Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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Teaching Veterans the Cadence of Global Business

November 8, 2013

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Anne Evans and Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) pose after Evans was awarded the Department of Defense Reservist and Guard Patriot Award.

Anne Evans and Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) pose after Evans was awarded the Department of Defense Reservist and Guard Patriot Award.

If Anne Evans’ 2009 appointment had begun on time, 22 Connecticut veterans might have never had the opportunity to learn about business.

“I was waiting for a meeting and I just started talking to the receptionist in the office,” said Evans, the district director at the U.S. Export Assistance Center (USEAC) in Middletown, Conn. “I couldn’t believe what she was telling me.”

That receptionist’s husband was a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Navy. After retiring from service, he had trouble finding a job because potential employers felt he had no business experience. Knowing something about the Connecticut business community after years of working in international trade, Evans saw an opportunity to help.

She approached leaders in Middletown and throughout the state. She worked with colleges to find student veterans interested in learning about business. Through the Connecticut Department of Labor’s Transition Assistance Program, she brought on her first veteran for an unpaid internship in 2009. Then in 2010, she was able to secure funding for a paid internship in her office.

Since 2009, Evans has brought in a total of 22 student veterans as interns. Her work recently earned her the Department of Defense Reservist and Guard Patriot Award, which recognizes workplace supervisors who have gone out of their way to support members of the military reserves.

There are currently four veterans in her office as part of the program, helping Connecticut businesses increase their exports. The team in place now is reimbursed through a number of state programs.

Also on Evans’ full-time staff is Coast Guard veteran Anthony Sargis, who earned the first paid internship in the Middletown USEAC in 2010.

Evans is proud to point out that every veteran who has interned in her office has gone on to find employment.

“This is really important work,” said Evans, who knows the motto of each branch of the U.S. military. “We’re looking at ways to keep expanding this program. These veterans deserve it.”

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Farewell and Thank You

November 6, 2013

Francisco Sánchez served with the Department of Commerce for more than four years, and was the Under Secretary of International Trade from March 29, 2010, through November 6, 2013.

Francisco Sánchez speaking at the SelectUSA 2013 Investment Summit

Francisco Sánchez

Today is my last day serving as the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade.

I’ve prepared to make that statement for weeks now, but it’s still a very difficult thing to say.

It’s not a position I leave lightly, but it is one I leave with a great sense of satisfaction at what we have accomplished.

During the more than four years I’ve spent here at the International Trade Administration, the United States has seen remarkable growth in exports, including three consecutive years of record exports. We’re on track for yet another year of record exports in 2013. President Obama’s National Export Initiative is helping make it easier for American companies to increase their exports, bring their products to new markets, and help their businesses grow.

We just concluded the first-ever SelectUSA Investment Summit, which brought together 1,200 global business and economic development leaders to attract foreign direct investment to the United States.

Our national travel and tourism strategy is helping attract record numbers of foreign tourists to the United States. We finalized three free trade agreements and began negotiations on two more. We began new commercial dialogues with growing trade partners that will establish even more export potential in the future.

The most important fact lies behind these records and accomplishments – nearly 10 million American jobs are supported by exports. More than one million of them were created in the last four years. FDI supports more than five million jobs in the United States. Those people have good jobs helping drive our economic recovery.

The great news is that these accomplishments are not going to stop now that I’m leaving.

The numbers had little to do with me; the people behind those numbers are still here. The hard-working civil servants behind these initiatives will continue to serve. The innovative and driven American businesses that created these exports will continue to innovate.

When I walk out the door this afternoon, the muscle behind America’s export strategy remains here, diligently serving the American people.

I leave behind all the confidence in the world in the Department of Commerce team, from Secretary Pritzker all the way across the organization. Deputy Under Secretary of International Trade Ken Hyatt will provide excellent leadership until a new Under Secretary is confirmed.

I await with great anticipation all the future accomplishments that will come from the Department of Commerce. I can’t wait to see the continued successes of American businesses, the expanding commercial relationships with new partners, and the increased partnerships that will grow through trade.

I won’t watch these developments while in public service, but I’ll remain ever grateful for the opportunity I had to serve.

Thank you – all of you – for your support for me and your continued support for American businesses and American workers.

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United States Department of Commerce Plan for Orderly Shutdown Due to Lapse of Congressional Appropriations

October 1, 2013

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

Annual funding for the government expired on September 30. The Administration strongly believed that a lapse in funding should not occur. The Department is prepared for a lapse in funding that would necessitate a significant reduction in operations. Prior to a potential lapse in funding, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) required the Department to submit a draft plan for agency operations (PDF) in the absence of appropriations (a “shutdown plan”).

The plan may be modified with additional guidance from the Office of Personnel Management and OMB, and may be changed by the Department, as circumstances warrant. This plan (PDF) complies with the guidance provided by the Office of Management and Budget, the Department of Justice and the Department of Commerce. All employees who are Presidentially Appointed, Senate Confirmed will remain on duty.

In compliance with the restrictions of the Anti-Deficiency Act, the Department of Commerce will maintain the following services and activities during a lapse in FY14 appropriations:

• Weather, water, and climate observing, prediction, forecast, warning, and support
• Law enforcement activities for the protection of marine fisheries
• Fisheries management activities including quota monitoring, observer activities, and regulatory actions to prevent overfishing
• Essential natural resource damage assessment activities associated with the Deepwater Horizon incident
• Water level data for ships entering U.S. ports, critical nautical chart updates and accurate position information.
• Patent and trademark application processing
• Operation of the national timing and synchronization infrastructure as well as the National Vulnerability Database
• Maintenance, continuity and protection of certain research property and critical data records
• All services of the National Technical Information Service
• Export enforcement – the ongoing conduct of criminal investigations, and prosecutions, and coordination with other law enforcement and intelligence agencies in furtherance of our national security
• Budget operations required to support excepted activities under a shutdown, such as tracking of obligations and funds control.

The following services and activities will not be available during a lapse in FY14 appropriations:

• Most research activities at NIST and NOAA (excluding real-time regular models on research computers used for Hurricane and FAA flight planning)
• Assistance and support to recipients of grant funding
• Technical oversight of non-mission essential contracts
• Services and activities provided by:
−Bureau of Economic Analysis
−Economic Development Administration
−Economics and Statistics Administration
−Minority Business Development Administration
−Bureau of the Census
• Most services and activities provided by the International Trade Administration

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Americas Competitiveness Forum: Enhancing Prosperity of the Western Hemisphere

July 26, 2013

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

For the United States, the Western Hemisphere has provided a fertile ground for export opportunity. It is the destination for approximately 42 percent of U.S. exports, more than any other region across the globe. Since 2009, U.S. goods exports to the Western Hemisphere increased by more than $200 billion to nearly $650 billion, supporting almost four million U.S. jobs in 2011.

Specifically, exports to Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Panama, and Colombia are at an all-time high. The United States’ relationship with these Western Hemisphere partners is a top priority for global development.

That’s why the America’s Competitiveness Forum (ACF) is such a key event for the region.

Since 2007, the ACF has provided Western Hemisphere nations a chance to come together to share priorities, successes, and lessons learned to support sustainable growth in the region. It has attracted thousands of participants from the region’s public and private sectors, including heads of state and economic ministers, as well as leaders from business, academia, and civil society.

This year’s forum will take place in Panama City, Panama from Oct. 2-4. It will be an important step toward furthering the relationships that exist within the hemisphere. It will also provide U.S. companies access to high-level officials and potential clients to explore new export opportunities.

For more information about the ACF or to register for the Forum, visit: http://www.competitivenessforum.org/.

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ITA’s Transparency in Government Procurement Workshop Series Draws Crowds and Press in Southeast Europe

July 15, 2013
ITA's Adam Boltik presents on public procurement best practices in Bulgaria.

ITA’s Adam Boltik presents on public procurement best practices in Bulgaria.

In recent years, U.S. companies doing business in Southeast Europe have sought assistance on issues related to certifications, lack of transparency in tender announcements, discriminatory time limitations and the use of dumping prices. As Southeast Europe stands to benefit from over 50 billion Euro (approximately $65 billion) in EU funding in the 2014-2020 cycle, government procurement will be a driving force for these economies. Eradicating corruption and guaranteeing fairness is in the vital interest of U.S. exporters competing for these opportunities, but for these countries, as well, since future economic development will depend on spending the resources wisely.

I recently had the opportunity to accompany a Department of Commerce delegation that traveled to Southeast Europe to co-host a series of workshops on Transparency in Government Procurement. The International Trade Administration (ITA) partnered with the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the American Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria, and Bulgaria’s Public Procurement Agency in organizing the workshops, which drew an audience of government officials and members of the business community from around Southeast Europe. The workshops, held in June in Athens, Greece and Sofia, Bulgaria, helped shine a light on obstacles to fair competition in government procurement in Southeast Europe and gave the U.S. Government the chance to engage with the governments of Greece, Bulgaria, Macedonia and Romania on this topic.

Here at ITA, we take pride in promoting favorable business environments in foreign markets to level the playing field for American business. To support this effort, the workshops in Southeastern Europe focused on best practices in government procurement, and how the procurement processes of the United States federal government comply with international obligations.

The Commerce team reached out to over 200 individuals from the public and private sectors. In Bulgaria, there was wide coverage of the event in 12 different print and electronic news outlets.

The workshop series served as a platform for raising private sector concerns, from both a regional and U.S. company perspective, and it increased awareness of the rights to businesses and the obligations on public sector actors to ensure that U.S. exporters have the opportunities they deserve under the WTO’s GPA. Additionally, the information we gained in our discussions with foreign government officials and from U.S. exporters looking to be active in the Southeast Europe region will directly feed into our Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations as we look to provide even greater opportunities to compete on a fair playing field for U.S. companies.

If you are interested in the information provided during the workshops, you can find the presentations on the American Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria’s website.

If your company has experienced a trade barrier, please use the Trade Compliance Center’s online complaint form to let us know so we can help.

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Under Secretary Sánchez Highlights the Commerce Department’s Environmental Export Initiative in Spring Issue of World Water

April 8, 2013

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

Maureen Hinman is an Environmental Technology Trade Specialist in the International Trade Administration’s Office of Energy and Environmental Industries.

screenshot of environmental solutions exporter portal

ITA offers support to companies looking to export environmental technology.

The Water Environment Federation (WEF), a leading water industry association, recently interviewed Under Secretary Francisco Sánchez to discuss the Commerce Department’s ongoing Environmental Export Initiative (EEI). The interview is featured in the March/April issue of World Water- a leading water technology industry publication reaching 36,000 water quality professionals and 75 affiliated water industry associations around the world.

Sánchez highlighted the initiative’s new and enhanced programs that will help advance environmental exports in 2013. In particular, water technology companies can look forward to the launch of the fully mobile and interactive U.S. Environmental Solutions Toolkit. The Toolkit is an innovative online resource that provides foreign buyers with the U.S. model for solving environmental issues by marrying EPA research and regulatory guidance with a catalogue of U.S. technology providers. Sánchez emphasized the usefulness of the toolkit to water companies in particular noting that, “a second tranche of water modules will include solutions for arsenic in drinking water, biosolids treatment, and secondary wastewater treatment.”

The Under Secretary also relayed his enthusiasm for the Environmental Solutions Exporter Portal, which provides companies with a single window to access the full suite of U.S. government services in the environmental sector.

“It’s important to note that both the Portal and the Toolkit are demand-driven products that were conceived by industry,” said Sánchez, explaining that the tools will evolve as the government responds to needs of the private industry.

“The new Portal will offer options for real-time feedback on content and programs; it is designed to be both community- and results-oriented, offering a variety of avenues for information exchange and results tracking. The new platform will provide us with the ability to know what is working, what isn’t, and how best adjust to the changing needs of industry.”

You can read Under Secretary Sánchez’s full interview here.

Find out more about the Environmental Export Initiative here.

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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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Under Secretary Sánchez to Speak on Panel for Technology-Based Global Innovation

January 31, 2013

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

Tyler Braswell is an intern for the International Trade Administration’s Office of Public Affairs. He is studying International Business and attends George Washington University.

The Digital Age is upon us. The effect of digital technology on the global market has been well documented as technology-based companies continue to supply the world with innovative methods and products that increase the quality and efficiency of American lives and businesses.  The creation of jobs due to new technology as well as the continued financial success of technology-based firms has made the promotion of technology-based innovation a top priority for any economy looking to compete internationally.

President Obama’s plan to make high-speed wireless services available to 98% of Americans will make technology-based software and products even more accessible to American consumers. As technology is integrated more deeply into society, the U.S. is working to ensure that these integrations directly translate to domestic economic growth.

On Feb. 4, Francisco Sánchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, will participate in an event hosted by the Information Technology Innovation Foundation (ITIF). The ITIF is a non-partisan think tank whose mission is to help American policymakers better understand the nature of a new innovation-driven economy.

The ITIF discussion panel will focus on the increase in global competition to host technology-based firms and the benefits that hosting such companies can have on a country’s economy. The event will also feature information on how countries attract technology-based firms and what the U.S. has done to improve its appeal to those firms. The Under Secretary will be joined on the panel by the general counsels for NCR and Qualcomm.

Sánchez and the panel will answer questions from industry participants concerning the advantages currently offered to firms that choose to do business within the United States.

The Under Secretary will also provide information on certain policies the U.S. has enacted to promote technology-based industry within the U.S. as well as trade agreements designed to benefit American companies.

The U.S. is actively advancing trade agreements and initiatives to broaden market access. Technology-based firms will be among the primary beneficiaries. Trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will help technology-based firms by expanding access to key Asian markets and removing bans on border crossing data-flows.

American leaders—both in government and business—appreciate that supporting technology-based firms is necessary to achieve President Obama’s goal of increasing our exports and re-balancing our economy, which are embedded in the National Export Initiative. This event will reaffirm the International Trade Administration’s commitment to increase exports, further the global expansion of domestic businesses, and attract new technology-based industries to the U.S. economy.

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Putting International Trade at the Local Level

January 30, 2013

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

Elías González is an intern in the International Trade Administration Office of Public Affairs, and is a former West Point Cadet and graduate from the University of Pennsylvania.

Should local governments pay attention to international trade? American trade leaders think so and they’re helping city leaders take a bite out of the export pie.

International trade was a hot topic at the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Winter Meeting in Washington, DC this month, and representatives from the International Trade Administration (ITA) used the opportunity to illustrate how U.S. competitiveness depends on local communities.

Francisco Sánchez, Under Secretary for International Trade, emphasized the importance of the president’s National Export Initiative (NEI).  He said that 95 percent of consumers live outside the U.S., and that the NEI is instrumental in helping American businesses access those foreign markets. He also lauded its success, citing that U.S. exports reached a record $2.1 trillion in 2011 and that data when available next month will likely show that 2012 was even higher.

In a separate task force meeting, Walter Bastian, Deputy Secretary for the Western Hemisphere here at ITA, reaffirmed the importance of international trade, pointing out that trade with Mexico alone produces an average of $1 million a minute for the U.S. economy.

Bastian emphasized the importance of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade agreement among several Asian, Pacific, and North American countries, and how it will strengthen trade with Mexico. He said that it will help reduce the cost of doing business, potentially making that million-dollar-a-minute figure higher.

Sánchez and Bastian were quick to note that the economic benefits from trade are not felt only by the U.S. as a whole, but by local communities as well.

In a cooperative effort to help local communities enter the exporting business efficiently, ITA has partnered with the Brookings Institution on the Metropolitan Export Initiative (MEI). Several metropolitan areas in the U.S. are already participating, and the Under Secretary urged the mayors to utilize the tools the ITA provides. The MEI is one of many tools in place to remedy inefficiency. Inefficiency at the border—issues like long wait times for trucks—cost upwards of $6 billion per year.

Initiatives like the MEI help local communities gain greater control over their exports and create more efficient and beneficial trade partnerships.

Under Secretary Sánchez concluded his discussion at the conference by emphasizing that cities need to prioritize exports, reach new markets, and draw new investments. He reiterated what he and Bastian deemed crucial, that as cities succeed the country succeeds, and that ITA is here to help.

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Department of Commerce Working with EPA on Export Promotion

December 14, 2012

Todd DeLelle is an international trade specialist in the International Trade Administration’s Office of Energy and Environmental Industries.

Commerce Department and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials will be participating in a series of collaborative activities to promote exports of U.S. environmental solutions during POWER-GEN International, the industry leader in providing comprehensive coverage of the trends, technologies and issues facing the generation sector.  At this year’s show, EPA participation has been folded into the International Buyer Program, a joint U.S. government-industry effort designed to stimulate U.S. exports by promoting U.S. industry exhibitors to foreign markets. Department of Commerce and EPA representatives are meeting with power industry delegates from international markets and U.S. companies at the show’s Global Business Center.

The Department of Commerce and EPA continue to work together to promote U.S. technology exports by integrating EPA’s technical analysis into Commerce’s export promotion and trade policy activities. The two agencies lead The Environmental Export Initiative – an effort to enhance interagency efforts to support U.S. exports of technologies relevant to air emissions, water treatment, and solid waste management.  The Initiative was publicly announced on May 14, 2012 at American University by then-Commerce Secretary Bryson, EPA Administrator Jackson, U.S. Trade Representative Kirk, and Secretary of Agriculture Vilsak.  In 2010, the United States  industry that supplies these goods and services generated an estimated $312 billion in revenue, employed 1.7 million Americans, and experienced a trade surplus of approximately $13 billion, according to Environmental Business International. Its export activities underpin the advancement of environmental quality and human health in other parts of the world, while supporting increased jobs and economic activity in the United States.

While at the show, Commerce and EPA officials will be touting the recently developed Environmental Solutions Exporter Portal. The portal represents a on-line resource for companies interested in U.S. government services and products that facilitate exports. It provides a direct line to U.S. trade and environmental protection specialists and includes information on foreign environmental markets, export facilitation services, export finance products, trade promotion events, and policy initiatives that support the U.S. technology exports.

The Portal also links EPA analysis of key global environmental issues with U.S. solutions providers in the U.S. Environmental Solutions Toolkit.  Currently, the Toolkit includes modules on groundwater remediation,  nutrient removal in municipal water treatment, emissions control from large marine diesel engines, and mercury control from power plant emissions.  The addition of supplemental air pollution control areas is currently underway, including those relevant to: nitrogen oxides emissions control from power plants, air issues relevant to the oil and gas industry, and emissions from non-road diesel engines.

For more information, including how companies can participate, please visit the portal at www.export.gov/envirotech or www.epa.gov/international/exports.

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