Posts Tagged ‘basketball’

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March Madness and ITA’s Trade Agreements Compliance Program

March 25, 2013

Steve Williams is the Operations Team Lead with the International Trade Administration’s Trade Compliance Center 

So far in this year’s NCAA Tournament, we’ve International Trade Administration emblemseen several underdogs knock out the proverbial Goliath. As a small business owner, you might feel at times like an underdog. Just like Wichita State, La Salle and Florida Gulf Coast, who have to compete against schools with bigger budgets and more highly touted recruits, small businesses can feel at a disadvantage when they compete overseas against companies who have a home-court advantage. It might seem intimidating, but just like these teams in the Sweet 16, you can come out on top with the right strategy.

If your company’s export goals are ever impeded by a foreign government-imposed trade barrier, you can call on the International Trade Administration’s Trade Agreements Compliance (TAC) Program to come into the game.  The TAC Program works to help remove the trade barriers you face. Since the inception of the National Export Initiative (NEI) in 2010, the Program has initiated 735 market access and compliance cases in 104 countries, successfully removing 293 specific non-tariff barriers (in 80 countries) affecting a broad range of industries.

As a recent example, the International Trade Administration (ITA) helped Johnson Outdoors, a sporting goods manufacturer based in Wisconsin, regain ownership of its trademark in Russia. A Johnson Outdoors competitor registered the Johnson Outdoors’ trademark with Russia’s patent office and then attempted to sue Johnson Outdoors for alleged violation of the trademark. ITA spoke with Russian officials about proper protection of IPR. This resulted in the Russian company dropping its suit against Johnson Outdoors and relinquishing its trademark, allowing Johnson Outdoors to maintain $100 million in annual revenue.

Our program works by assembling a small team of experts from our 400 specialists, experts both in the country and the trade agreement relevant to your specific issue.  We can assist in helping to remove or reduce discriminatory or unnecessary trade restrictive barriers related to customs, rules of origin, government procurement, investment, services or standards testing, licensing, certification requirements, or even issues related to intellectual property rights. Best of all, our services are completely free of charge!

The next time you need some help with a foreign government trade barrier, contact us and we’ll be in your court.

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Let the Games – and the Exports – Begin!

March 21, 2013

Chris Higginbotham is a Communications Specialist with the International Trade Administration’s Office of Public Affairs.

Chris's Final Four is the University of North Carolina, Indiana, Ohio State and Louisville. He has UNC beating Louisville in the final. Notable upsets include UNC beating Kansas, Florida and Indiana; Wichita State knocking off Gonzaga and Creighton making the Elite 8. He has Duke losing to Creighton in the second round, but a UNC alumnus predicting a Duke loss is hardly notable.

As a UNC alumnus, Chris Higginbotham showed a bias toward the Tar Heels in his bracket.

Well, we all had a couple of days to fill out our brackets. Now the men’s NCAA Tournament games have officially begun and the women’s games are soon to follow. You may have been watching as your brackets were already busted in the First Four games (like mine), or you might be four for four at this point.

One thing we can rely on is that millions of sports fans will be glued to the TV during the next couple of weeks to cheer on alma maters, rivals, and cinderellas. CBS estimates that 21 million sports fans watched last year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship game.

On top of those 21 million viewers in the United States were viewers watching licensed broadcasts of the game overseas. That’s not just true for basketball; American sporting events from the Super Bowl to tennis tournaments, golf and auto racing are licensed overseas. And those licensing agreements are considered exports.

Based on the most recent data available, licensing for broadcasting and recording of live events totaled $675 million in 2011. That includes more than just sports; that also counts live entertainment events in other fields, like the Oscars. It counts licenses for both TV and radio. The largest market for these exports in 2011 was Japan, at $57 million.

Sports contribute to exports in other ways than just broadcast licenses; sports and performing arts are a significant part of America’s strong service industry (which achieved record exports in 2012). Exports in sports and performing arts totaled $893 million in 2011. This category includes services in the production, promotion, and organization of live entertainers including athletes, singers, and dancers.

Combining the above figures shows that the entertainment aspect of sports and entertainment events like the NCAA Tournament contributed to more than $1.5 billion in exports in 2011. Those exports continue to support thousands of jobs; it’s now estimated that every billion dollars in exports supports 4,926 jobs in the United States.

So remember, when you watch the NCAA Tournament – or any American sports or entertainment event – you’re supporting American exports and jobs.

I wouldn’t recommend using that justification if your boss catches you watching games at work this week though.

Keep checking back here as we continue to show how events like March Madness help support American exports. Enjoy the games!

(note: the data behind this post can be found from the Bureau of Economic Analysis tables 1 and 4)

(This article was edited on March 22 to clarify that the $1.5 billion figure represents the sum of broadcast licensing export figures and sports and performing arts figures)

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One Shining Moment for American Exports

March 18, 2013

Francisco Sanchez is the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade.

Uder Secretary Sanchez has Louisville, Indiana, Ohio State and Kansas in his Final Four. He picked Louisville to beat Indy for the championship. Notable upsets include Harvard making the Sweet 16 and Wisconsin knocking out Gonzaga to make the Elite 8.

Francisco Sanchez picked Louisville as the 2013 NCAA basketball champion.

I may not be the biggest basketball fan.

Still I, like so many Americans, spent some time Sunday night predicting the outcomes of one of our country’s great traditions – the NCAA Basketball Tournament. You may well have been doing the same thing; the NCAA Tournament bracket is a ubiquitous image, appearing on countless office walls and bedroom doors all over the country.

Now I may not regularly cheer for basketball, but I’m a huge fan of exports. And what you may not have realized when you filled out your bracket is that you were, in fact, supporting American exports.

It’s true: The television licensing for the tournament, the apparel licensing for universities, and the education industry itself are all American export industries, supporting thousands of American jobs.

As the NCAA Basketball Tournament is a great American tradition, exports are also a great tradition for us at the International Trade Administration. So over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be sharing some information with you that shows how this celebrated American custom ties into American exports, thereby supporting the American economy.

Before we kick that off, we have our own fun office competition to share with all of you:

As you may know, we have Export Assistance Centers (EACs) all over the country to help U.S. businesses compete globally. Well, we asked the four offices closest to the four #1 seeds in the tournament to fill out a bracket on Selection Sunday to post on our blog. I’m submitting mine for competition as well. So here are the participating offices representing the top seeds and their brackets:

How does your bracket stack up to each of ours? How are you going to be supporting exports during this year’s tournament? Let us know here or get involved in the conversation on Twitter and Facebook. Make sure to support your team and American exports as we crown national champions in men’s and women’s college basketball this year.

Be sure to check back on the blog as we highlight just how much of an impact American pastimes like March Madness contribute to American exports. No matter who wins, the U.S. is always the champ when we support exports.

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