Posts Tagged ‘Commercial Service’

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Build it…and They Will Export!

March 23, 2011
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Andrew Wylegala is the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Serivce’s Senior Commercial Officer in Hong Kong.

San Francisco’s economy is tourists, bankers, Craigslist and, of course, Twitter.  Wrong spot to send a government export promoter looking for more Made in the USA material to help reach the President’s National Export goal of saving or creating some two million jobs by 2015.

Maybe not.

I’ve opted to stop in the services city by the bay en route to the annual Asia Pacific Business Outlook Conference held at the University of Southern California’s business school, where this year 180 US firms will come for updates on Asian markets and export tips, and to hear from Secretary Gary Locke.  The Commercial Service, part of the International Trade Administration, an operating unit in Mr. Locke’s Department, assigned me to Hong Kong to work on behalf of U.S. companies and economic interests about three years ago.  I’ll be joined at the conference by a dozen of my colleagues similarly positioned in other Asian capitals to do the same export enhancing work.  This year I’ve opted to stop in San Francisco to meet with current and future U.S. exporters, in addition to those meeting us in LA for the seminars and one-on-one counseling sessions.

Left to right: Commercial Officer Douglas Wallace, Commercial Officer Andrew Wylegala, and Sculptor/Manufacturer, Capitano di Minuzie Nikolas Weinstein stand on the Weinstein Studios shop floor.

Left to right: Commercial Officer Douglas Wallace, Commercial Officer Andrew Wylegala, and Sculptor/Manufacturer, Capitano di Minuzie Nikolas Weinstein stand on the Weinstein Studios shop floor.

I am standing in the middle of Nikolas Weinstein’s glass sculpture studio located improbably enough behind a Mission District laundromat.  And I am trying to decide which is more shocking — the 30′ undulation of helix-shaped glass tubes of a work in progress, suspended above the furnace, forklift and flat-panel displays of this compact factory, or the discovery that precision manufacture on an industrial scale can still be carried out in San Francisco.  Downtown San Francisco!  We ARE  talking export manufacture.  The vast majority of Nick’s work is destined for grand residences and luxury hotels overseas, mostly in Asian cities such as Singapore and Shanghai.  And we are talking BIG exports.   I learn that — at over 250′ unfurled — the glass “fabric” of a work now soaring above the lobbies of a Shanghai luxury hotel (looking in the glossy photos like one of those Chinese acrobat’s ribbons) and comprised of some 35,000 hand-worked glass tubes, would not have fit in the 747 that brought me here from Hong Kong overnight.  And we are talking innovation.  To execute the unique forms of a Weinstein chandelier I now recall visiting at a Gehry-designed bank headquarters next to the re-constructed American Embassy in Berlin, Nick’s team even had to invent a special matrix bed for the in situ kiln.

But Nick is explaining that it is not finding more projects in booming Asia, nor the glass- and mind-bending technical complexity of his shapes, nor even the delivery headaches of the fragile works that keep him up at night.  It turns out that the chain of glass blowers, metal formers and ceramic suppliers needed to execute these fantasies in glass is nearly as long as some of his installations.  And the nature of this work — one-off, site-specific projects whose execution requires endless iteration of tweak and turn — is such that relative proximity is a must.

So this preview stop of my Business Outlook Conference tour reveals a snapshot as complex and organic as a Weinstein: the offering of conceived- and fabricated-in-the U.S. product remains as rich as ever, but the challenge of keeping U.S. production chains short enough that they remain linked is a daunting one.  I am thinking that U.S. export growth can be part of the solution to this challenge, by providing Nick’s manufacturer partners with sufficient scale and income to stay in business and in Nick’s “neighborhood.”  Should this prove to be the case, we will not only reach that National Export goal but also prove to the world that, “yeah, we DO still make stuff in the U.S.”  The best stuff.

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Potential Matches Made in CES Heaven

January 7, 2011

 

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Vidya Desai is an International Trade Specialist with the U.S. Commercial Service International Buyer Program.

The Consumer Electronics Association and the U.S. Commercial Service International Buyer Program joined forces last night to provide U.S. companies with a dynamic opportunity to meet hundreds of international buyers at the Global Matchmaking and International Reception (GMIR).  ITA’s Deputy Under Secretary Michelle O’Neill joined us for the first ever GMIR at CES where five U.S. companies (Earthquake Sound Corporation, ZREISS, Meridrew Enterprises, Livio Radio, and Freelinc) connected their tabletop product or service displays with hundreds of foreign buyers in a reception setting off the show floor. Among the hundreds of attendees at this event were several foreign buyer delegations recruited by the International Buyer Program.  The reception was a great way to meet with prospective new customers; network with foreign buyers and industry professionals; and entertain new contacts in a hospitable and professional venue!

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How do U.S. Companies Benefit from Attending Trade Shows Selected by the U.S. Commercial Service?

January 5, 2011

Philippa Olsen is a Marketing and Communications Specialist at the U.S. Commercial Service.

Did you know that a U.S. company can jumpstart its international sales by attending a domestic trade show? Here are some of the benefits:

  • Participate in face-to-face meetings with pre-screened international buyers
  • Save time and money by meeting international partners domestically
  • Get tips from International U.S. Commercial Service trade specialists on doing business abroad
  • Learn about trends and recent development in key industries

The U.S. Commercial Service’s International Buyer Program (IBP) recruits thousands of qualified foreign buyers, sales representatives, and business partners to U.S. trade shows each year, giving exhibitors excellent opportunities to expand business globally.  Check out the International Buyer Program Trade Show Schedule to learn more about individual shows.

A U.S. Commercial Service client who recently attended an IBP show states “There’s really no substitute for the face-to-face meetings you can get at trade show venues, where you have all these potential buyers under one room.  As a result, I’ve been able to meet potential partners and negotiate several deals in a matter of several months.”

To find out more, visit the International Buyer Program page.

Get updates from IBP on the upcoming 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, by following our social media.

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Do You Want To Increase Your Sales And Expand Your Business?

January 5, 2011

 

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Vidya Desai is a Senior International Trade Specialist with the U.S. Commercial Service International Buyer Program.

The International Buyer Program (IBP) is a joint government-industry effort designed to increase U.S. export sales by promoting international attendance at major U.S. industry exhibitions. The IBP provides practical, hands-on assistance to U.S. exhibitors interested in exporting and making contacts with prospective overseas trade partners. This assistance includes export counseling, marketing analysis, and matchmaking services.  The IBP is an important part of our implementation of the Obama Administration’s National Export Initiative which aims to double the value of U.S. exports over the next five years.

If you’re a U.S. company, your chances of finding the right international business partner greatly increases at a trade show that’s part of the IBP. You’ll not only meet more international buyers, representatives and distributors, but your products and services can be listed in the Export Interest Directory distributed to all international visitors to the show.   You will also have access to an on-site International Business Center, where your company can meet privately with prospective international buyers, sales representatives, and business partners and obtain assistance from our experienced U.S. Commercial Service staff.

Currently, there are 40 U.S. trade shows participating in the International Buyer Program in 2011, including the current Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2011 in Las Vegas, NV where hundreds of international buyers are looking to buy U.S. products and services.  Contact your local U.S. Export Assistance Center to find out more information about the export assistance you can receive prior to, during, and following an IBP selected trade show.  Now that you know about the benefits and opportunities that can emerge from participating in a U.S. trade show participating in the IBP, we hope that you will include some of these events in your marketing strategies for 2011!

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Shssssssh! Don’t Tell Anyone How You Increased Your International Sales

December 9, 2010

Doug Barry is a senior international trade specialist with the U.S. Commercial Service.

A best-kept secret is that domestic trade shows are great places to meet and sell to international buyers.  U.S. businesses that have discovered this relatively low-cost channel for drumming up new sales claim that exhibiting at the “right” shows can fill their order books for the entire year.


Download full video .mp4 (47 MB)
View more from the Trade Show Video Series

It may sound counter intuitive to make international sales without leaving the U.S., but the fact is that international buyers are attracted to large trade shows in the U.S.  And let’s not forget the draw of Las Vegas, Chicago, Miami and other big trade show venues.

So what are the “right” shows out of the hundreds held annually across the country?  It depends on the industry you are in, but the first tier of shows to consider is those that offer the International Buyer Program (IBP), a service that facilitates buyer-seller matchmaking and made possible by the Commerce Department’s U.S. Commercial Service.  IBP is an important part of the Obama Administration’s National Export Initiative which aims to double the value of U.S. exports over the next five years.

Shows are competitively selected each year based on their attractiveness to buyers in industries and countries that are considered best prospects for U.S. suppliers.  The range of industries this year is broad and includes obvious ones such as construction, power generation and restaurant equipment, as well as less obvious ones like dental hardware and funeral supplies.  Come to think of it death has always been a growth industry, and although post-life practices may vary by culture and country the market is enduringly global.

With almost 40 International Buyer Program shows to choose from many U.S. businesses will find one that’s suited to them.  Ideally, the process begins by contacting your local U.S. Export Assistance Center, part of the worldwide network operated by the Commerce Department.

Export experts will help prepare you to use services at the show to meet the international buyers that are recruited by U.S. embassies.  Preliminary contact and information exchanges are arrange beforehand, but the real business is done on the show floor and in a special area called the International Business Centers, which feature conference rooms for conducting negotiations.

Billions of dollars in sales are registered each year, and most of the U.S. companies making the sales are smaller companies.  So now that we’ve pulled the cover off this formerly best-kept secret, watch the four videos on the IBP (so far) and see for yourself how companies like yours are selling globally without going far from home.

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