Posts Tagged ‘Mexico’

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Looking South for Your Next Business Opportunities

January 10, 2014

Guest blog post by Michael Masserman, Executive Director for Export Policy, Promotion, and Strategy, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of CommerceThe Look South campaign is encouraging companies to seek export opportunities in Latin America.

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

This week Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker announced the Look South Initiative, a movement to help American businesses leverage the Free Trade Agreements the United States shares with 11 countries in Latin America.

The Initiative is an important new part of the Commerce Department’s Open for Business Agenda, supporting American companies looking to increase their global presence.

More and more businesses are exporting, which is leading to record levels of exports for the country. That supports the U.S. economy, and it helps create jobs here at home.

However, most companies that currently export are only taking advantage of one market. Companies exporting to one market average roughly $375,000 in export sales. For a company exporting to two-to-four export markets, that average nearly triples to $1 million in sales. It’s clear that exporting to additional markets improves a business’s bottom line.

For businesses looking to expand their export markets, “Looking South” is a simple way to start. More than half of our free trade agreements are in Latin America, which generally equates to greater ease in entering those markets. Tariffs are low if they exist at all, which can mean a lower cost of doing business.

The best news of all is that we have your back. The entire Department of Commerce is backing this effort along with the International Trade Administration (ITA), the State Department, the Small Business Administration, the Export-Import Bank, Department of Agriculture, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.

Here are some ways for you to be a part of the movement:

  • Check out ITA’s Trade Winds – The Americas event in May to connect to a world of opportunity in the Americas. Our Commercial Service team will support you through a series of business-to-business meetings in Colombia, Panama, Chile, Ecuador, and Peru.
  • Visit export.gov/LookSouth to learn about federal resources available to support you. The site features research on a number of markets and industries, and provides tips about doing business in Latin American markets.
  • Visit your nearest Export Assistance Center to enlist the support of our international trade specialists.
  • Send an email to looksouth@trade.gov with any other questions.

Your business’s next big opportunities could be right here in your hemisphere.

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Putting International Trade at the Local Level

January 30, 2013

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

Elías González is an intern in the International Trade Administration Office of Public Affairs, and is a former West Point Cadet and graduate from the University of Pennsylvania.

Should local governments pay attention to international trade? American trade leaders think so and they’re helping city leaders take a bite out of the export pie.

International trade was a hot topic at the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Winter Meeting in Washington, DC this month, and representatives from the International Trade Administration (ITA) used the opportunity to illustrate how U.S. competitiveness depends on local communities.

Francisco Sánchez, Under Secretary for International Trade, emphasized the importance of the president’s National Export Initiative (NEI).  He said that 95 percent of consumers live outside the U.S., and that the NEI is instrumental in helping American businesses access those foreign markets. He also lauded its success, citing that U.S. exports reached a record $2.1 trillion in 2011 and that data when available next month will likely show that 2012 was even higher.

In a separate task force meeting, Walter Bastian, Deputy Secretary for the Western Hemisphere here at ITA, reaffirmed the importance of international trade, pointing out that trade with Mexico alone produces an average of $1 million a minute for the U.S. economy.

Bastian emphasized the importance of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade agreement among several Asian, Pacific, and North American countries, and how it will strengthen trade with Mexico. He said that it will help reduce the cost of doing business, potentially making that million-dollar-a-minute figure higher.

Sánchez and Bastian were quick to note that the economic benefits from trade are not felt only by the U.S. as a whole, but by local communities as well.

In a cooperative effort to help local communities enter the exporting business efficiently, ITA has partnered with the Brookings Institution on the Metropolitan Export Initiative (MEI). Several metropolitan areas in the U.S. are already participating, and the Under Secretary urged the mayors to utilize the tools the ITA provides. The MEI is one of many tools in place to remedy inefficiency. Inefficiency at the border—issues like long wait times for trucks—cost upwards of $6 billion per year.

Initiatives like the MEI help local communities gain greater control over their exports and create more efficient and beneficial trade partnerships.

Under Secretary Sánchez concluded his discussion at the conference by emphasizing that cities need to prioritize exports, reach new markets, and draw new investments. He reiterated what he and Bastian deemed crucial, that as cities succeed the country succeeds, and that ITA is here to help.

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First U.S. Healthcare Policy and Trade Mission to Mexico

May 22, 2012

Doug Wallace is a Commercial Officer currently working at the San Francisco Export Assistance Center, and has worked for the International Trade Administration for 15 years.

Thanks to Mexican healthcare reforms, I arose groggily at 5:30 AM and stumbled towards my in-room coffee machine. My Commercial Service colleagues and I organized a Healthcare Policy and Trade Mission of 17 companies to Mexico May 13-15, and the bus was embarking on our medical odyssey in 30 minutes!

Our delegates’ U.S. firms made very interesting products. One made speech recognition software that solved the time-consuming and dangerous global phenomenon of bad handwriting (Give a doctor a pen, and he or she will write poorly in any language.) Others made knee orthopedic devices, ultrasound, infectious disease diagnostics, and air flow aps for clean rooms. One company even sold human tissue samples. Ew.

Off we trundled to begin the Mission at the National Institute of Respiratory Diseases (hey, the traffic isn’t that bad!) to understand Mexico’s priorities for healthcare services and equipment. Given Mexico City’s notorious air quality, I realized that the Institute must be extremely busy, especially with Mt. Popocatepetl currently spewing ash nearby.

Under Secretary Francisco Sanchez with staff of U.S. Commercial Service Mexico City (Photo Eduardo Sanchez)

Under Secretary Francisco Sanchez with staff of U.S. Commercial Service Mexico City (Photo Eduardo Sanchez)

The Mexican Government is expanding health care coverage to all citizens, and with 4 percent economic growth expected for 2012, this is an excellent market for U.S. medical sector companies. Under Secretary Francisco Sánchez led our group to the Mexican Ministry of Health where we learned about Mexico’s priority for integrating and expanding health information management and telemedicine to expand healthcare into far-flung regions. Mexico’s Director General for Planning and Development closed his presentation saying, “we want to adopt the good practices of the United States, and avoid all your mistakes,” to which I did not know whether to raise an eyebrow or cluck “hear, hear!”

There is a discernible look in the eye and tone in the voice of all the players we met in Mexico’s healthcare universe. It’s… pride. Mixed with determination. This was indeed the case for all the hospital administrators who led us on tours of oncology wings, cardiac centers, and emergency rooms. Deeper we went into the duodenum of one hospital facility, like an encapsulated endoscopy. Then, we turned a corner and one delegate let out a short gasp. There it lay: a Varian Cyber Knife.  This hospital’s street cred was now firmly established.

The next day, we had breakfast with U.S. Ambassador Wayne and the head of COFEPRIS, Mexico’s FDA. Over the past year, license application times and bureaucratic steps have dramatically shrunk. Predictability and transparency in the drug and device approval process have dramatically increased. Mexico is striving to establish one of the world’s most modern regulatory regimes. From an afternoon’s worth of in-depth healthcare presentations delivered by numerous luminaries in Mexico’s healthcare sector, one readily grasped the country’s commitment to provide the best possible healthcare to all patients, while employing sound management and technology to bend the cost curve and serve rural areas.

After such a whirlwind introduction to Mexico’s healthcare market, we thanked our hosts, and are already planning our next steps in expanding into this exciting market.

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Things are “Greener” on the Other Side: Under Secretary Francisco Sánchez Promotes Renewable Energy Policy in Mexico

September 27, 2011

Carrie Bevis is an intern in the International Trade Administration’sOffice of Public Affairs. She is a second-year student at the University of Virginia.

Things are starting to look “greener” on the other side – of the U.S.-Mexico border that is! This week, our Under Secretary for International Trade Francisco Sánchez promoted partnerships between U.S. companies and Mexican officials in an effort to advance Mexico’s clean energy goals and create export opportunities for U.S. companies. Under Secretary Sánchez was joined by 26 senior-level U.S. business executives from 19 U.S. clean energy companies for two days of policy discussions with key Mexican officials focused on renewable energy and energy efficiency policy development.

The policy visit was developed through the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Export Initiative (RE4I), which is led by ITA’s Manufacturing and Services unit. In the RE4I, ITA committed to creating new markets for U.S. renewable energy and energy efficiency exports through trade policy missions.

Under Secretary Francisco Sanchez (right) meets with members of the USA Pavilion at GREEN Expo in Mexico

Under Secretary Francisco Sanchez (right) meets with members of the USA Pavilion at GREEN Expo in Mexico

Given Mexico’s proximity to the United States and its resource potential, few markets offer as much potential for future U.S. renewable energy and energy efficiency exports as Mexico. However, despite high-level political support, relatively little development has taken place in the sector to date. Mexico currently generates only 2% of its electricity from renewable energy sources – mostly from hydropower.

 “We are pleased to see this initiative begin to manifest itself through deeper cooperation with such a valuable trading partner,” announced Matt Card, Suniva’s Vice-President of Sales for the Americas at the event. “Roundtables such as this are a vital component in the growth of the strong economic and job-creation engine that renewable energy potentially represents to both our countries.”

While in Mexico, Under Secretary Sánchez also took part in the 19th annual GREEN (Global Resources Environmental & Energy Network) Expo. The GREEN Expo hosted four main exhibits including Enviro Pro, focused on Mexico’s environmental sector, Power Mex Clean Energy and Efficiency, targeting clean energy companies; Water Mex, centered on sustainable and clean water consumption; and Green City, aimed at green urban development projects. The four exhibits attracted several U.S. companies spanning the clean energy industry.

During his visit, Under Secretary Sánchez touched on the multiple benefits of increased renewable energy and energy efficiency exports, stating, “For Mexico, and the rest of the world, clean energy technologies present a unique opportunity to achieve the triple bottom line: profits for businesses, jobs for people and a healthier planet for all.”

 

 

 

 

 

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Border Export Strategy Impact in El Paso

March 24, 2011

Francisco J. Sánchez is the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade

Today I was in El Paso, Texas with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Alan Bersin, Commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to highlight the importance of trade, border security, and the Border Export Strategy.

The International Trade Administration recently launched the Border Export Strategy (BES), which is a priority component of the National Export Initiative, which seeks to double exports from the U.S. by 2015 to support several million jobs.

The City of El Paso is an important gateway between the United States and Mexico, and total merchandise trade that passed through the El Paso district in 2010 amounted to $71.1 billion. More than 80 percent of this trade passed through the port of El Paso.

This strategy is designed to increase the export potential and opportunities for U.S. companies doing business along the shared Canadian and Mexican borders.

We are striving to enhance local public-private trade collaboration and support efforts to reduce trade barriers limiting secure and efficient commerce across our borders.

Despite security challenges in the border region, NAFTA trade statistics show a 29 percent increase in total trade between the U.S. and Mexico from 2009-2010. In addition to close collaboration on security and infrastructure issues in the interagency process, the Departments of Commerce and Homeland Security are working together to identify other potential areas for collaboration on U.S. exports. Potential areas include issues related to the Foreign Trade Zones, a review of the targeting efforts for goods and travelers, and technical assistance to other countries in the world, where customs operations are problematic for exporters and need to be modernized.

The City of El Paso sponsors a foreign-trade zone (FTZ) that is currently used by 19 different companies. In 2010, the El Paso FTZ handled $7.3 billion in merchandise – including $1.7 billion in exports – with more than 900 workers employed by the companies using the FTZ. The Foreign Trade Zone program is just one of the ways in which we can boost employment, manufacturing, and exports from the United States.

As we move forward with the implementation of the BES, I look forward to close collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security and the City of El Paso.

The U.S.-Mexico border is not a border economy. It is a vital part of the national economy of both nations, and I, for my part, will do what it takes to preserve, protect it and grow it.

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North of the Border, Down Minneapolis Way

February 23, 2011

Ann Bacher is the Senior Commerical Officer, U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, Mexico.

I just returned to Mexico City after spending a few days in Minneapolis.  I work for the U.S. Dept. of Commerce and am posted to the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City.  What would bring me to deep winter from the pleasantly temperate largest city in the world?

I was invited to join an all-star cast at the National Export Initiative Conference: New Markets, New Jobs Tour, where over 350 small and medium –sized companies learned how to up their export game.  President Obama’s challenge to double exports and create 2 million jobs was highlighted by U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, Small Business Administration Administrator Karen Mills, Chairman of the Export-Import Bank of the United States Fred Hochberg, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan, Governor Mark Dayton and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak.

All I can say is wow—all these export superstars in one place to light a fire under companies to export.  Only ONE percent of US companies export –what’s that about?  It’s a big world out there –if you have a good product or service –THINK EXPORT!  You know your competition is!  Mexico is the second largest export market after Canada.  Last year we helped over 500 U.S. companies sell into Mexico.  You can be number 501!   Just go to www.export.gov  or www.buyusa.gov/mexico and we’ll see if you’ve got what it takes – I think you do!

Secretary Locke With Senior Commercial Officers Richard Steffens and Ann Bacher

Senior Commercial Officer Canada, Richard Steffens (left); Secretary of Commerce, Gary Locke (center), Senior Commercial Officer Mexico, Ann Bacher (right)

That’s me on the right Ann Bacher with our boss Sec. Locke in the middle and the guy who can help you get into the Canadian market on the left Rich Steffens.  Start with the number one and two markets –Canada and Mexico today.

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Colorado Receives MDCP Award for Cleantech

December 17, 2009

Amy Reichert is the Director of Trade and Investment for the Americas at the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT).   

It took two tries, but this year our team of trade experts at the Colorado International Trade Office joined the ranks of MDCP recipients with a program tailored to promote exports of cleantech and environmental products and services to China and Mexico.  CO-EXist, or Colorado Export of Innovative and Sustainable Technologies, officially launches in January, 2010.

We vaguely knew about MDCP, but it wasn’t until we met another MDCP recipient at a trade show in Chile that we started to see its value and brainstormed ideas for a program of our own.  The International Trade Office (ITO) team enthusiastically began to form our proposal.

We explored markets and industries where we thought we could have an impact among Colorado exporters.  With a strong state-wide push to develop the “New Energy Economy”, we narrowed our industry focus to renewable energy.  But looking more closely at our base of potential exporters, we expanded the focus to incorporate all environmental technologies: water and wastewater infrastructure; air pollution control; energy efficiency; clean and renewable energy infrastructure and generation; waste management and recycling; monitoring and compliance; green building; transportation technologies; and the list goes on….

Maybe it’s our inherent desire to protect the natural beauty that is Colorado, or our deeply-rooted mining history, but we’ve long had a strong base of environmental companies, and we designed our program to capitalize on and further strengthen that core competitive advantage.  Colorado’s cleantech culture is evidenced by the fact that we are the first state in the nation to pass a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) by a vote of the people.

Next up, picking our target markets.  We have some advantages in Mexico with an office in Mexico City, Spanish-speaking staff, and significant market demand.  It’s also often a market picked by first-time exporters.  China is also key.  It’s a large and growing market, but can be difficult to navigate, especially for small companies.  Through CO-EXist, and with the support of our MDCP team, we believe we can reduce risk and facilitate market entry for Colorado companies.

Although our first application was unsuccessful, the seeds had been planted.  Even without MDCP support, we began implementing components of our proposal – and with great success!  We applied again and were rewarded for our efforts.

Now with the full support of our MDCP team, and other local partners, we look forward to a fruitful partnership and many company success stories!

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