Archive for the ‘Trade Missions’ Category

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Great Franchising Business Opportunities with Indian Partners

April 13, 2011

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

Assistant Secretary of Commerce Nicole Lamb-Hale visits a California Pizza Kitchen franchise at the Phoenix Mills Complex in Mumbai, India

Assistant Secretary of Commerce Nicole Lamb-Hale visits a California Pizza Kitchen franchise at the Phoenix Mills Complex in Mumbai, India. Photo courtesy Sherwin Crasto, DNA

I am very proud to represent the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Government on the very first franchising trade mission to India.  To kick things off, the 15 U.S. franchising companies on the mission met with other companies that have successfully entered the Indian market.  There was also a great presentation from McDonald’s on how they have managed to succeed in franchising here in India.  McDonald’s opened up their first restaurant in India in 1996.  Today they are the largest restaurant chain in India.  Franchising offers great opportunities for U.S. companies and for Indian entrepreneurs to work together.  After that the companies on the trade mission had matchmaking meetings with potential partners here in India.  I had some great meetings with other U.S. companies on the kind of things they are looking for to succeed as well as the Indo-American Education Council and learned about some great opportunities for American educational institutions.  I was excited to talk with CNBC India, Reuters and Dow Jones about the mission, it’s objectives and all the great companies who are here looking for opportunities and told them about the National Export Initiative — or the NEI, as it is often called — and the many opportunities for collaboration between U.S. and Indian business.

We finished our first day with the welcome reception at the Consul General’s residence here in Mumbai.  Approximately 150 people attended the reception including our 15 trade mission companies, potential Indian trading partners, banks, and members of the U.S. government.  Consul General Paul Folmsbee and I gave remarks, stressing the importance of U.S. and Indian partnership.  I look forward to our next stop in Hyderabad and New Delhi later in the week.  With me on the mission are the following great U.S. companies.

  1.  Applebees
  2. BannaStrow’s Crepes and Coffee
  3. CKR Restaurants
  4. Denny’s Restaurants
  5. FOCUS Brands
  6. Johnny Rockets
  7. Molly Maid, Inc.
  8. One and Four LLC
  9. Pollo Tropical
  10. United Franchise Group
  11. Wendy’s Arby’s International
  12. Rita’s Italian Ice
  13. Which Wich Superior Sandwiches
  14. Wing Zone
  15. Radio Shack
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Trade and Investment Mission to Tunisia Follow Up

April 11, 2011

Chris Wilken is the North Africa Desk Officer for Market Access and Compliance.

At least half of the companies returning from a recent trade mission to  Tunisia have reported promising leads, indicating that they intend to return to the country to finalize deals. Ten U.S. companies participated in the Trade & Investment Mission, organized by the Department of State and joined by Assistant Secretary of Commerce Suresh Kumar.  Mission participants included companies in renewable energy, private equity, defense/security, and telecommunications sectors.  Companies had more than 70 meetings with potential local partners and Tunisian government officials.   The goal of the trade mission was to foster ties between the American and Tunisian private sectors so that U.S. companies participate in Tunisia’s successful political transition.

Tunisia’s recent political changes have dramatically improved the business environment for American companies.  The trade mission members were told by the new Tunisian officials of the high regard they hold for U.S. companies and their desire to see an increased U.S. business presence in the country.  Government officials also indicated that they wish to move forward on a number of pro-business economic reforms.  There is also a major push in Tunisia to focus on the prevention of corruption, a major grievance leading to the departure of President Ben Ali.

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Civil Nuclear Trade Mission – Czech

July 19, 2010

Francisco J. Sánchez is the Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade

We traveled from Poland to Prague, where the magnificence of the cobblestone streets and crumbling spires are as historic as the government tender that is currently open for bidding –  the two new nuclear power plants scheduled for building represent the largest single U.S. commercial opportunity not only in Czech, but in all of Europe.   The project is worth an estimated $27.5 billion, and will create thousands and thousands of jobs.  If Westinghouse, one of three companies in the final running along with competitors from France and Russia, wins the bid, billions of those dollars will represent new U.S. exports, and thousands of those jobs will be high-paying U.S. jobs.  We are promoting a fair and transparent procurement process, for if that happens, we are confident nobody can match the experience, expertise and technology of powerhouse Westinghouse.  This is what the National Export Initiative is all about.

After touring the actual Czech build site at Temelin, we traveled by bus through the sun-flowered rolling hills onwards to Slovakia and the charming capital of Bratislava.  One barely notices when crossing the border of these neighboring countries, and their commercial ties are deeply intertwined as well.  In fact, the largest energy project currently in the works would be constructed and operated as a joint venture – 51% owned by the Slovak government and 49% owned by the Czech Energy Works.  As we have throughout this trade mission, we enjoyed a warm welcome by our local staff as well as government counterparts, and candid discussions on opportunities and working together.  The tender here reflects the importance of financing in landing these enormous deals – as private financing must be secured for the entire cost of the project.  This is where our inter-agency efforts are critical, and our ability to provide access to capital and financing for our companies essential in enhancing our exports abroad.

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Civil Nuclear Trade Mission – Poland

July 19, 2010

Francisco J. Sánchez is the Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade

I have spent the last few days in Warsaw, Poland, on the first stop of a Civil Nuclear Trade Mission.  Traveling with me are other member of the Department of Commerce, as well as team leads from the Department of State and the Department of Energy.  The impressive government team represents this Administration’s commitment not only to nuclear energy, but to working together as an inter-agency unit to fulfill the goals of the National Export Initiative.  We also have the pleasure of the company of nine of America’s top companies in the nuclear energy sector, as well as representation from our academic community.  Together we represent the leadership, skills, support, and partnership to help this region of the world meet their nuclear energy goals.  And our strong ally and friend Poland is the perfect place to start – here’s to old friendships and new partnerships!

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Trade Mission to the Emerging Market of Saudi Arabia

June 7, 2010

Francisco J. Sánchez is the Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade

Wow.  Saudi Arabia is giving new meaning to the term “emerging market”.  I have just arrived to lead a public health trade mission here and in Qatar, and the trade and investment opportunities are incredible.  Saudi Arabia has plans to invest over 500 billion dollars in new infrastructure, health care, and education projects in the coming years, including many opportunities for the medical and water technology companies that are here with me.  Saudi Arabia not only has a friendly business climate, but the warm hospitality towards us and Americans in general has been deeply appreciated and noted by all.  I want to thank the exceptional Commercial Service team here on the ground for their efforts in developing what is clearly going to be a very successful trade mission.

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Connecticut Trade Mission Finds Success in Israel

April 8, 2010

Jim Cramer is the Deputy Senior Commercial Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv.  He and his colleagues promote U.S. exports to the Israeli and Palestinian economies, with particular emphasis on small and medium sized American companies.

First full day of the Trade Mission already generates returns

What a day.  We kept Congressman Joe Courtney and the entire delegation running at full speed.  At 8 a.m. sharp, Joe and a handful of Connecticut defense companies went to the Israeli Ministry of Defense for a meeting to promote their products.  Connecticut’s high tech defense sector is a perfect match for Israel’s security needs.

While Joe and the group were busy at the Ministry, our other delegates started their jam-packed Gold Key schedules.  Getting these schedules organized was a lot of work, but we had great help.  Anne Evans, Melissa Grosso and the entire team from the Middletown U.S. Export Assistance Center were fantastic.  The Commercial Service Israel understands how to do business in Israel, and Anne and Melissa know the needs and challenges facing Connecticut’s exporters.  Working together we really arranged some amazing schedules that targeted in on specific client needs.  Great job Anne & Melissa!

Congressman Courtney kept running all day.  Following his morning meeting he was interviewed for a Connecticut radio show and had lunch with 2 of Israel’s top entrepreneurs.  While Connecticut and Israel may both lack natural resources, each makes up for it through smarts and entrepreneurial spirit, so today’s lunch was a perfect fit.  Joe rejoined many of the delegates after lunch for a briefing on opportunities in Israel’s security and medical sectors put on by our partner, the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute.

All of these activities were great, but what we are really about is returns.  And today we heard that one of the delegates may have made a multi-container sale to an Israeli distributor.  Some final negotiations are going on tomorrow, and I don’t want to jinx it, but I feel great about accomplishing something like this in such a short period.

I followed up with a lot of the delegates during tonight’s fantastic networking event at the Ambassador’s residence.  One delegate whose schedule was managed by our senior specialist Irit van der Veur couldn’t believe how perfectly tailored his meetings were.  Another thanked me over and over again for the help CS Israel had provided, and a third company couldn’t stop complementing the work Christina Azar in our office did for them.  What a team!

Everyone seemed exhausted and exhilarated from what they were able to accomplish during this first day of meetings.  I can’t wait to see them at dinner tonight to hear about the success they’ll find today!

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Connecticut Trade Mission Hits the Ground Running in Israel

April 7, 2010

Jim Cramer is the Deputy Senior Commercial Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv.  He and his colleagues promote U.S. exports to the Israeli and Palestinian economies, with particular emphasis on small and medium sized American companies.

Congressman Joe Courtney and his trade delegation arrived to Israel without a hitch today (April 6).  The entire group got together tonight to review their schedules with our commercial specialist staff and to be briefed on the Israeli economy.  For those companies taking advantage of our Gold Key matchmaking service, our office was able to set up over 70 business-to-business meetings.  Many of the companies saw such a demand for their products that they are meeting with 5 – 7 Israeli companies each day for two days.  What a success!

During tonight’s get together our office’s senior commercial officer, Jonathan Heimer, spoke about the opportunities Israel’s fast moving and innovative market provides American companies.  Our good friend Tamar Guy, Executive Director of the Israel-America Chamber of Commerce & Industry also spoke, and with good humor and grace gave the delegation an inside view of Israeli culture.

And luckily, we were all together to celebrate Congressman Courtney’s birthday.  Happy birthday Joe!  As you said, getting such a great delegation together that will bring jobs to Connecticut is one heck of a gift.

Wednesday is going to be a busy day.  Our Gold Key companies begin their b2b schedules and Congressman Courtney will also be shuttling about the Tel Aviv area for meetings with Israeli business and government leaders.  We have a networking event tonight at our Ambassador’s residence; we are keeping everyone busy!

This mission really exemplifies the power of President Obama’s National Export Initiative.  It brings together the resources of the U.S. government and the private sector to find success and profit via exports.  Thanks to the Connecticut District Export Council for their support and Anne Evans of our Middletown U.S. Export Assistance Center for her help.  What a way to bring the NEI to Israel!

Stay up to date on this trade mission via this blog.  If you would like any further information on the Israeli market, the best place to start is our website, www.buyusa.gov/israel.

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Thoughts from Day 5 of Our Historic Trade Mission to Africa

March 11, 2010

Suresh Kumar is the Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Director General of the U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service

Greetings from Johannesburg! I just arrived here last night, on a flight from Dakar, where I have been leading 8 terrific U.S. companies on a Commerce Department trade mission to Senegal and South Africa. This delegation represents the first trade mission of the Obama Administration to Sub-Sahara Africa, and the first trade mission by the U.S. Government to Senegal in over ten years.

Our delegation completed a whirlwind three days in Senegal. We made great progress in laying a foundation for increased commercial engagement that will lead to a stronger Africa and a stronger America. Our Foreign Commercial Service office in Dakar arranged matchmaking meetings for our companies with over 70 qualified Senegalese buyers. U.S. Ambassador Marcia Bernicat and I had frank and constructive meetings with the Prime Minister and other senior ministers. We emphasized the Obama Administration’s commitment to free and fair trade, and open and transparent processes. We also secured a Memorandum of Understanding from the Government of Senegal on following FAA guidelines covering federal air marshals.

I have spent the last few years working with African leaders on strategies for developing their nations. This mission reinforced that trade more than aid leads to sustainable economic stability and prosperity. Clearly, the International Trade Administration, through the US & Foreign Commercial Service, has a pivotal road to play in expanding trade to create jobs, and ensuring that U.S. economic and national security interests are protected.

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More from the Libya and Alegeria Trade Mission

February 24, 2010

Nicole Lamb-Hale is Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Services.

Saturday, Feb. 20th

After a string of successful meetings in Algeria, I traveled with the companies to Libya, where I was again humbled and inspired by the very warm welcome I received.  This is the first trade mission to Libya since our countries resumed diplomatic relations, and you can sense its historic nature everywhere we go.  All around us, we sense the opportunities for U.S. companies to extend their products and services here.  This emerging market has huge potential and the government has tremendous liquid capital to fund and support programs and partnerships with U.S. businesses.  The Libyan Economic Development Board offered us an overview of the commercial climate and of their interest in infrastructure programs focusing on transportation, communications, housing, utilities, health-care, education and energy/power services.  In Libya, foreign direct investment can be wholly foreign-owned or part of a shared partnership.  However, it is clear the government will support joint partnerships as well as businesses that want to create long-term investments in the country.  I am excited to dig into the details in the days ahead…

Sunday, Feb. 21st

We scheduled over 150 meetings between our companies and various public and private sector partners in the days ahead.  Kudos to the excellent local Commercial Service staff who organized so busy, useful and, ultimately, productive schedule for our trade mission participants!  Most of our meetings are “small group forums,” during which companies from a particular sector meet with local high-level decision makers and government officials who oversee the local development of that sector.  For example, we brought in our companies that build hospitals and create high-tech health-care technologies to meet with the Minister of Health and his team who are modernizing the Libyan health-care industry.   We brought in our military and defense contractors to meet with the Minister of Public Security (sort of a mix of our Interior and Homeland Security Departments) to discuss procurement processes and what our companies could offer in terms of products and training.  Our construction companies met with the Ministry of Housing and Utility Projects…I think you get the idea here, and it is inspiring to see the happy faces on our companies after we facilitate these connections!

Monday, Feb. 22nd

This is my last full day on this trade mission.  While I am excited to return to the United States, I will be missing my new Algerian and Libyan friends, as well as the wonderful people I have met from the U.S. private sector.  I look forward to follow the progress of the new partnerships and new investments we helped jumpstart in North Africa.  While formal meetings can generate many successes, the less formal dinners and receptions at times make for better networking opportunities.  Let me just share one such instance.  At a dinner sponsored by the Libyan Businessmen’s Council, I sat next to the Under Secretary for Economy and Trade, the charming Mr. Sarkez, and we were joined by the CEO of Libyan Airlines.  While discussing Boeing, one of our companies on this mission, my Libyan colleagues became so eager to learn more that they secured new meetings for Boeing with the Minister of Transportation for the following day.  The company’s representatives extended their stay!  Other companies had the same experience.  These fantastic connections that came out of this historic trade mission make me want to stay and do more to promote the development of trade and business…but tomorrow it is back to the USA for me!

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More from the Libya and Algeria Trade Mission

February 24, 2010

Nicole Lamb-Hale is Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Services.

Saturday, Feb. 20th

After a string of successful meetings in Algeria, I traveled with the companies to Libya, where I was again humbled and inspired by the very warm welcome I received.  This is the first trade mission to Libya since our countries resumed diplomatic relations, and you can sense its historic nature everywhere we go.  All around us, we sense the opportunities for U.S. companies to extend their products and services here.  This emerging market has huge potential and the government has tremendous liquid capital to fund and support programs and partnerships with U.S. businesses.  The Libyan Economic Development Board offered us an overview of the commercial climate and of their interest in infrastructure programs focusing on transportation, communications, housing, utilities, health-care, education and energy/power services.  In Libya, foreign direct investment can be wholly foreign-owned or part of a shared partnership.  However, it is clear the government will support joint partnerships as well as businesses that want to create long-term investments in the country.  I am excited to dig into the details in the days ahead…

Sunday, Feb. 21st

We scheduled over 150 meetings between our companies and various public and private sector partners in the days ahead.  Kudos to the excellent local Commercial Service staff who organized so busy, useful and, ultimately, productive schedule for our trade mission participants!  Most of our meetings are “small group forums,” during which companies from a particular sector meet with local high-level decision makers and government officials who oversee the local development of that sector.  For example, we brought in our companies that build hospitals and create high-tech health-care technologies to meet with the Minister of Health and his team who are modernizing the Libyan health-care industry.   We brought in our military and defense contractors to meet with the Minister of Public Security (sort of a mix of our Interior and Homeland Security Departments) to discuss procurement processes and what our companies could offer in terms of products and training.  Our construction companies met with the Ministry of Housing and Utility Projects…I think you get the idea here, and it is inspiring to see the happy faces on our companies after we facilitate these connections!

Monday, Feb. 22nd

This is my last full day on this trade mission.  While I am excited to return to the United States, I will be missing my new Algerian and Libyan friends, as well as the wonderful people I have met from the U.S. private sector.  I look forward to follow the progress of the new partnerships and new investments we helped jumpstart in North Africa.  While formal meetings can generate many successes, the less formal dinners and receptions at times make for better networking opportunities.  Let me just share one such instance.  At a dinner sponsored by the Libyan Businessmen’s Council, I sat next to the Under Secretary for Economy and Trade, the charming Mr. Sarkez, and we were joined by the CEO of Libyan Airlines.  While discussing Boeing, one of our companies on this mission, my Libyan colleagues became so eager to learn more that they secured new meetings for Boeing with the Minister of Transportation for the following day.  The company’s representatives extended their stay!  Other companies had the same experience.  These fantastic connections that came out of this historic trade mission make me want to stay and do more to promote the development of trade and business…but tomorrow it is back to the USA for me!

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