Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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Former Secretaries of Commerce Urge Congress to Pass Trade Promotion Authority

March 25, 2015

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

Guest blog post by William M. Daley, former Secretary of Commerce (1997-2000)

Former U.S. Secretary of Commerce William M. Daley

Former U.S. Secretary of Commerce William M. Daley

Free trade agreements are critical to strengthening American competitiveness, spurring economic growth, and bolstering job creation. With the trade agreements we currently have in place, U.S. exports hit a record-high for the fifth straight year in 2014, reaching $2.34 trillion and supporting 11.7 million American jobs. Goods exports to the 20 economies that have trade agreements with the United States reached a record $765.1 billion in 2014– an increase of 4.3 percent from 2013.

As Commerce Secretary under President Clinton, I led a number of efforts to open new markets to U.S. goods and services, and to help American companies navigate the trade landscape in foreign countries. I visited more than 40 countries to promote U.S. exports, expanded the Department’s overseas commercial staff to support U.S. exporters, and aggressively monitored the impact of trade practices of other nations on U.S. business and workers. I saw firsthand how free trade agreements benefited American businesses, and supported good-paying jobs for American workers.

We must ensure that President Obama can utilize the same tools to negotiate and implement new trade agreements that have been afforded to every President since President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s.Along with nine other Commerce Secretaries whose tenures span back to 1973,  we all agree – passing Trade Promotion Authority is not a Democratic or Republican request; it is a bipartisan issue that Congress must address now.

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2015 MDCP Awards: Funding for Projects that Generate Exports

March 20, 2015

Brad Hess is the Director of the Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP).

Trade associations like the American Association of Independent Music, whose representatives are pictured above with Deputy Assistant Secretary Maureen Smith, can receive MDCP awards of up to $300,000 to pursue export development projects.

Trade associations like the American Association of Independent Music, whose representatives are pictured above with Deputy Assistant Secretary Maureen Smith (left), can receive MDCP awards of up to $300,000 to pursue export development projects.

The International Trade Administration (ITA) is now accepting applications for the 2015 Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP) financial awards. ITA’s Assistant Secretary for Industry and Analysis Marcus Jadotte announced an April 27 deadline for applications for this year’s awards.

Eligible applicants include trade associations, chambers of commerce, and other non-profit industry and economic development groups. An MDCP award to such a group includes both financial and technical assistance from ITA in support of projects that help U.S. firms to export.

MDCP awards are cooperative agreements. So, in addition to financial assistance, an award recipient benefits from a worldwide team of ITA professionals who advise and assist. Working together with these non-profit industry groups, ITA can help U.S. businesses, especially small- and medium-sized ones, promote and sell their goods and services to international consumers.

The competing non-profit groups will propose innovative projects that generate exports that create or sustain U.S. jobs. An eligible non-profit group must pledge a minimum of two-thirds of the costs of the project and plan to continue the project after the three-to-five year award period. An individual award is limited to $300,000. The funds may be spent during a minimum of three years at a rate determined by the project.

Since MDCP’s inaugural year in 1993, 136 awards have been issued. Uniform reporting of MDCP-generating exports began in 1997. From 1997 to 2014, the average annual exports generated by MDCP projects were $595million. On average, during this period, $335 in exports has been generated by MDCP projects for every $1 of MDCP award.

For more information, please visit http://trade.gov/mdcp/index.html.

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SelectUSA 2015 Investment Summit Highlighting United States As Premier Investment Destination

March 20, 2015

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

There is no time like the present to invest in the United States. In fact, the U.S. is rated #1 in the latest A.T. Kearney Foreign Direct Investment Confidence Index for the second year in a row, with the highest net positive rating in the index’s 16-year history.

With an incredibly attractive consumer market, a thriving culture of innovation, and the most productive workforce, the U.S. has shown itself to be an economic powerhouse. Companies of all sizes – big or small, startup or multinational– can benefit from the ideas, resources, and markets the U.S. offers in order to become a globally competitive nation. Because of these reasons, the U.S. proudly welcomes international investment.

When deciding to invest in the U.S., firms can look at five factors:

  1. Market: The U.S. is home to the most attractive consumer market and serves as a competitive export hub to the rest of the world. Free trade agreements with 20 nations give U.S.-based exporters better access to markets with more potential consumers.
  2. Economic Growth: During 2013 to 2014, Real GDP grew at a 2.8 percent annual pace. The private sector successfully expands with the longest streak on record for job growth.
  3. Business-Friendly Environment: The U.S. offers a transparent, fair and stable business environment and thriving capital markets to support developing companies.
  4. Innovation: As a world leader in research and development (R&D) and intellectual property protection, the U.S. provides a productive environment for innovation. Firms can improve their competitiveness by associating with research institutions and employing leading-edge manufacturing techniques.
  5. Resources: There is a manufacturing renaissance occurring due to the diversified resources, low cost energy and a well-educated workforce.

These compelling factors and more will be on display at the 2015 SelectUSA Summit next week.   The two-day Summit, March 23-24, is the premier event for those considering an investment. The event will feature nearly 600 representatives from nearly every state and territory, providing ample opportunity for investors to find the information needed to make investment decisions and connect with the right people at the domestic level. Many states, territories, cities, and regions are also hosting booths in the Summit exhibition hall to connect directly with investors.

All year round, SelectUSA coordinates federal agencies to address investor concerns relating to federal regulations. This year, representatives from 20 federal agencies will be on-site at a U.S. Government Pavilion in the Summit exhibition hall to meet face to face with investors, as well as state and local representatives.

The Summit is at capacity with more than 2,600 people registered from more than 70 markets, doubling the size of the inaugural event in 2013. President Barack Obama will give the keynote address on the first day.  Other Administration officials delivering remarks include Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of the Treasury Jacob J. Lew, Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack, Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez and Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx. Some of the world’s top CEOs will be there to discuss the advantages of investing in America and the jobs it creates. Among the executives speaking at the event will be Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google, and David Rubenstein, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of the Carlyle Group, the world’s largest equity firm.

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SelectUSA Works for Puerto Rico

March 19, 2015

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

Guest blog post by Alejandro J. García-Padilla, Governor of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico

Almost a year after we announced that Lufthansa Technik would establish an aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility in Puerto Rico, we are getting ready to celebrate the 2015 SelectUSA Investment Summit.

With an estimated economic impact of $2.2 billion over a 30-year period, Lufthansa Technik’s decision to establish an MRO site in Puerto Rico is a major strategic advancement for the Commonwealth’s economic development plan. The facility is well under construction and has secured JetBlue and Spirit Airlines as customers. The MRO is expected to begin servicing customers later this year.

Since I took office in January 2013, I have sought to diversify Puerto Rico’s economy by attracting foreign direct investment like Lufthansa Technik, a leading manufacturer and independent provider of technical services for the aviation industry.

And make no mistake, investing in Puerto Rico is investing in the United States. That is why, with the help of the Commerce Department’s Select USA program, we sought out Lufthansa Technik to create jobs that capitalize on the highly skilled workforce that our Island’s university system trains.

The MRO facility is helping to grow Puerto Rico’s aerospace and aviation industry, create high-skilled jobs, and stimulate science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. By 2016, up to 400 highly skilled workers will be employed there. Puerto Rico now has the infrastructure to train new aircraft mechanics, with the brand new Aerospace and Aviation Institute of Puerto Rico under development.

This deal was just the beginning of an exciting partnership between Puerto Rico and SelectUSA.  The Lufthansa Technik site is causing a positive ripple effect in the economy, spurring the growth of MRO suppliers.

I also recently announced that business technology consulting firm Infosys BPO will open a new center in Puerto Rico to serve the Island’s growing aviation sector. This investment is another example of foreign direct investment brought on by the ripple effects of the Lufthansa MRO. Infosys will utilize this new center to deliver complex order-to-cash business processes for clients in the aviation industry and create over 200 jobs. The company is looking to further expand its footprint in the region to service clients in the federal government sector and the healthcare industry.

I commend the work of President Obama’s Administration, which was instrumental in bringing Lufthansa Technik to the United States and creating hundreds of well paid jobs in Puerto Rico. I also express my deep gratitude to Vice President Biden, Secretary Pritzker and the SelectUSA Program for making these investments a reality.

The investment from Lufthansa Technik and its impact in the economy are proof that SelectUSA works. We look forward to a long partnership with SelectUSA.

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Making U.S. Manufacturing Stronger

March 18, 2015

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

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

Guest blog post by Phillip Singerman, Associate Director for Innovation and Industry Services at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

During his visit to Cleveland, Ohio, today, President Obama highlighted increased investment in a unique program that makes sure small and medium-size U.S. manufactures have the support they need to innovate, grow and succeed.

The president visited the Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network (MAGNET), one of 60 centers across the country in the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP).  MAGNET is one of the Ohio MEP affiliates located at Cleveland State University. These centers have helped manufacturers such as Ohio-based Wright Materials Research and Heather Moore Jewelry make improvements that led to the hiring of new staff, sped delivery of their products and generated new sales.

As a new report released by the White House (which was supported by our colleagues at the Economics and Statistics Administration) finds that small and medium-size companies like these form the backbone of America’s manufacturing supply chains and employ nearly half of all U.S. manufacturing workers.

There are many success stories in MEP’s 26-year history that demonstrate the benefits of investing in these manufacturers. And we plan to support many more. MEP has issued a Federal Funding Opportunity for non-profit organizations to operate centers in Alaska, Idaho, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utah, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. This is the second round of competitions in a multiyear effort to update MEP’s funding structure and will strengthen the network. We announced the first competition awardees in February 2015.

The awardees in this new competition will receive a total of nearly $32 million annually for five years from MEP, and all of that funding will be matched at a minimum dollar-for-dollar by non-federal sources. Over the course of the five-year awards, more than $320 million total federal and non-federal investment will be provided to support the small and medium-size manufactures in these states.

That investment will go a long way. For every dollar of federal funding, MEP clients generate nearly $19 in new sales, which translates into $2.5 billion annually. And for every $2,001 of federal investment, MEP creates or retains one U.S. manufacturing job. Since 1988, MEP has worked with nearly 80,000 manufacturers, leading to $88 billion in sales and $14 billion in cost savings, and it has helped create more than 729,000 jobs.

Revitalized centers will benefit each of these states, but I’m especially glad to see that Alaska is included in this competition because it is the only state that does not currently have an MEP center. However, based on a recent study funded by MEP, the state does have a small and vibrant manufacturing community that could truly benefit from the collaborative, public-private nature of an MEP center.

Running an MEP center is not an easy task, but the benefits to the country and local communities is tremendous. We’ll be hosting an informational webinar regarding the latest MEP competition on March 30, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern time (register by sending an email to mepffo@nist.gov), and applications are due June 1, 2015. I encourage all eligible non-profits to consider applying for this opportunity to help ensure a strong future for U.S. manufacturing.

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Greater Seattle: Marshaling Export Success for Future Gains in Direct Investment

January 15, 2015

Stefan M. Selig is the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade.

Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Stefan Selig delivers remarks to the Annual Seattle Economic Forecasting Conference on January 15, 2015.

Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Stefan Selig delivers remarks to the Annual Seattle Economic Forecasting Conference on January 15, 2015.

“Trade and investment is an expression of American greatness. It is not a threat to it.”

That was one of the messages ‎I delivered today at the 43rd Annual Economic Forecast Conference, held by the Economic Development Council of Seattle and King County.

The Seattle Metropolitan area has already established itself as an elite export hub. In 2013, this part of the country sold more than $57 billion in goods exports, making it the fifth largest metropolitan export region in the country.

But today’s event was an opportunity for me to learn about how the Greater Seattle region is planning on marshaling that export prowess to attract foreign direct investment.

When Greater Seattle  ‎puts together their toolbox for attracting investment, they will find plenty of tools from ITA.

That includes SelectUSA, the first ever whole-of-government program to attract FDI.‎ Their experience and success in connecting foreign investors with economic development organizations, as well as their advocacy and ombudsman services are why companies ‎ from China, India, Germany, and South Africa among other countries are setting up shop in the U.S.

Another ITA tool is our work to make the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Trans Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership a reality. While these are largely seen as trade agreements, they will also unlock also remove barriers to investment, which should boost FDI for the Greater Seattle region and the country.

Finally, we hope to bolster their public support efforts by doing our part to remind people that trade and investment is a platform for the best goods and services in the world, made by the best workforce.

On behalf of ITA, I would like to once again congratulate the Economic Development Council of Seattle and King County for this plan, which will surely make the region a leading hub for FDI. You can be sure that we will be there to help along the way.

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