Posts Tagged ‘exports’

h1

Burma is Opening for Business

July 17, 2013

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

Burma could become the next market for your goods and services.

Burma could become the next market for your goods and services.

After decades of political and economic isolation, Burma is slowly opening to the world. The U.S. government has issued a general license making it easier for American companies to do business there.

While a trade relationship formalizes between the United States and Burma, the International Trade Administration office in Bangkok, an hour’s flight away, will assist U.S. companies with market intelligence and business matchmaking in Burma. Senior Commercial Service Officer Mike McGee recently met with U.S. business leaders interested in exporting to Burma. While in town, he talked with International Trade Specialist Doug Barry of the Global Knowledge Center.

Barry: What are opportunities that you see now in Burma for U.S. companies?

McGee: Burma has a wealth of needs. After 50 years of stagnation and isolation, pretty much everything that the country and the people desire is in need of updating or introducing. So you have a huge opportunity there for everything from consumer goods to infrastructure to medical equipment. There’s almost no sector that does not have tremendous need for introducing new companies and products into the market.

Barry: What are the major challenges of doing business there?

McGee: You can imagine the challenges with a country that has been of off the map, so to speak, for 50-plus years. There are a lot of challenges in the regulatory and legal framework. There are so many areas where the legislation is 50 to 100 years old, and for a better part of the last 40, 50 years, it hasn’t been enforced. Updating these statutes regarding introducing a product into the country, getting it registered, and getting protection for intellectual rights, are all challenges that we’re doing our best to try to support.

Barry: It sounds like an uphill climb.

McGee: The good side is that in many ways Burma is a wealthy country; it is very rich in resources. It is geographically located in one of the most important places in the world, and will have a huge bearing for many years in the Southeast Asia and East Asia Pacific regions. It is, in many ways, the linchpin for so many things.

Barry: The opportunity to get in on the ground floor in this market can be a pretty exciting prospect for U.S. companies, right?

McGee: Yes. We have been advising companies that are interested in this market to identify distributors that can help them introduce their products into the country – and most of them are doing this. One of the big sanction difficulties was financial services. With the recent easing of sanctions by the U.S. government, financial services are now available and U.S. companies can get paid.

Barry: What about distributors?

McGee: Finding the right distributor, finding the right representative for businesses is a little bit of a challenge, but we’re doing our best to try to provide some of the services that people need in order to find the right kind of partner.

The biggest element that we have going is the due diligence process because there still is a fairly sizeable list of people who are prohibited from doing business with us. It’s called the Specially Designated Nationals List managed by the U.S. Treasury Department. We offer our clients an International Company Profile service that allows us to ensure potential Burmese partners are credible and have the appropriate abilities and experience.

Our goal is to help U.S. companies steer clear of partners that may end up causing more problems than assistance.

Barry: What’s the private sector like now? We hear a lot about businesses that are run by the Burmese military. Then there are people of Indian ancestry. There are ethnic Burmese, as well as other ethnic groups.

McGee: The Burmese are a very resourceful people. While there were many sanctions that inhibited doing business with the country, exports from the United States were only sanctioned in certain elements.

There’s a lot of effort on the part of our embassy and the U.S. government in general to persuade the Burmese military to get out of the formal economy because they do manage a huge chunk of it. But there are a lot of other areas where there are businesspeople who are looking for the best products at the best price and the quality that the Burmese people need and want.

Barry: How is the U.S. perceived?

McGee: There’s the highest level of receptivity for U.S. products. We have a very, very positive image in the country. So you’re finding people – whether they’re ethnic Burmese, one of the minority groups, or from the Indian population – they are all seeking the best product lines and want to represent U.S. companies as quickly as possible.

Barry: What was it like for you on your first visit there? Plane lands, door opens…

McGee: It was a lot more vibrant than I expected. There is a great sense of pride among the Burmese people.

However, nearly 75-80 percent of the country is without electricity. Large portions of the nation’s agricultural farms are worked with no machinery. There are beautiful sections of the country – like Bagan in the north – that are ripe for travel and tourism development. The opportunities for U.S. companies to showcase their products and services are limitless.

Barry: What’s your advice for U.S. small- and medium-sized enterprises? Wait a while until things play out and settle down a bit? Or cautiously enter? Or forget about it entirely?

McGee: Begin to learn about it. Visit our website, export.gov/thailand. There’s a section on Burma. We continually update a database that provides links to resources and information our team has gathered about doing business in Burma. You can contact my team through the website to learn about the market, its opportunities, and how to get started. We want to work with U.S. companies to be able to give them the advice from our experience and to make sure that their business is successful and that they don’t run afoul of something problematic.

Barry: Can people contact you directly?

McGee: We are 12 time zones ahead of Washington, and so email me – that’s the best thing to do.

h1

Thinking Globally: The Strength of the U.S. Health IT Sector

July 12, 2013

Justin Fisk is an intern in the International Trade Administration’s Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee. He’s a graduate of the University of Georgia, taking graduate courses at the George Washington University. David Collier is an intern in ITA’s Office of Public Affairs, studying International Relations at the University of Missouri.

For some Health Information Technology businesses, exporting their products globally may seem even more difficult than creating them. That’s why the International Trade Administration (ITA) exists: to help U.S. companies compete in the global marketplace.

As part of that mission, the White House and Business Forward hosted a roundtable on the international Health IT market, bringing together industry stakeholders and exporters. The event featured discussions about the opportunities for increasing Health IT exports, and how resources from ITA and the U.S. government can help businesses take advantage of those opportunities.

The U.S. Health IT sector is a dynamic and important part of the economy, and the global market is expected to grow to $250 billion by 2015 as a result of increased investment in healthcare and health systems around the world.

That’s why the Administration has made this sector a priority for the National Export Initiative (NEI), which President Obama launched in 2010 with the goal of doubling U.S. exports by the end of 2014.

The NEI is part of the President’s plan to strengthen America’s economy, support additional jobs here at home, and ensure long-term, sustainable growth.

Representatives from more than 40 companies attended the roundtable, including executives from Oracle, Intel, and Dimensional Insight. Many of these firms, from large corporations to small businesses, have successfully taken advantage of government resources to help find new markets and export to growing foreign markets.

ITA’s resources can help companies export for the first time, and help find new markets for more experienced exporters.

Events like the recent roundtable is that it allows the ITA to meet face-to-face with companies, and design new resources based on the concerns of private industry.

Although these companies represent diverse subsectors of the Health IT industry, they are united in their desire to share their story. These firms understand that exporting can be challenging, but in an increasingly globalized world, companies must think globally. Fortunately, U.S. firms of all sizes are not alone. The government is ready to help.

If your company wants to think global, please visit your nearest U.S. Export Assistance Center for assistance.

h1

Metro Exports Continue to Rise in 2012

July 11, 2013

Natalie Soroka is an economist in the Office of Trade and Industry Information within the International Trade Administration where she focuses on international trade statistics and trends.

Five metro areas achieved more than $50 billion in 2012 exports.

Five metro areas achieved more than $50 billion in 2012 exports and ten surpassed $25 billion.

After hitting new highs in 2011, exports from U.S. metropolitan areas continued to increase in 2012, with 170 of the 370 metro areas with available data reporting record-high merchandise exports.

Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX topped the list as the largest metro exporter in 2012, shipping $110.3 billion of goods abroad.

Overall, many areas saw continued growth in 2012, with exports increasing in 220 metro areas from the previous year.

The Seattle, WA area saw the highest dollar growth in 2012, up $9.2 billion from 2011. Other areas showing high dollar growth included:

  • Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI (up $6.0 billion),
  • Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX (up $5.8 billion),
  • Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL (up $4.7 billion),
  • and Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV (up $4.4 billion).

While large areas like Houston, New York and Los Angeles contribute greatly to the value of exports from metropolitan areas sent around the world, exports are an important economic driver in smaller markets, too. In 2012, 153 small metro areas exported more than $1 billion of goods. Of these metros, exports from Bloomington, IN exceeded $1 billion for the first time in 2012.

Viewing exports from the metropolitan perspective is important, as these are concentrated areas for industries and economic activity. In 2011, 22 metropolitan areas represented more than 40 percent of their state’s total merchandise export activity.

One such area in 2012 was Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL, whose $47.9 billion in exports accounted for 69 percent of Florida’s total goods exports that year. Aerospace products and parts accounted for the largest share of Miami’s exports, amounting to $4.8 billion in 2012. Other top export categories from Miami that year were computer and peripheral equipment ($4.1 billion) and communications equipment ($3.5 billion).

Of the metro areas in Florida where data is available, 11 MSAs reported increased exports in 2012, led by increases in Miami, Lakeland, and Orlando. On the local level, areas often benefit from geographic proximity and economic or cultural ties to a particular country or region. In fact, Latin American partners dominate Miami’s exports.  Miami exported $18.3 billion of goods to South American markets in 2012, led by Miami’s top market: Venezuela ($5.6 billion). Other top Miami markets in 2012 were Colombia ($2.8 billion), Brazil ($2.6 billion), Mexico ($2.1 billion), and Chile ($2.0 billion).

Miami was also the top exporter to the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) region in 2012, exporting nearly $5.0 billion to this market in 2012, more than a quarter of which (27 percent) went to the Dominican Republic. Miami actually exported more to the six CAFTA members than it did to either the EU or our NAFTA partners.

While it’s too early to determine any effect from the new free trade agreements with Colombia and Panama, in 2012 Miami was the second largest metro exporter to both of these regions, indicating that it stands to benefit from increased trade with these markets in the future.

This data displays the importance exports are to not only our national economy, but to local economies throughout the country. Exports strengthen local economies and create millions of jobs.

In 2012, exporters reached an all-time record of $2.2 trillion in U.S. exports, supporting 9.8 million jobs. The Department of Commerce has collaborated with the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program in order to create the Metropolitan Export Initiative. This initiative’s goal is to promote exports and investments in metropolitan regions through localized export plans.

Beginning with the release of 2012 data, information on exports by county and 4-digit NAICS industry code are available for the top 50 U.S. metro areas.

Visit ITA’s Metropolitan Export Series homepage for more information on metropolitan area exports, including data, fact sheets for the top 50 exporting MSAs in 2012, an overview of U.S. Metropolitan Area Exports, and the U.S. Trade Overview with new regional spotlights.

h1

Harnessing the Power of Nature; Harnessing the Benefits of Exporting

June 26, 2013

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

Lighting Eliminators products protect everything from industrial complexes to cell phone towers.

Lighting Eliminators’ products are used to protect everything from industrial complexes to cell phone towers.

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

Lightning Eliminators is a Boulder, Colorado company that does what its name says, according to chief executive Avrum Saunders. Saunders points to his many satisfied customers around the world who have purchased the hardware and related services to protect their oil drilling rigs, airports, schools, and many other kinds of infrastructure.

The company was highlighted in the Washington Post, in an article highlighting global success for American small businesses. As the article points out, many small businesses are getting export help from government agencies like the International Trade Administration, the Export-Import Bank, and the Small Business Administration.

In business since 1971, Lightning Eliminators recently expanded internationally in such diverse places ranging from Australia to Africa – and is thriving as a result. I was able to speak with Saunders about his company’s success when he was in Washington, DC to accept the Presidential “E” Award for export excellence.

Barry: Why do we need to eliminate lightning and how do you do it?

Saunders: We build very specialized and unique equipment to protect sensitive facilities from lightning strikes. If you have an oil facility, for example, a lightning strike can be catastrophic. Ours is a very different technology than the traditional lightning rod. We avoid lightning strikes, whereas lightning rods attract it.

Barry: Can you tell us a bit about how the technology works?

Saunders: Basically, lightning forms in the following way: Energy forms from the ground up and from the clouds down. And where the two meet, you’ll see the lightning strike or the lightning flash. Our equipment is designed to keep that upward-forming energy from reaching sufficient strength to attract the downward energy. It will seek some other location to connect.

Barry: What percentage of your sales is export?

Saunders: It’s 60-plus percent. I think this year it’ll probably reach about 62 to 63 percent. And we’ve grown that 200 percent over the last three and a half years.

Barry: How helpful is the U.S. government in helping your international business grow?

Saunders: Extraordinarily helpful. The people at the Export Assistance Center in Denver have been extraordinarily helpful to us. They have helped us open five or six new markets in the last two years. In fact my international sales manager is in Australia as we speak on a trip organized by the International Trade Administration, working with a local staff member in Australia to introduce our technology more fully and to help us find representation. That’s been the single most important thing that they’ve helped us do, is find good representation in a number of different countries – highly, highly recommend it to anybody who is looking to export. They’re good folk.

Lightning Eliminaters products protect oil rigs in the Indian Ocean

Lightning Eliminators products protect oil rigs in the Indian Ocean

In fact, the services they provide, you could not obtain for 20, 30 times the cost it costs us to work with them. It’s one of the programs that most people don’t know about, unfortunately, but is a really, really good use of our tax dollars because for every dollar spent we’re returning a considerably higher sum to the economy in Colorado and the U.S.

Barry: Advice to the companies that aren’t exporting now?

Saunders: There are three areas that I think are crucial. One, you need quality representation in the local economies because you cannot, from the United States, fully comprehend what goes on day-to-day in a place like Nigeria. You just can’t do it. You need that local help. Secondly, you have to pay attention to the details – details such as financing instruments, like letters of credit and bank transfers, things of that sort. Third, and perhaps most important, is that you really have to understand the business culture.

h1

International Buyer Program Announces 2014 Roster of Trade Shows

June 3, 2013

Gary Rand is Director of the International Trade Administration’s International Buyer Program.

IBP can help you maximize export opportunities at trade shows.

The International Buyer Program can help you maximize export opportunities at trade shows.

Your U.S. company may be looking to export but not know where to start. Good news: your chances of finding the right international business partner greatly increase by participating in a trade show that has been selected as a venue for the International Buyer Program (IBP).

Our program brings thousands of pre-screened international buyers to U.S. trade shows. So at an IBP-certified event, you’ll not only meet more international buyers, representatives and distributors, but your products and services will also be listed in the Export Interest Directory distributed to all international visitors to the show.

This makes your company and your products easy to find for potential customers. That will help you make more contacts, and maybe even more sales.

In addition to assistance from our experienced staff, you will also have access to an on-site International Trade Center, where your company can meet privately with prospective international buyers, sales representatives and business partners.

I am pleased to announce the 26 U.S. trade shows in 2014 to which the International Buyer Program (IBP) will bring prospective international buyers. Thanks to our rigorous competitive selection process, I am confident these 26 shows will provide excellent business-to-business (B2B) matchmaking venues for U.S. companies looking to expand their international sales to new markets, or to start exporting.

For those U.S. companies planning to exhibit at any of these shows, the IBP is a great way to maximize your trade show investment.

Some advantages of the IBP include:

  • U.S. companies meet pre-screened prospective buyers from around the world all in one domestic venue.
  • Last year the IBP recruited over 10,800 prospective buyers from international markets, resulting in 3,860 B2B and business-to-government sessions.
  • New online business matchmaking software program connects U.S. companies and foreign buyers, enabling them to contact each other and schedule meetings prior to the show.

The International Buyer Program 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.

To learn more about our events and how they can help you, follow the International Buyer Program on Twitter or contact us with any questions.

h1

Promoting U.S. Exports of Environmental Technology

May 31, 2013

On the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) blog, Marc Lemmond highlights the work EPA has done to promote exports of U.S. environmental technologies.

The environmental technology sector is a huge contributor to the American economy. It had an estimated revenue of $312 billion in 2012, employing 1.7 million Americans.

Another important note: promoting exports of environmental technology promotes environmental stewardship around the world. EPA partners with several federal agencies on its Trade and Economics Program to promote the trade and environment agenda globally.

This is important work, helping support the American economy and proliferating technology that helps preserve the world around us.

You can read more on the EPA’s blog, “It’s Our Environment.”

h1

Trade Finance Guide Helps U.S. Businesses Compete, Now en Español!

May 30, 2013

Yuki Fujiyama, a trade finance specialist with the Office of Financial Services Industries in the International Trade Administration, is the author of The Trade Finance Guide: A Quick Reference for U.S. Exporters.

The inaugural Spanish language version of the Trade Finance Guide was released at the May 8 “Trade Connect” workshop held at the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. From right to left: Yuki Fujiyama of ITA, Hon. Sean Mulvaney of Ex-Im Bank, Cheryl Hines of Keylingo Translations, Bronwen Madden of CITD, Paul Thanos of ITA, Marta Chacon of FCIB, Diego Jiménez of FCIB, Norman Arikawa of the Port of LA, Carlos Valderrama of the LA Area Chamber, and Sergio Gascon of the MBDA Business Center.

The inaugural Spanish language version of the Trade Finance Guide was released at the May 8 “Trade Connect” workshop held at the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. 

On May 8, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration unveiled the first Spanish language version of the Trade Finance Guide: A Quick Reference for U.S. Exporters.

The Guide is a simple and effective tool designed to help U.S. small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) learn the best ways to get paid from export sales. Now that the Guide is also available in Spanish, it can better help U.S.-based Hispanic and Latino companies compete in global markets.

What is the Trade Finance Guide?

The Trade Finance Guide covers 14 subject areas in easy-to-understand two-page chapters that are written in plain language. The Guide is:

  • A “60-minute” self-learning tool for new-to-export SMEs that wish to learn how to benefit from export sales.
  • A user-friendly tool for international credit, banking and trade finance professionals, as well as export counselors for client assistance.
  • A flexible educational tool for professionals teaching international business.

The Guide uses a no-nonsense approach to make it easy to understand appropriate payment methods and trade finance techniques when dealing with international transactions. There is a quick rundown of the pros and cons of each potential payment method, helping new-to-export companies pick the best method for them. The Trade Finance Guide has become one of the most popular export assistance resources published by the Commerce Department.

Spanish Language and Hispanic and Latino-Owned Businesses in the United States

The U.S. Census Bureau says Spanish is the primary language spoken at home by approximately 35 million people, a figure more than double that of 1990. The number of Hispanic and Latino-owned businesses, most of which are SMEs, increased by 44 percent to 2.3 million, more than twice the national rate between 2002 and 2007. These businesses generated $345 billion in sales in 2007, up 55 percent from 2002.

As the growing Spanish-speaking population continues its entrepreneurial growth, the Spanish version of the Trade Finance Guide will help their businesses enter into the global marketplace. The Guide will also help other American businesses work with buyers in Spanish-speaking markets, helping all U.S. businesses expand their exports.

Partnership and Cooperation

The Trade Finance Guide was created in partnership with the Finance, Credit, and International Business Association (FCIB) and in cooperation with:

The Guide’s Spanish language version was made possible through partial funding from the California Centers for International Trade Development and in collaboration with FCIB and the Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 417 other followers