ITA’s Office of Health and Consumer Goods (ITA/MAS/OHCG) has begun organizing and conducting seminars for U.S. medical device small and medium-enterprises (SMEs) in partnership with industry and U.S. Export Assistance Centers (USEACs) under the National Export Initiative or NEI.
Despite the economic odds, the medical devices industry has experienced dynamic growth in recent years. The U.S. medical devices industry has had a consistent trade surplus, and U.S. firms are the leading global producers of advanced technology medical devices.
OHCG hosted its very first seminar for medical device SMEs in Minneapolis, Minnesota on June 11 led by ITA National NEI Director Courtney Gregoire. Attendees were also pleased to welcome Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar who has been an emphatic advocate for the medical device industry.
The seminar focused on the three subjects encapsulated in the NEI: access to export financing, export promotion efforts, and access to foreign markets (in this case, China and Canada). Ryan Kanne, Minneapolis USEAC Director, and I highlighted the services ITA offers to experienced and novice medical device exporters throughout the seminar. The event was very well received, as evidenced by the evaluation forms: one hundred percent of those received rated the event at “Very Good” or “Excellent.”
Remarkably, large multi-national medical device firms have been interested in supporting these export seminars, because SMEs are a major source of industry innovation and are also an important component of the medical devices supply chain. Also, firms participating in existing Department of Commerce public-private partnerships, such as Federal Express, have expressed interested in supporting medical devices NEI SME export seminars.
OHCG will work with medical devices industry associations (both national and regional), medical device firms, and USEACs to plan and organize SME seminars to advance the NEI. Four to five additional seminars are anticipated in 2011. Possible sites for these events include cities with significant medical device clusters such as Louisville, Kentucky, Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago, as well as areas of Southern California, and Florida. To keep up to date on current health care and medical device opportunities, visit the Health Technologies site on www.export.gov
Gerry Zapiain is an International Trade Specialist and has been with the International Trade Administration for over ten years in a variety of capacities. He currently serves as a Health Team International Trade Specialist in the Office of Health and Consumer Goods within Manufacturing and Services.