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For World Octopus Day, 8 Reasons to Attend a DISCOVER GLOBAL MARKETS Business Forum

October 6, 2014

Our team is in New York now, supporting our DISCOVER GLOBAL MARKETS: Greater China business forum. While we’re here, we’ll also celebrate World Octopus Day (of course) on Oct. 8.

In honor of the day, here are eight reasons your business should attend an upcoming DISCOVER event:

  1. One-on-One Counseling: One size doesn’t fit every business, and that’s why we offer the opportunity for you to meet one-on-one with our commercial diplomats. Get a tailored plan for your business, taking into consideration your industry, your target market, your goals, and your resources.
  2. Networking: Find new partners, make new connections, secure new business. That’s what our networking sessions help you find, and our events feature some of the world’s leading companies. It’s a great opportunity for you!
  3. U.S. Commercial Diplomats: These folks live and work in your target markets and there’s no one with more knowledge of opportunities, regulatory considerations, market potential, and business contacts than our team.
  4. Focus on Key Markets: We didn’t pick our markets out of a hat. These forums focus on the markets that present the most opportunity for your business: free trade partners, the Americas, Africa, and China. Like the octopus that picked so many winners in the 2010 World Cup, our team can pick the winning markets for your business.
  5. Focus on Industry: Our upcoming events in Minneapolis and Silicon Valley focus specifically on healthcare and sustainable industries. For our region-specific events, we have a variety of industry experts to support you. So no matter which event you choose to attend, we will have the expertise there for your industry.
  6. Buyer Delegations: For many of these events, we bring opportunities to you when qualified, pre-screened buyer delegations from major markets come to DISCOVER to meet your business. What better return on investment for attending an event than a newly signed business deal?
  7. Opportunities: Not every business inks a deal at our forums, but every business does learn about new opportunities. Come join us at an upcoming event in Charlotte, Atlanta, or Minneapolis and let us help you find new opportunities.
  8. Intelligence: Whether it’s details about a developing market or details about a new government program, DISCOVER events provide your business the intel it needs to take the next step on its export plan.

So what are you waiting for? Learn more about our upcoming events and register now!

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Celebrating One of Florida’s and the Nation’s Key Industries on Manufacturing Day

October 3, 2014

Chandra Brown is the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Manufacturing. 

A manufacturing worker works on an automobile engine.

Manufacturing supports 17.4 million U.S. jobs.

Happy Manufacturing Day!

There are more than 1,500 Manufacturing Day events taking place across the country today, highlighting the importance of the manufacturing industry to the U.S. economy, American jobs, and to global innovation.

I am in Tampa, Florida, to tour three manufacturing facilities and meet the local manufacturing community.

I will visit these businesses today with Sandra Campbell of Tampa’s Export Assistance Center, and we’ll join students, teachers, parents, job seekers and other local community members at open houses designed to showcase the innovation taking place in modern manufacturing and the professional opportunities that are available in the industry.

Touring manufacturing facilities, discovering their amazing abilities, and meeting the next generation of manufacturers are always the best parts of my job!

Today we’ll be visiting:

  • Microlumen is a major producer of surgical quality heart tubing and a major exporter: microlumen.com.
  • Southern Manufacturing Technologies is a leader in precision machined components and assemblies primarily for the aviation and aerospace industry: smt-tampa.com.
  • Lockheed Martin (Tampa Bay plant) specializes in metal forming, fabrication and assembly of components for many of the company’s major programs: lockheedmartin.com.

I’m especially looking forward to meeting with the local high school students to discuss the rewarding and challenging careers that manufacturing has to offer.

A few facts to remember on this important day:

  • Manufacturing supports 17.4 million U.S. jobs.
  • Manufacturing career opportunities include engineers, designers, machinists, and computer programmers.
  • The annual average salary of manufacturing workers is more than $77,000, which is approximately 17 percent more than similar workers employed in other sectors.
  • For every $1.00 spent in manufacturing, the sector creates $1.32 for the U.S. economy.

If you’re not in Tampa Bay, there are plenty of other opportunities for you to connect to your local manufacturing community, and I hope you’ll do so today.

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Exporting is a Hit for HIT

September 30, 2014

Doug Barry is a Senior International Trade Specialist in the International Trade Administration’s Global Knowledge Center.

Photo shows a square of HIT's smart materials that repaired themselves after being punctured.

HIT’s smart materials are designed to “heal” themselves when punctured. More than half of the company’s jobs are supported by international business.

What happens if you have a fuel container and it gets punctured? You’re probably going to lose your fuel. Depending on what punctures your container, you could also have an explosion.

Unless your fuel container is made of “smart” materials, like the materials developed by Oregon-based High Impact Technology, or HIT.

Results look like magic as the company’s smart materials seal up bullet holes before contents can spill and catch fire. HIT also makes treatments to protect power plants from everything from storms to terrorist attacks.

More than half of HIT’s employees work on the international side of the business, so exports have been crucial for the company. HIT has also worked with the International Trade Administration’s (ITA) Commercial Service office in Portland, Ore., to expand in global markets.

HIT Director of Operations Russ Monk discussed how business is going with Doug Barry of ITA’s Global Knowledge Center.

Barry: You became an exporter via the U.S. military, which is not an uncommon channel for smaller companies that work with the U.S. Commercial Service.

Monk: That’s right. We monitor U.S. government procurements and we spotted one for the Department of Defense a number of years back. At the time, enemy attacks on fuel convoys coming into Iraq was problem number one on the planet for the Department of Defense. We were invited to demonstrate our solution and selected two weeks later.

Barry: What is the chemistry behind your solution?

Monk: Resins are mixed under very high pressure to form a urethane coating. It also has a reactive chemistry in the matrix. Simply put, an internal cork is formed to prevent the flammable liquids from leaking out and igniting. We hold half a dozen patents on the process. Our main mission is to protect soldiers. We won’t make things that harm people.

Barry: What other customers do you have?

Monk: We sell to Germany, Canada, and Russia. We will ship soon to Singapore and the United Arab Emirates. We’ve had a request for quotes from Turkey and the United Kingdom.

Barry: How important are international sales to your business?

Monk: Hugely important. Thirty-percent of our sales are international. More than half of our 40 employees, including supply chain jobs, work on the international side of the business. When our infrastructure barricades get rolled out, we expect to expand in all markets.

Barry: What kinds of assistance have you received from the government?

Monk: You really help small U.S. companies like ours. Trouble is you’re a best kept secret. Maybe I shouldn’t share you, but I do. We rely on you to introduce us to new markets. When the U.S. Commercial Service folks at the Embassies join us in meetings with government officials in, say, the United Arab Emirates, it really makes a difference. We get instant credibility from the host government. We attend seminars at the local Export Assistance Centers—on export controls and regulations. They’ve been invaluable. And we’ve taken advantage of the STEP grant—federal funds administered by the State of Oregon that helped us attend an international trade show.

Barry: Thank you for helping us become less of a secret. What’s been the biggest lesson for you in going global?

Monk: Have patience. It takes time to learn the business culture. It’s easy to get spoiled if you deal just with other Americans. When you operate globally, you need to have a long horizon. We could speed things up by paying bribes in countries where it’s a common practice, but we won’t do it and never will. Good technology trumps graft. That is the (American) advantage. The Commerce Department represents some of the best taxpayer dollars spent and has greatly enhanced our offering to the world.

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The Push to Increase Exports: National and Local, Public and Private

September 29, 2014

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

Two hands shakingI say this very often and I mean it every time: This is an incredible time to be working in international trade.

We’ve seen four years of record exports and 1.6 million new U.S. jobs supported by exports since 2009.

To be sure, there are a number of reasons for this growth. We certainly wouldn’t see it if not for the innovative, high-quality goods and services our businesses create.

But a lot of credit also goes to public and private organizations throughout the country that are making it easier for U.S. companies to compete and win in the global marketplace.

I was happy to recently have the opportunity to thank a group of the International Trade Administration’s strategic partners here in Washington D.C. These organizations ranging from private companies to nonprofits and associations are part of a great public-private partnership, committed to supporting U.S. businesses of all sizes as they consider exporting.

Everyone here at the ITA is proud to have such a group of committed partners, and I want to thank them again for what they do.

Outside that group, there are plenty of other organizations working to support trade.

State and local governments are prioritizing global business, from San Francisco’s LatinSF program – promoting opportunities for San Francisco companies in Latin America – to Utah’s office of Economic Development, which just finished a promising trade mission to China and a global forum supporting small businesses.

Then there are economic development groups like Enterprise Florida, which just wrapped up a mission in Singapore and Malaysia, or the Northeastern Pennsylvania Alliance, which just concluded its annual Bringing the World to Northeastern Pennsylvania forum connecting local businesses to global opportunities.

There are countless other nonprofits, private companies, and local/regional governments supporting international trade, and I thank all of them for their efforts. Increasing trade supports jobs, encourages innovation, and brings economic growth to regions throughout the country.

I look forward to working with all of you, and seeing the successes your efforts create for U.S. businesses.

I also invite any organization with a mission of furthering U.S. exports to look into our strategic partnerships program. We would love to officially join forces to support American businesses.

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Supporting Manufacturers on Manufacturing Day and Every Day

September 25, 2014

Greg Sizemore is the Director of the International Trade Administration’s U.S. Commercial Service team in North Carolina.

Robots In a Car Factory

Manufacturing is a crucial contributor to the economy of North Carolina and the entire United States.

Manufacturing is more than just a cornerstone of the U.S. economy; it’s a cornerstone of modern life.

The screen you’re reading this on is a manufactured commodity. The radio you’re listening to, the car you drove to work, the smartphone your kids keep staring at – your refrigerator, your TV, your medicine – all manufactured goods.

Many headlines about U.S. manufacturing are negative, focusing on increased global competition in the sector, but the fact is that the U.S. manufacturing industry is growing, it’s supporting jobs, and it is supporting higher quality of life here in the U.S. and around the world.

Manufacturing is also a major source of U.S. exports, and the International Trade Administration estimates that one in four U.S. manufacturing jobs is supported by exports. That’s huge for our economy and I’m glad that we’ll celebrate the industry on Manufacturing Day on October 3.

Here in North Carolina, our manufacturers are creating and exporting billions of dollars’ worth of transportation equipment, chemicals, electronics products plastics, and more. I’m glad that my office in Charlotte and our other Export Assistance Centers in the state get to work with local manufacturers to find opportunities to sell their quality products in foreign markets.

If you’re a manufacturer looking to do business overseas, here are some of the services an Export Assistance Center can provide for you:

  • Market Research: Find out you product’s potential in a given market. Learn about specific regulations that could affect your business model. This kind of information is crucial for your export strategy.
  • Gold Key Matchmaking: Who are the best distributors in a market? What potential joint venture partners exist? What are the best government contacts for you to have? We can find those contacts, make introductions, and make sure you spend your time doing what’s most important: managing your company.
  • Trade Missions: Imagine you could go on a trip to a target market, surrounded by market and industry experts, and meet the foreign government and industry leaders most relevant to your business. That is a trade mission. We connect you to the most relevant opportunities and contacts to make sure you have every advantage to being successful in a market.
  • Trade Leads: We have commercial diplomats on the ground in more than 70 global markets and they have their fingers on the pulse of the business environment. Let us tell you the most current and relevant opportunities for your business around the globe.

You should also consider attending an event in our DISCOVER GLOBAL MARKETS Business Forum Series. We have export-promotion events coming up in New York, Georgia, Minnesota, and – of course – North Carolina, to support your business in competing abroad. There’s no better event to give your company a leg up in the global marketplace.

There are many other ways the Commercial Service can support your manufacturing business, so contact your nearest Export Assistance Center for assistance.

As Manufacturing Day approaches, I want to thank the 50-plus North Carolina-based manufacturers who are opening their doors to the public on October 3. I hope many of you in the Tar Heel State, and around the country, will participate in Manufacturing Day this year!

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Soaring Energy Demand Means Opportunities for U.S. Companies in Latin America

September 24, 2014

Marjorie Baker recently completed a summer internship with the International Trade Administration’s Office of the Western Hemisphere.

Register now for discover: the Americas

Energy consumption in Latin America is expected to more than double between 2010 and 2013.

More Latin Americans than ever are now members of the middle class, and sustained economic growth in the region has led to increased demand for energy.

Energy consumption is projected to more than double in Latin America between 2010 and 2030, and this will transform the continent’s energy sector, creating new opportunities for U.S. companies.

As part of the federal government’s Look South initiative, the International Trade Administration (ITA) has published a series of best prospect sector reports for our 11 Free Trade Agreement partners in Latin America (Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, and Peru).

Our on-the-ground experts have identified the following countries as especially attractive for U.S. energy sector exporters:

We are also leading several U.S. companies on a renewable energy trade mission to Peru in November, and we look forward to new opportunities and new business deals as a result of that mission.

The energy sectors of these countries face challenges in terms of generating, distributing, and transmitting power, and that means there are a wide variety of opportunities for U.S. companies.

One way to learn about these opportunities and how to take advantage of them is at the upcoming DISCOVER GLOBAL MARKETS: The Americas forum in Charlotte, N.C., Oct. 29-31.

Register now for discover: the Americas

This forum will be the premier international business conference for U.S. executives to explore new market development strategies in the Americas, featuring:

  • One-on-one appointments with a buying delegation from Mexico;
  • Opportunities to meet with commercial diplomats who work in these markets every day; and
  • A breakout session focusing specifically on energy opportunities across the hemisphere.

We hope to see many U.S. companies taking advantage of the promising opportunities in Latin America!

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Small Business Development Centers Raise the Bar on Exporting

September 22, 2014

Gabriela Preda is an intern with the International Trade Administration’s Office for Export Policy, Promotion, and Strategy.

A man is drawing lines connecting countries on a map of the world.Two reports released earlier this month by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA) — Jobs Supported by State Exports 2013 and U.S. Metropolitan Area Exports 2013 — highlight one of the hottest topics right now in our economy: U.S. exports.

Since the launch of the Administration’s National Export Initiative (NEI) in 2010, U.S. businesses are selling more goods and services abroad than ever before, reaching an all-time record in 2013 of $2.3 trillion in exports.

As we transition to the next phase of supporting U.S. exporters through NEI/Next,  ITA is expanding export-promotion efforts and trade advocacy. Our success depends on collaboration with public and private organizations at the national, state, and local levels that want to do the same.

One of the most important tools for supporting U.S. exporters is the nationwide network of Small Business Development Centers, and we were glad to see them in the spotlight at America’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Annual Conference in Grapevine, Texas.

More than 1,400 participants representing the SBDC network gathered for training sessions, workshops, discussions, and exhibits.

Supported by a collaboration of Small Business Administration federal funds, state and local governments, and private sector resources, SBDCs provide an array of technical assistance to small businesses and entrepreneurs. A hallmark of SBDC assistance is no-cost, extensive, one-on-one, long-term professional business advising.

In Grapevine, hundreds of SBDC export counselors took part in 15 international trade sessions ranging from export basics to protecting intellectual property in China. The annual conference is helping to build an army of enthusiastic SBDC export counselors across the United States, arming them with the knowledge and skills necessary to guide businesses forward.

And we at ITA are proud to have such a capable network of business experts as partners in supporting U.S. exporters! Together, SBDCs and ITA’s network of Export Assistance Centers will help support America’s business innovators bring quality U.S.-made products to more markets around the world.

If your business is ready to compete in the global marketplace, contact your nearest SBDC or Export Assistance Center now!

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