Archive for the ‘Trade Missions’ Category

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Long Term Opportunities for U.S. Companies in Egypt

April 29, 2013

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Anne Novak and Nancy Luther are Project Officers for the Department of Commerce’s Trade Mission to Egypt.

Acting Deputy Under Secretary for International Trade Ken Hyatt (center) poses with participants in the Egypt trade mission.

Acting Deputy Under Secretary for International Trade Ken Hyatt (center) poses with participants in the Egypt trade mission.

The April 2013 U.S. Department of Commerce Business Development Mission to Egypt reaffirmed the U.S. private sector’s continued interest in the Egyptian market. Led by Acting Deputy Under Secretary for International Trade Ken Hyatt, the mission built on the positive trade relations between the countries.

After two days of meetings with private sector and governmental counterparts, the U.S. delegation of companies in the alternative energy, infrastructure, and safety and security sectors came away optimistic about long-term commercial and investment opportunities in Egypt.

The largest country in the Arab world with a population of more than 80 million, Egypt has historically been an attractive market for U.S. firms seeking to do business in the region. Long-term prospects remain good; American brands are highly visible, and U.S. products and technology are respected.

The International Trade Administration’s office in Cairo, headed by Regional Senior Commercial Officer Ann Bacher, arranged more than 100 customized business-to-business and business-to-government meetings.

Hyatt also held a range of bilateral meetings with key government officials, including Under Secretary Mohamed Omran of the Ministry of Electricity and Energy, who welcomed more involvement from U.S. companies in power generation projects as well as in technical training on managing power plants.

U.S.-Egyptian cooperation in electrical and solar energy projects was a key topic of discussion throughout the mission. U.S. businesses on the mission—with their innovative technologies and services—are well-positioned to support Egypt’s electrical and alternative energy projects.

This mission opened doors for new business opportunities for U.S. companies and continued Commerce’s efforts to strengthen bilateral economic and commercial relationships with the Egyptian Government.

This is the second group of U.S. businesses Hyatt has led to Egypt over the last seven months. In September 2012 he accompanied a U.S. Chamber of Commerce delegation of more than 50 U.S. companies exploring the Egyptian market.

A trade mission could be a key step to helping your business compete overseas. Your next customers could live in one of the countries we’ll be visiting on an upcoming mission.

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Timely Trade Policy Mission to Japan Yields Insights on Renewable Energy and Smart Grid Business Opportunities

December 27, 2012

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Cora Dickson is a Senior International Trade Specialist in ITA’s Office of Energy and Environmental Industries.

On a windy morning in early December, I stood on an observation platform gazing out over the sea of solar modules, and beyond that, the Pacific Ocean– or more precisely, Matsushima Bay, one of Japan’s “three most scenic spots.”  I was joined on the platform by several U.S. companies, officials and colleagues from the International Trade Administration (ITA) and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and workers from the Tohoku Electric Utility who were taking us on a tour of their solar power station.  The view was so breathtaking that it was hard to believe that in March 2011, the land where the solar panels now existed was covered by over 16 feet of water and debris from the tsunami.

International Trade Administration and Department of Energy employees pose for a photo with trade mission participants and workers from the Tohoku Electric Utility on an observation platform above Matsushima Bay in Japan in December 2012.

International Trade Administration and Department of Energy employees pose for a photo with trade mission participants and workers from the Tohoku Electric Utility on an observation platform above Matsushima Bay in Japan in December 2012.

This was the final stop in our “Tohoku (Northeast) Tour” to Fukushima and Miyagi, prefectures that are committing themselves to rebuilding with green technologies after being hit hard by the earthquake and tsunami.  The U.S. companies that signed up for the U.S.-Japan Renewable Energy Policy Business Roundtable in Tokyo on December 3 were given the option to take this tour, which also included courtesy call meetings with officials of both prefectures.

Led by ITA’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing Maureen Smith and DOE’s Deputy Assistant Secretary Phyllis Yoshida, the trade policy mission accomplished its goals: to gain insights into the evolving policy and regulatory landscape for renewable energy and smart grid in Japan.  It was tied to our bilateral discussions, known as the U.S.-Japan Clean Energy Policy Dialogue, allowing private sector input to guide the direction of cooperative activities between our governments.

Prior to the trade mission, my office published a market intelligence brief, “Japan’s Electricity Market and Opportunities for U.S. Renewable Energy and Smart Grid Exporters,” to highlight the complexity yet attractiveness of this burgeoning market.  While Japan is no stranger to renewable energy, it has revisited its policies and incentives due to several factors, including the March 2011 disaster that led to a shutdown of all but two nuclear plants in the country.  There is even talk of structural reform in the electricity sector.

Cora Dickson of the International Trade Administration stands by a sign indicating the high water mark of the floodwaters at the Tohoku Electric Utility's liquified natural gas plant following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Cora Dickson of the International Trade Administration stands by a sign indicating the high water mark of the floodwaters at the Tohoku Electric Utility’s liquified natural gas plant following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Another opportunity for U.S. renewable energy and smart grid companies to explore Japan’s market is coming up February 27-March 1 at the World Smart Energy Week in Tokyo, a Commerce certified trade show.  Please contact Takahiko Suzuki if you would like more information.

We will continue to shore up our alliance with the Government of Japan as well as Tohoku communities to promote clean energy.  The Tohoku Tour allowed us to talk with local people about how they envision renewable energy and smart grid technologies will help them manage their energy needs in the wake of the disaster.

On the same grounds of the solar plant in Tohoku, we also briefly visited the 400 MW liquefied natural gas plant operated by the same utility. It had been converted from a coal plant years earlier.  The plant was strong enough to withstand the tsunami, though the workers told of how they retreated to the third floor for several days until the floodwaters receded.  They had no power and they could not contact their families because all the phone towers were also destroyed.

As our bus rolled back towards the city where we would catch the bullet train to return to Tokyo, we saw newly reconstructed houses on the coastline as well as abandoned foundations.  These were solemn reminders that Japan is both vulnerable and resilient, and will take proactive steps towards a better future.  We hope U.S. companies can partner with them to reach their goals.

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Turkish Market Holds Opportunity for U.S. Businesses

December 13, 2012

Kristin Najdi is a Senior International Trade Specialist at the International Trade Administration

Last week, I had the opportunity to accompany Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez as he led a trade mission of 18 aerospace and defense companies to Ankara and Istanbul, Turkey. The trade mission helped connect U.S. businesses with Turkish partners to identify export opportunities, but also to strengthen the commercial and strategic ties between our two countries.

Strategically positioned at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and the Middle East, Turkey is a high priority market for the United States. With a population of more than 70 million, Turkey continues to be a vital economic hub for the region—with real GDP growth estimated at 8.2 percent in 2011, making it one of the fastest growing economies in the G-20.

President Obama’s April 2009 visit to Turkey – his first overseas trip – emphasized the importance of closer commercial ties between our two countries and continues to reap economic benefits. In fact, total bilateral U.S.-Turkey merchandise trade reached nearly $20 billion last year – an all-time record – and a 34 percent increase over the previous year.

Here at the International Trade Administration (ITA), we take pride in playing a key role in making it easier for U.S. companies to do business around the world, including in Turkey.  To support this effort, Under Secretary Sanchez spoke at “The Ease of Doing Business Symposium” in Ankara, which was co-organized by ITA.  During his presentation he highlighted challenges and opportunities in the Turkish market, and proposed concrete reforms.  He also held various bilateral meetings with his counterparts in the Turkish government to discuss ways of further strengthening our bilateral commercial relations.

Another key outcome of this trip was Under Secretary Sánchez’s announcement of the new U.S. private sector members of the U.S.-Turkey Business Council.  The Council is made up of senior-level executives from the United States and Turkey and provides joint policy recommendations to both governments on ways to strengthen bilateral economic relations.

U.S. businesses on this mission—with their innovative technologies and services—are well- positioned to help support Turkey’s aerospace and defense sectors. For example, the mission included a world leader in the design, manufacture, and marketing of thermal imaging and stabilized camera systems; a company with a strong set of businesses specializing in global infrastructure and finance; and well-known commercial jet and military aerospace manufacturers.

Our mission delegation was especially enthusiastic about the Turkish market for U.S. suppliers seeking joint-venture opportunities, including expanding opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises in the United States to support the continued modernization of the Turkish Armed Forces.

We also focused on the growing civil aviation market. Turkey, with its strategic geographic location, is located three hours by plane to 1.5 billion people and $23 trillion in GDP, and Turks have increasingly come to rely on domestic and international air service over the past years. Since 2002, there has been a 372 percent increase in domestic passenger traffic, a 77 percent increase in international passenger traffic and a 153 percent increase in total (domestic & international) passenger traffic. Overall, 329 private airline companies operate in the Turkish aerospace industry, 17 of which are Turkish. These companies are creating demand for aircraft parts as well as safety equipment, training and management – all of which are goods and services U.S. companies are well-poised to provide.

This trip was a great success in many respects.  It opened doors for new business opportunities for U.S. companies and continued Commerce’s high-level engagement with the Turkish Government to strengthen our bilateral economic and commercial relationship.

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An Infrastructure Trade Mission to Two Developing Markets

December 4, 2012

Adam S. Wilczewski serves as the Chief of Staff of the International Trade Administration.

Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sanchez (L) speaks on a panel in Hanoi, Vietnam on November 14, 2012 with (L-R) Ambassador David B, Shear, Leocadia Zak of the U.S. Trade Development Agency and John Moran from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.

Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sanchez (L) speaks on a panel in Hanoi, Vietnam on November 14, 2012 with (L-R) Ambassador David B, Shear, Leocadia Zak of the U.S. Trade Development Agency and John Moran from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.

Asia is home to many of the world’s fastest-growing economies. Countries like China and India readily come to mind. The impressive development of other Asian nations, however, should not be overlooked.

Two countries that have made big economic strides in recent years are Indonesia and Vietnam. They are among the fastest growing countries in the region, with growth rates of 6.5 and 5.9 percent, respectively, in 2011.

Both are members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the bloc of 10 states that forms the United States’ fourth-largest trading partner, making Indonesia and Vietnam important to the U.S economy.

For this reason, the U.S. government is committed to further improving trade relations with both of them.  Under Secretary for International Trade, Francisco Sánchez, recently led an Infrastructure Trade Mission there, underscoring these countries importance.  This trip marked Sánchez’s third visit to Vietnam in 20 months.  Our U.S. Government partners at the U.S. Trade Development Agency and Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) joined the ITA on this trip for a true whole-of-government effort.

Eight U.S. infrastructure companies – Black and Veatch, Cisco Systems, General Electric Company, Honeywell International, Inc., Oshkosh Corporation, The Shaw Group, Westinghouse Electric Company, and WorleyParsons, LLC – took the opportunity to explore these two foreign markets. Both countries have pressing infrastructure needs due to their high growth rate, offering exciting prospects for U.S companies in that field.

While in Jakarta, Indonesia – our first stop – the delegation met with public and private sector leaders to discuss opportunities that would be mutually beneficial to both of our economies.

Here, OPIC signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Indonesian Infrastructure Guarantee Fund (IIGF). The organizations pledged to work more closely together to promote private sector infrastructure investment in the world’s fourth most populous country.  A supportive Under Secretary Sánchez stated that “increased investment in infrastructure supported by OPIC will help to accelerate Indonesia’s already-rapid economic growth.”

In Vietnam, the participants met with numerous government officials and representatives from the private sector. Highlights on the agenda included an encounter with the Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and an American Chamber of Commerce hosted lunch in Hanoi.

Most discussions during the trade mission focused on the potential for collaboration on infrastructure projects in areas such as energy, aviation, environmental technology, architecture, construction and engineering.

This Infrastructure Trade Mission is another example of how the U.S. government is working to meet the National Export Initiative’s goal of doubling U.S. exports by the end of 2014.

Southeast Asia is an export market with great potential for U.S. businesses. This growing economic and political importance was underscored by the fact that President Obama chose to visit the region in November directly following his reelection.

Together, working in partnership with the U.S. business community, the International Trade Administration and the entire U.S. Government hope to continue to make progress in meeting infrastructure needs abroad in order to support good-paying jobs here at home.

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An Energy Revolution for Israel

November 9, 2012

David McCormack is an International Trade Specialist in ITA’s Manufacturing and Services unit.

The Oil and Gas Trade Mission to Israel business delegation.

The Oil and Gas Trade Mission to Israel business delegation.

Led by the Acting Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce Ken Hyatt, the U.S. Commerce Department Oil and Gas Trade Mission to Israel introduced 13 companies and 2 universities to the growing oil and gas industry in Israel. The participating organizations included two premier U.S. universities – The University of Texas, Austin and Texas A&M University, Kingsville.  Other Delegates included leaders in oil field services, logistics, consulting, data integration, consulting, and manufacturing.

The mission built on excellent trade relations between the countries, including America’s first ever Free Trade Agreement, signed by the U.S. and Israel in 1985.  More recently, U.S. Senator, Mary Landrieu brought the first ever oil and gas Certified Trade Mission to Israel in 2011, and the Government of Israel sent an inter-ministerial delegation to the U.S., earlier this year to see extensive energy development firsthand. Finally, on October 24, the US-Israel Joint Economic Development Group (JEDG) met in Washington, chaired by U.S. Treasury Secretary, Tim Geithner, and Israeli Treasury Director-General Doron Cohen.  A main topic of discussion was enhanced U.S.-Israel cooperation for natural gas development.  As the JEDG signed an agreement that will extend U.S. loan guarantees of $3.8 billion to Israel to 2016, the trade mission to Israel departed for Tel Aviv to explore the histroric opportunities to help build Israel’s new energy economy.

According to a 2010 United States Geological Survey (USGS) assessment, the Eastern Mediterranean contains approximately 122 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas, with a current market value of $240 billion. Industry representatives also report that they expect to discover oil in these offshore fields.  Finally, exploration efforts are also ongoing onshore Israel, creating opportunities for manufacturing, drilling, pipeline installation, etc.  Without a developed infrastructure to produce enough of their own energy domestically, Israel has historically been an energy importer. This will not always be the case, and many have recognized that these recent developments represent an energy revolution.  Many expect Israel to become a net energy exporter, but right now, extensive infrastructure and devlopment is needed.  U.S. companies are ready to deliver.

Hosted in Israel by Senior Commercial Officer Maria Andrews, the trade mission delegates attended the 2012 Israel Energy and Business Convention (IEBC), conducted site visits, attended receptions, participated in a roundtable discussion with Israel’s oil and gas industry, and participated in more than 100 customized business meetings.  The official program began at the IEBC, where Hyatt delivered a speech at the opening ceremony, and the U.S delegation was warmly received.

At the roundtable discussion hosted by Hyatt, Senator Mary Landrieu, and the Chair of Israel’s oil and gas association, Uri Aldubi, the delegation received presentations from Noble Energy, Zion Oil, and Genie Energy.  Noble briefed the delegation on their discoveries of around 30 trillion cubic feet of gas offshore Israel, and their future hopes for more gas, as well as oil, discoveries.  Zion, the largest onshore petroleum exploration leaseholder in Israel, spoke about how to do business in Israel, as a U.S. company, and their optimistic outlook towards Israel’s onshore potential.  Finally, Harold Vinegar, from Genie Energy, shared his vision for the development of oil shale in Israel.  Vinegar, formerly a Chief Scientist at Shell, stunned the crowd with his estimate of 250 billion barrels of recoverable oil in Israel’s shale deposits.  That evening, U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Daniel Shapiro, hosted the delegation at his residence for an exclusive networking reception with the leaders of Israel’s new energy economy.

Thanks to the efforts of the Commercial Service in Tel Aviv, the delegation received a rare and intimate tour of the port of Ashdod, and discussed opportunities in pipeline installation and logistics with port authorities.  Keeping a full schedule, they also attended government meetings in Jerusalem, and a high-level presentation and networking session, with industry and government leaders, hosted by the Herzliya Conference, and the Law Firm of Heideman Nudelman & Kalik, a CS Strategic Partner.

While in Israel, Hyatt met with several key government offices, including the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources, the Ministry of Trade, and the Office of the Prime Minister

U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu highlighted the opportunities for academic cooperation between the U.S. and Israel.  There are almost no Israeli born petroleum engineers still in Israel.  Universities in the Gulf states represent the best programs in petroleum and gas engineering, and specialized energy MBA’s in the world.  The 2011 and 2012 Oil and Gas Trade Missions to Israel are laying the groundwork for Israel’s energy industry by bringing advanced petroleum and gas engineering programs to Israel.

The delegates completed the mission feeling optimistic about the commercial opportunities in this sector.  The companies realize that doing business in Israel is often a long-term proposition and this will be the first of hopefully many visits to Israel that the companies will make.  The U.S. Commercial Service and our Strategic Partners are standing by to assist U.S. firms in accessing the historic opportunities represented by Israel’s energy revolution.

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Top Obama Officials Make Historic Trip to Burma in the Wake of Easing Sanctions

July 16, 2012

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

Francisco Sánchez is the Under Secretary for International Trade

Under Secretary Sánchez (top right) witnesses a signing ceremony where American company GE will provide renewable energy technology to a Cambodian firm, SOMA Group. Representatives from both GE and SOMA were on hand for the event

Under Secretary Sánchez (top right) witnesses a signing ceremony where American company GE will provide renewable energy technology to a Cambodian firm, SOMA Group. Representatives from both GE and SOMA were on hand for the event

As Under Secretary for International Trade, I have the privilege of working every day to expand opportunities for U.S. businesses, and strengthen the connections between different countries through trade and commerce.

Case in point: this past week, I accompanied Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Cambodia to speak at an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) business forum and then traveled to Burma to address a U.S.-ASEAN Business Council business mission as well as announce the first U.S.-Burma business deal since the U.S. government eased restrictions on doing business with Burma last week. I also had the unique opportunity to meet many of Burma’s government reformers and opposition politicians, including Nobel Peace Prize winner, opposition leader, and (now) member of Parliament Aung San Suu Kyi.

These were important efforts because, as President Obama has said, the Southeast Asia region offers incredible potential for increased trade with the United States. Most notably, it is home to a rising middle class, which means more potential customers for U.S. products and services.

In fact, trade between the United States and ASEAN member nations has increased substantially in recent years. With a combined GDP of $1.5 trillion, the ASEAN region is our fourth largest export market and home to some of the world’s most important trade routes. In 2011, U.S. exports to ASEAN nations broke records – exceeding $76 billion for the first time.

It’s critical that we keep this momentum going. One way is through deepening our commercial engagement. This marks my fifth trip to the region in just over a year. Secretary Clinton herself was involved in the business forum from its onset. And President Obama traveled to the region just last November. Clearly, stronger commercial and political ties between the United States and ASEAN member nations are of utmost importance to this administration as we implement a much-discussed strategic “pivot” toward the Asia-Pacific region.

My trip to Burma came at an especially historic time. In fact, this weekend’s visit marks the first time U.S. government officials have participated in a high-level economic and business mission to the nation in decades. And, last Wednesday, two days before we arrived in Cambodia, President Obama announced that the U.S. would be easing restrictions on investment in the country, allowing U.S. companies to responsibly do business in Burma.

Discussions on energy, supply chain efficiency and infrastructure were among the most prominent at the forum in Cambodia, with important discussions happening between the private and public sectors. As an illustration, I witnessed American company General Electric (GE) announce a partnership with the SOMA Group, a leading Cambodian industrial company while we were there. The SOMA Group selected GE’s Waukesha gas engine technology to power a new rural, rice husk biomass-energy project designed to supply renewable electricity. So the opportunities for U.S. companies here are already starting to bear fruit.

Indeed, much was accomplished during this trip. Ties between the U.S. and all ASEAN nations are now stronger than ever and we were able to personally commend Burma for its ongoing reforms and make clear that we expect further rapid progress on its path to democracy and economic inclusion. The partnerships that were created and strengthened over the weekend will pay dividends—including the creation of good-paying, export-related American jobs–for years to come.

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Hundreds of U.S. Companies Find Opportunities during Trade Winds-Asia

June 5, 2012

Bill Burwell has been with the U.S. Department of Commerce for 14 years and currently serves as the Director of the U.S. Export Assistance Center in Baltimore, Maryland.

Southeast Asia hosted its first Trade Winds event during May, World Trade Month. Organized by the International Trade Administration’s Commercial Service, more than 100 American companies participated in the trade mission. The events were hosted in Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia May 14-22.

Now in it’s fifth year, Trade Winds is an eight-day trade and business development conference, held in Asia for the first time. Those who attend Trade Winds find opportunities for business connections in key geographic regions. It is like a giant trade mission helping buyers and sellers make connections and sales.

The Trade Winds program, organized by the Mid-Atlantic region of the Commercial Service domestic network, has thus far resulted in more than $100 million worth of exports for participating U.S. companies.

The morning of the first day saw U.S. Ambassador to Thailand Kristie Kenney officially commence the mission with a ceremony in Bangkok, Thailand where the U.S. Commercial Service had arranged more than 50 business-to-business appointments for the visiting companies.

Meanwhile, 20 additional U.S. companies spent two days exploring business development efforts in Vietnam, where the U.S. Commercial Service in Ho Chi Minh City had arranged well over 80 business to business appointments for the visiting U.S. companies.

As the mission progressed, U.S. Ambassador to Singapore David Adelman welcomed the entire Trade Winds delegation of more than 200 business representatives from 100 companies to Singapore.  These companies spent the next two days participating in a Southeast Asia regional business forum, a forum that included more than 540 one-on-one consultations with Commercial Service Senior Commercial Officers representing 14 markets across the Asia-Pacific region. An additional 216 business-to-business appointments were arranged by the Commercial Service in Singapore for the American business representatives.

By May 21 and 22, Trade Winds – Asia had turned its focus to Malaysia and Indonesia. In Jakarta, U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission, Ted Osius welcomed a delegation of 17 U.S. companies while U.S. Ambassador Paul Jones similarly welcomed 10 U.S. companies to Malaysia. As with previous delegations, the U.S. Commercial Service offices in Jakarta and Kuala Lampur arranged 89 and 67 business to business appointments respectively for the visiting U.S. companies.

During the entirety of the Trade Winds – Asia conference, the U.S. Commercial Service arranged more than 500 business-to-business meetings between U.S. companies and commercial representatives in Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia. In addition, Commercial Service Senior Commercial Officers engaged in over 540 one on one meetings with U.S. business representatives and provided business development counseling on 14 Asia – Pacific markets.

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