Posts Tagged ‘Commercial Service’


Trade Winds—Africa: Taking the Next Step in U.S.-Africa Business Relations

September 14, 2015

Tanya Cole is the Senior U.S. Commercial Service Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Today in Ethiopia and in four other growing African markets, 10 U.S. companies are exploring opportunities to do business in Africa. These five simultaneous trade missions are all part of Trade Winds—Africa, the largest-ever U.S. government-led trade mission to the continent, ultimately bringing more than 100 U.S. companies to eight growing African markets.

Ambassador to Ethiopia

Ambassador to Ethiopia Patricia Haslach says Ethiopia is a leader in economic development in Africa

For the ten companies that came to Ethiopia as part of Trade Winds, we were able to connect them directly to business development opportunities here on the ground. These are promising opportunities in sectors ranging from IT security to health and beauty products.

As a commercial officer in Ethiopia, it’s easy to see why U.S. companies consider Africa a promising market. Sub-Saharan Africa is the second-fastest growing region in the world. Ethiopia’s average GDP growth during the last five years has been higher than 7 percent, and the country’s strategic location, stable security, and low corruption make it stand out. The country has shown its commitment to economic growth, and the United States is showing its commitment to support that growth.

What also makes Ethiopia an attractive market is that companies doing business here have the opportunity to make an important impact on a developing country. As H.E. Ambassador to the United States Girma Birru said in February, African leaders and consumers are ready to do business with the United States. They recognize the quality of American goods and services, and they know that American companies help develop infrastructure, create trained workforces, and focus on corporate social responsibility initiatives.

Our Commercial Service team here in Addis Ababa is excited to see how our ten attending companies will build on this mission. We are grateful for the support we received from our partners at the State Department and the Commerce Department’s Advocacy Center in making this mission a success — especially the support of Ambassador Haslach, who is welcoming the first certified Commerce trade mission since opening the new U.S. Commercial Service office in the Embassy to Ethiopia.

I am confident that all 100-plus companies attending Trade Winds—Africa will find learn some great market intelligence, make important business connections, and find the kind of inroads that can help them succeed in Africa. I look forward to the next steps in growing the U.S.-Africa commercial relationship, and to continuing to work with U.S. companies and the country of Ethiopia to develop mutual benefit.

You can follow updates about Trade Winds on Twitter using #TradeWinds15, and you can learn more about doing business in Africa at


Virginia’s Engagement in the Global Marketplace

September 2, 2015

This is a guest blog by Maurice Jones, Secretary of Commerce and Trade for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

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

Virginia’s International Trade Success

The Virginia International Trade Alliance (VITAL)

Members of the The Virginia International Trade Alliance (VITAL)

The Commonwealth of Virginia was founded as a business venture more than 400 years ago by the Virginia Company of London, a joint-stock company formed both to bring profits to its shareholders and establish an English colony in the New World.  Since its founding, the Commonwealth has remained a journey of economic opportunity, a great place to launch new businesses and grow existing ones.

About 80 percent of the world’s purchasing power resides outside of America.  Thus, helping Virginia businesses sell their goods and services abroad is one of Virginia’s most effective business expansion strategies.

In 2014, Virginia exported goods and services valued at more than $36 billion, including $15.1 billion in manufactured goods, $16.9 billion in services, $3 billion in agriculture products, and more than $1 billion in mineral fuels.   These exports went to 212 destinations throughout the world. Virginia company exports support over 250,000 jobs in Virginia.

Ten years ago, in the mountains of Rocky Gap, Virginia, American Mine Research (AMR) decided it was time to reinvigorate its international sales efforts. AMR provides monitoring and control products for the mining industry, and the company recognized the opportunity for its products to be sold around the world.

AMR contacted the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP), which provides export assistance to companies across Virginia. With VEDP’s assistance, AMR established distributorships in Mexico, Canada, Brazil, Chile, and Peru. Thanks to AMR’s commitment to growing international sales and Virginia’s export assistance programs, the company is growing from every angle.

New Trade Alliance Helps Virginia Companies Expand International Sales

Building on the success stories of hundreds of Virginia exporters like AMR, Governor McAuliffe announced in July 2015 the creation of a new initiative to increase international trade in Virginia. The Virginia International Trade Alliance (VITAL) expands Virginia’s nationally recognized international trade program through formal partnerships with Virginia’s industry associations and public universities to serve their member companies as they expand international sales. During its first five years, VITAL seeks to grow Virginia exports by $1.6 billion and create 14,000 trade-supported jobs. By exponentially accelerating Virginia companies’ engagement with the global economy, VITAL will create stronger, more resilient businesses and more jobs for Virginians.

The VITAL initiative demonstrates the Commonwealth’s commitment to helping existing Virginia businesses succeed in the international marketplace, which makes our economy even stronger. The Governor has made the program a priority and reallocated $1 million toward the initiative through flexibility granted to him in the state budget.

VITAL is managed by VEDP and comprised of 13 partner organizations, including industry associations and public universities.  VITAL will build upon Virginia’s proven export assistance programs, including tailored market research, face-to-face meetings with qualified partners overseas, and VEDP’s award-winning Virginia Leaders in Export Trade (VALET) Program.

For more information, visit


Commercial Service Philippines Completes Renewable Fuels Association Trade Mission

July 28, 2015

Andrew Edlefsen is the Director of the Las Vegas U.S. Export Assistance Center and currently serves as Global Asia Team Leader. He has been with ITA for eight years.

Glacial Lakes Energy in B2B meeting

Glacial Lakes Energy in B2B meeting

As part of my summer 2015 Asia Team outreach, I went to Manila, where the U.S. Renewable Fuels Association, along with six U.S. ethanol companies, met as part of a U.S. Commercial Service-organized trade mission. The objective of the mission was for U.S companies to gain a deeper understanding of the ethanol market and business potential in the Philippines. The U.S. Embassy Commerce, Economic and Agriculture officers and local government agencies provided in-depth presentations on the renewable fuel environment, rules and regulations, and business opportunities.

As part of the trade mission, the Commercial Service Manila office arranged more than 50 B2B meetings between the U.S. delegates and local Philippine companies to discuss industry trends and potential opportunities for partnership.

On the evening of the first day, a reception was held gathering the mission delegates to mingle with local businesses, organizations, and industry practitioners.  Day two included a tour of the International Container Terminal Services at the Manila port, followed by an up-close and personal meeting with the President of the San Miguel Corporation, one of the Philippines’ most diversified conglomerates in beverages, food, packaging, fuel, oil, power, mining and infrastructure.

The six mission participants represented some of the U.S.’s leaders in ethanol production, namely: Buffalo Lake Advanced Biofuels; Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company; CHS, Inc.; Glacial Lakes Energy, LLC; Lakeview Energy LLC; and Renewable Products Marketing Group.

Commercial Attaché Totayo introduces U.S. companies at reception

Commercial Attaché Totayo introduces U.S. companies at reception

Commercial Attaché Aliza Totayo and the Commercial Service Manila staff worked diligently for several months to organize this important trade mission. As a result, the delegates expressed praise for the quality and value of the trade mission and referred to the excellent business potential and insights provided into the Philippine ethanol market.

Find out about upcoming trade missions.


Secretary Pritzker Swears in New Commercial Service Officers

June 20, 2014

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

Secretary Penny Pritzker swears in new commercial officers.

Secretary Penny Pritzker swears in new commercial officers.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker today swore in 24 new Foreign Commercial Service Officers and one Intellectual Property Attachè at the Commerce Department. The ceremony marked an exciting beginning to these officers’ careers in overseas and domestic markets where they will work to strengthen the American economy by supporting U.S. businesses in the global marketplace.

The administration is committed to increasing U.S. exports, which support millions of jobs.  U.S. exports have set records for four consecutive years, reaching $2.3 trillion in 2013. These exports now support 11.3 million jobs in the United States. The recent launch of the NEI/NEXT campaign by Secretary Pritzker has built on the momentum of the recent growth to encourage American companies to take their business to overseas markets.

Expanding trade and investment is a central part of the Department’s ‘Open for Business Agenda’ and having an overseas presence is one critical way to support U.S. businesses seeking to grow in foreign markets.

During a recent trip to Burma, Secretary Pritzker announced the Department of Commerce will expand its overseas resources to help U.S. businesses navigate additional global markets and sell their goods and services to customers all over the world. The Department’s International Trade Administration will add a total of 68 new positions and open offices in five new countries, including its first in Burma. The expansion is largely focused on fast-growing markets in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.  The Department of Commerce will soon add new offices in Africa and Asia in order to facilitate exports in these critical markets.

The new officers bring a wealth of knowledge and experience from their prior private or public sector service. Of the more than 3,800 candidates, these 25 men and women were chosen because of their constant resourcefulness, tenacity, and of course, diplomacy.

These new Commercial Service Officers play a vital role in the enhancement of American businesses. They support U.S. businesses in overcoming trade barriers, finding global business opportunities and partners, and attracting investment to U.S. shores. These officers will be the boots on the ground, leading the charge to open new markets and helping companies compete in the global marketplace.


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!


Gold Key Matchmaking Service helps Indiana firm to “Look South”

February 7, 2014

Conner Moore recently completed an internship in the International Trade Administration’s Office for Export Policy, Promotion, and Strategy.

Even though the Look South initiative is just getting started companies like Indiana-based Escalade Sports are already looking south by using Mexico as a stepping stone to other Latin American markets. Escalade is an internationally known manufacturer and distributor of sporting goods brands. Back in 2005, National Account and International Sales Manager Marla Fredrich targeted sales to Mexico as a springboard to Latin America.

After teaming up with Dusan Marinkovic, a trade specialist with the International Trade Administration’s U.S. Commercial Service (CS) in Indiana, Escalade benefitted from export counseling and the CS Gold Key Matchmaking Service.

This service helps U.S. companies find potential overseas business opportunities by arranging business meetings with pre-screened contacts, representatives, distributors, professional associations, government contacts, and/or licensing or joint venture partners.

Through the Gold Key, Fredrich traveled to Mexico and met with pre-screened prospective business partners arranged by CS trade professionals at the U.S. Embassy.

As a result of ongoing CS assistance, Escalade made its first sale to Mexico and continues to increase its sales to the country. Having established a foothold in Mexico, Escalade has since looked south and started exporting to other parts of Latin America, including Colombia and the U.S.-Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement countries of El Salvador and the Dominican Republic.

Fredrich is upbeat about the region, and sees a lot more opportunity.

“We are now reaping the fruits of our hard work in making new sales to world markets, and Latin America has become a key focus of our international business strategy,” she says. “There’s no doubt that learning the ins and outs of selling to Mexico and working with the Commercial Service gave us more confidence in expanding our sales to other parts of Latin America.”

Fredrich also said that Escalade’s involvement in exporting and international diversification has enabled it to weather the changes in the global economy, and to grow and become more internationally competitive. As a result, the company has been able to sustain and support many new jobs in the United States.

Whatever and wherever your business is, the International Trade Administration can help any company that is ready to start exporting, expand to new markets, and begin to “Look South.”


Look South Campaign Focuses on U.S. Export Potential

February 5, 2014

Moshtayeen Ahmad recently completed an internship in the International Trade Administration’s Office for Export Policy, Promotion, and Strategy.The Look South campaign is encouraging companies to seek export opportunities in Latin America.

Favorable market trends in Latin America make the region an excellent potential market for your business’s products and services. These countries all enjoy open and regionally integrated economies and growing middle classes.

That’s why Commerce Secretary Pritzker is in Mexico on a business development mission – Mexico can be a great destination for your products and services, and a launching pad into more markets in the region.

The Department of Commerce’s Look South campaign is helping even more U.S. companies enter these markets and identify new opportunities in high demand industries.

Bilateral trade data shows that there is tremendous unmet potential for diversifying U.S. exports to Latin America. These countries are rapidly modernizing their industries and broadening their consumer base.

For small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), there are many opportunities in sectors where U.S. goods and services are highly desired. Some are highlighted in our most recent Country Commercial Guides, including medical equipment, agricultural equipment, franchising, and environmental technologies. SMEs have the opportunity to become globally competitive in many of these industries, but often are the least likely to be aware of opportunities beyond Mexico.

The Look South campaign takes advantage of already existing resources like local U.S Export Assistance Centers and commercial experts in each Look South market. Services include assistance in picking the right market for your business, getting your goods ready to ship, and understanding regulations in each country. Businesses can attend trade events that bring U.S. companies and foreign buyers together to expand on opportunities. The U.S. Commercial Service also offers guidance on trade financing assistance.

To get more detailed information on the best prospects and market intelligence for each sector in the Look South countries, visit our website.

You can also visit the Market Research Library (MRL) for a complete collection of all our market research, including our Country Commercial Guides, Best Market Reports and Market Research Reports.

Our team is standing by to help your business find success in Latin America. Find out how we can help!


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