Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


How Trans-Pacific Partnership Benefits U.S. Trade

September 15, 2015

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This morning, Under Secretary Stefan Selig interviewed with Bloomberg Business on how the Trans-Pacific Partnership will benefit American businesses. “For U.S. companies to be successful, we have to engage in the global economy,” says Selig. “That is where the growth is..that’s where the customers are..that’s where the markets are. We need to give U.S. companies everything they need to compete successfully.” You can watch the full interview here.


Deputy Secretary Bruce Andrews Promotes Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Pittsburgh

August 14, 2015

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

Earlier this week, Deputy Secretary Bruce Andrews traveled to Pittsburgh to engage with the city’s up-and-coming entrepreneurs and see how the Steel City has become an innovation hub by bringing together its research institutions, incubator and accelerator partners, and technology associations.

To begin the day, Deputy Secretary Andrews joined leaders from Pittsburgh’s innovation sector in launching the next installment of Startup Global, an initiative designed to help more startup firms think global from the earliest stages of a company’s growth. The event was hosted by Carnegie Mellon University’s (CMU) Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), University of Pittsburgh Innovation Institute, Idea Foundry, Innovation Works, Pittsburgh Technology Council, and Thrill Mill and attracted dozens of early-stage companies looking to gain technical assistance on selling their goods and services worldwide.

In his remarks, Deputy Secretary Andrews stressed that 96 percent of the world’s customers live outside our borders and that early-stage companies should plan for international success from the start. The Startup Global pilot initiative aims to help more American startups scale their businesses quickly and internationally by collaborating with local partners. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced Startup Global in February, and Pittsburgh is the third in the pilot program’s series of educational events.

Deputy Secretary Andrews then met with leadership from Innovation Works, the single largest investor in seed-stage companies in the region. In addition to being a member of the Pittsburgh Startup Global Steering Committee, Innovation Works was also a recipient of a Commerce Department’s Economic Adjustment Assistance grant and an i6 Challenge winner. During the discussion, he stressed the vast resources the Commerce Department can offer and how Commerce can work alongside new businesses to shape the next great era of American entrepreneurship and innovation.

Later in the day, Andrews joined Congressman Mike Doyle on a tour of Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute highlighting the technical leadership role the Robotics Institute has had in fostering innovation and incubating entrepreneurs in the robotics industry.

Andrews and Congressman Doyle then met the CEOs of 4Moms, Blue Belt Technologies, and Astrobotics,  companies who developed their company from technology shared at CMU, and are now promoting business and job growth not only in the Pittsburgh area, but across the nation and around the world. During a roundtable discussion with the three companies, Deputy Secretary Andrews highlighted ways in which the Commerce Department can continue to support the development of an advanced manufacturing sector in Pittsburgh.

As “America’s Innovation Agency,” the Department of Commerce prioritizes its support of startups, entrepreneurship and business incubators through intellectual property protection, collection and dissemination of data that helps build businesses, and investments in local economic development. We are constantly evolving to operate at the speed of business, and providing resources at each step of the business lifecycle to ensure our nation’s entrepreneurs succeed.


Brazil’s Water Challenges Calls for Enhanced Bilateral Commerce

August 11, 2015

Commercial Specialist Teresa Wagner and Commercial Officer Tom Hanson assist U.S. exporters of environmental technologies industry solutions at the U.S. Commercial Service in São Paulo.

Last week, Commercial Service (CS) Brazil  counseled United States exporters during FENASAN, one of Latin America’s most influential trade events in the water and wastewater industry. The central theme of the event was “The Water Crisis and its Consequences in the 21st Century”. With more than 200 million citizens and the world’s eighth largest economy, the continent-sized nation of Brazil is enduring profound drought conditions, the worst in over 80 years. It is affecting the wealthiest, most populous and industrial regions including Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city.


FENASAN is one of Latin America’s most influential trade events in the water & wastewater industry

The Association of Engineers of the Sao Paulo state water utility has been organizing FENASAN for the past 26 years in an effort to showcase system technologies and equipment for aeration, automation, control/measurement, pumps and centrifuges. Joining the list of international exhibitors at last week’s event were Commercial Service Brazil clients Xylem, GE Water, and Koch Membranes.The leading trade association of water quality professionals, Water Environment Federation (WEF) also participated, hosting an international pavilion.

Despite the downturn of the Brazilian economy this year, the high number and quality of both exhibitors and visitors confirms the increased importance of sanitation in Brazil, due to the drought in the southeastern region of the country.  Historically, the sanitation sector has not been a priority and has received little investments, creating a significant repressed demand for new technologies, often not available in Brazil.  A challenge for technology suppliers is to educate the utilities in Brazil of the benefits    of their products, vis-à-vis the traditional water and wastewater ponds. Here is where Commercial Service Brazil’s team, located in five offices countrywide, can counsel U.S. exporters on the great opportunities to be found amidst Brazil’s giant water challenges.

The demand for infrastructure expansion and modernization, crisis management, and conservation is high and comes during trying economic times. Yet, this brings opportunities for US experts with proven success in industrial, agricultural, and urban supply strategies. Brazil has, without a doubt, a dynamic Water and Wastewater industry.

The team at CS Brazil is standing by to help U.S. exporters tap into this new opportunity. ITA’s Top Markets report on environmental technologies is one of many useful resources we have available for U.S. exporters looking to expand.

For more information on opportunities for companies in the United States with water technology solutions, read an article that we co-authored in WEF’s international trade publication, World Water; and refer to CS Brazil’s Country Commercial Guide.


Startup Global Pittsburgh: Preparing Early-Stage Exporters for the Global Marketplace

August 10, 2015

Evi Fuelle is an intern in the International Trade Administration’s Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee Office.

Shark Tank is no longer the only place where startups can go with the hope of expanding their business.

Announced in February, the Startup Global pilot program is a series of seminars held around the country that provide focused export assistance and information to early-stage companies. In collaboration with U.S. incubators and accelerators, the International Trade Administration (ITA) provides workshops—organized through local U.S. Export Assistance Centers—to address the most pressing global issues startups face.

The next installment of Startup Global will be held tomorrow in Pittsburgh, where U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews will deliver the keynote remarks to kick off the event. Several of Pittsburgh’s research institutions, incubator and accelerator partners, and technology associations are coming together for the August 11 event.

Attendees will hear from peer startup companies that have found success in the global marketplace, as well as specialists from ITA’s global network, including Foreign Commercial Officer Richard Stanbridge, currently based in the United Kingdom, who will provide a pan-European overview of market opportunities. Topics for the workshop include intellectual property protection; legal considerations when exporting; international e-commerce; and trade financing, including guidance on how to manage different currencies and international transactions.

ITA launched Startup Global to bring together startups and private companies from all across America that have one thing in common: they are all on the cutting edge of innovation. More than 25 startups participated in the first event in June at 1776 in Washington, D.C., and last month, 40 budding companies joined an event with the Nashville Entrepreneurship Center.

Each pilot event features panel discussions and Q&A sessions on topics including finding buyers and partners, lessons learned from local companies, intellectual property protection, and global trends.

Startup Global participants acknowledge that their perspectives change after attending pilot events. In fact, many were surprised that the U.S. government has an array of services and information available to help companies grow their business internationally.

The Startup Global program grew from the Obama administration’s broader national export strategy, the National Export Initiative (NEI)/NEXT, which aims to make the export process easier and help more U.S. companies start exporting or expand international sales. The NEI/NEXT strategy prioritized the launch of the Startup Global pilot initiative because many technology-enabled businesses are in a reactive position when international sales opportunities arise, and many are unaware of where to go for assistance and best practices.

By engaging early-stage exporters, Startup Global demonstrates the Obama administration’s commitment to ensuring American entrepreneurs have the tools they need—and know where to go for help—to prepare for global business from day one.


Get Real: A Discussion About e-Commerce

August 5, 2015

Anna Flaaten and Martin Herbst are Senior International Trade Specialists at the International Trade Administration’s Export Assistance Center in Phoenix.

Last week, ITA hosted a webinar featuring speakers Aparna Lahiri from eBay’s Global Shipping Team and Chris Ko, Owner and Managing Partner of Nationwide Surplus. The webinar is a result of a strategic partnership between ITA and eBay. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker formalized the agreement to use strategic resources to support U.S. exporters last year.

e-commerce strategies

Join us Oct 8-9 in Dallas to learn about e-commerce strategies

“International e-commerce is at the heart of what we do here at eBay” and “enabling cross-border trade is key to our success” said Lahiri during the webinar. About 190,000 entrepreneurs on eBay are selling to four continents and those that are export-oriented grew a whopping 91% versus businesses that focused only on the domestic market at 58%. Here are some interesting facts we learned during the webinar:

  • Selling internationally isn’t as complicated as you think – the emergence of the internet can simplify the process. Intermediary partners including online marketplaces, secure payment collection, shipping and customs support can make life easier for the entrepreneur.
  • Mobile is here to stay– buyers are purchasing goods more from their smart phones than the traditional PC. A seamless presence across various devices is critical, especially for consumers in emerging markets.This is especially true in China and India, and eBay is seeing similar trends in Latin America where mobile usage has tripled over the past year.
  • There is tremendous demand for just about everything in the global online marketplace. Buyers online are finding inventory more affordably from US sellers and/or looking for a variety of products that are not available to them locally.

Nationwide Surplus, a company that specializes in refurbishing computers and electronics, provided the small business perspective on marketing and selling products online. The company exports 21% of their products to over 100 countries. Ko started his business in a small warehouse with a desk and a computer. He now has 47 employees and is opening a second warehouse location.

Here are some of his insights:

  • Photos, photos, photos – include detailed photos online including 360 degree angles if possible. Nationwide Surplus even disassembles their products to capture interior component images.
  • Understand the international marketplace – purchase prices overseas can exceed those of the US market if the international consumer does not have local access to certain products. AND, there may be a demand for your products internationally even if there is no US consumer demand.
  • Handling returns – understand and plan for returns as they can be expensive depending on the duties, taxes, and shipping costs, etc… involved.
  • Correct paperwork is critical – accurately identifying harmonized tariff codes, for example.
  • Export assistance – “I didn’t realize how much export assistance is out there” stated Mr. Ko, and of particular value is the assistance provided by the US Department of Commerce.

To learn more about international e-commerce, network with other entrepreneurs and US Commercial diplomats, register for our upcoming Discover Global Markets: E-Commerce Strategies event taking place in Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX on October 8-9, 2015. Early bird discount ends August 14th.

The content will resonate with any company interested in e-commerce and social media as key drivers for international business development.


Five Drivers of Export Opportunity: U.S. Building Products and Green Building

July 23, 2015

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

Joanne Littlefair is Senior International Trade Specialist in the Office of Materials Industries, Industry & Analysis

The vibrant global trend seeking a greener built environment will help create some $46 billion in export opportunity for a group of U.S. building product manufacturers by 2017, according to new report Top Markets, Building Products and Sustainable Construction from the International Trade Administration. U.S. manufacturers of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration equipment (HVACR), lighting, plumbing, insulation, wood products, doors and windows and glass construction products are well positioned to deliver on the resource conservation and environmental improvement benefits that are key goals of green building, and to meet traditional construction requirements.

The ITA Top Markets study ranks 75 international markets in terms of 2017 sector export prospects, supported by country-specific case studies detailing market trends and the competitive state of play.  The study elaborates at least 5 key drivers of export opportunity:

  1. Buildings matter, and the world knows it. Buildings account for more than 40% of global energy use and 25% of global water use, according to the United Nations Environment Program’s 2012 reporting. It is easy to understand how nearly one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions are attributed to buildings. These figures underscore that buildings cannot be ignored when resource conservation is the goal.
  1. Consumers, businesses, and governments all want to conserve resources. Whether it is policymakers seeking to meet national objectives, developers seeking to boost asset values via more efficient buildings, or occupants pursuing higher quality indoor environments and lower utility bills, greener buildings are a shared goal. This is a deepening trend globally. The ITA Top Markets report includes country case studies for leading export markets, showing how public policies and market trends are shaping opportunities.
  1. It’s not just about conserving, it’s about improving. Buildings with green attributes have been shown to have benefits beyond immediate resource savings. Improved access to natural light, better indoor air quality, and other green improvements have been linked to better outcomes in schools, hospitals, and the workplace. Results matter.  This creates opportunity around the world for U.S. building products with demonstrated performance strengths.
  1. U.S. products are globally competitive. Based on a strong global reputation for quality and value, U.S. buildings products compete in developed and developing markets alike, around the globe. The ITA Top Markets report can help U.S. building product suppliers and industry associations identify high-prospect export markets and learn about ITA resources in support of the export strategies. The study looks sector-wide and then at each industry in turn to identify top 2017 export markets for HVACR, lighting, plumbing, insulation, wood products, doors and windows and glass construction product manufacturers.
  1. Everyone can win – SMEs and large corporations. Small and medium-sized U.S. companies, as well as major corporations, have a meaningful role to play in global construction markets. Both traditional and green building markets show continuing demand for high-quality niche solutions to meet common challenges. ITA trade specialists in the U.S. and around the globe stand ready to assist U.S. companies with their international market development objectives.

For further information on these key drivers of export opportunities and global market prospects, download the full new report Top Markets, Building Products and Sustainable Construction.


Understanding Renewable Energy Export Markets and the Opportunity for U.S. Companies

July 21, 2015

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

Ryan Mulholland is a Senior Advisor for Industry & Analysis. 

The renewable energy industry remains one of the most transformative sectors of the global economy. The International Trade Administration is committed to providing U.S. renewable energy exporters the data-driven market intelligence they need to succeed globally – whether finding your next export market or comparing opportunities to export for the first time.

Last year, we released our first-ever Top Markets Report to provide exporters analysis of future export opportunities in the renewable energy sector.  This year’s Renewable Energy Top Markets Report, now part of a larger Top Markets Series from ITA, has been updated with expanded analysis, new sections, updated case studies, and improved methodology. The result is a report that can prepare exporters to compete effectively in foreign markets by providing the analysis firms need to invest resources more strategically.

So what does the future hold for the sector? In short, we believe that the next two years will likely be as transformative as any two-year period in the history of the clean energy sector.  Technology improvements, cost declines, and the catalytic influence of new financing structures, have turned the sector into a driver of economic growth – both at home and abroad.

Here are some important findings in the report:

  • China is expected to account for more than one-third of all non-U.S. capacity installations over the next two years. Its renewable energy investment is expected to be split relatively evenly between solar, wind, and hydropower through 2020.
  • The sector’s growth is now global in nature, escaping the traditional markets of Western Europe and strongly taking root in Asia, Latin America, and Africa. Over the remainder of the decade, this trend will continue with important consequences for U.S. export competitiveness.
  • The United States does – and should continue to – capture a larger share of the import market in the Western Hemisphere. In fact, the share of the import market captured by U.S. renewable energy exporters more than doubles in the Hemisphere across technology sub sectors.
  • While opportunities can be found in most markets, the destination of U.S. renewable energy exports will continue to be highly concentrated. The top 4 export markets are expected to account for over 50 percent of all exports in the sector through 2016, while the top 12 markets should support three-quarters of all exports.

ITA’s framework for considering renewable energy export opportunities based on market size and market share was the most commented on and lasting impact of the 2014 edition of the Top Markets Report. ITA continues to encourage exporters to develop market entry and market expansion strategies based on these two variables.

  • If a market is large and U.S. exporters are likely to capture a significant market share, efforts should focus on making as many connections as possible. Exporters can feel good about their prospects, but may find other American competitors also having success in the market. Participation in trade missions, reverse trade missions, trade shows, and other “traditional” export promotion activities is encouraged in these markets.
  • In markets that are large, but in which the United States captures only a tiny fraction of the import market, exporters should consider the cause of the United States’ insufficient competitive position before pursuing opportunities. Perhaps importers are demanding products not often sold competitively by U.S. exporters, in which case a niche product might play well in the market. In markets, where U.S. market share is low because of a specific trade barrier, then exporters may want to prioritize other markets and alert U.S. Government entities, so that appropriate action can be taken.
  • In some markets, U.S. firms capture a large market share, but a relatively small market in which to do business. Exporters are encouraged to help the U.S. Government pursue market development activities in these locations, as any market development should lead to future export opportunities.
  • And finally, some markets are neither large nor support significant U.S. market share. While some companies may find niche opportunities, most exporters would be wise to consider opportunities elsewhere.

This post has only touched on some of the analysis you will find in this year’s Top Markets Report. We invite you to download the full report for our in-depth market analysis; and welcome feedback on our methodologies, viewpoints, and rankings.


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