Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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Brief Review of U.S. SME Trading Companies in 2010

December 6, 2012

David Moore is an economist in the Office of Trade and Industry Information within the International Trade Administration.

This week the International Trade Administration’s Office of Trade and Industry Information released an annual update to its website for the U.S. Commerce Department’s Exporter Database (EDB) for 2010. This joint project with the U.S. Census Bureau’s Foreign Trade Division is the cornerstone of ITA’s Trade Data Enhancement Initiative, the goal of which is to develop and disseminate improved statistical information on U.S. international trade and its role in the U.S. economy. Additional information on the EDB can be obtained by viewing the U.S. Census Bureau’s Profile of U.S. Exporting Companies, 2009-2010.

In 2010, more than 293,000 U.S. companies exported goods, up 6.0 percent from the revised 2009 estimate of 276,600. In 2010, nearly 98 percent of U.S. exporters (286,661) were small or medium-sized companies (SMEs*) with fewer than 500 employees, a 6.1 percent increase over 2009. Further, the known merchandise export value of SMEs rose to $383.4 billion in 2010, up 24.1 percent from 2009 and this accounted for 33.7 percent of the $1,138 billion total known merchandise export value of all companies.

Known Merchandise Export Value of Trading Companies, 2009 and 2010 in U.S. dollars. All identified companies $940,400,000 in 2009 and $1,137,600,000. SME's $308,900,000 in 2009 and $383,400,000 in 2010. Companies with 500 or more employees $631,500,000 in 2009 and $754,200,000 in 2010.

SME Exports at the State Level

SME exports are concentrated in the largest exporting states, with the top four exporting more than $30 billion from SMEs.  California had the largest value of SME exports ($68.1 billion) in 2010, followed by Texas ($51.2 billion), New York ($34.4 billion), and Florida ($33.6 billion).

SME export value at the state level in U.S. dollars. California: $68,087,967,616, Texas: $51,200,446,724, New York: $34,394,384,363, Florida: $33,557,306,907, New Jersey: $15,122,026,840, Illinois: $14,445,622,703, Pennsylvania: $12,519,691,700, Washington: $11,017,998,632, Michigan: $10,506,510,110, Massachusetts: $10,051,122,079, Ohio: $9,321,029,844, Louisiana: $8,806,538,601, Georgia: $8,448,288,399, Puerto Rico: $7,051,941,052, Minnesota: $5,740,296,134, Oregon: $5,649,311,876, North Carolina: $5,599,660,584, Wisconsin: $5,531,778,198, Connecticut: $5,372,732,418, Indiana: $4,974,567,439, Virginia: $4,139,241,848, Tennessee: $4,023,677,667, Missouri: $3,775,289,203, Arizona: $3,578,474,711, Kentucky: $3,484,101,860, Kansas: $3,258,410,258, Maryland: $2,819,330,154, Colorado: $2,671,823,591, South Carolina: $2,632,285,300, Utah: $2,584,426,888, Alabama: $2,561,215,935, New Hampshire: $1,776,065,210, Iowa: $1,745,671,009, Oklahoma: $1,622,778,640, Nebraska: $1,409,866,973, Mississippi: $1,407,996,974, Nevada: $1,210,149,129, West Virginia: $1,144,895,941, Montana: $1,059,154,716, Rhode Island: $1,054,668,411, Idaho: $1,031,234,308, Maine: $992,455,877, Arkansas: $898,080,029, Delaware: $775,404,661, District Of Columbia: $688,447,135, New Mexico: $680,508,632, North Dakota: $562,363,709, South Dakota: $443,896,862, Alaska: $394,898,004, Hawaii: $161,527,055, Wyoming: $141,245,194, Vermont: No data available for Vermont in 2010.

Note: SME values for Vermont are unavailable for 2010.

However, SME exporters represent a large share of the value of U.S. exports in both small and large states.  79 percent of Montana’s exports in 2010 were from SMEs, the highest share in the nation.  Florida, Rhode Island, Wyoming, and New York all had an SME share of exports over 50% as well.

Selected state SME share of exports: Montana: 79%, Florida: 68%, Rhode Island: 63%,   Wyoming: 56%, New York: 55%.

SME Exporters at the Metropolitan Level

The New York metro area had the largest number of known SME exporters at 32,300, followed closely by Los Angles (32,100), Miami (26,300), Chicago (13,300), and Houston (10,500).  Further world destination break-outs by the European Union-27, NAFTA, ASEAN, and DR-CAFTA are shown below. Other country groupings such as APEC and OPEC can also be accessed using the EDB website.

Number of Known SME Exporting Companies to Select World Regions by Metro. New York Metro: 11,645 to the EU, 10,540 to NAFTA, 2,370 to DR-CAFTA, and 3,436 to ASEAN; Los Angeles Metro: 8,938 to the EU, 12,242 to NAFTA, 1,947 to DR-CAFTA, and 4,548 to ASEAN; Miami Metro: 4,194 to the EU, 3,985 to NAFTA, 5,730 to DR-CAFTA, and 1,234 to ASEAN; Chicago Metro: 4,184 to the EU, 6,639 to NAFTA, 910 to DR-CAFTA, and 1,614 to ASEAN; Houston Metro: 2,640 to the EU, 3,653 to NAFTA, 649 to DR-CAFTA, and 1,740 to ASEAN.

SME Exporters at the Five-Digit Zip Code Level

Of the 25,754 zip-codes in the U.S. reporting at least one SME exporter, nine of these zip-codes reported one thousand or more SME exporters. Miami had the largest concentration in five zip codes (33166, 33172, 33178, 33122, 33126), followed by New York in three zip codes (10036, 10018 and 10001) and Los Angeles in one (90021).  Further, 673 zip-codes reported between 100 – 923 known SME exporters, while the remaining balance of zip codes reported between 1 and 99.

SME Exporters by zip code. In Miami, zip code 33166 has 4,023 SME exporters, zip code   33172 has 2,317 SME exporters, zip code 33178 has 2,033 SME exporters, zip code 33122   has 1,573 SME exporters and zip code 33126 has 1,203 SME exporters. In New York, zip   code 10036 has 1,625 SME exporters, zip code 10036 has 1,354 SME exporters, and zip code   10001 has 1,273 SME exporters. In Los Angeles, zip code 90021 has 1,109 SME exporters.

In closing, the EDB offers a whole host of information on U.S. exporters, not only by company size and type (manufacturers, wholesalers and other non-manufacturing firms) but also by 3 and 4 digit NAICS product codes, and export country destination, etc. This is just a small slice of EDB data available on our website, but we encourage U.S. companies and professionals working in global trade, policy, cooperation and promotion to utilize this snap-shot of 2010 as they continue to map out their strategies for export success in the future.

*SMEs are defined as firms that have fewer than 500 employees. All figures in this overview include only identifiable or “known” exports, i.e., exports that can be linked to individual companies using information on U.S. export declarations.

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U.S. Medical Center Partners with Kuwaiti Institution and U.S. Embassy for World Diabetes Day

November 29, 2012

Steve Miller is an International Trade Specialist in the International Trade Administration’s Office of Service Industries where he is responsible for knowledge economy issues including health services, research and development services, and university commercialization.

Ambassador Tueller (left) and Dr. Kazem Behbehani, Director General of the Dasman Diabetes Institute at the "Diabetes 101: Understanding Diabetes Worldwide" Digital Video Conference on November 14, 2012.

Ambassador Tueller (left) and Dr. Kazem Behbehani, Director General of the Dasman Diabetes Institute at the “Diabetes 101: Understanding Diabetes Worldwide” Digital Video Conference on November 14, 2012.

On November 14 the U.S. Ambassador to Kuwait, Matthew Tueller, along with representatives from U.S. and Kuwaiti healthcare institutions participated in a Digital Video Conference (DVC), Diabetes 101: Understanding Diabetes Worldwide to provide education on this healthcare challenge and create linkages between clinicians in both countries. The event was hosted by Kuwait’s previer diabetes research and treatment facility, Dasman Diabetes Institute, the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait and San Antonio’s Methodist Healthcare Systems. Methodist is one of over 30 U.S. academic medical centers that comprise the United States Cooperative for International Patient Programs (USCIPP), a joint program between the University HealthSystem Consortium and the International Trade Administration, through its Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP).

Nearly 60 doctors, nurses, clinicians, diabetes educators and nutritionists from Dasman’s multinational staff were in attendance in addition to several Kuwaiti health care professionals and a number of local journalists from print and television. Opening the event, Ambassador Tueller highlighted the important role that medicine has played in the U.S.-Kuwait relationship, beginning with the establishment of the first hospital in Kuwait, the Amrikani Hospital, by American missionaries in 1912. The Ambassador further noted that, just like in Kuwait, Type 2 diabetes is also a problem in the U.S. and that events such as this DVC illustrate how Americans and Kuwaitis can come together to address mutual concerns and share best practices and experiences to move toward a common goal.

Following the Ambassador’s remarks, Ms. Sara Villegas, a veteran diabetes educator from Methodist Healthcare Systems, gave an overview of diabetes in the U.S., primarily focusing on Type 2 diabetes. Her presentation not only addressed the current situation in the U.S., but also highlighted prevention and disease management strategies. After a brief look at the global scope of the disease, she turned the stage over to Dasman Diabetes Institute Director Dr. Kazem Behbehani, who discussed the rampant increases in Type 2 diabetes in Kuwait over the last twenty years, and the challenges that the country will potentially face if the disease is not checked. In their presentations, both speakers stressed the importance of prevention and awareness activities in combating the disease.

The DVC received widespread and favorable media coverage, with stories appearing in many of Kuwait’s daily Arabic and English newspapers, and reports carried on several local television stations.

Additional events are planned between healthcare institutions in the U.S. and the region. More on ITA’s MDCP program can be found at http://www.trade.gov/mdcp.

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Seize the Opportunity and Expand to Africa with the Doing Business in Africa Campaign

November 28, 2012

Francisco Sánchez serves as the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade. Follow him on Twitter @UnderSecSanchez.

Aerial view of Cape Town, South Africa. (photo © Graham Bedingfield/iStock)

Aerial view of Cape Town, South Africa. (photo © Graham Bedingfield/iStock)

Now is a great time to do business in Africa.  Consider these stats, highlighted today in remarks given by Acting Secretary Rebecca Blank:

  • Sub-Saharan Africa is home to 6 of the 10 fastest growing markets in the world.
  • Economic growth in the region is predicted to be strong – between 5 and 6 percent – in coming years.
  • And – most importantly – millions of Africans are finding a path from poverty to greater opportunity and prosperity.

This progress is good news for our friends in Africa; it’s also good news for American businesses.  As these numbers show, the growing African market is an increasingly attractive destination for quality products and services.  It just so happens that goods that are “Made in America” are the best in the world.  Now, we just need to link this supply with the demand, and make it easier for U.S. firms to operate in the dynamic African market.

One important effort towards achieving this goal: the “Doing Business in Africa” (DBIA) campaign which I launched with Acting Secretary Blank in South Africa earlier today.

It’s a whole-of-government approach that will:

  • promote more U.S. trade with Africa;
  • increase trade financing;
  • and engage with important stakeholders – like the United States’ African Diaspora community – to ensure they have all the tools needed to do business in the African market.

To achieve these goals, the campaign is involved in a number of initiatives, including:

  • organizing an Africa Global Business Summit Series so that U.S. companies can hear directly from our Ambassadors in Africa and Senior Commercial Officers about opportunities in the region;
  • opening the U.S.-Africa Clean Energy Development and Finance Center in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2013 to help identify and access U.S. government support for clean energy export and investment needs; and
  • developing an Africa Business Portal, providing valuable information about trade assistance programs and financing.

To learn more about the DBIA campaign, visit the websiteIt’s sure to represent an important step towards the goal of increased prosperity and opportunity.

Another important step that coincided with the launch of the DBIA campaign is our historic trade mission to Zambia – the first-ever.   I am currently leading a delegation of 13 U.S. companies to both Zambia and South Africa.

This trade mission represents an important opportunity for U.S. businesses.  Trade between the U.S. and these two countries is booming.  In the case of U.S. and Zambia, total bilateral trade more than doubled in 2011.

In the case of South Africa, the largest U.S. export market in Sub-Saharan Africa, total U.S.-South Africa trade was nearly $17 billion in 2011, up from $13.9 billion the year before.  And, both the companies on the mission and the parties we are meeting with are determined to keep this momentum going.

To accomplish this, we are talking with public and private sector officials to facilitate U.S. business opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa. Participating firms are gaining market insights, making industry contacts, and solidifying business strategies with the goal of increasing U.S. exports to the region.

By boosting U.S. exports, we can strengthen the American economy and fuel economic growth.  This work also advances the President Obama’s vision of greater U.S. engagement in Sub-Saharan Africa, as outlined by the Administration’s “U.S. Strategy on Sub-Saharan Africa” released in June.

All of us at the Department of Commerce share the President’s belief that Africa can be the world’s next great economic success story and value the opportunity to leverage our resources to support this trade mission and the Doing Business in Africa campaign.

Visit the DBIA website on Export.gov to learn more about this exciting new initiative.

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What’s New in the Third Edition of the Trade Finance Guide?

November 27, 2012

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

Yuki Fujiyama, a trade finance specialist with the Office of Financial Services Industries in the International Trade Administration, is the author of The Trade Finance Guide: A Quick Reference for U.S. Exporters.

On November 13, 2012 in Philadelphia, we unveiled the third edition of the Trade Finance Guide: A Quick Reference for U.S. Exporters at the 23rd Annual Finance, Credit, and International Business Association (FCIB) Global Conference. Acting U.S. Commerce Deputy Assistant Secretary for Services Industries Carlos F. Montoulieu released the new edition emphasizing that, “This concise and easy-to-understand guide is designed to help U.S. small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) learn quickly how to get paid from export sales in the most effective manner.”

What is the Trade Finance Guide?

Trade Finance Guide: A Quick Reference for U.S. Exporters, third edition

Trade Finance Guide: A Quick Reference for U.S. Exporters, third edition

The Trade Finance Guide covers 14 subject areas in easy-to-understand two page chapters that are written in plain language. The Guide is:

  • A “60-minute” self-learning tool for new-to-export SMEs that wish to learn how to get paid from export sales.
  • A user-friendly tool for international credit, banking, trade finance professionals and export counselors for client assistance.
  • A flexible educational tool for professionals teaching international business.

The Guide uses a no-nonsense approach to make it easy to understand the importance of choosing the appropriate payment method and trade finance technique when dealing with international transactions. With a quick rundown of the pros and cons provided in each chapter, new-to-export SMEs will find the Guide’s recommendations for when one payment method and trade finance technique is best suited over another particularly helpful. With some 300,000 copies distributed to the public since the release of its first edition in 2007, the Trade Finance Guide has become one of the most popular export assistance resources published by the Commerce Department.

What’s New and Unique?

The third edition of the Trade Finance Guidehas been updated with new key information, refined to provide better clarity and adds two new chapters:

The Trade Finance Guide 3rd edition is released at the 23rd Anual Finance Credit and International Business Association Global Conference. From L-R Marta Chacon, Director, North American Operations, FCIB, Robin Schauseil, President, NACM (FCIB’s parent – National Association of Credit Management), Carlos Montoulieu, Acting DAS/Services Industries, Yuki Fujiyama, Trade Finance Specialist, OFSI/MAS/ITA, Ron Shepherd, Director, Membership & Business. Development, FCIB

The Trade Finance Guide 3rd edition is released at the 23rd Anual Finance Credit and International Business Association Global Conference. From L-R Marta Chacon, Director, North American Operations, FCIB, Robin Schauseil, President, NACM (FCIB’s parent – National Association of Credit Management), Carlos Montoulieu, Acting DAS/Services Industries, Yuki Fujiyama, Trade Finance Specialist, OFSI/MAS/ITA, Ron Shepherd, Director, Membership & Business. Development, FCIB

  • Consignment which explains how selling on consignment can provide the exporter some greater advantages which may not be obvious at first glance
  • Government-Backed Agricultural Export Financing which describes how U.S. exporters of agricultural products can turn sales opportunities, especially in risky emerging markets, into real transactions and get paid.

In addition to new content and updates, the third edition also offers unique features that make the Trade Finance Guide one of the most user-friendly publications produced by the Commerce Department. The new Guide is:

  • Easily accessible online to anyone with internet access and designed for both easy download and on-screen viewing.
  • Printer friendly because it was designed with printing in mind.
  • Eco-responsible because it was designed for digital distribution and to only use the smallest amount of paper and ink or toner possible when printed.

In addition, the new Trade Finance Guide is the first official ITA publication to have adopted a QR Code to make it easy for those with smart-phones to access the Guide’s homepage in cyberspace.

Partnership and Cooperation

The Trade Finance Guide was created in partnership with FCIB and in cooperation with the U.S. Export–Import Bank, the U.S. Small Business Association, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the International Factoring Association, the Association of Trade & Forfaiting in the Americas, and BAFT-IFSA (Bankers Association for Finance & Trade–International Financial Services Association). FCIB, a two-time recipient of the President’s “E” Award, is a globally recognized business educator of credit and risk management professionals in exporting companies ranging in size from multinational to SMEs.

How to Obtain the Trade Finance Guide

Trade Finance Guide, third edition QR Code

Trade Finance Guide, third edition QR Code

The Guide is available through the U.S. government’s export portal, Export.gov/TradeFinanceGuide, both as a complete guide and as individual chapters for those only wishing to learn a specific trade finance technique. You may also scan the QR Code below to go straight to the Guide’s homepage.

Coming Soon: Trade Finance Guide in Spanish

The Commerce Department is currently working with the California Centers for International Trade Development to create a Spanish version of the Trade Finance Guide. The Spanish version will help SMEs expand their global presence, especially in Mexico and Latin America, where Spanish is the primary language. Please stay tuned as the Trade Finance Guide’s inaugural Spanish version is scheduled for release in a few months!

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An Energy Revolution for Israel

November 9, 2012

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

The Oil and Gas Trade Mission to Israel business delegation.

The Oil and Gas Trade Mission to Israel business delegation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A Note of Thanks: Celebrating Walter Bastian’s Lifetime of Achievement

November 2, 2012

Francisco Sánchez serves as the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade. Follow him on Twitter @UnderSecSanchez.

Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Western Hemisphere Walter M. Bastian

Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Western Hemisphere Walter M. Bastian

Walter Bastian embodies the best of public service.  He doesn’t measure success by how well he does, but by how well he can help others.  And during his decades at the Department of Commerce, he has indeed helped others and made great contributions to the global community.

In recognition of his accomplishments, last week, Walter was one of nine recipients of the 2012 Americas Award for his lifetime of achievement.  Having had the chance to work with him closely in recent years, I must tell you: he is very deserving of this honor.

As Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Western Hemisphere, Walter has developed programs, policies and strategies to strengthen the United States’ commercial position in the region — the destination for roughly 40 percent of U.S. exports.  And in doing so, he’s also committed himself to expanding opportunity and prosperity throughout the Americas.

One of Walter’s greatest accomplishments was playing a central role in founding the Americas Competitiveness Forum (ACF).  The initial idea for a meeting of Western Hemisphere commerce ministers was offered by President George W. Bush at the 2005 Summit of the Americas.  Walter helped make that idea a reality.

Walter saw beyond what was being asked and instead focused on what more could be accomplished. He understood that competitiveness is not just a national issue, but a hemispheric one.

For that reason, he set about creating a forum to motivate the region’s government leaders to work in partnership with the private sector, academia, and civil society to improve the economic prosperity of their own countries, and ensure a brighter future for the people of the region.

Since its inauguration in 2007, the ACF has become the preeminent economic and commercial event in the Americas, attracting hundreds of participants from the Western Hemisphere’s public and private sectors.  It has helped to create and strengthen the kinds of partnerships that are necessary for regional integration and future growth.

Bottom line: progress is achieved by people who want to make a difference.  And Walter Bastian has made a difference.  He has dedicated his time, talent and passion to bringing the Americas closer together through commerce. And we have all benefited.

On behalf of the International Trade Administration, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and our partners throughout the region — thank you, Walter.

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Under Secretary Sánchez Participates in Americas Competitiveness Forum

October 31, 2012

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

Marc Buergi is a fellow in the Office of Public Affairs at the International Trade Administration

U.S. Commerce Under Secretary for International Trade Francisco Sánchez led Commerce’s delegation to this year’s Americas Competitiveness Forum (ACF) in Cali, Colombia, October 24-26.

Sánchez’s participation underscored the U.S. government’s commitment to enhance the competitiveness of the Americas – a region that is vital to the U.S. economy. With Mexico and Canada, it not only includes two of our three largest trading partners, but also some of our key trade agreement partners, including the host country Colombia.

The Obama administration and the Commerce Department are firmly committed to strengthening U.S. trade within the Western Hemisphere. At the 2012 Summit of the Americas, President Obama announced a number of initiatives designed to enhance this important trade relationship. These included the 100,000 Strong Initiative to expand student education exchanges; and the creation of the Innovation Fund of the Americas that increases access to export financing thereby expanding trade opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises.

In Cali, Sánchez reported on the strong efforts of all U.S. government agencies to advance these initiatives.

The ACF, first held in 2007, tries to improve the region’s competitiveness through innovation, entrepreneurship, public-private partnership and mutual engagement. Hundreds  of representatives from the region’s public and private sector participated in a continental dialogue on competitiveness. Among the numerous guests were heads of state, ministers of economy, commerce, trade and industry, and leaders from academia, civil society, and business.

This year’s ACF helped further develop the goals established at last year’s Forum in the Dominican Republic: In 2011, the “Santo Domingo Consensus” set forth 10 objectives to promote progress toward a more competitive and prosperous region in areas like education, infrastructure, and trade liberalization.

The participants of this year’s ACF learned about the progress and experiences the countries made in adopting the 10 principles: At the opening event of the Forum, the Inter-American Competitiveness Network presented its report “Signs of Competitiveness of the Americas.”

The ACF featured several collateral events, including a business ethics workshop focused on the medical device industry in the Americas, a higher education forum focused on STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and a closed door meeting of ministers of trade, commerce and industry.

Commerce is looking forward to helping deliver on the action items put forward at this important event.

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Banner Year for U.S. Advocacy Center

October 16, 2012

Bryan Erwin is the Director of  The Advocacy Center in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration

The Advocacy Center of the Department of Commerce has had its most successful year since its creation in 1993. Never before has the Center helped U.S. businesses win as many international public contracts as in the past fiscal year 2012 .

U.S. companies won 53 international contracts, with a total value of $87.1 Billion. Of this amount, $73.9 Billion is U.S. export content – which means that it was made here in the U.S. – ensuring jobs for Americans. In fact, the Advocacy Center estimates that our work has helped support some 370,000 U.S. jobs.

These statistics are a record for us. In the year before, the value of the U.S. exports in the contracts was only $23.7 Billion. In 2010, it was $16.8 Billion.

Our mission is to coordinate U.S. Government resources and authority in order to level the playing field on behalf of U.S. business interests as they compete against foreign firms for specific international contracts or other U.S. export opportunities. In doing so, the Advocacy Center helps create and retain U.S. jobs through exports. And our success in 2012 was very much a collaborative effort of the whole of the Department of Commerce, and in some cases whole-of government.

But it is not only the total number which is impressive. The Advocacy Center also helped more sectors vital for the National Export Initiative win contracts. One fifth of the acquired contracts were won by Small and Medium Enterprises. Their share used to be in the single digits.

The clean energy and environmental sector and the health care sector were also able to acquire more business. International contracts won in 2012 will support almost 2,400 US clean energy jobs and 200 U.S. healthcare jobs.

A focus of the Center has also been Emergency Rescue and Disaster Relief Projects, contracts in Reconstruction Areas, and bidding contests in the so called BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) markets. In each of these focus areas, the Advocacy Center was able to assist more U.S. firms win contracts than in the recent past.

One example of our success in an emerging market is in Indonesia, in which case the U.S. Government advocated on behalf of Electro-Motive Diesel Inc. (EMD), based in LaGrange, IL, to win a government contract in Indonesia. In August, EMD reported that it was awarded a contract to provide PT Kereta Api Indonesa (PTKA), a state-owned railway company, with 44 diesel-electric locomotives as a result. EMD estimates that the total value of the procurement at $140 million, with U.S. export content of $94.0 million. And this contract will help support 470 U.S. jobs alone!

Our work on behalf of U.S. businesses is important that ever as we continue to help position companies to compete in an increasingly competitive global marketplace. That is why although 2012 was the Advocacy Center’s most successful year – we are already working on breaking this new record in 2013.

For more information about the Advocacy Center, please visit http://export.gov/advocacy/

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How New Legislation will Support Our Textile Industry

October 9, 2012

Kim Glas is the deputy assistant secretary for textiles and apparel within the International Trade Administration’s Import Administration division.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Kim Glas and Under Secretary Francisco Sanchez tour Unifi's sewing thread manufacturing facility in Yadkinville, North Carolina on October 9, 2012.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Kim Glas and Under Secretary Francisco Sanchez tour Unifi’s sewing thread manufacturing facility in Yadkinville, North Carolina on October 9, 2012.

I am visiting North Carolina today with the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez to see first-hand two state of the art textile companies – Unifi and A&E. Recently, President Obama signed into law an important set of technical fixes to the U.S.-Dominican Republic-Central America (CAFTA-DR) Free Trade Agreement that will have a direct impact on jobs at these two companies and sewing thread manufacturers across this state and country.

When the Agreement with our Central American neighbors was negotiated in 2003, there was a definitional loophole that incentivized the use of non-U.S. sewing thread in the assembly of textile and apparel products. As a result of this loophole, U.S. sewing thread manufacturers have seen their business and employment shrink. The Obama Administration immediately set out to address a problem that severely impacted U.S. sewing thread manufacturers.

After years of hard work, President Obama recently signed legislation to close a loophole that has jeopardized businesses and jobs in the U.S. As a result, on Saturday, October 13th, these fixes will be implemented and will have a direct impact on many sewing thread manufacturers in North Carolina. We have every expectation that once the legislation is implemented that U.S. sewing thread producers like Unifi and A&Ewill be able to recapture market share in the critical market.

This is a prime example of what can be accomplished when industry, Congress, and the Administration work toward a common goal.

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The U.S. Aerospace Industry: Fueling Economic Growth

October 9, 2012

Francisco Sánchez is the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade.

Photo caption: Under Secretary Sanchez helps cut the ribbon to officially open the Farnborough International Air Show in the U.K. in July.

Photo caption: Under Secretary Sanchez helps cut the ribbon to officially open the Farnborough International Air Show in the U.K. in July.

We recently celebrated National Aerospace Week, which is a time to look back and appreciate all the pioneers from this industry whose vision and determination literally helped our nation reach new heights — names like Wright, Earhart, Armstrong and Jemison.

This is also a time to enjoy the contributions this great industry makes today. Every time an aircraft is built, it benefits a wide-range of stakeholders, from the businesses that make the parts, to those who assemble and fly the planes. And it’s critical that public and private representatives partner together to maintain our global leadership in this industry by helping American aerospace companies export their products to markets all over the world.

This is important work because U.S. exports are playing a central role in our economic recovery. When a sale is made abroad, it brings back revenue to hire workers here at home. Last year, U.S. exports supported nearly 10 million jobs, an increase of 1.2 million since 2009. Exports also accounted for nearly half of our increase in GDP in 2011.

The aerospace industry played a big part in this growth; it had nearly $87 billion in export sales in 2011. Notably, it had the largest positive trade balance of any U.S. manufacturing industry: $66 billion.  It’s also played an important role in our nation’s economic recovery, which includes 31 straight months of private sector growth, resulting in roughly 5.2 million jobs.

Exporting also has a significant positive impact on wages, resulting in an average increase of 18 percent across U.S. manufacturing industries.  So increasing exports translates to stronger economic security for middle class families. We want to build on that momentum by continuing to push forward with the President’s National Export Initiative, which aims to double U.S. exports by the end of 2014.

We need to do this in a number of ways. One is to get the word out to businesses – both small and large – that agencies like Commerce’s International Trade Administration are ready to help them seize these overseas opportunities.

Another way is to push for more federal investments in research and development and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education, as well as for federal policies to ensure that U.S. industry continues to have a competitive edge in aerospace and aviation.

Finally, we must continue to raise awareness abroad, and showcase how products that are “Made in America” represent quality and value. That’s why earlier this summer I attended Farnborough Airshow in the U.K. where the U.S. pavilion showcased the best of the best of America’s aerospace industry. And in August, I met with aerospace companies in Arizona and Colorado to highlight the benefits of strengthening American manufacturing and expanding U.S. exports in order to create jobs.

When new opportunities arise, we need to make sure that this industry can compete on a level playing field. We can’t afford to leave any jobs on the table.  That’s why the Administration has continuously engaged Congress over many months, on both sides of the aisle, urging support for legislation to repeal Jackson-Vanik and extend permanent normal trade relations with Russia because it will help our economy.

Already, the American aerospace industry exports hundreds of millions of dollars in aircraft and parts to Russia each year. If Congress takes action, we’ll not only see the tariff reductions that are already on-track with Russia’s accession, but we’ll also have more tools that we currently lack to address non-tariff issues like intellectual property rights and to raise concerns if there are disputes and problems in Russia’s adherence to World Trade Organization rules.

Such actions will also reward the innovation that defines American companies – and America’s aerospace industry. It is why you see international airlines around the world flying planes built here in the United States.

This industry is part of what defines America – leadership, innovation, competitiveness and strength. Let’s build on that strength – and maintain our edge in the global economy – by continuing to support the industries that employ hard working Americans.

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