Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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U.S. Exporter Finds “Lofty” Niche in Light Lift Technology

January 14, 2016

Curt Cultice is a Senior Communications Specialist in ITA’s U.S. Commercial Service

John Falls always had an affinity for engineering. One day, after taking advice from his brother-in-law, Falls partnered with long-time friend Ron Williams to pursue a solution that would allow people to safely and easily clean chandelier fixtures and replace bulbs without using a ladder. The two began building motors and winches that, when attached to pulleys, created a system that could raise and lower a chandelier. Soon, they were marketing their product to lighting showrooms around Memphis and Nashville, thus beginning Aladdin Light Lift of Huntsville, Alabama.

Chanelier

No ladder needed here. Aladdin Light Lift technology allows for easy maintenance through the lowering and raising of chandeliers, as shown by company representative, Kelly Mullins. The Alabama-based firm sells its products globally and stands to benefit from the TPP.

Falls and Williams were onto something, and by late 1990, the year of the company’s founding, the firm was selling an average of 10-30 motors and winches a month. The company branched out to area lighting representatives and set up distribution channels in Tennessee, Arkansas and Georgia, before selling to independent lighting representatives nationwide. Now, more than 25 years later, the business has sold 300,000 units in the United States and overseas.

Zach Barry worked as a product technician with John Falls in the early days of the company prior to being promoted to international sales manager in 2009. As Barry explains, Aladdin Light Lift services two primary markets: residential and commercial. The firm’s pre-wired pulley system of high-quality winches and motors support up to 1,000 pounds, with the 200-pound capacity model being the most popular in the United States. Overseas, its biggest sellers have a heavy-duty capacity of between 700 and 1,000 pounds, satisfying a strong niche market that gives the company a competitive edge over competitors from China and South Korea.

Selling to Trans-Pacific Partnership Markets

In the United States, about 80 percent of Aladdin Light Lift’s sales are residential and 20 percent commercial. But it’s the opposite internationally. Barry initiates about half the business, and the rest comes from referrals and word-of-mouth promotion. In 1996, the company made its first foray into exporting by making sales to Canada, and continues to expand its overseas sales today.

Once enacted, the company stands to benefit from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). By reducing or eliminating tariffs as well as non-tariff barriers, TPP will give U.S. businesses improved access to 11 Pacific Rim markets which collectively representing 40 percent of global GDP.

Presently, Aladdin Light Lift sells to distributors in 14 markets across the Middle East, Europe, Africa and Asia, including the TPP countries of Canada, Japan, Australia and Singapore. In fact, “The TPP countries account for nearly two-thirds of our overall export sales,” adds Barry. “We see the anticipated natural saturation and assimilation of more U.S. products and services into those markets as a real potential benefit.”

As Barry points out, that is exactly what resulted from the North American Free Trade Agreement, starting in the mid-1990s. The agreement increased overall demand for U.S. products and services and helped make Canada Aladdin Light Lift’s largest market. The company expects that increased demand for U.S. design, architecture, and construction firms doing business in TPP markets will in turn facilitate demand for Aladdin’s products.

While most TPP countries already have duty-free entry for Aladdin Light Lift’s products, implementation of the TPP agreement would immediately eliminate a five percent duty in New Zealand and Malaysia, opening doors for possible future sales. In addition, Brunei’s 20-percent tariff would be eliminated after seven years.

“Asia is a great market for us, and in places like Singapore and Japan, they are building upwards due to space restrictions,” says Barry. “That means lots of apartments and condos with low ceilings and few chandeliers. So, in these markets, we are focused on the solid commercial opportunities in hospitality, such as hotels and restaurants—and, most importantly, many of these TPP countries have the wealth to keep on building and buying.”

Aladdin Light Lift also does great business in Australia, where its customer base extends into the realm of the rich and famous, such as Angus Young, lead guitarist and songwriter of the Australian hard rock band AC/DC, whose home was outfitted with Aladdin Light Lift products. That “rocks.”

The “Go-To” U.S. Commercial Service

Barry credits much of the company’s international success to the U.S. Commercial Service (CS), describing it as part of his “export team.” Leveraging export counseling, market research, international partner searches, business matchmaking, and “general hand-holding,” Barry has connected with new global distributors through CS trade professionals in Alabama and Tennessee and at U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide.

“I was first introduced to the CS in Memphis,” he says. “Had I not been, I doubt our firm would be selling much beyond Canada right now, nor would I be working at this level with the company. When things are slow in the U.S. economy, we need to be selling overseas to keep up our sales, and vice versa.”

As for exporting, Barry says that if his company can do it, any company can. He notes the success of the firm’s niche product, and that, without exporting, the company would be minus as much as $400,000 since 2010, with fewer employees. But with exporting, its revenues have grown an average of $200,000 a year, with sales abroad accounting for eight percent of total revenue. The company has also grown from two to 15 employees since its founding. Today, John Falls serves as company president, and his wife Susan, as executive vice president. Ron Williams continued to offer encouragement and support after buying out of the firm years ago.

“Exporting keeps us competitive because it forces us to adjust to meet demands of the international marketplace,” says Barry. “We are always looking to take a page out of a competitor’s book.”

For Aladdin Light Lift, that means continuously improving its product line while monitoring trends in consumer behavior. As for lofty ceilings, will more international consumers “see the light” by hanging more chandeliers with Aladdin Light Lift technology? Barry is sure of it.

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2015: A Year of Achievement for Trade and Investment

January 13, 2016

Stefan M. Selig is the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade.This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

At the beginning of 2015, the President declared during the State of the Union that “the shadow of crisis has passed and the State of our Union is strong.”  Trade and foreign investment play an important role in making our nation strong. The successes we achieved last year to advance our trade and investment agenda prove that very point.  And for many of the successes that occurred in 2015, the International Trade Administration played a critical role.

Under Secretary Selig meets with the Council of the Americas in Mexico to discuss US-Mexico commercial partnership and the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Under Secretary Selig meets with the Council of the Americas in Mexico to discuss US-Mexico commercial partnership and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

One headline accomplishment from 2015 was our leadership in securing the first Trade Promotion Authority in 13 years, which will enable the President to conclude important trade agreements. One of these agreements represents another headline achievement: successfully completing negotiations for the largest trade deal in history in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which will increase access for U.S. businesses to 11 Pacific Rim markets representing 40% of global GDP.

Last year’s achievements also include the first ever U.S.-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue, which will serve as the signature bilateral forum for our two countries. We carried out the second “reimagined” U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade(JCCT), where we brought private sector stakeholders into our talks and worked throughout the year to secure real commercial gains. The second ever SelectUSA Summit took place, which convened 2,600 participants from 70 countries to highlight investment opportunities in the U.S. We assisted in concluding the first international tariff liberalizing agreement in nearly 20 years, which will reduce tariffs on U.S. information and communications technology exports valued at $130 billion annually. Finally, after the second cabinet-level meeting of the U.S.-Mexico High Level Economic Dialogue, several border infrastructure projects that will enhance our collective commercial and security interests were completed or nearly completed.

But by focusing solely on these and other major achievements, we run the risk of overlooking how ITA accomplished its day-to-day responsibilities: advancing the trade and investment interests of the American business community and supporting American jobs. In this case, the numbers alone tell the story.

Last year, ITA assisted more than 25,000 companies with their exporting needs. We supported 42 overseas trade missions to 28 countries, which included the participation of over 500 companies. ITA supported 35 domestic trade shows that brought in 13,500 foreign buyers, while arranging 8,000 meetings during those shows. We initiated a record 62 anti-dumping/counter-vailing duty investigations helping to secure a level playing field for American businesses. Clients of our SelectUSA program—which works to attract foreign direct investment into the U.S.—announced nearly 120 “greenfield” or new investment projects totaling an estimated $7.5 billion and accounting for tens of thousands of jobs. Because of our advocacy efforts on behalf of U.S. businesses, we successfully won 79 public-sector contracts with overseas governments, with those projects valued at $45.5 billion with $31.2 billion of U.S. export content. Clients who were directly assisted by ITA saw their exports increase by an average of 23%.

These successes contributed to a U.S. economy that saw a record number of jobs supported by exports (11.7 million as of 2014), which pay 18% higher wages on average, while 6.1 million Americans work for foreign-owned affiliates. All of these successes definitively prove why trade and investment continues to matter to our economy.

So as we look back at 2015, I believe we will see it as our inflection point; the year our country took that dramatic step towards embracing trade and investment as an enduring part of our economic agenda. Perhaps more important than what we accomplished last year, however, was how we accomplished it.

At the same time that we delivered these gains, we maintained our focus on providing best-in-class client service to American exporters: whether it is providing counseling and business matchmaking services, creating top-class commercial intelligence that businesses can access at no cost, leading trade missions, advocating to win projects in foreign markets, or maintaining a level playing field for American businesses here and abroad. Advancing the interests of American workers and businesses is and will remain central to ITA’s mission, and we looking forward to building on our success and working in service of that mission in 2016 and beyond.

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Registration Opens for the 2016 SelectUSA Investment Summit

January 8, 2016

This post contains external links. Please review our external linking policy.This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

Post by Vinai Thummalapally

The United States continues to be the premier investment destination for entrepreneurs and investors from all around the world. International companies are serious about committing to the U.S. market, evident by the overwhelmingly positive response to the last SelectUSA Investment Summit in March 2015.

Logo for SelectUSA 2016 Investment Summit

Logo for SelectUSA 2016 Investment Summit

I am delighted to announce that registration is now open for the 2016 SelectUSA Investment Summit to be held June 19-21, in Washington, D.C.

The Summit is an unparalleled opportunity to bring together businesses from all over the world, economic development organizations (EDOs) from every corner of our country, high-level government officials, and others working to facilitate investment in the United States. Foreign direct investment (FDI) creates American jobs, contributes to U.S. innovation, and bolsters American exports. In fact, in 2013, U.S. affiliates of foreign companies employed 6.1 million people, spent $53 billion on research and development, and produced more than one-fifth of all U.S. goods exports.

These companies know that success in the U.S. market can help drive success globally. A great starting point is access to millions of global consumers here and abroad through free trade agreements. Our nation is incredibly diverse and provides a thriving culture of innovation, the most productive workforce, strong intellectual property protections, and a stable energy supply. Here in the United States, companies of all sizes—from start-ups to multinationals— can find the ideas, resources, and market they need to be globally competitive.

Our unique environment for innovation will be the main theme of this year’s Summit. The United States is a world leader in research and development (R&D) and intellectual property protection. In 2014, it was estimated that more than 31 percent of total world R&D expenditures took place in the United States. Here, companies can increase their competitiveness by partnering with top-flight research institutions and employing cutting-edge manufacturing techniques.

The 2016 Summit will feature panels and speakers at the forefront of innovation in the United States. As a participant, you will be able to submit topic proposals and potentially present at the SelectUSA Academy, a pre-Summit orientation that covers the fundamentals of investing and promoting investment in the United States. During the Summit, you will also hear and gain insight from renowned professionals, investors, and thought leaders.

Both the 2013 and 2015 SelectUSA Summits were filled to capacity. Last year, we welcomed thousands of participants to Washington. President Barack Obama, six Cabinet members, and three U.S. State Governors addressed representatives from more than 70 international markets, including companies, business associations, and representatives from all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam. Participants got the chance to hear from several top executives and high-profile business and government leaders, who shared their insight on the latest business trends. U.S. economic developers from across the country and international investors met face-to-face. More than 1,700 individual business meetings were facilitated by the U.S. Commercial Service or initiated directly by participants.

I strongly encourage you all – from international start-ups to multinationals to state and local economic developers across the United States – to register soon to join us June 19-21, 2016 in Washington, D.C. I look forward to welcoming you to what I expect to be another successful SelectUSA Investment Summit and a win for the United States and the entrepreneurs who invest in our communities. The United States is open for business!

 

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Health IT – Exporting Critical Services to TPP Countries and Beyond

January 7, 2016

Marcus Jadotte is ITA’s Assistant Secretary for Industry and Analysis.

Health Information Technology (Health IT) has the potential to be one of the world’s most transformative industries over the next few years. The use of electronic health records to comprehensively collect and organize patient information, remote monitoring and telemedicine services to treat patients, and the use of statistical and analytical tools to determine the best course of treatment for both individual patients and entire populations of citizens, represent a few examples of how Health IT can have a significant impact on the health care sector in the future.

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries face challenges similar to those in the United States regarding delivery of health care, such as adequately and efficiently addressing a patient’s health condition, while maximizing cost effectiveness. Given that many TPP countries have health care systems at a relatively early stage of development, U.S. exports of Health IT product and service solutions provide a tremendous opportunity for these countries to quickly deliver improved health care to their citizens. Provisions in the TPP regarding pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and medical supplies, in conjunction with increased deployment of Health IT, will lead to critical improvements in the health care sector among all TPP countries, saving thousands of lives daily.

In addition, TPP will reduce the cost of exporting medical supplies, pharmaceuticals and medical devices; increase competitiveness of U.S. firms; and promote fairness. The agreement will eliminate tariffs, lower service barriers, and increase transparency while also increasing competitiveness by instituting stronger intellectual property rights protection and establishing enforceable labor and environmental obligations. In addition, TPP sets up new high-standard global trade rules, updating 20-year-old WTO rules for the modern economy.

When a level playing field exists, American companies and workers can effectively compete against anyone in the world; therefore, TPP will ensure that the rules of trade and investment are fair. With 646,000 U.S. health product workers in 2014, it is important that the new agreement protects made-in-America products.

Within the agreement, Japan and Malaysia will eliminate import taxes on 100 percent of U.S. health products exports immediately. Also, 99.9 percent of U.S. health products exports to TPP markets will enjoy duty-free access immediately.

In summer 2015, ITA released a Health IT market sector report that shows many export market opportunities for the industry. An updated report is scheduled to be released later this year.

TPP partner countries such as Japan, Mexico, and Singapore have great opportunities for U.S. exporters. Check out findings from our Top Markets reports on projected outcomes for the industry.

  • Japan represents an attractive export market for U.S.-made Health IT products and services, primarily for established companies. In fact, Japan ranked as the top country in the Health IT Top Markets Report, with a favorable demographic profile, the third highest GDP level globally, a largely urbanized population, a tech-friendly society, and sizable current market, coupled with significant ICT and health care investments already in place.
  • Mexico represents an important medium-sized Health IT market opportunity for U.S. companies, as evidenced by the strong trading relationship between the two countries. Several factors contribute to this opportunity, including Mexico’s recognition of the quality of U.S. products and services, the absence of regulations inhibiting innovation and expansion, and the ongoing investment in Mexico’s health care system. Several recent trade missions organized by ITA have demonstrated Mexico’s interest in U.S. products and services. In fact, the Mexican Health IT market is currently estimated at more than $200 million!Though the country’s Health IT market is not as large as other countries, it is one with significant potential for U.S. small- and medium-sized companies. More specifically, TPP addresses trade barriers that pose disproportionate challenges to our small- and medium-sized businesses such as high foreign taxes, overly complex trade paperwork, customs red tape, restrictions on Internet data flows, and weak logistics services. These challenges severely harm the ability of small- and medium-sized businesses to create American jobs.
  • Singapore represents a significant market opportunity for U.S. Health IT companies. Opportunities exist for U.S. companies in this sector, particularly for care coordination for private insurers and physicians, and possible deployment of new mobile applications. Using ITA’s Health IT market report’s methodology, the reasonably high-level of mobile phone subscriptions, strong score on physician density, and its highly urban population, are noteworthy market characteristics.

If you are interested in learning more about this growing industry, contact Matthew Hein (Matthew.Hein@trade.gov), Health IT industry analyst at ITA, or reach out to one of ITA’s local offices.

Note: Matt Hein will attend the largest Health IT trade show next month (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society conference and exhibition, February 29-March 4 in Las Vegas). He’d love to meet you at the event and discuss your company’s exporting goals.

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New ITA Report Highlights Jobs Supported by Product & Industry Exports

December 11, 2015

Chris Rasmussen, a Senior International Economist in the Office of Trade and Economic Analysis, is the Team Lead for Quantitative Analysis and the author of several publications on jobs supported by exports.

The International Trade Administration has released a report detailing the jobs supported by exports by specific product and also within individual industries. This report joins earlier work estimating total U.S. jobs supported by exports, jobs supported by state goods exports, and jobs supported by exports by destination.

When thinking about the relationship between exports and jobs the natural tendency is to focus on the workers employed in the industry that produces the final product that is exported. For example, a statistic for U.S. exports of chemical products may conjure up images of workers employed in chemical plants wearing hardhats and other protective gear.

However, products are not produced in isolation from beginning to end in a single industry, with the production of any product generally requiring the use of inputs from other industries. As a result of these interrelationships between industries in the production process, the export of a product will impact employment in multiple industries in addition to the industry that produced the export.

In the chemical products example, the production and export of those products will not only affect employment in the chemical industry, but also employment in industries such as petroleum and coal products, transportation, and other services whose products are used by the chemical industry.

By the same token, production and employment in the chemical industry will be impacted not only by the export of chemical products, but also by the export of agricultural products and products made of plastic and rubber that use products from the chemical industry as inputs in their production.

This report uses data capturing these interrelationships to look at the impact of exports on employment throughout the supply chain. This report finds that as a group, manufacturing industries have the highest share, 27 percent, of their employment supported by exports. The report further finds that although 60 percent of all export-supported jobs are supported by the export of goods, 67 percent of all export-supported jobs are jobs located within service industries.

In fact, the report indicates that for every job within manufacturing industries supported by the export of manufactured products there is an additional job supported in service industries by the export of those manufactured products.

Visit our website to learn more about jobs supported by exports.

 

 

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Textiles & Apparel – A Global Industry

December 10, 2015

Joshua Teitelbaum is ITA’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Textiles, Consumer Goods, and Materials.

With the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) eliminating more than 18,000 foreign taxes on Made-in-America exports, it’s no secret that the TPP will bring major opportunities for American manufacturers. This includes one of the most important U.S. export industries: Textiles and Apparel.

In fact, in 2014, the United States exported more than $8.5 billion globally in technical textiles, which are textile products used primarily for their performance qualities rather than their appearance. Technical textiles include seat belts, surgical gowns, and industrial filters, among many other items.

Under the TPP, Japan—which maintains duties on our technical textiles exports as high as 8.2 percent and is our fifth largest export market for these products—will eliminate nearly all of their duties on our technical textiles exports immediately. Eliminating these foreign taxes on U.S. products is how we boost U.S. manufacturing and support American textile workers.

In addition, by setting new, high-standard global trade rules, TPP puts American workers first. These high standards include the strongest enforceable labor standards of any trade agreement in history. The new agreement also supports U.S. manufacturing, especially by small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs), by streamlining customs processes, facilitating greater transparency in rules, and preventing unfair competition from state-owned enterprises.

While 98 percent of U.S. exporters are small businesses, less than five percent of U.S. businesses sell their goods and services to markets overseas. Thankfully, the new agreement is an opportunity to boost exports and make it easier for more SMEs to do business abroad. For the first time in any trade agreement, TPP includes a dedicated chapter on small- and medium-sized businesses that focuses on how these companies can benefit from trade.

Recently, the Industry & Analysis division in the International Trade Administration produced a series of market assessment tools for U.S. exporters called Top Markets Reports. As we prepared these reports, our research revealed that competition in the global market for technical textiles is very strong. In the reports, some industry highlights for TPP partner countries include:

  • Canada continues to be an attractive export market for U.S.-made technical textiles, especially for companies that are new-to-export and/or new-to-market. The Canadian market is the second largest market for U.S. exports of textiles and apparel. Due to proximity, similar business cultures, and a high receptivity for U.S.-made products, there is a high volume of bilateral trade between the United States and Canada.Similar to the United States, Canada has experienced an economic shift in its textile industry. This shift has moved away from manufacturing traditional high-volume commodity textile products to developing and manufacturing technical textiles.
  • Mexico is the United States’ largest market for textiles and apparel. The size of Mexico’s textile and apparel sector coupled with its proximity to the United States and the flexibilities afforded to U.S. exporters through NAFTA, ITA expects continued investment in all four technical textile sectors— non-woven, medical, protective, and specific/industrial —and continued growth into the future.
  • Vietnam’s textile and apparel industry is growing faster than that of many of its regional competitors. The Vietnamese textile industry has more than 3,800 companies. Foreign companies are starting to pour more money into Vietnam to take advantage of potential economic opportunities from future free trade agreements. Over the past several years, Vietnam’s textile and apparel industry has benefitted from increased foreign investment. Because of this consistent growth, U.S. companies will have the chance to increase their exports of technical textiles to more consumers and businesses in Vietnam.

To learn more about this growing industry, the impact TPP will have on it and how to take your business global, please contact one of our local offices.

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Secretary Penny Pritzker Invites Economic Development Organizations to Connect at Hannover Messe

December 9, 2015

Hannover Messe is the world’s largest trade show for industrial technology, and Secretary Penny Pritzker invites U.S. economic development organizations (EDOs) to participate in the 2016 Hannover Messe fair from April 25th – 29th in Hannover, Germany.

U.S. EDOs will have the opportunity to be front and center in the U.S. Investment Pavilion, a centerpiece of the trade show and host to special events with global technology and industry leaders from around the world.

There is no better opportunity for your EDO to connect to global investors looking to make deals and showcase yourself as a prime investment destination to more than 200,000 attendees.

 Register to learn how USA Partner Country status makes this a can’t-miss event for your organization!

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