Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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Newest Class of Commercial Service Officers Sworn-in By Secretary Pritzker

June 15, 2015

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

Secretary Pritzker Swearing in 27 Foreign Commercial Service officers and one Intellectual Property Attaché from the Patent and Trademark Office to the Commerce team.

Secretary Pritzker Swearing in 27 Foreign Commercial Service officers and one Intellectual Property Attaché from the Patent and Trademark Office to the Commerce team.

Today, in a formal swearing-in ceremony, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker welcomed 27 Foreign Commercial Service officers and one Intellectual Property Attaché from the Patent and Trademark Office to the Commerce team.  The U.S. Commercial Service is the trade promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration.  The new officers will use their unique skills to match U.S. companies with foreign partners, reduce trade barriers, fight intellectual property rights violations, and attract investment to America’s shores.  Stefan Selig, Under Secretary for International Trade, Arun Kumar, Assistant Secretary and Director General of Global Markets and Shira Perlmutter, United States Patent and Trademark Office Chief Policy Officer and Director for International Affairs were also in attendance.

For their first assignments, 14 officers have been selected to go to overseas posts, 9 will work in domestic field offices around the country and 5 will serve here in Washington, D.C.  The Commercial Service officers went through a rigorous screening process and were selected from over 2,800 candidates. Most of the new officers cultivated their expertise in international trade from previous federal or state government service, while others previously held positions in the private sector in fields such as energy, financial services, pharmaceuticals, publishing, entertainment, and consulting. These new officers bring a wealth of knowledge, skills, and real world experience to their positions that will assist them in helping U.S. companies capitalize on global opportunities.  For example, new Commercial Service Officer Suzanne “JK” Platt will leverage her many years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry to help American businesses compete and sell their goods and services worldwide.  She spent the last five years with a manufacturer, supporting their exports to Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa, where she worked on commercial flows into and with the EU, while also supporting new distribution channels and operations.

Companies today are born global.  From brand new start-ups to established multi-nationals, all are looking for the next export opportunity to expand their bottom line. President Obama, the Commerce Department, and the entire Administration understand that, for domestic firms to succeed, they must reach the 96 percent of customers who live beyond our borders.

The President has made exporting a key priority of this Administration, resulting in 5 years of record-breaking levels of goods and services sold abroad..  The Obama Administration has set forth a robust trade agenda to help level the playing field for American businesses and their workers through modern, high-standard trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

As we look to complete these trade deals, the Commercial Service will be on the front lines of implementing these deals and ensuring American companies can capitalize on new opportunities in the Asia-Pacific, Europe, and elsewhere.

The new officers will join the ranks of the Commercial Service’s cadre of talented professionals working in nearly 80countries and 100 domestic locations assisting U.S. companies in exporting and increasing sales to new global markets.

Congratulations to the newest class of Commercial Service officers.

Download commerce_departments_newest_foreign_commercial_officers_are_sworn_in_by_secretary_pritzker.mp4 (17.1 MB)

Read video transcript

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Future of Urban Innovation: Startups Summit

June 12, 2015

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

People sitting in chairs on a stage that appear to be having some sort of panel discussion.

Future of Urban Innovation: Startups Summit

On June 9, the U.S. Department of Commerce, in partnership with Columbia University, hosted the Future of Urban Innovation: Startups summit in New York City, to discuss urban innovation and how government, academia, and the private sector can work together to help startups and spur economic growth. The summit was part of ongoing efforts, by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), to provide information and resources to innovators and entrepreneurs in the region.

Urban innovation is a key driver of economic growth for the U.S., with tech-based entrepreneurs helping to develop the domestic manufacturing base and the urban supply chain. Urban innovation also spurs the formation of new businesses with high paying jobs, and innovative companies that export their goods contribute to America’s competitiveness in the global marketplace.

In her remarks, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker discussed the advantages cities offer entrepreneurs looking to start a business, including leading research universities; start-up incubators; financial institutions; advertising and marketing firms; the talent pool to develop new products; and a concentrated customer base. She issued a call-to-action for higher education institutions, the private sector, local governments, and other economic development stakeholders to invest in their urban innovation ecosystems. “Providing the tools for researchers and entrepreneurs to turn their discoveries into commercially viable products – whether in cities or any other setting – is a key priority for the Department of Commerce and the Obama administration,” Pritzker said. Pritzker gave examples of agencies that are supporting these goals, including the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Economic Development Administration (EDA), and the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA).

To utilize these resources, Secretary Pritzker emphasized the importance of strong, cross-sector partnerships to support businesses as they move out of the research and development phase to tackling the challenges of starting and growing a company. She also outlined the wide variety of ways that the Department of Commerce invests in urban centers across America, facilitates groundbreaking research in diverse fields, and collaborates with various partners to take new ideas from the lab to market.

Through its issuance of strong patents and protection of intellectual property, the USPTO plays a key part in urban innovation efforts by promoting inventive discovery. The strength and vitality of the U.S. economy depends directly on effective mechanisms that protect new ideas and investments in innovation and creativity. The continued demand for patents and trademarks underscores the ingenuity of American inventors and entrepreneurs, and the USPTO is at the cutting edge of the nation’s technological progress and achievement.

“In order to be at the forefront of fostering innovation through intellectual property rights, we are not just operating from a distance, but instead need to be present where innovation happens,” said USPTO Director Michelle K. Lee at the summit. In the last three years, the USPTO has stood up four new regional offices – DetroitDenverDallas, and the Silicon Valley – designed to serve innovative communities on a more regional basis. In addition, where the USPTO does not have a permanent presence, they are partnering with local organizations, such as Cornell Tech at their technology campus in New York City. These partnerships are a force multiplier in order to increase USPTO’s reach to all innovators.

In a panel of intellectual property (IP) experts during the summit, Director Lee discussed IP strategies for technology entrepreneurs. Topics included best practices and common pitfalls relating to start-up patent strategies, tips for working with attorneys, insights into the role of IP for emerging companies, and the possible impact of pending patent reform efforts being considered in Washington. During a session on federal support for entrepreneurs, speakers from the MBDA, EDA, and the Small Business Administration (SBA) discussed opportunities for companies to receive grants, funding, and other assistance. Throughout the summit, there were startup pitches by entrepreneurs as well as networking events.

The Department of Commerce is committed to investing in urban centers across America, facilitating groundbreaking research in diverse fields, and collaborating with various partners to take new ideas from the lab to market.

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The 2015 Spring Travel Forecast

June 1, 2015

Jennifer Gardner is an intern in the Office of Public Affairs.

Today, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker attended the U.S. Travel Association’s IPW conference where she spoke on the continued strong growth for international travel to the United States.  Secretary Pritzker announced the 2015 Spring Travel Forecast which projects the United States will see 3.8 to 4.6 percent annual growth rates in visitor volume during the 2015-2020 timeframe. By 2020, this growth would produce 96.4 million visitors, an increase of 21 million visitors when compared to 2014.

More than 1,000 U.S. travel organizations from every region of the nation, and more than 1,300 international and domestic buyers from more than 70 countries are gathered this week at IPW in Orlando, Florida. This conference is the travel industry’s premier international marketplace and the largest generator of travel to the United States.

Travel to the United States supported 1.1 million jobs and brought in $221 billion in 2014. As the visitor volume is expected to increase 3.8 percent in 2015, the amount of visitors staying one or more nights is projected to reach 77.6 million.

It’s no surprise that the top two markets generating visitors to the United States are Canada and Mexico. Expected to grow by 6.3 million from 2014 to 2015, Mexico would set another record volume level. Canada is also expecting a 15 percent increase.

The Asia-Pacific region is projected to generate a 49 percent increase in visitors by 2020. With these projections, China would account for the second-largest number of additional visitors behind Mexico.

Europe and South America are also anticipated to realize a 21 and 34 percent increase in visitors to the United States by 2020, respectively.  Europe is projected to reach 16.7 million visitors with the largest growth coming from the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Germany. South America will generate nearly 1.9 million more visitors. Visitors from Brazil, the largest source market in the South American region, are expected to increase 38 percent by 2020.

See the full 2015 Spring Travel Forecast at http://travel.trade.gov/view/f-2000-99-001/index.html.

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BEA’s New Data Tool Provides Fast Access to Trade and Investment Stats for Countries

May 28, 2015

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

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

BEA’s New Data Tool Provides Fast Access to Trade and Investment Stats for Countries

BEA’s New Data Tool Provides Fast Access to Trade and Investment Stats for Countries

A new data tool–International Trade and Investment Country Facts Application–on the Bureau of Economic Analysis website gives users a snapshot of statistics on trade and investment between the United States and another country by simply clicking on a world map.

These fast facts at your fingertips can include:

  • Total exports, imports and trade balance between the United States and the country you select.
  • The top five categories of goods and services the United States buys from and sells to that country.
  • Country level data on U.S. direct investment abroad and foreign direct investment in the United States and on the activities of multinational enterprises such as employment and sales.

The country snapshots, or factsheets, also contain charts and can be printed or downloaded to a spreadsheet. The new data tool pulls statistics from BEA’s international data sets on exports, imports, direct investment, and the activities of multinational enterprises into a single easy-to-digest resource. Similar to the BEA’s BEARFACTS regional factsheets for state and regional economic data, the new international factsheets can be used to quickly get up to speed for a business presentation, a news story, or a school research project.

Users select a country from an interactive world map or a searchable menu of countries. The tool generates a country factsheet with graphs and tables showing the latest data on U.S. trade and investment with that country. A PDF of the factsheet is available for easy printing. The tool also provides data tables containing more detailed statistics that can be downloaded in Excel format.

To access the new international data tool, visit http://bea.gov/international/factsheet/. For a video tour of the new data tool, visithttps://youtu.be/xgLdKJV-g2g

This new data tool is just one of the ways that BEA is innovating to better measure the 21st Century economy. Some of the trade data used in the new tool comes from the U.S. Census Bureau, another Commerce Department agency, underscoring the how agencies within Commerce work together to make data even more accessible to the American public.

Providing businesses and individuals with new data tools like these – not only deepens their understanding of the U.S. economy – but also fulfills a strategic goal contained in the Commerce Department’s “Open for Business Agenda.” And, that is to make data even more accessible and easier to use.

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4 Ways Florida is Winning in Global Trade

May 26, 2015

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

This is a guest blog post by Janet Jainarain, the Vice President of International Marketing & Research at Enterprise Florida, a Marketing Partner for the Discover Global Markets: The Americas Business Forum.

Few sites in the Western Hemisphere match Florida’s unique combination of strategic geographic location, state-of-the-art infrastructure, multilingual workforce, and concentration of corporate and financial resources. From Florida, companies can effortlessly conduct business around the corner or around world.

That is one reason Miami made an ideal location for the Discover Global Markets: The Americas forum. It is more than just a matter of close proximity to markets in this hemisphere. Here are four of the key features of Florida that make the Sunshine State an elite global player:

A Global Business HQ

Florida is home to the regional and hemispheric headquarters of companies from across the globe.  The world class leaders are attracted by a vibrant international banking center, a highly educated and ethnically diverse talent pool, and a Consular Corps representing some 80 nations. Many international firms base other facilities, such as warehousing, distribution and manufacturing, in Florida to take advantage of its easy access to global markets.

Strong Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)

Florida is a leader in attracting foreign direct investment, ranking 6th among all U.S. states in employment by majority foreign-owned firms. To facilitate FDI, Florida’s EB-5 Regional Centers offer non-U.S. citizens the opportunity to obtain their permanent U.S. residency while investing in Florida through the EB-5 Investor Visa program.

Wide Support of International Trade

Merchandise trade valued at $158 billion flowed through Florida’s airports and seaports in 2013, making the state one of the world’s leaders in international trade. Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI) and its partners around the state provide valuable exporting assistance services to Florida-based companies looking to expand internationally. In addition, Florida’s international businesses enjoy access to the second largest Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) network in the country, where value can be added to foreign goods tariff free before shipping them on to another country. For the list of Florida Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) contacts please click here.

A Robust Trade and Investment Network

With a vast network of 15 international offices in 13 countries and seven trade offices located around the state, EFI offers many vital services for businesses looking to locate in Florida from overseas and for Florida-based businesses looking to expand internationally. This is in addition to the global presence offered by the U.S. Commercial Service, an important partner of EFl.

At Enterprise Florida, our mission is to expand our state’s economy by helping Florida businesses grow. We help state companies go global, expanding their export profiles and finding new revenue. We attract investment into the state to help create jobs.

We are glad to partner with the U.S. Commercial Service to help Florida companies compete and win in the global marketplace.

For any Florida business ready to take the next step in international trade, we hope you’ll find us at www.enterpriseflorida.com/ or export.gov/florida.

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World Trade Month: Reflecting on How Trade and Investment Lift the U.S. Economy

May 5, 2015

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

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

Shipping containers on a dockMay is World Trade Month. Every year at this time, we acknowledge the importance of trade and investment, and reiterate our commitment to the workers and businesses that sustain our country’s competitive advantages.

And given the records we achieved last year, this World Trade Month offers an excellent opportunity to reflect on how trade and investment lifts the U.S. economy.

For the fifth straight year, we set a record for annual exports. In 2014, we shipped out $2.34 trillion in goods and services. Those exports accounted for 13.4 percent of total GDP, compared to 7.5 percent 30 years ago.

U.S. jobs supported by exports also produced record numbers in 2014—11.7 million jobs. And those export supported jobs pay on average between 13-18 percent higher wages than non-export supported jobs.

As more American businesses, including small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) continue to increase exports to the 96 percent of consumers who live outside the U.S, we will see the trends of economic growth and job creation continue. That is why the entire administration is focusing its efforts on making trade promotion legislation a reality, which will give the President the same authority to negotiate trade agreements that every president has had since Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Events honoring World Trade Month, as well as assisting U.S. companies in their exporting efforts, are happening across the country.

Here are just a few of the events taking place this month:

  • May 2-10: National Travel and Tourism Week: recognizing the travel and tourism industry, our largest service export sector.
  • May 4-8: National Small Business Week: honoring America’s entrepreneurs since 1963. SMEs make up 98 percent of our country’s exporters.
  • May 12-14: Discover Global Markets: the Americas, in Miami, Fla.: connecting U.S. businesses with market opportunities in Central and South America.
  • May 16-22: Department of Commerce trade mission to Egypt, Jordan and Israel: focusing on export opportunities in the areas of health care equipment, services and technologies.

And trade promotion seminars throughout the country are currently being held. These seminars help first-time exporters connect to new markets and help experienced exporters connect to more markets. We encourage businesses to contact their nearest Export Assistance Center to find out about events in their local areas, or to speak to an export or industry specialist.

I encourage you to follow the International Trade Administration on Twitter at @TradeGov where we will highlight many of the great events taking place this month.

Finally, thanks to all of the exporters who made 2014 the record year it was. We salute you on this World Trade Month.

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Deputy Commerce Secretary Andrews to Small Businesses: You Don’t Have to be a Big Business to Go Global

April 30, 2015

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews yesterday encouraged small businesses to grow globally by selling more of their products and services to the world.  Deputy Secretary Andrews spoke to a group of small business owners at the White House.  The panel discussion is part of the Administration’s ongoing effort to help American business take advantage of the vast opportunities outside their borders.  Ninety-six percent of the world’s consumers live outside the United States, and the rapidly expanding global middle class is creating tremendous opportunities for all businesses to diversify their customer base.   Exports contributed five straight years of record high growth to the U.S. economy.  To continue this path of record export growth American companies need strong trade agreements to sell more of their products overseas.  Trade is essential to job creation, the economic security of American families, as well as the nation’s competitiveness and national security.

American prosperity is directly tied to the ability to reach new markets and new customers beyond U.S. borders. The benefits of trade for small businesses are too large to ignore. U.S. firms that export are more likely to grow more rapidly; increase productivity; weather changes in the economy; hire more workers; and, pay wages that are 18 percent higher than the national average.

More and more small businesses are exporting everyday proving that going global isn’t just for large companies.   Ninety-eight percent of U.S. exporters are smaller companies.  The small business share of U.S. exports increased from 27 percent to 35 percent over the past decade.  Advances in technology, communications, and transportation have made it easier than ever before for smaller companies to reach these consumers and do business internationally.   This is good news, but the Commerce Department and the Obama Administration are committed to doing more to help even more businesses go global.

At Commerce, we have services to help businesses go global, including:

  • Export assistance centers in 100 U.S. cities with exports that help local businesses find and analyze markets where their goods and services are competitive.
  • Foreign Commercial Service Officers in more than 70 embassies and consulates throughout the world, who promote the export of U.S. goods and services, attract foreign investment into the United States, and defend U.S. commercial interests abroad throughout the world.
  • The Advocacy Center, to help U.S. companies bid on foreign tenders against international competitors.
  • Enforcement & Compliance staff, who work to protect U.S. industries from unfair trade through the enforcement of antidumping and countervailing duty trade laws.

President Obama has set an ambitious trade agenda that will put American workers first by creating opportunities for businesses to grow and expand internationally.  This agenda includes passage of trade promotion legislation.   Completion of new trade agreements will help more companies maximize their full potential in global markets. Passage of a bipartisan trade promotion authority bill will not only benefit businesses and middle class workers, but will also help sustain economic growth for years to come.

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