Posts Tagged ‘consumer goods’

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Spotlight on Commerce: Kim Glas, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Textiles, Consumer Goods, and Materials, International Trade Administration

March 26, 2014

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

Kim Glas is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Textiles, Consumer Goods, and Materials in the International Trade Administration.

Kim Glas is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Textiles, Consumer Goods, and Materials in the International Trade Administration.

Serving as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Textiles, Consumer Goods, and Materials, my job is to improve the domestic and international competitiveness of the broad product range of U.S. textiles, footwear, consumer goods, metals and mining, forest products, and chemicals and plastics manufacturing sectors and industries. This position requires strong negotiation and problem-solving skills and the ability to work with a broad array of stakeholders with divergent opinions in order to find solutions on a whole host of issues.

Over the last 3 years, I have spent significant time at the negotiating table for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement to ensure opportunities under the agreement for U.S. textile and footwear producers. I coordinate within the ITA and across agencies to ensure we can deliver results for companies and the workers they employ. While the job has been challenging, it has been an incredibly rewarding opportunity. I have worked with top-notch staff across the Department and in the Administration who are driven to expanding opportunities for U.S. industries and workers.

Having worked in two Administrations and on Capitol Hill, I have always been driven by a mission to serve the American people and have been fortunate to do so throughout my career. Growing up, my parents, extended family, teachers, and mentors were incredibly supportive of me and instilled in me to work hard, serve others, and have a strong sense of self. I grew up in the close-knit community of Lockport, NY located near Buffalo during a time when many industries in the area were facing enormous economic hardships. Layoffs all too often were the front page news of the local paper. My high school experience reflected what was happening in the community – and I knew that I wanted to make it better.

When I went to college at the State University of New York at Geneseo, I thought I would serve my community by becoming a social studies teacher. The trajectory of my life changed when I took a history class with Dr. Bill Cook. As a grade conscious student, I knew taking a class with him all but assured I would not graduate at the top of my class – but I didn’t care. He brought history to life and connected it to our modern day political structure. When he ran for Congress in a campaign destined to lose, I followed him and decided I didn’t want to teach about government, I wanted to be an active participant in it. I believed in the community I grew up in and communities like it across the country and knew I wanted to serve.

The main driver of my career success has been the people I have met along the way. They are the reason I do what I do. They will continue to be my sense of purpose going forward. To understand yourself and the people around you, gives you an appreciation for those who share different perspectives or share common motivations.

I have always admired my distant cousin Amelia Earhart who pushed herself to soar above the clouds in unchartered territory and in doing so, broke the barriers of history. She once said, “The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do.” Seize the moment, push the envelope, know yourself, and never forget where you came from or the people on whose shoulders you stand.

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The U.S. Recreational Transportation Sector Tells the Rest of the World to Go Out and Play!

August 1, 2012

John Vanderwolf is an industry economist for the Office of Health and Consumer Goods and has been covering recreational products for 25 years.

There is no doubt that Americans love to recreate and travel.  U.S. manufacturers have responded and built fun, recreational products like motorcycles, pleasure boats, RVs, All-terrain Vehicles (ATVs), and other fun transportation to make us happy. Well, over the last 20 years foreign markets have begun to experience this fun transportation.  Servicing the U.S. market has given this industry an economies-of-scale advantage that negates the high cost of transportation. As a result in 2011, the U.S. recreational transportation sector enjoys a significant trade surplus of $1 billion which is 13 percent of total sector exports of $7.6 billion. Work hard, Play hard

The theme of “Work Hard, Play Hard” is being exported all over the world, selling to over 125 countries.  The Top 10 destinations for U.S. recreational transportation products are Canada, Belgium, Australia, Japan, Mexico, Germany, China, Brazil, Italy, and the United Kingdom.  U.S. exports of these products have increased 13 percent annually since 2009 and are estimated to exceed $8 billion in 2012.

That’s a lot of hard work that deserves more hard play.

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Expanding the Wine Trade in the Asia-Pacific Region

September 29, 2011

Jamie Ferman is an international trade specialist focusing on the consumer goods industry.

I have always loved my job.  Since 1999, I have worked in the Office of Consumer Goods in the Manufacturing and Services division of the International Trade Administration and have covered numerous industries, with a primary focus on toys.  But in January, I was asked to take on a special project for the U.S. host year of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) to organize and implement the first meeting of the APEC Wine Regulatory Forum (WRF).  Last week in San Francisco, it all came together as one of the projects of the third Senior Officials Meeting.

Grapes in the Concannon Vineyard

Grapes in the Concannon Vineyard

With 110 wine regulators and industry representatives from 18 APEC economies, we discussed the sharing of best practices on wine certification, laboratory testing, and labeling.  We had 30 speakers from 13 different economies, with a major focus on encouraging economies to get involved with the international organizations that focus on wine, especially World Wine Trade Group, an informal group of government and industry representatives including the United States, Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Georgia, New Zealand and South Africa which works to facilitate wine trade. 

APEC delegates tour the grape crusher at Concannan Vineyard

APEC delegates tour the grape crusher at Concannan Vineyard

In the past decade, wine trade in the 21-nation APEC region has grown significantly, accounting for 26 percent of all global trade in 2010, up from 21.8 percent in 2000.  More than one-fifth of APEC members’ global wine trade is conducted within the region, which has tripled to $3.6 billion in value over the last decade.

Given the importance of wine trade to some of our cosponsoring economies, Australia, Chile, New Zealand, and Peru, it is not surprising that our event drew some big names, like our key-note speaker, former World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General and current New Zealand Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Moore.  In his remarks, Ambassador Moore noted that the APEC  wine trade, while quickly growing in significance, is burdened by different and sometimes conflicting regulatory requirements which are estimated to cost APEC economies and businesses approximately $1 billion USD per year.  Ambassador Moore also explained how New Zealand developed its wine industry from being small and domestically focused, to becoming a major international player by opening the market to imports and streamlining the regulations.

And yes, we did sample some of the best wine in California.  At the close of the first day, the event’s private-sector cosponsor, the Wine Institute, hosted a reception at the historic Ferry Terminal overlooking San Francisco Bay which featured wines from the Napa Valley Vintners Association.  After a regulators-only breakfast on the second day, we boarded a bus for the Livermore Valley and held our remaining sessions at the Concannon Vineyard and Winery. 

After agreeing in the Outcomes Statement to meet again to discuss critical issues like streamlining paper certifications for wine, which were documented and presented at the meeting by our U.S. regulatory partner, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Trade Bureau (TTB), we went on a tour and tasting of the Concannon wines.  The grapes were still about two weeks away from harvest, so we sampled them right off the vine.  We ended the day by a tour of the TTB wine testing lab in Walnut Creek, CA where scientists in white lab coats gave us a glimpse of the hard science behind their regulatory mandate. 

All in all, this assignment was one of the best I have had during my time at Commerce. I am especially thankful for the chance to work with Tom LaFaille, Director of International Trade Policy at the Wine Institute and to the great U.S. government APEC team led by Julia Doherty, from the U.S. Trade Representative and Jennifer Stradtman from the International Trade Administration.  

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The presentations and other key documents from the WRF including the Outcomes Statement are available on the Wine Institute’s website.

APEC was established in 1989 in response to the growing interdependence of Asia-Pacific economies and the advent of regional economic blocs in other parts of the world.  It fosters growth and prosperity by facilitating economic cooperation and expanding trade and investment throughout the region.  APEC’s member economies today account for 55% of global gross domestic product, 61% of all U.S. export goods and 44% of world trade, and comprise a market of 2.7 billion consumers.

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