remember: American creativity is something people value.”

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Doing Business in Africa Campaign: A Success Story

June 18, 2013

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

Calynn Jenkins is an intern in the International Trade Administration’s Office of Public Affairs. She is studying political science at American University. 

ITA's Executive Director for Export Policy, Promotion, and Strategy Michael Masserman participates in round table discussion about U.S. competitiveness in Africa with representatives from the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, U.S. Trade Development agency and hosted by Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA).

ITA’s Executive Director for Export Policy, Promotion, and Strategy Michael Masserman participates in round table discussion about U.S. competitiveness in Africa with representatives from the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, U.S. Trade Development agency and hosted by Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA) and moderated by Dr. Sharon Freeman, Chairman and CEO of All American Small Business Exporters Association.

President Obama recently said sub-Saharan Africa is poised to be the world’s next greatest economic success story, with U.S. exports to Africa topping $21 billion a year. In fact, Sub-Saharan Africa is home to six of the ten fastest-growing economies in the world, and enormous opportunities exist for U.S. companies to not only do well – but to do good.

That’s why then-Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank launched the Doing Business in Africa Campaign (DBIA) last November in Johannesburg, South Africa. The campaign furthers the President’s vision of more robust commercial engagement in sub-Saharan Africa by helping U.S. businesses benefit from the export and investment opportunities in the region.

President Obama said on the day of its launch, “Through the DBIA campaign, we are responding to the emergence of African regional economic communities, and working with our partners to deepen integration, reduce barriers to trade and investment, and support existing and new investments by American businesses.”

With the commitment of the Department of Commerce, the International Trade Administration, and interagency partners, DBIA is actively promoting the opportunities available to companies in Africa. Just this morning Commerce, the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and U.S. Trade and Development Agency joined a round table hosted by Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA) with more than 100 stakeholders including the diplomatic corps and small businesses to talk about U.S. competitiveness in Africa. Each agency highlighted resources available to companies and how they fit together under the DBIA Campaign.

Pittsburgh-based Cardinal Resources, LLC seized the opportunity. Cardinal is an environmental and energy company that produces solar powered water treatment systems. From the company’s beginning in 2004, Cardinal Resources’ founders have always seen exporting and reaching international customers as its key to success. The U.S. Commercial Service (CS) assisted Cardinal Resources, LLC with exporting their solar powered water treatment systems to Africa, including Senegal, Nigeria, Cameroon, Sierra Leone and Ghana.

The Commercial Service communicated with customs authorities to help reduce duties and taxes; therefore, Cardinal Resources, LLC was able to more effectively complete the costly procedure of providing demonstrations of their solar powered water treatment systems to potential buyers overseas. The company is happy to report that they successfully closed two sales and gained over $9 million in sales revenue with the Commercial Services’ help.

“While there are challenges to doing business in Africa, we believe the sun continues to shine bright on the continent,” said Cardinal’s President Kevin Jones. “There is a tremendous need for clean water, and a growing commitment from governments to private companies to meet that need using sustainable solutions like our Red Bird Systems. Exporting sustained our company over the years and exporting to Africa will fuel our growth to new levels.”

Not only is Cardinal Resources, LLC taking advantage of the export opportunities in Africa, but it is strengthening our economy at home by sourcing 90 percent of the components for its systems from U.S. manufacturers. A project in Bayelsa, Nigeria, includes potable water storage tanks manufactured in Stoystown, Pennsylvania. Now that is good business!

To learn more about information technology sector opportunities in Africa, register for the June 20th 11:00 a.m. EST Sub-Saharan Africa Region & Trends: ICT Sector Webinar.

Is your business looking to expand their products overseas? Have you thought about the opportunities in Africa? Visit export.gov/Africa and sign up for email updates to get the latest on opportunities to do business in Africa, the DBIA campaign, and much more!

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“E” Award Winner’s Vehicles Save Lives and Support Exports

May 21, 2013

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

Brian Larkin is a Presidential Management Fellow serving in the International Trade Administration.

First Priority exports emergency vehicles like ambulances and fire trucks around the world, with help from the International Trade Administration.

First Priority exports emergency vehicles like these around the world, with help from the International Trade Administration.

This week, the Department of Commerce hosted the 51st Annual President’s “E” Awards. During the ceremony, 57 American companies and organizations from 22 states were honored for their contributions to increasing our nation’s exports.

One of the winners was First Priority Emergency Vehicles, a New Jersey-based manufacturer of firefighting, medical, and other emergency vehicles and equipment.

“It is quite an honor to be a recipient of a 2013 President’s ‘E’ Award,” says First Priority President Robert J. Freeman.

“Our belief is that small businesses like First Priority have an important role to play in supporting President Obama’s National Export Initiative, growing our economy, and creating vital manufacturing jobs in the U.S.”

First Priority’s experience demonstrates both how the International Trade Administration (ITA) supports U.S. exporters and how a small business that takes a thoughtful, customer service-oriented approach to foreign sales can thrive.

Like other “E” Award winners, First Priority has found ITA to be a valuable partner. Mr. Freeman says that dedicated trade specialists, like Thomas Mottley of the Central New Jersey U.S. Export Assistance Center, have provided useful insights into foreign markets and made him aware of the many ITA resources available to exporters. He also credits CS officers based in China with apprising him of the commercial opportunity there and helping prepare him to do business in the country. Since then, China has become an important market for First Priority.

Another key to First Priority’s success has been understanding the needs of customers across a wide array of emerging markets. With buyers in countries like Russia, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Ghana, and Mexico, First Priority must modify its vehicles and equipment to meet differing local requirements. The firm carefully considers fuel efficiency standards, design characteristics, and even the prevalence of fire hydrants in its destination markets – and adapts its products accordingly.

First Priority has also been recognized for its comprehensive training programs, which help customers to effectively utilize what can be complex emergency vehicles. By remaining mindful of the technical and instructional needs of its clients, First Priority has earned a reputation internationally for superior customer service.

Exporters like First Priority and its fellow “E” Award recipients are selling quality products and services all over the world, strengthening their bottom lines, and creating jobs here in the United States. We at ITA are proud to support their efforts and look forward to continued export successes in the future.

We would also like to help your business. Please contact your nearest Export Assistance Center to learn more about our services.

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Building Exports in the Bluegrass State

February 19, 2013

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

Francisco Sánchez serves as the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade. 

“We should remember that today’s world presents not just dangers, not just threats — it presents opportunity.” This statement from President Obama’s State of the Union speech confirms the belief that free trade and open markets are a benefit in our globalized world.

In Louisville, Ky., this belief is nothing new, as the town has been growing its economy by focusing on exporting to foreign markets.

That is why I joined Mayor Greg Fischer in Louisville today to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the International Trade Administration (ITA) and the City of Louisville in a team effort to improve local exports. Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3) also joined us to celebrate this exciting new partnership and highlight what this means for the community.

Our new MOU extends the success we have seen through the Bluegrass Economic Advancement Movement (BEAM), a joint venture between the mayors of Louisville and Lexington, designed to support the growth of high-quality jobs in advanced manufacturing throughout a 22-county region.

BEAM is a particularly exceptional achievement because it is the realization of the National Export Initiative (NEI) localized through the Brookings Institute’s Metropolitan Export Initiative (MEI). It represents a way in which cities and towns can engage in international trade to reap the benefits of increased exports.

Together, these initiatives are all working in concert to increase U.S. exports.

And there is no better place to talk exports than Kentucky.

Kentucky depends heavily on manufacturing, such as civilian aircraft, engines, and parts. In fact, 96 percent of Kentucky’s $19.3 billion in exports in 2010 came from manufacturing.  These numbers continued to grow through 2012 – and the growth rate ranks Kentucky 11th among other states in 2012 – which is extremely impressive.

Kentucky is also a great example of how the NEI and our efforts here at the International Trade Administration are helping the U.S. compete in manufacturing as we focus on bringing manufacturing back to the States and selling our products abroad.

This was my first time in Louisville, but after seeing the enthusiasm for exporting from smaller businesses like Universal Woods to larger companies like UPS, I am already looking forward to coming back and supporting Kentucky’s exciting export growth.

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Metro Exports Driving Economic Growth

September 18, 2012

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

Michael Masserman and Ashley Zuelke work in the Office of  Export Policy, Promotion & Strategy.

Here’s a fact:  the 100 largest metro areas in our country make up just 12% of land area – but they make up 65% of our population and 75% of our nation’s GDP.  So when it comes to export growth, it should come as no surprise that metro areas are leading the way.

What may surprise you, is that thirteen smaller metropolitan areas across the U.S. — from Asheville, N.C., to Green Bay, Wisc., to Yakima, Wash. — for the first time joined the club of metropolitan markets that exported more than $1 billion in merchandise to the world.  These metro areas exported U.S. goods such as machinery, transportation equipment, and computer and electronic products which are in great demand all over the world.

The achievement of these thirteen metropolitan areas and recently released national data for 2011 metropolitan exports confirms the historic progress we are making toward reaching the President’s National Export Initiative (NEI) goal of doubling U.S. exports by the end of 2014.

The thirteen first-time members of the $1 billion metro export club represent just one story the recent data tells.

Metropolitan exports increased nearly 40 percent since 2009 to total $1.31 trillion in 2011.

This significant increase in U.S. exports since 2009 contributes to our ongoing recovery from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

The Detroit, Mich., metropolitan area exported $49.4 billion in 2011, registering for the first time above $49 billion since the 2007 pre-Recession level.  Detroit was the fourth largest export market in the U.S. in 2011, with its top export sectors including transportation equipment and machinery. In fact, at the national level, exports of motor vehicles and parts increased $51 billion, or 63 percent, between 2009 and 2011 and are still leading the way with $86.3 billion in exports through the first seven months of 2012– reflecting a vibrant and resurgent car and truck industry.

Los Angeles was the third largest metropolitan export market in 2011, with $72.7 billion in exports.  LA has also been a pilot city for the Metropolitan Export Initiative, a program that the Department of Commerce International Trade Administration has partnered with the Brookings Institute on to localize export policy and promotion efforts, and build a framework for long-term export growth.

These stories, and the ones throughout the country, reflect how metro areas drive our exports. Yet each community and metro has its own character, opportunities and needs.

Communities and metropolitan areas can leverage exports as an economic development tool.  Each metro, even without a structured initiative, has the potential to organize local economic leaders, evaluate its own export assets and potential, and develop a plan to make the most of that potential.  Small businesses need to know that through exporting comes tremendous opportunity, and that there are federal resources in metro areas across our country, such as the local U.S. Export Assistance Centers and Small Business Development Centers, that stand ready to help them with this.

Our Administration will do everything it can to help U.S. businesses succeed in the global marketplace so that next year we can see even more metros cross that $1 billion threshold.

International Trade Administration resources also are there to help. Find your local U.S. Export Assistance Center here and visit Export.gov to get started.

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Miami Ushers in New Commercial Opportunities

September 6, 2012

Claire Maggio works in the Office of Public Affairs within the International Trade Administration. She holds a degree in political science from the University of Rochester.

Miami is known for a lot of things. The picturesque beaches, the exotic nightlife, and an incredibly vibrant culture are just a few of the things that make this city so unique. Yet there is far more than meets the eye. The city of Miami is also a bustling commercial hub with nearly limitless potential.

2010 saw Miami named the fifth largest metropolitan export market in the United States, with merchandise shipments totaling $35.9 billion. Helping to build on that strong performance, the Department of Commerce has announced the approval of PortMiami’s application for a Foreign Trade Zone(FTZ) that will not only serve the port’s facilities but allow quick FTZ access throughout the northern half of Miami-Dade County. As a result, the new FTZ will be able to help support trade-related activity and jobs at many South Florida businesses.

In 2010, the Port of Miami handled $36 billion in merchandise exports. The new foreign trade zone will boost this figure in the future (Photo PortMiami)

In 2010, the Port of Miami handled $36 billion in merchandise exports. The new foreign trade zone will boost this figure in the future (Photo PortMiami)

For purposes of customs duties, FTZs are treated as if outside U.S. territory. All goods entering the FTZs remain tariff free, with exports shipped from zones avoiding duty payments while shipments to the U.S. market only face duties when they leave the zones. So, for example, if a South Florida business sells both U.S. and foreign-made products to customers around the world, that business can use the FTZ to receive, warehouse and re-export products duty-free, reducing its costs and helping it to compete better with foreign-based rivals.

In addition to ordinary FTZ activities like storage, packaging, testing, labeling and repairing, businesses can conduct manufacturing in FTZs after a case-by-case approval process conducted by the U.S. FTZ Board (which has authority to bar activity that would not be in the public interest). U.S. Customs and Border Protection oversees all companies using FTZs to ensure that security and accounting requirements are met.

There are already nearly twenty foreign trade zones across the state, and the new FTZ in Miami is sure to boost investment and commercial activity in Florida. While the state had many profitable shipping centers and hubs, Miami alone accounted for two-thirds of all of the state’s merchandise exports in 2010 while 14 percent of all manufacturing workers in Florida depended on exports for their jobs in 2009. That’s a lot of valuable jobs that can help contribute to our economic recovery, and underscores just how important exports are to the Floridian and national economies.

The new Miami FTZ will provide Florida business with enhanced opportunities to minimize costs as they conduct international trade. To learn more about FTZs in Florida or anywhere else across the country, as well as to find information about other key tools for U.S. exporters, I encourage you to visit our website, www.trade.gov.

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Exports Bring Jobs to the Twin Cities Region!

August 9, 2012

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

Francisco Sánchez serves as the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade. Follow him on Twitter @UnderSecSanchez

Since the 2012 Olympic Games began, Minnesotans have competed in sports ranging from basketball to fencing, proving that athletes from the North Star State can succeed on the global stage. The same can be said for Minnesota’s businesses. Today, I visited Minneapolis to meet with Congressman Keith Ellison (MN-5), Mayor R.T. Rybak business and community leaders. It was a great opportunity to see and hear firsthand how local entrepreneurs are designing and manufacturing quality products that are being exported all over the world.

Congressman Keith Ellison (MN-5) and Under Secretary Francisco Sánchez take questions from local companies during a business round table event in Minneapolis. (Photo Commerce)

Congressman Keith Ellison (MN-5) and Under Secretary Francisco Sánchez take questions from local companies during a business round table event in Minneapolis. (Photo Commerce)

For instance, I had the pleasure of visiting Accent Signage Systems, a small manufacturing company. A pioneer in innovative sign technology, Accent Signage is experiencing the direct benefits of exporting and has plans to increase its workforce by 25 percent in the near future. This is a gleaming example of a business that is successfully competing abroad, and, in doing so, is making a positive impact here at home. Stories like this are occurring throughout the Minneapolis region. The Minneapolis metropolitan area was the 9th largest export market in the United States in 2010. This success translates into jobs, because stronger businesses are more likely to expand and hire workers.

That’s why the National Export Initiative, which aims to double U.S. exports by the end of 2014, is such an important effort. When exports increase, so too does the benefits experienced by businesses and communities. Just last year, the United States economy saw a record-setting $2.1 trillion in exports, which supported nearly 10 million American jobs.

If we want to these numbers to rise, it’s imperative that American businesses know the Department of Commerce has resources to help them. Earlier this year we launched the “Build it Here, Sell it Everywhere: Commerce Comes to your Town” initiative to raise awareness about the resources available to help existing and potential exporters — with a clear focus on manufacturers.

Why manufacturers? Because manufacturing is responsible for much of America’s competitive edge on the world market. For instance, manufacturing is responsible for 70 percent of private sector research and development and 90 percent of patents — two of the most important investments to make for the future of our economy. And when you combine manufacturing and exporting, you get jobs. In fact, according to the latest data, nearly one-fifth of all manufacturing workers in Minnesota depended on exports for their jobs.

As the Under Secretary for International Trade, I have spent much of this year talking with leaders in important export and manufacturing hubs and spreading the word about the resources that Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA) has to offer exporters.

International trade relationships can generate incredible economic value. These partnerships not only bring profits and support jobs, but also spur innovation and help American companies maintain their global competitiveness.

And ITA is committed to promoting trade and exports throughout America. The resources and expertise at our disposal can be invaluable to existing and potential exporters.

So reach out to us, and we’ll help you in any way we can.

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