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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.

We were glad to join the American Council on Renewable Energy for a Twitter chat about the top renewable energy export markets.

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, 2014 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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How to Avoid a Mid-life Crisis: Start a Business and Take it Global

February 27, 2014

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

Harold Cecil was in his early 40s when he decided to start his own business in Central Oregon. His initial investment: $2,000. That was back in 2008, just in time for the Great Recession.

Six years later, he and a team of five employees at Giant Loop are making world-class equipment carriers for motorcycles. The company does business in 21 countries with sales growing 20 percent per year. It has expanded overseas with the help of numerous government agencies, including Business Oregon, the Small Business Administration, and the International Trade Administration’s (ITA) Commercial Service.

Cecil spoke with Doug Barry of ITA’s Global Knowledge Center about how his small company has found success in the global market.

Barry: What’s been the best sales channel for your international business?

Cecil: I’d say trade shows. One of the best is a motorcycle show in Milan, Italy, called EICMA. This was our third year exhibiting, and we have come away with distributor agreements every time. We exhibit in the U.S. Pavilion, and there we meet buyers from all over Europe and many other places. We meet them face-to-face, they can see, feel, and learn about our products; and we can learn about their needs.

Barry: How has government helped you?

Cecil: I couldn’t have done it with without them. This is my first business. I’ve been a journalist, an ad copywriter, and a marketer. I’ve never manufactured anything.

As I got started, our local Small Business Development Center helped me learn how to actually run a business. I still meet with one of the counselors every month to get advice. SBA has been helpful with a working capital loan guarantee. They came through when we couldn’t get a commercial loan from any bank.

The State of Oregon was a big help through the Business Oregon program. They helped us apply for and get financial assistance, which partly covered travel to the trade show in Italy and to one in Sweden.

The U.S. Commercial Service through the Portland Export Assistance Center connected us with Commerce Foreign Service officers and staff supporting the U.S. Pavilion in Milan. The Export Assistance Center has provided great market data and seminars on export mechanics. And the agencies work together to help small businesses like mine.

They are invaluable, top notch.

Barry: What else has made a positive difference for you?

Cecil: The U.S. Free Trade Agreements have been very helpful to us. That lower or zero duty rate makes our products attractive in those markets. Distributors tell us that our product is at the high end of the market because of our product costs and shipping. So any way you can shave costs helps offset our pricing disadvantage.

Barry: What does the future look like for Giant Loop? What are your biggest challenges?

Cecil: Everything is a challenge. That’s what makes it fun.

We’re growing. Seventy percent of the business is domestic; 30 percent is international. Strategically it’s important to have a mix of international and domestic. We’ll never abandon our international markets, no matter how much the domestic market grows.

We added a full-time employee in January, and we plan to hire more seasonal workers. I feel really good about creating jobs. This part of Oregon was hard hit by the recession.

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Energized by the Baltic Region

February 25, 2014

Matthew Murray is the International Trade Administration’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Europe, Middle East and Africa. 

Deputy Assistant Secretary Matthew Murray spoke to members of the American Chamber of Commerce in Estonia about trans-Atlantic trade.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Matthew Murray spoke to members of the American Chamber of Commerce in Estonia about trans-Atlantic trade.
(photo courtesy AmCham Estonia)

I believe in the power of trade and investment. These are key components to a strong bilateral relationship, and they have the power to strengthen important bonds between countries.

By working with the regions of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, my team and I can focus on some of the United States’ cornerstone partnerships. Even with countries that are considered small in terms of population size or territorial expanse, our commercial relationships create jobs, support development, and foster shared ideals of entrepreneurial support and innovation.

In the dynamic markets of Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia, there is more potential for economic and job growth than one may otherwise expect. I strongly believe that establishing synergies between U.S. and Baltic companies will forge cutting-edge business partnerships that lead to new, dynamic jobs for all countries involved.

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement currently under negotiation between the United States and the European Union (EU) is a vital tool for deepening U.S. commercial ties to the Baltic region. The partnerships will create new opportunities for U.S. and Baltic companies to export their goods and services to the larger, transatlantic marketplace.

I recently traveled to Estonia and Lithuania in pursuit of input from U.S., Estonian, and Lithuanian businesses, as to how the United States and the EU should advance TTIP negotiations in 2014. To amplify the message of the September Baltic Summit here in Washington, I emphasized the critical role Baltic companies play as TTIP stakeholders.

Baltic business leaders are setting a world standard in innovation and in a start-up business culture. They are participating in the global marketplace, sharing their products and best practices, and investing in markets like the United States. We welcome their investment and their contributions to the global marketplace.

As the region advances its infrastructure to accelerate development, American businesses are ready to support this growth with unmatched global experience and expertise. Infrastructure developments will allow the region to accelerate its development.

Infrastructure developments also help attract foreign direct investment (FDI) to the region. Kinze, a U.S. agricultural equipment manufacturer, is one such company that chose to invest in Lithuania as a manufacturing hub. Increased FDI is an important development in our bilateral relationship, a topic about which you can read further in this translated interview I conducted with the Lithuanian business publication, Verslo zinios.

As the U.S. commercial relationship within the Baltic region progresses, our team is standing by to support American businesses interested in or already operating in the Baltic region. Please contact Jen Levine, Commerce’s Nordic Baltic Trade Specialist in Washington to link you with commercial opportunities in the Baltic and Nordic region.

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Smoothing Over Connections for Your Cosmetics Business: Cosmoprof Trade Show

February 21, 2014

Elisa Martucci and Tony Michalski are Commercial Specialists focusing on the European cosmetics market.

Are you looking to increase sales for your cosmetics business? The U.S. cosmetics industry is increasingly finding new customers overseas, achieving $10 billion in exports in 2013. That’s a 10 percent increase from 2012.

We expect companies to continue finding success overseas — especially in the European markets.

One way you can find and capitalize on opportunities in the cosmetics industry is by joining us at Cosmoprof Worldwide in Bologna, Italy this April.

Our Commercial Service specialists will be at the show to help you take full advantage – finding the best possible business opportunities and qualified potential partners. We can give you information about current market situations, issues important to your business, and key opportunities for your business around the world.

With our help, you can put every minute of time spent at the event to the best possible use.

We want to help you make the best of your business! You can register for the Cosmoprof Worldwide trade show,and be sure to let us help you get the full makeover for your business!

If you have any questions about Cosmoprof or support from the Commercial Service, please feel free to contact one of us, Elisa Martucci or Tony Michalski. Or you can always contact your nearest Export Assistance Center.

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ITA Helps Business Look South with Market Research

February 20, 2014

Laura Ebert is the Chile Desk Officer in the International Trade Administration’s Office of South America.The Look South campaign is encouraging companies to seek export opportunities in Latin America.

Before entering a new market, your business needs to be prepared. There are a number of market specific data you should understand to get an idea of your product’s potential success, including:

  • market size;
  • sophistication;
  • growth trends;
  • distribution channels; and,
  • regulatory considerations.

The problem is that market research can be time consuming and data on foreign markets can be confusing or difficult to find.

That’s where the International Trade Administration’s U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service comes in!

Our Commercial Service offers a number of resources to assist you and your business with conducting market research and due diligence in your target foreign market.

Our Market Research Library contains more than 100,000 industry and country-specific market reports, written by our specialists working on the ground in each market.

Here you will also find the Country Commercial Guides, in-depth “how to do business” guides that provide a comprehensive look at the commercial environment in more than 80 overseas markets. The guides also highlight the top “best prospect” markets in each country for U.S. exporters.

As we focus on helping U.S. companies do business with our 11 free trade agreement partners in Latin America through the Look South initiative, we’ve now taken our Country Commercial Guides and made them easier to use than ever.

Want to know which Look South countries are top prospects for your product? Find out at a glance by visiting the Look South Best Prospect Sectors page and clicking on your industry. You’ll be able to see the list of most promising markets and download market snapshots for each country.

Already planning to target a specific country? Visit our Look South Countries page and choose your country from the list at the bottom of the page. Look for your industry among the best prospect sectors and download the market snapshot in just one click!

If you don’t see your industry or target market listed, don’t panic! There is very likely an opportunity for your product in more than one Look South country. Just contact your local Export Assistance Center for further information.

Other free resources include access to U.S. trade data and a series of events, webinars, and teleconferences that give you a chance to learn about new markets first hand or with on-the-ground experts. Check out the upcoming trade events and educational opportunities for Look South here.

In addition to these free public resources, your company can request more in-depth, tailored market research (for a fee) to answer your particular questions regarding the market for your product and services. We can also provide due diligence reports on potential overseas business partners (also for a fee) to investigate the capabilities, legitimacy, and financial strength of a potential overseas business partner.

Contact your local commercial service office to find out more about these services.

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Made in Rural America: Helping Appalachian Business Sell to the World

February 18, 2014

This post originally appeared on the White House blog.

Earl F. Gohl is the Federal Co-Chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission, a regional economic development agency that represents a partnership of federal, state, and local government established by an act of Congress in 1965.

Forty-two percent of the Appalachian Region’s population lives in rural areas. President Obama’s Made in Rural America export and investment initiative presents a strategic opportunity to expand the region’s exporting sector, grow jobs, and ensure long-term sustainable growth. It is one more example of how the White House Rural Council works to provide economic opportunity in rural America.

Over and over, my travels throughout the region have underscored the role that expanded export markets can have in creating jobs and strengthening local economies. Yet many small businesses in Appalachia view entering the export market as a daunting challenge, something they haven’t really focused on before. The President’s proposal is specially designed to help these rural companies get in the export game by connecting them to export information and assistance. These additional resources will strengthen the capacity of Appalachian business to compete and succeed in the global economy of the 21st century.

Rural enterprises from across Appalachia have a history of demonstrating their competitive success in capturing new export opportunities. In September 2013, an Appalachia USA delegation of 18 home furnishing and wood product enterprises generated over $50 million in new export sales at the FMC international trade show in Shanghai, China. One month earlier, a 22-member mining equipment, technology, and service delegation achieved similar export success from their Appalachia USA pavilion at the Asia-Pacific International Mining Exhibition in Sydney, Australia.

First-time export ventures are a challenge but they offer the potential of significantly expanded markets. At the U.S. Commercial Service 2013 Trade Winds Business Forum in Seoul, South Korea, Appalachia USA delegates from a small manufacturing enterprise in Sistersville, West Virginia seized the opportunity to make their first sales into the global market. It is small manufacturers like this who will have greater opportunities under the President’s plan.

By creating a comprehensive strategy connecting federal resources with rural leaders and businesses to expand exports, the Made in Rural America initiative will bring new and welcome energy to Appalachia’s growing export sector. The President’s initiative will help increase the number of small manufacturers who can succeed, and it will help Appalachian businesses sell to the world.

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