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SelectUSA: Enhanced, Engaged… and in Japan!

March 20, 2014

Andrew Wylegala is the Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs at the Embassy of the United States in Japan.

From left: SelectUSA Executive Director Vinai Thummalapally, Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy Akira Amari, and Ambassador Caroline Kennedy at the Investment Showcase in Tokyo. View more photos from the event on the ITA Facebook page.

From left: SelectUSA Executive Director Vinai Thummalapally, Japan Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy Akira Amari, and Ambassador Caroline Kennedy at the Investment Showcase in Tokyo. View more photos on the ITA Facebook page.

Japan is the second largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) into the United States, with a total stock valued at $309.4 billion as of the end of 2012. According to our partners at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), Japan registered its second-highest ever outbound investment level in 2012 at $122 billion, and Japanese investors chose to send 26 percent of that to American shores.

FDI isn’t just about capital: In 2011 more than 686,600 U.S. workers were employed by the U.S. subsidiaries of Japanese companies with an average wage of $78,356.

It’s clear that our investment relationship with Japan is a key contributor to the U.S. economy. That’s why our SelectUSA team and Commercial Service personnel in Japan joined U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy to host an investment showcase in Tokyo.

Japan’s Minister of State for Economic & Fiscal Policy Akira Amari and Ambassador Kennedy stressed at the investment showcase that few aspects of the broad United States-Japan partnership are more mutually beneficial than investment.

Dynamism was the first key concept. Japan has resumed its role as a powerhouse in cross-border direct investment. Japanese investors also continue to believe in the opportunities offered by the U.S. market.

For example, in 2012-13, Toyota, Nissan, and Honda expanded already sizable U.S. manufacturing footprints, contributing to the renaissance in American manufacturing.

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So what’s new? A wave of investment is under way, embracing sectors from cellular communications to carbon fiber; improved tomato seeds to Kentucky bourbon; economy hotels to the limits of the Japanese and American imagination!

A testament to the success of this investment showcase is Leslie Ken Yamada, president of Japan’s Sanikleen. He spoke about his company bringing its business model to Hawaii, having made important connections in the Hawaiian market with the help of the SelectUSA team.

Osaka-based Daiwa House and Dallas-headquartered Lincoln Property Company signed a memorandum of understanding to develop $1.5 billion worth of multi-family homes during the next three years, beginning with a joint project in Ft. Worth.

Mutuality was the second theme as Minister Amari and others stressed that the benefits of cross-border direct investment are multi-directional, flowing well beyond the country of investment, in the form of access to new markets and the generation of ideas that bubble up when individuals from diverse backgrounds work side-by-side.

Ambassador Kennedy observed: “Not only do investments create growth and jobs; they create advances that benefit society as a whole.”

For example, Olympus Surgical Technologies broke ground in December for a $37 million facility in Brooklyn Park, Minn. As an R&D, design, and manufacturing operation, the improvements in non-invasive surgery that engineers from both countries will develop in Minnesota will benefit patients worldwide.

We’ll continue to work closely with our friends in Japan to promote and facilitate investment. Thanks to the Association of American State Offices, JETRO, the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan, and the Japanese government for contributing so much to our continued partnership.

If you’re a U.S. economic development organization aiming to attract increased FDI from Japan, please contact SelectUSA. We’re organizing a Road Show, May 19-23, in Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka, and we’d love to have you join! Last year it sold out, so get in touch soon!

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ITA Focused on Expanding U.S. Business Opportunities in Iraq

March 19, 2014

Kevin Reichelt is an International Trade Specialist with the International Trade Administration’s Iraq and Afghanistan Investment and Reconstruction Task Force.

Nearly four years after the end of military operations, Iraq has become an important destination for U.S. merchandise exports. U.S. exports to Iraq topped $2 billion in 2013, and U.S. companies invested more than $1.2 billion in Iraq.

The U.S.-Iraq Business Dialogue (USIBD) continues to support expanding the U.S.-Iraq commercial relationship by increasing U.S. exports and creating jobs in both countries.

Acting Under Secretary for International Trade Ken Hyatt and officials from Iraq’s Ministry of Trade convened an USIBD executive committee in Washington on March 4. Their discussion focused on increasing bilateral trade and investment in Iraq.

The USIBD was created in 2006 as an effort to integrate more American firms into the Iraq market. Now in its fourth installment, the USIBD continues to serve as an arena for open communication between U.S. and Iraq’s private sector members.

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U.S. Exporters: ITA Innovators are Here to Help!

March 14, 2014

Aileen Crowe Nandi is a Commercial Officer in San Jose California

As exporters’ needs change, we at ITA must adapt with them. The U.S. government – and our clients – faces myriad issues on a daily basis that require customized solutions. From helping a shipment of apples clear customs in South India to resolving a biotech regulatory barrier in Europe to assisting a small cloud reseller land deals in Ghana, we regularly tweak our services to assist each company with its unique set of issues. A “one-size-fits-all” technique does not apply to international trade.

To capitalize on our entrepreneurial objectives and to share and communicate even better across the Commercial Service (CS) – an organization spanning 100 domestic offices and 72 countries– we launched the Crowdsource (CS2) initiative. CS2 is designed to engage more employees at all levels by enabling them to propose and vote on ideas to change and/or improve how we help U.S. exporters. The winning ideas are then brought to senior agency leaders.

We structured CS2 as a quarterly “Pitchfest” competition, taking a cue from the dynamic venture capital industry. Colleagues are encouraged to submit short written, innovative proposals which are subsequently “crowdsourced” in a democratic voting process. The top three ideas then move on to an oral pitchfest.

The CS2 team, comprised of two International Trade Specialists (Melissa Branzburg, Boston, and Shari Stout, Peoria) and two Commercial Officers (Marianne Drain and myself), represents both the international and domestic units of our organization. Additionally, we have a cross-section of colleagues from HQ and the field (as far as Australia) to serve as “Interested Innovators” to judge the oral pitches to determine the final winner.

We began with the “B2B” theme, as it impacts the very core of how we help U.S. exporters. With fourteen B2B proposals and over 200 voters, the winning idea from the B2B pitchfest was the “Initial Market Check” (IMC), submitted by Heather Ranck in our North Dakota Export Assistance Center.

The IMC entails a fee-based service that would enable exporters to gain critical market insights for individual American companies (in the form of a short report) to determine whether to further pursue export opportunities in a given market. Though Heather had already been innovatively undertaking IMCs for her North Dakota clients, we are working with HQ to formalize the service to allow all colleagues to conduct IMCs for all exporters. Stay tuned for updates!

Our next pitchfest on “Commercial Intelligence” will take place on April 29th. What kind of commercial intelligence do YOU want from ITA? Your input will ensure that we are well positioned to facilitate your success in international markets.

With your input we can better provide the services you need to help your businesses succeed. We look forward to hearing your great ideas!

Aileen Nandi

Melissa Branzburg

Shari Stout

Marianne Drain

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President Obama’s FY 2015 Budget Proposes a $36.7 Million Increase for ITA

March 14, 2014

Ken Hyatt is the Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade.A view of the front of US Department of Commerce Building Washington, D.C.

The International Trade Administration (ITA) staff works diligently to help U.S. businesses – small, medium, and large – sell their products and services across the globe, which helps grow the U.S. economy and improve our global competitiveness. President Obama highlighted the importance of ITA’s work through his FY 2015 budget request.

The President released his fiscal year 2015 budget last week, will full Commerce Department budget information and analyses released today. The FY15 budget included $497.3 million for ITA, which is a $36.7 million increase from the $460.6 million appropriated in 2014. This increase will allow us to better serve American businesses through expanding access to markets, ensuring a level playing field for doing business abroad and helping foreign companies invest in the U.S.

In addition, the budget includes a call from the President to rename ITA the International Trade and Investment Administration, a move that more accurately reflects the mission of our organization and acknowledges our ongoing efforts to attract foreign direct investment to the United States. It also more accurately reflects the mission of ITA and how we help create jobs, not just from exports, but from inward investment.

The United States is the largest recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the world. In 2012, FDI brought $160 billion into the United States economy. In addition, FDI supported more than 5.6 million jobs in the United States in 2011. That’s 4 percent of our total private sector employment.

The SelectUSA program is the first federal-wide effort to promote and facilitate business investment as an engine for job growth and economic development. It serves as the single point of contact at the national level to help international and domestic firms grow and invest in the United States.

With more money and a more accurate name for our institution, we are confident we’ll help even more American businesses grow and create jobs through our many resources and services! If your business is ready to start exporting or re-shoring, take a look at our website to get started making the most of international markets.

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Unraveling Global Aerospace Safety Regulations

March 12, 2014

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Fred Elliot is a Trade Specialist with the Aerospace Team at the International Trade Administration

Have you ever wondered what a Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement is and how it can help speed the shipment of U.S. civil aircraft parts to customers overseas? What are “special requirements” other countries have on U.S. exports of civil aircraft parts and how can U.S. suppliers learn about them? What is an “export certificate of airworthiness” and when are U.S. aerospace exporters required to use it? If your response is: “The FAA requires it.”, then you share a common misconception that can be solved through lessons from the International Trade Administration.

These and other questions will be addressed during the Practical Tips for Suppliers of Civil Aircraft and Aircraft Parts to Increase Exports seminar on March 20. The program will help current and future U.S. exporters understand the requirements of the FAA and aeronautical authorities overseas in relation to U.S. civil aerospace exports. James Showman, FAA’s International Policy Branch manager, will be the featured speaker. Other speakers include ITA trade specialists who will be available to meet with individual seminar participants in person or by phone.

This event is being organized in cooperation with the Ohio Aerospace Institute, an ITA partner through the Market Development Cooperator Program. Additional details, including the program agenda and registration application, are available through the Ohio Aerospace Institute
.

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Exploring Top Markets for Renewable Energy Exporters

March 12, 2014

Cora Dickson and Ryan Mulholland are Renewable Energy Analysts in ITA’s Office of Energy and Environmental Industries.

Join the ITA Renewable Energy team on Twitter to ask questions and learn more about the report. Ask questions using #REtopmarkets.

Join the ITA Renewable Energy team on Twitter to ask questions and learn more about the report. Ask questions using #REtopmarkets.

As demand for clean energy grows throughout the world, how does a renewable energy company develop its export strategy?

Renewable energy is a sector that is notoriously difficult to predict.  The rapidly changing technology and policy environment can make it challenging for businesses to explore new markets and create an export strategy.

Here at ITA, we are committed to supporting renewable energy exporters by providing the most timely, accurate, and valuable information necessary to compete effectively in international markets. We put together a new report – the 2014 Renewable Energy Top Markets for U.S. Exports Report – to help exporters determine which markets may yield the most near-term renewable energy opportunities.

Exporters can find information on potential U.S. exports of goods related to renewable energy by both market and sector through 2015. Information is included for the wind, solar, geothermal, hydro, ethanol, and wood pellet (biomass) sectors. Please note that the analysis does not describe investment opportunities or even the fastest growing markets – instead, it shows where ITA believes most U.S. renewable energy exports will go in the near-term.

To undertake the analysis, we gathered data on 75 markets, including:

  • Projected capacity installations by market and by subsector;
  • The projected capital cost of a market’s projected capacity growth;
  • Each market’s projected consumption of ethanol and biomass pellets;
  • Expected import market size based on historical imports, manufacturing capacity, etc.; and
  • Projected U.S. market share in each market.

The report highlights some interesting facts – some expected and others quite informative – to exporters looking to develop an effective renewable energy export strategy:

  • Ten markets will account for nearly three-fourths of U.S. renewable energy exports over the next two years;
  • The wind sector will overtake the solar sector as the leading U.S. exporter of renewable energy technologies during that time period; and
  • Renewable energy markets in Latin America generally support a greater market share for U.S. exporters than elsewhere around the world, but often are smaller and less developed.

Company-specific priorities vary, so we encourage exporters to visit their nearest U.S. Export Assistance Center (USEAC) to further develop or refine their export strategy.  Our USEACs can also put exporters in touch with ITA’s Foreign Commercial Service staff at 72 different embassies and consulates around the world for the most up-to-date and relevant market information.

For more information on exporting renewable energy, we recommend browsing the Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency exporters portal, and sign up for the monthly e-newsletter, both of which contain a myriad of resources from ITA and across the federal government.

Please also join us on March 25 at 2 p.m. for a Twitter Town Hall (#REtopmarkets).  We’ll highlight key findings and answer questions about the Top Markets report. We are always looking to improve our programs and services, so we would also like to hear your ideas or suggestions on how to make the next Top Markets report more useful and effective. We look forward to chatting with you!

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Alabama Celebrates Export Success

March 6, 2014
Made In Alabama logo

ITA is proud to have a strategic partnership with the Alabama Department of Commerce to support state exporters.

Robert Stackpole is an International Trade Specialist at the International Trade Administration’s Export Assistance Center in Birmingham, Alabama. 

Yesterday was a big day for the State of Alabama, one that recognized a great year for state businesses and exporters.

At a ceremony at the State Capitol, Gov. Robert Bentley recognized eight Alabama companies that are setting a very high standard for Alabama companies that are competing – and succeeding – in the global marketplace. These businesses are exporting everything from audio/video equipment to machinery that helps install decorative lighting.

These exporters prove every day that Made in Alabama products are some of the most innovative, highest quality products in the world. They’re showing that exporting is possible for businesses of any size.

Engaging in the global marketplace is an excellent way for your company to increase sales, find more customers, and protect against an economic downturn.

If your business is ready to start finding and competing in new markets, the Export Alabama Alliance is here to support! Our team at the Birmingham Export Assistance Center is proud to be a part of that Alliance and to have a strategic partnership with the Alabama Department of Commerce.

We are honored to have helped all eight of the businesses recognized yesterday to increase their exports, and we are ready, willing, and able to support your business going global.

You can learn more about yesterday’s celebration and the companies that were recognized on the Alabama Department of Commerce website.

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