Archive for the ‘World Trade Month’ Category


“E” Award Winner’s Vehicles Save Lives and Support Exports

May 21, 2013

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Brian Larkin is a Presidential Management Fellow serving in the International Trade Administration.

First Priority exports emergency vehicles like ambulances and fire trucks around the world, with help from the International Trade Administration.

First Priority exports emergency vehicles like these around the world, with help from the International Trade Administration.

This week, the Department of Commerce hosted the 51st Annual President’s “E” Awards. During the ceremony, 57 American companies and organizations from 22 states were honored for their contributions to increasing our nation’s exports.

One of the winners was First Priority Emergency Vehicles, a New Jersey-based manufacturer of firefighting, medical, and other emergency vehicles and equipment.

“It is quite an honor to be a recipient of a 2013 President’s ‘E’ Award,” says First Priority President Robert J. Freeman.

“Our belief is that small businesses like First Priority have an important role to play in supporting President Obama’s National Export Initiative, growing our economy, and creating vital manufacturing jobs in the U.S.”

First Priority’s experience demonstrates both how the International Trade Administration (ITA) supports U.S. exporters and how a small business that takes a thoughtful, customer service-oriented approach to foreign sales can thrive.

Like other “E” Award winners, First Priority has found ITA to be a valuable partner. Mr. Freeman says that dedicated trade specialists, like Thomas Mottley of the Central New Jersey U.S. Export Assistance Center, have provided useful insights into foreign markets and made him aware of the many ITA resources available to exporters. He also credits CS officers based in China with apprising him of the commercial opportunity there and helping prepare him to do business in the country. Since then, China has become an important market for First Priority.

Another key to First Priority’s success has been understanding the needs of customers across a wide array of emerging markets. With buyers in countries like Russia, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Ghana, and Mexico, First Priority must modify its vehicles and equipment to meet differing local requirements. The firm carefully considers fuel efficiency standards, design characteristics, and even the prevalence of fire hydrants in its destination markets – and adapts its products accordingly.

First Priority has also been recognized for its comprehensive training programs, which help customers to effectively utilize what can be complex emergency vehicles. By remaining mindful of the technical and instructional needs of its clients, First Priority has earned a reputation internationally for superior customer service.

Exporters like First Priority and its fellow “E” Award recipients are selling quality products and services all over the world, strengthening their bottom lines, and creating jobs here in the United States. We at ITA are proud to support their efforts and look forward to continued export successes in the future.

We would also like to help your business. Please contact your nearest Export Assistance Center to learn more about our services.


Recognizing the one-year anniversary of the U.S.-Colombia TPA

May 15, 2013

Julie Anglin is the Desk Officer for Colombia and Panama in the International Trade Administration’s Office of South America. 

Image of a street in Colombia with a map in the background.

The tariff rate on many U.S. goods sold in Colombia has gone down dramatically since the trade agreement took effect.

The U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement – commonly called the “Colombia TPA” – took effect one year ago on May 15, 2012.

Prior to the TPA’s entry into force, the average Colombian tariff rate on U.S. industrial goods was higher than 10 percent. Today, the average Colombian tariff on these goods has fallen to only 3.4 percent.

That’s a tremendous benefit for U.S. exporters, as it helps them compete on a more level playing field in the Colombian market. U.S. farmers see even greater benefit, as more than half of current U.S. farm exports to Colombia are now duty-free.

The TPA includes commitments on strengthened protections for intellectual property rights benefiting American creators and innovators, as well as commitments opening Colombia’s $166 billion services market.

U.S. exporters are taking notice. Since the Colombia TPA has been in place, U.S. exports to Colombia are up 19 percent, compared to the same period the previous year.

U.S. companies are now well-situated to participate in numerous Colombian infrastructure projects to be undertaken in the next four years, valued at $26 billion. In fact, Acting Secretary Rebecca Blank is in Colombia right now, leading a trade mission of 20 U.S. companies seeking to learn more about upcoming airport, seaport, rail, highway, and mass transit upgrades.

For a country that already appreciates the value proposition of U.S. goods and services, the TPA now allows U.S companies to be even more competitive in this fast-growing market. Colombia’s economy is forecast to grow 4.1 percent in 2013, and 4.5 percent annually on average from 2014 to 2018.

A web-based resource created by the International Trade Administration, the FTA Tariff Tool, is a great way to see the tariff elimination or reduction for your product under the agreement.

To ensure that your company’s product will benefit under the agreement, you will also need to determine that the product meets one of the rules of origin criteria in the Colombia TPA and claim this when importing. You can contact an Export Assistance Center for help with this.

And sometimes, despite the trading partner’s best endeavors to implement trade agreements correctly, U.S. exporters and investors can encounter problems. The International Trade Administration’s Trade Agreements Compliance Program can help sort out market access problems arising from foreign government-imposed trade barriers. Report a trade barrier at

For more information, you can also contact your local Export Assistance Center. You can also find more facts about our trade relationship on our website.


Trade Winds Asia 2013

May 10, 2013

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

Logo for Trade Winds Asia, a business development conference in Southwest Asia May 9 through 17, 2013.

Trade Winds missions have led to nearly $110 million in reported export successes.

One thing we understand in international trade is the importance of partnerships.

Asia has been a great partner to American business and offers immense opportunities for companies looking to expand into new markets. As the 2013 Trade Winds Asia mission goes on through May 19, U.S. businesses will learn about opportunities in a wide range of industry sectors across many regions in Asia.

It’s a great event for World Trade Month as we continue to promote U.S. goods and services around the world.

The mission visits five major cities in the Asian market: Hong Kong, Manila, Seoul, Taipei, and Tokyo. These cities represent regions with expanding global sales potential for U.S. business, and play a major part in our recent export success.

  • The United States exported more than $387 billion of goods to Asia in 2012;
  • The top three export categories were computer and electronic products, chemicals, and transportation equipment;
  • U.S. exports to Hong Kong have more than doubled since 2005;
  • Exports to Japan have increased every year since 2009; and
  • U.S. exports to countries with which we have trade agreements, including Korea, increased by 5.8 percent in 2012.

These figures show the great partnership we have with Asia, and the potential that remains for future business. The figures also represent jobs back here at home; $387 billion in merchandise exports to Asia supports nearly two million American jobs.

Trade Winds missions around the world contribute to export success. Companies who report back to us on their successes tell us they’ve achieved nearly $110 million in exports as a result of participating in Trade Winds missions.

I’m honored to lead this mission and I’m proud of the work my colleagues at the International Trade Administration have put in to making the mission as successful as possible. I am proud to be working with the business leaders participating in Trade Winds Asia – and I hope we can help many more on one of our upcoming missions.


Celebrating a Strategy to Increase Travel and Tourism and Create Jobs

May 9, 2013

Ken Hyatt is the Acting Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade.

2012 was a record year for travel and tourism in the United States. The industry generated $168.1 billion worth of U.S. exports, an impressive 10 percent increase over 2011, and supported 7.7 million jobs. Recognizing this sector’s potential to continue driving job growth, President Obama last year called for the creation of a National Travel and Tourism Strategy. Tomorrow marks the first anniversary of the Strategy’s release.

The Strategy, co-led by the Departments of Commerce and Interior, is a comprehensive, government-wide approach to increase travel and tourism to and within the United States. Since its introduction, more than a dozen partner agencies have coordinated to enhance tourism promotion efforts, improve the visa application and entry experiences, and collaborate with the private sector – including BrandUSA – and state and local destinations in various ways. These and other activities are aimed at attracting 100 million annual visitors by the end of 2021, a 61 percent increase over 2011.

The Strategy is already bearing fruit. Two examples I would like to highlight are:

  • Our partners at the Department of State are expanding their consular facilities and streamlining their visa processes. As a result, nine out of ten visa applicants worldwide are now interviewed within three weeks of submitting applications. In some key markets, wait times have fallen to only a few days even as the number of applications increases.
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) have launched programs to reduce screening and entry processing times for domestic and international passengers alike. CBP’s Global Entry program is now available at 44 airports, while TSA’s Pre Check is present at 40.

Improvements like these have made the visitor experience better without compromising our security. While we take pride in successes like these, we recognize that more work remains to be done, especially given economic headwinds and fiscal challenges in some of the countries that send visitors to our shores.

Our nation offers domestic and international visitors a wealth of amazing tourism experiences. Those visitors, in turn, spend hundreds of billions of dollars right here in the United States and contribute to our national efforts to create jobs here at home. I invite you to review the Strategy as we celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week (May 4-12) and let us know how your community can play its part.


Celebrating World Trade Throughout May

May 1, 2013

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

May brings warmer weather, longer days, and, most importantly for us at the Department of Commerce, World Trade Month. For years, this has been a special time to reflect on the importance of trade to our nation’s economic well-being.

Over the past few months, we’ve discussed what an important year 2012 was for exports and our  economy: a record-setting $2.2 trillion in overall exports, 10 percent annual growth in tourism-related exports, and 9.8 million U.S. jobs supported by exports.

World Trade Month is an occasion to recognize the past year’s successes while looking ahead to new ways to expand exports and build a stronger economy. It’s a month for us to recognize what we know all year long: that exports are a key to our long-term economic health.

The month of May will provide many opportunities to do just that. Events and observances to look out for include:

  • National Travel and Tourism Week, a celebration of that industry’s contributions to the U.S. economy, will take place from May 4-12.
  • On May 16, the Small Business Administration and Denver U.S. Export Assistance Center will co-sponsor the 40th Annual World Trade Day.
  • May 19 will bring the start of World Trade Week, a tradition dating back to 1927 and marked by a Presidential proclamation.
  • During that week, the President’s annual “E” Awards will be presented to leading U.S. exporters.

Have a question about getting started in exporting? Twitter chats throughout the month will offer chances to learn about exporting and pose questions to government agencies involved in President Obama’s National Export Initiative.

World Trade Month Updates:

We invite you to check this post or our World Trade Month category for regular updates on these and other events. You can also visit our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter.

As we kick off World Trade Month 2013, our team looks forward to continuing to support our nation’s exporters as they build things here and sell them everywhere.


Celebrating World Trade Week 2012

May 21, 2012

Cory Churches is a Communication and Outreach Specialist in the Office of Public Affairs within the International Trade Administration.

This week we’ve launched World Trade Week with the President’s Proclamation and we are hard at work highlighting the opportunities, successes, and innovation surrounding trade and exporting.

Celebrating World Trade Week map showing exports of U.S. goods in 2011. North America $478b, Asia $381b, Oceana $32b, South America $115, Central America and Caribbean $54b, Africa $33b, Middle East $58b and Europe $329b

This map is patterned on the 1940 National Foreign Trade Week (May 18-24) updated to reflect 2011 trade figures for exports of merchandise.

In the past 50 years, U.S. exports have expanded 80-fold from $26 billion in 1961 to a record $2.1 trillion last year. It is our mission here at the International Trade Administration to continue that trend by working to expand opportunities for businesses of all shapes and sizes, helping them connect with more international buyers, and opening new markets for the great products and services we innovate and manufacture here at home.

Just this year, the trade agreements with South Korea and Colombia have been implemented and U.S. companies are now reaping the benefits and enjoying potential growth in exports to those countries.

We recognized 41 U.S. companies and organizations last week with the “E” and “E-Star” Award and these are just a few of the hundreds of success stories we see each year.

Day in and day out, trade specialists, international economists, and commercial service officers around the globe are working to ensure that U.S. businesses have the tools they need to be successful as provided:

Your success is our success and we have many ways for you to keep up to date on the most important changes in rules and regulations impacting your business, find out about trade event opportunities and provide feedback on how we’re doing. Our monthly newsletter International Trade Update is issued on the first Tuesday of every month and will keep you on track and in the know. You can also find us on Facebook and twitter.


Coming to America: International Visitors Help Keep America Moving

May 10, 2012

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

Julie Heizer is the Acting Director for the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries within the Manufacturing and Services division of the International Trade Administration

This week we’re celebrating National Travel and Tourism Week by highlighting the impact of international visitors on our economy as well as noting how we can attract more visitors to experience our wonderland of sights and attractions.

Last year, a record 62 million international tourists visited the United States and spent a record $153 billion that went to support the economies of local communities, helping to support 1.1 million jobs in our travel and tourism industry.  The U.S. enjoys a $42.8 billion surplus in travel and tourism and has done so since 1989. While these numbers are all records for the industry, there is room to improve. Jazz Musician as part of Brand USA's "Discover this land, like never before" campaign. (Photo Brand USA)

The U.S. ranks just behind France in attracting foreign visitors, hosting 6.4% of the global share of travelers. However, in terms of visitor spending, we dominate the world market with 11.2% of global traveler spending.

According to the most recently released travel forecast (2012-2016) international visitation to the United States is expected to grow between four to five percent in the forecast period. This growth would build on the past two years of record-setting numbers and continue this upward trend.
If the forecast holds true, visitor volume would grow from 62.3 million in 2011 to reach 65.4 million in 2012 and 76.6 million by 2016. This translates into total growth of 14.4 million additional visitors in 2016 compared to 2011, growth of 23% versus the 2011 level, and a compounded annual growth rate of 4.2 percent.

In January, President Obama signed an executive order to further support travel and tourism to the United States and ultimately create jobs. The order established, among other things, a Task Force on Travel and Competitiveness that developed and delivered a National Travel and Tourism Strategy to the White House that will encourage international visitors to come to the United States.

Improving staffing in overseas embassies to process visa applications and ensuring smooth arrival processes at major airports are important steps to attracting a larger volume of travelers to the United States. However, this task is a collaborative effort between the federal government and private industry.

During International Pow Wow, the largest U.S. travel and tourism industry event, held this year in Los Angeles, Brand USA, a public-private partnership whose mission is to promote increased international travel to the United States, unveiled their marketing campaign designed to draw more visitors to the United States. The campaign showcases the diversity of experiences available in the United States in a fresh and unexpected light, inviting visitors to “Discover this land, like never before.”

Through the public-private partnership launched by Brand USA and the increased attention on travel and tourism from the U.S. government  the United States can regain its prominence as a world-class destination and in the process create and retain jobs across the country.


World Trade Month 2012: Celebrating Progress, Building for the Future

May 8, 2012

Francisco Sánchez is the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade

It’s that time of year again.

May is World Trade Month, a time to reaffirm the important role that international trade plays in U.S. economic growth. 

Francisco Sanchez (center) with the members of the Travel and Tourism Advisory Board at Pow Wow in Los Angeles, CA

Francisco Sanchez (center) with the members of the Travel and Tourism Advisory Board at Pow Wow in Los Angeles, CA

In today’s global economy, it is more important than ever for American businesses to tap into the abundance of opportunities overseas.  95 percent of the world’s consumers are located outside our borders; helping companies reach them is key to our nation’s economic success and future.   

At the Department of Commerce, we are providing this kind of help in a variety of forms — from raising awareness, to offering unique insight into markets and sectors, to providing counsel that helps companies navigate through all the regulatory red tape when doing business abroad. 

As a result of these kinds of efforts, American businesses are finding new opportunities in the global marketplace.  In 2011, American businesses sold $2.1 trillion dollars worth of goods and services to overseas customers — an all-time record.  These sales made an impact far beyond financial statements: they also benefited people and families. 

Last year, U.S. exports supported roughly 10 million jobs, helping Americans — from all corners of the country — stimulate their local economies, while paying their rents, buying their groceries, taking care of their children’s tuition bills and much more. 

So the formula is clear: whenever U.S. exports increase, the American people benefit.  This is why the Department of Commerce is firmly committed to helping more U.S. businesses succeed in the global markets.

We are doing this work in a number of ways. 

Last month, for example, I was proud to participate in the Western Hemisphere Business Opportunities Forum, where U.S. businesses engaged with our Commercial Officers to talk about the wide-range of opportunities across the region. 

We now export more to the Western Hemisphere than to any other region in the world, and there are great possibilities to do more, especially after the U.S. – Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement takes effect on May 15th.  Through this business forum and other efforts, we are working diligently to ensure that American companies are well positioned to fulfill this enormous promise. 

Another exciting event that took place in April was the U.S. Travel Association’s International Pow Wow Event, which strives to boost U.S. tourism.  Last year, 62 million international visitors traveled to the United States, and for good reason.  There is no place like America, with its unique sites, culture and history. 

These visitors spent a record $153 billion dollars on things like restaurants, hotels, and shopping, strengthening bottom lines in a variety of sectors.  At Pow Wow, we pledged to continue to work with partners to support this vital industry.  And, during this World Trade Month and beyond, we renew our commitment to increasing U.S. exports in all industries. 

Throughout May, there will be a series of state and local events taking place nationwide to provide support to U.S. businesses looking to export their goods and services around the world. 

Later this month, we’ll be releasing a special edition of International Trade Update to report on many of these events so stay tuned.

In the meantime, we at the Department of Commerce look forward to working with you to link American businesses to the opportunities overseas, and help them build for the future. 

Together, we can make this World Trade Month the most memorable yet. 

So let’s get to work.


May is World Trade Month

May 1, 2012

Cory Churches is a Communications Outreach Specialist in the Office of Public Affairs at the International Trade Administration.

May is the harbinger of Spring (here in the Northern Hemisphere) but it’s also what I like to call the “month of weeks”. In addition to being Bike Month (as proclaimed by the League of American Bicyclists) it is also a celebration of many of the things we here at the International Trade Administration hold near and dear to our hearts.

Bike messengers in Hannover, Germany (Photo T.MoE via Flickr)

Bike messengers in Hannover, Germany (Photo T.MoE via Flickr)

In May we celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week (May 5-13), National Small Business Week (May 14-20), and last but certainly not least World Trade Week (May 21-26). All month we will be highlighting programs, industries, and milestones from across the organization that fit into these three (and sometimes all) themes.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the E-Awards, created to “afford suitable recognition to persons, firms, or organizations which contribute significantly in the effort to increase United States exports.”

The U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement enters into force on May 15 and we will have information about the economic impact of the agreement and opportunities for key industries as a result of the provisions of the agreement.

The annual TradeWinds Forum takes place May 14-22 and we will be highlighting stories from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam where hundreds of companies will be networking with government and industry leaders to find connections, partners, and ultimately sales in new markets.

Speaking of partners, the Market Development Cooperator Program (or MDCP) will highlight one of their many successes with a profile of the Independent Film and Television Alliance. IFTA became a partner in 2010 with the goal of “enhancing the global competitiveness of its industry and increase the exports of U.S. independent motion picture exports by an creating American Pavilion at the Hong Kong International Film and Television Market.” We will hear of their ultimate success and track their progress.

Keep an eye out for upcoming stories and follow us on Twitter @TradeGov.


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