Posts Tagged ‘India’

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Spreading the Word About India in the American Southwest

April 21, 2011

Judy Reinke is the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service’s Senior Commercial Officer in India.

Hi, it’s me again, Judy Reinke from the Commercial Service (CS) office in New Delhi, and I’m finally on the ground in the U.S. after a very long flight.  It’s great to be home!  After 15 hours on a plane, it was a joy to stretch my legs and see a gorgeous sunrise in Newark, New Jersey, but my trip wasn’t done yet.  Another 5 hours later, and I was in the beautiful city of Phoenix, Arizona, the first stop on a two-week ”outreach” trip designed to help U.S. companies learn about the India market and encourage more U.S. firms to export.  But there was no time for sleep, since the day had just begun in Arizona.

Arizona State University's Skysong Center

Arizona State University’s Skysong Center

Stopping by the offices of the Phoenix U.S. Export Assistance Center located at the Arizona State University’s distinctive SkySong Center, I had the chance to discuss export opportunities with a booming franchise business that has a significant overseas presence, but which has not yet entered India.  The business director is a savvy fellow who knows the market conditions he needs to succeed, and he understands that India still presents some big challenges in the retail sector.  India’s retail sector consists largely of small mom-and-pop retailers stores, and the distribution channels are not fully developed; however, this franchiser wants to keep a close eye on pending reforms in this sector and will work with my office to jump in when the timing is right.  In fact, he’s been successful in finding master franchisers in other markets with the help of the Commercial Service, and I’m confident my office can help him in the same way.  I also chatted with an architectural services firm ready to explore exporting for the first time.  Services exports are a major U.S. competitive strength, and I see good opportunities for architecture and design firms in India, where a $1 trillion is expected to be invested in infrastructure over the next 5 years. One of the directors of the company is quite knowledgeable about India, and I can see how India might well be a place where this well-established, medium-sized firm could get started as a service exporter.  Nonetheless, during the course of our conversation, which included my colleague from the Arizona USEAC, Anna Flaaten, we discussed other options closer to home, like Canada or Central America, which could provide an excellent platform to start exporting.  Anna provides great counseling insights – any U.S. company unsure about how (or where) to start exporting should seek out  the advice of people like Anna and other Trade Specialists at the 100 or so USEACs across America.

With only 1% of U.S. companies currently exporting and, of those, 58% only exporting to one market (likely Canada or Mexico, since they’re so close), Anna and her colleagues have a lot of work on their hands reaching out to lots of businesses which really should give exporting a try.  During my short two week “road show”, I hope I can give my U.S.-based colleagues a hand spreading the word about exporting, since it presents such a great opportunity to keep American strong.  If your firm isn’t an exporter, I hope you will become one.  By exporting a product to a new market, your company learns what your global competitors are up to in their home markets; you get great feedback from foreign customers on how your product stacks up or could be modified to gain more traction in their market; and you become better able to compete back home as you use this feedback to improve and enhance your product for the future.

This has been a long day for me.  I’ll sign off now, since tomorrow is another big day here in Phoenix for counseling U.S. firms about India.  And, who knows… maybe I’ll be meeting with you!

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Consider India

April 20, 2011

Judy Reinke is the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service’s Senior Commercial Officer in India.

View of Delhi International Airport terminal from inside a car.

View of Delhi International Airport terminal from inside a car.

Hi! I’m Judy Reinke, the head of the U.S. Department of Commerce offices in India. I live in New Delhi, and have the great fortune to oversee a staff of about sixty American and Indian trade specialists who help U.S. business people successfully enter the Indian market – you can learn a lot about what we do at our website. Right now I’m at the New Delhi airport heading to the U.S. If you had ever traveled to Delhi before last year, you’d be amazed at all the changes going on here, starting with the airport itself, which just opened last July (only a day or two before I arrived to take up this job). Wow, this sleek and modern building is gorgeous, and certainly a much welcome improvement for weary business travelers who make the very long trek to India (the bathrooms sparkle and the aircon works!).

For the next two weeks I’m heading to four U.S. cities – Phoenix, Houston, New Orleans and Denver – for meetings with potential U.S. exporting firms who want to know more about the booming Indian market. With a growth rate of 8-9% and around 1.2 billion people, it’s no wonder my staff and I are non-stop busy. But, honestly, I’d like to see even more American firms, including small and medium-sized companies, check out opportunities to sell to India. My goal is to ensure that exports to India double over the next four years (that’s what President Obama called for when he launched the National Export Initiative last year), and that means jobs in America.

So, for the next two weeks I’ll be blogging, and along the way I hope I can share a bit about India and the firms that are already exporting there, or trying or the first time. And, if you happen to be in one of the cities I’m visiting, I would love to meet you there. Just check with my colleagues at your local US Export Assistance Center.

Well, I’m on the airplane now (of course, I’m flying an American carrier), and look forward to being back in the USA soon! More later!

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How Successful Trade Missions are Recruited: Selecting U.S. Franchisors for India

April 15, 2011

Tatyana Aguirre currently serves as a Senior International Trade Assistant for the Irvine U.S. Export Assistance Center in California

When you work as an international trade assistant for Global Franchise Team Leader Kristin Houston, there is never dull moment. Today is the final day for the first ever franchising trade mission to India and as I look back, I see the efforts of trade specialists from around the globe who made this five-day, three-city mission possible.

Nicole Y. Lamb-Hale (center) with the India Franchise Trade Mission Delegation

Nicole Y. Lamb-Hale (center) with the India Franchise Trade Mission Delegation

As we began recruitment efforts for the U.S. Franchising Trade Mission to India, I soon learned that expectations were very high on both ends. We had high expectations for bringing highly notable and recognizable U.S. companies to India and U.S. firms expected to make strategic partnerships with the right people in India.

Recruitment involved outreach to clients who had a franchising concept desired in India. Working with our team in India, we concluded that a majority of the expected growth will be in the food & beverage, wellness, and education sectors.

Initially, capacity for the mission was for 12 U.S. franchisers to participate in this unprecedented opportunity based on a first-come basis and those with the greatest probability of success. But as applications from some of the most globally known brands, such as Denny’s, Johnny Rocket’s, Applebee’s, and Wendy’s, came in, we knew we had to extend it to 15. Once the final participants were chosen, we collected company profiles and global investor criteria for each firm to ensure that we could arrange appropriate and productive meetings for them with investors who would meet their expectation and desires.

We prepared U.S. firms participating in this Trade Mission to India by providing them with the Country Commercial Guide for India, which are prepared annually by U.S. embassies with the assistance of several U.S. government agencies. These reports present a comprehensive look at countries’ commercial environments, using economic, political and market analysis. We also provided them with market industry reports on the franchising market in India as well as an Intellectual Property Rights Toolkit. Representatives also received a cultural & business etiquette guide to prepare them for doing business in India as well as airline flight and hotel suggestions with preferential pricing, and arranged ground transportation. But most importantly, we scheduled conference calls with our team in India, local trade specialists, and each client to discuss strategy for entering India.

Expectations of the U.S. firms participating were to build qualified and critical partnerships with key players in the Indian market. And through it all, I am happy to report that we exceeded all expectations. Through this mission, we provided more than 300 one-on-one meetings with prospective investors, launched a nation-wide advertising campaign, arranged lucrative networking events with franchisees, site visits to strategic franchisee outlets and locations, and provided first hand opportunity to assess the real potential in India.

It took a global team and months of hard work to pull this mission together, however, this is just the beginning. Most firms on the mission will come back with dozens of prospective contacts and business interest and maybe when you visit Mumbai or Hyderabad, you can dine on an all-American burger at Johnny Rocket’s.

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California Exporters to Benefit from India’s Tariff Reduction on Pistachios

April 7, 2011

 Diana Fonovich is the India Desk Officer for Market Access and Compliance within the International Trade Administration

California’s pistachio industry  will benefit from the significant reduction in India’s customs tariff for imported pistachios that was implemented in India’s April 2011 – March 2012 fiscal year budget.  After sustained advocacy by the International Trade Administration (ITA), in concert with efforts by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, India lowered its tariff on imported pistachios from 30 percent to 10 percent.

“Through this tariff reduction, we celebrate a win for the United States, a win for our global partner, India, and a win for American agriculture,” said Stewart Resnick, president of California-based Paramount Farms International (PFI), a major grower and processor of pistachios. “We’re looking forward to increased sales and consumption of healthy pistachios, both in India and around the globe.”

India’s tariff reduction for pistachios also benefits the 4,000 employees of PFI and its grower partners and, through the prospective increase in U.S. exports to India, will contribute toward achieving the goal under the President’s National Export Initiative of doubling U.S. exports in five years.

Tariff reduction advocacy is just one way that ITA and its Market Access and Compliance unit helps U.S. companies expand their exports.  In the past year, ITA has successfully advocated for Indian tariff reductions in medical technology, solar power plant equipment, and certain chemicals.

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Commercial Service + Corporate Partners = U.S. Export Success!

August 3, 2009

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

Greg Briscoe has been a Commercial Officer for eight years.  He currently serves the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service in Memphis, Tennessee and is responsible for managing cooperation under the Commercial Service-FedEx Corporate Partnership.  Prior to coming to Memphis, Greg served in Tokyo, Japan and Paris, France.

I just completed another great phone call with a small U.S. company expanding its exporting profile as a direct result of cooperation between the U.S. Commercial Service and FedEx, a Commerce Service corporate partner.  I’ve been following up with the 12 small- medium-sized FedEx clients that participated in the November 2008 FedEx Trade Mission to India that was certified by the Commercial Service.  A few comments I’ve been hearing:

  • “You did in one week in India what it took me two years to do on my own in finding a suitable, trusted representative in India.  This will increase our sales in India by three fold!”
  • “The trade mission gave us the courage and perspective necessary to pursue the business success we are now experiencing in India, which will total 15% to 20% of our revenues over the next several years.”

Needless to say, these have been very satisfying calls to take.  But FedEx isn’t the only corporate partner working with us to help U.S. small- and medium-sized companies raise their export profiles.

Members of the FedEx Trade Mission to India Take Time to Pose for a Photo in Mumbai, India

Members of the FedEx Trade Mission to India Take Time to Pose for a Photo in Mumbai, India. (U.S. Department of Commerce photo)

My colleagues and I also work with Baker & McKenzie, City National Bank, Comerica Bank, M&T Bank, PNC, TD Bank, the U.S. Postal Service, eBay, Google, UPS and Zions Bank to help  increase U.S.  exports.  These are not the only private companies we work with, but this group of companies competed for a no-cost contract to become our promotional partners.  They were awarded the contract to help promote the U.S. Commercial Service and increase the number of firms who export. In fact – we’re looking for additional partners now – look for it on fedbizopps.gov.

Together, by using webinars, seminars, and publications (such as “The Basic Guide to Exporting,” “Getting Paid by Your Latin American Buyer,” and “The Trade Finance Guide”) we educate companies on the “how to’s” of exporting.   I think we are only scratching the surface of what we, the U.S. Commercial Service and our private sector partners, can do together.  I look forward to many more calls with U.S. companies reporting on their successes overseas resulting from these very successful public/private partnerships.  FedEx’s next trade mission is to Turkey this November.  Join us!

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