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Hometown Heroes: Trade Specialists Shine a Community Spotlight on Manufacturing

October 26, 2022

Lisa Wang is the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Enforcement and Compliance

October is National Manufacturing Month, and communities across the country are celebrating the important contributions of America’s most enduring and rapidly evolving field. Every aspect of our lives and livelihoods is touched by the people and places that produce our goods.

At the International Trade Administration (ITA), we help U.S. manufacturers thrive in global trade and ensure a level playing field at home and abroad. ITA’s Enforcement and Compliance (E&C) team enforces U.S. antidumping and countervailing duty laws to protect our industries from unfair pricing and practices of foreign actors who don’t play by the rules.

Over the past few months, I’ve had the opportunity to see our trade laws in action at manufacturing sites stretching from Appalachia to Alabama as part of a series that we’ve been calling “Hometown Tours.” On each tour, we visit a city considered home by one of our trade specialists and a U.S. company impacted by our work.

A collage of five images. Upper left is Jayden White-Graham standing with two Tuskegee University officials with a Tuskegee University logoed backdrop. Upper right is Kathryn Krishnan with construction glasses on holding an object with four individuals in the background. Lower Left is Norbert Gannon in a construction hat and protective outfit, standing in a crowd of 9 individuals with similar dress. Lower left is Tom Conley posing for a photo behind a sign that reads AMI Auburn Manufacturing Inc. with two individuals besides him and four individuals in front. Center is Zachary Le Vene posing for a photo with construction glasses on with a city backdrop.
Photo collage of ITA trade specialists: Jayden Graham-White (upper left), Kathryn Krishnan (upper left), Norbert Gannon (lower right), Tom Conley (lower left – standing above the AMI sign), and Zachary Le Vene (center).

Our first stop in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, can be credited to Norbert Gannon. Gannon, who grew up near U.S. Steel’s Edgar Thomson Plant, saw the integrated steel mill’s evolution throughout his life and marveled at its longevity. Built in the 1870s, it outlasted every other steel mill subsequently built in the “Mon Valley.” Gannon had always wanted to visit the mill but had never stepped foot inside. After a career dedicated to learning about and crafting policy that implicated U.S. manufacturers of steel—nearly 50% of E&C’s cases deal with some form of unfairly traded foreign steel product—Norb was finally able to tour his neighborhood steel facility.

  • Having finally seen the facility, Gannon said, “I can now check this off my bucket list!”

Next, in Portland, Maine, Tom Conley showcased Auburn Manufacturing Inc. (AMI), a woman-led factory that produces high-performance textiles that provide protection from extreme temperatures. Both AMI and nearby Sappi North America—a wood yard and paper mill—are companies that in recent years have been affected by unfair trade practices from China and other countries. Through the enforcement of our laws, ITA has helped these companies stay competitive in the international marketplace while also supporting hundreds of local jobs.

  • Conley said, “These two businesses alone show that Maine is much more than just ‘Vacation Land’ and seafood—though we do have great seafood. It was fantastic to see firsthand the tremendous impact ITA has had on the businesses I grew up with.”

In Lexington, Kentucky, Kathryn Krishan gave a perfect example of a resilient U.S. supply chain with a visit to Leggett & Platt, where 100% of the components that go into the innerspring unit—including the wire that makes the innerspring coils—are manufactured by Leggett & Platt. Through vertical integration and strategic application of U.S. trade laws, Leggett & Platt maintains a global company that has employed generations of Kentuckians.

  • Krishnan said, “My work in D.C. and my hometown in Kentucky have always felt very distinct. It wasn’t until I heard someone who sounds like my Papaw explain how important our work in ITA was to him and his family that I could bridge that gap. I hope that my colleagues were able to see the vibrant and proud communities that make what we do worth it.”

In Alabama, Jayden Graham-White arranged a visit to Globe Specialty Metals. As result of successful trade enforcement, Globe recently reopened its Selma-based plant to continue a proud legacy of producing silicon metals that support sectors ranging from cosmetics to energy and semiconductors. What made this tour more special was visiting the nearby campuses of some distinguished historically Black colleges and universities and predominately Black institutions—Alabama State University, Auburn University at Montgomery, and of course Graham-White’s alma mater, Tuskegee University.

  • Graham-White said, “It was an honor to be able to see firsthand the work that these people do every single day to keep these factories, cities, and ultimately this country running. To return to Alabama serving the communities that raised me and encouraging and supporting diverse students to follow suit was an amazing experience that really brings meaning to the title public servant.”

And most recently, Wisconsin-native, Zachary Le Vene highlighted the local and global impacts of trade remedies at a visit to Renewable Energy Group (REG), a producer of sustainable biofuels. After E&C put duties in place to counter unfairly subsidized and priced biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia, REG was able to invest in its refining capacity at facilities like the one E&C visited in Deforest, Wisconsin.

  • Le Vene said, “It was heartening to witness firsthand REG’s commitment to bettering the local community at multiple levels, including both farmers and restaurants who provide the company with ‘waste’ products as feedstock. REG’s innovative, yet practical process of using renewable feedstock and existing infrastructure is inspiring to see in my home state. Although Wisconsin is often known for its beer and cheese, companies like REG are putting it on the map as a center for sustainable, innovative manufacturing.”

ITA’s Enforcement and Compliance team is here to support companies who need our help. If you are facing unfair competition from unfairly priced imports, we offer petition counseling services that are free and confidential. Also, if your U.S. company is facing export barriers, we are available to help. Contact us.

It’s not every day that those of us who work behind the scenes get an opportunity to see how the work we do supports American workers and communities. I am grateful to these individuals for taking us to meet the people and see the places where our work resonates most.

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Hispanic Heritage Month: Business and Career Advice from Three Entrepreneurs

October 13, 2022

Christopher Munoz is an International Trade Specialist with the U.S. Commercial Service in Miami, Florida.

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

A graphic that reads, "National Hispanic Heritage Month" on a purple background. Below the text is an image of the International Trade Administration logo.

It’s an important time in America. September 15 to October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month, and this year’s theme, “Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation,” acknowledges that our nation becomes stronger as we combine our diverse cultural talents and values.

At ITA, we use this time to honor the contributions of those in the Hispanic community, including those in the field of international business and trade. At our recent Discover Global Markets: The Blue Economy event—ITA’s flagship business networking forum—we spoke with three exporters of Hispanic descent representing the fields of marine science, port security, and dredging. Each spoke about their experiences and their advice for entrepreneurs interested in exploring exporting.

  • Tony Lizarraga is the international sales director of Novak Technologies in Miami, Florida. Tony’s wife founded their business in 2013 based on opportunities she saw to sell U.S.-made security products to countries/governments in Central and South America. When they encountered business financing issues, Tony and his wife consulted ITA’s U.S. Commercial Service in Miami, which connected them with the Florida Export Finance Corporation, resulting in the financing they needed to take revenues from $200K in 2013 to $6.5 million in 2022. Our team also connected them with key decision makers in several countries in the realms of government, ports, airports and more, which helped Novak Security pitch its products. Tony’s advice is “do not hesitate to reach out and ask for help and resources from the U.S. government.” 
  • Jaime Lara has worked for 8 years at Hydronalix in Green Valley, Arizona, which produces drones used in crisis/natural impacted areas to assist with rescue operations and more. Impressed with Hydronalix’s humanitarian work, Jaime applied for an internship there and received a full-time position afterward. An electrical engineer by training, Jaime was given autonomy over his projects and thought of uses for drones that the company did not originally see. He is now a project manager with several National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) research grant proposals under his belt – he says nearly every product Hydronalix developed started as a NOAA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant. Jaime recommends that young professionals “take risks, put yourself out there, apply for scholarships, and work hard.” 
     
  • Andres Borasino is International Sales Manager at Ellicott Dredge, LLC in Houston, which makes dredging equipment for navigation, mining and infrastructure projects. He came to the United States after college in Peru led to an internship at Shell. He then became the Latin American sales rep for a solar company in Texas. Andres says that coming from a diverse background gave him an awareness and appreciation for diverse business cultures which can frustrate people who are not used to working outside of the United States. Andres has been working with our U.S. Commercial Service for the past 15 years and got involved with the Houston District Council in 2022. His advice is to “stick with an opportunity until you get the most of it. Immerse yourself in an experience.” 

In addition to grants and opportunities offered by ITA and Commerce bureaus (to include the Minority Business Development Agency), we encourage women and minority-owned small and medium-size enterprise owners also consider reaching out to agencies and organizations such as the Small Business Administration 8(a) Business Development ProgramLatino Business Action Network, and United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. 

As an International Trade Specialist with the U.S. Commercial Service’s office in Miami, I encourage all in the Hispanic community to consider the benefits of exporting internationally. Please reach out to our team so we can help you in your pursuits to provide solutions and deliver results that benefit all communities.

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A Mission to Explore Southeast Asia’s Hot Healthcare Market

September 28, 2022

Arun Venkataraman is the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Global Markets and Director General of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service

Assistant Secretary Venkataraman speaks while seated between two other panel members.
Assistant Secretary Venkataraman speaks during a panel discussion at the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore.

Last week, ITA wrapped a trade mission covering two of the hottest topics in trade: healthcare and the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF). As a leader in healthcare innovation, the United States has much to offer consumers across Southeast Asia—a region of almost 700 million people! With President Biden’s focus to increase our competitive edge in Asia, the timing couldn’t be better for a trade mission to explore new market opportunities on the other side of the Pacific.

To that end, last week I led 12 U.S. companies on a Healthcare Trade Mission to Southeast Asia, namely Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam, which are all upgrading their healthcare regulations and infrastructure, making them ideally suited to benefit from high-quality U.S. products and services.

Thailand, which has a robust medical travel market, has recently passed extensive medical device regulations that U.S. companies in the healthcare space need to know about. Since U.S. healthcare firms and manufacturers have a strong reputation for quality, after-sales service, and training support, they are well positioned to assist Thailand in fulfilling its needs. Our trip was a fruitful one, with U.S. businesses engaging in one-on-one meetings with potential buyers and partners, which will foster growth in both countries.

Malaysia was one of the first Southeast Asian economies to upgrade their medical device regulations. In 2021, the United States, thanks to our high-quality equipment industries, has maintained our position as the top exporting country of medical devices to Malaysia. Malaysia is now expanding its infrastructure, and because of the inroads we’ve made, we are well-positioned to offer innovative solutions such as digital health, telemedicine, imaging equipment, in-vitro diagnostics, cardiology, and genomics sequencing for precision medicine.

Also, U.S. health care trade in Vietnam has perhaps the greatest potential for development, as Vietnam’s growing middle class is driving increasing demand for high-quality healthcare infrastructure and services, and in recent years the country has also enacted decrees to increase oversight over the medical device sector. The high quality that U.S. companies provide, as well as the innovative healthcare solutions that U.S. companies have available, position the United States as a top choice for Vietnam. Through trade with Vietnam, U.S. companies can reduce the length of hospital stays while facilitating outpatient care and treatment, thereby contributing to lower health care costs while saving and extending countless lives.

People sitting across from each other at tables engage in discussions.
Healthcare Trade Mission participants engage in one-on-one meetings with ITA experts.

Another major purpose of my trip was to promote U.S. trade in this strategic and growing region, which is why I made an important stop before the mission to Singapore, a country viewed by many companies as a trade gateway to Asia. Last year we launched the U.S.-Singapore Partnership for Growth and Innovation (PGI), an initiative designed to significantly expand our economic partnership with Singapore and the ASEAN region, beginning in four areas: digital economy, energy and environmental technologies, advanced manufacturing, and health care. I had the opportunity to meet with Singaporean officials and U.S. and Singaporean businesses to not only hear about the progress we’ve made in these areas, but also how we can further expand bilateral commercial collaboration and build on nearly two decades of growth bolstered by our historic free trade agreement!

While the healthcare sector is not an explicit IPEF focus area, my travel to these countries also allowed me to underscore that the pursuit of IPEF commitments among Indo-Pacific partners has strong potential to deepen commercial ties and increase benefits across the economy, including for health care companies, workers, and consumers. This includes, among other areas: goals of building an environment of trust and confidence in the digital economy and advancing resilient and secure digital infrastructure and platforms; minimizing disruptions and vulnerabilities in the supply chain; and promoting transparency and integrity in government procurement practices. 

Given IPEF as well as our bilateral initiatives, Southeast Asia will continue to be an important region of the world to watch in weeks and months ahead. Next month we’ll be leading an Advanced Manufacturing Trade Mission to Indonesia, Singapore, and Japan. In November, we will lead an Aerospace and Defense Trade Mission to Indonesia. And we’ll be returning to the region in March 2023 when Trade Winds, the largest U.S. government annual trade mission, heads to Bangkok with mission stops to five other countries in the region. Visit the Trade Winds ASEAN web page to learn more!

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From Vaccines to Ice Cream: How Cold Chain Services Support the U.S. Economy

August 24, 2022

Francys Veras is an International Trade Specialist and Thibault Denamiel is an intern in the Office of Supply Chain, Professional and Business Services.

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

Gloved hands of a research scientist removes a cryotube from a liquid nitrogen cell bank. The vial contains samples of mouse stem cells that have been frozen in the cell bank.

Do you know how your fruits, meats, and vaccines are transported? The perishables in your local grocery store and the vaccines at the pharmacy all rely on cold chain services to get to you. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the services provided by the cold chain logistics sector became particularly vital, as constant and verifiable temperature control during transportation and storage is required to maintain the potency and guarantee the efficacy of vaccines. In the United States alone, the cold chain sector has delivered over 750 million COVID-19 vaccine doses. Beyond vaccines, the cold chain sector has become increasingly vital to the global supply chain as a whole: it provides significant economic growth opportunities in both developed and developing nations. In the Commerce Department’s recently published Cold Chain Services Report, we provide an overview of the sector, present an update on the most prevalent cold chain challenges and developments, and highlight cold chain opportunities for U.S. businesses as they strive to refine their supply chain practices.

From Manufacturer to Consumer: The Cookies N’ Cream Journey

Before diving into the key findings of the report, let us first define cold chain logistics. The cold chain can be divided into three main categories: temperature-controlled storage, refrigerated transportation, and cold packaging methods. Let’s paint a picture: imagine a hot summer day – no AC and humidity is high. Buying an ice cream to cool down sounds like a good idea, but how did your favorite cookies n’ cream ice cream get to you? In order to maintain ice cream quality from the manufacturing plant to the consumer, the ice cream must be transported in a refrigerated truck – reefers – from the manufacturer to a refrigerated warehouse. From there, the ice cream will be delivered in reefers to retailers and finally stored in walk-in freezers before making it to the frozen aisle. Ice cream is but one product category that requires cold chain logistics. Now imagine all the other perishables and medicines that necessitate temperature-controlled services to move from start to finish – chilly!

Cold, Hard Facts: Recent Challenges and Developments

The report identifies several challenges facing the cold chain sector. Environmental sustainability issues, warehouse and labor shortages, and public health concerns all figure prominently. Despite technological advances, over 1 billion metric tons of global food waste are created per year, due primarily to a lack of proper facilities, inadequate food handling processes, and improper personnel training. In fact, it is estimated that each year the United States produces 170 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as a result of food loss and waste. Increased investment in the cold chain industry, alongside more rigorous standards emphasized by the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act, would help alleviate these losses and improve health and environmental outcomes.

Another significant sustainability issue concerning cold chain is the level of fossil fuels and refrigerant gases needed for cooling systems, which regulators in the United States and globally have been trying to address. For example, refrigerant gases are being phased down through international commitments like the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol and the recent passing of the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act (AIM), while the industry itself is updating outdated refrigeration equipment in order to become more energy efficient.

The strong growth of the cold chain has created challenges.  An increase in demand for cold chain services since the pandemic’s start, spurred by the growth of e-commerce, coupled with shipping delays throughout the supply chain, has pushed warehouses to capacity. In addition, the shortage of labor has led to an increased shift to automation. The dry container market has seen highly profitable rates during the pandemic, with refrigerated containers at times used to ship dry cargo, causing a shortage of reefer containers.

Keeping it Cool: Looking Beyond the Pandemic

Growth opportunities for U.S. cold chain businesses exist, ranging from adopting sustainable supply chain practices to exporting cutting edge services that will strengthen international cold chain systems. As a fundamental component of a sustainable and economically viable global supply chain, the cold chain sector must work to reduce its carbon footprint. The industry can accomplish this by updating refrigeration systems, utilizing state-of-the-art technologies to improve transparency, and producing reusable packaging solutions. The pandemic highlighted the need for reliable cold chain networks internationally. U.S. cold chain services providers can explore top markets and prepare competitive market entry strategies with help from ITA trade and commercial specialists.

To learn more about the recent challenges and developments facing the U.S. cold chain sector and how we can help you export your cold chain services abroad, contact our team.  

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Attention International Business Owners: Get Noticed and Create Your U.S. Presence

August 9, 2022

Active participation in the SelectUSA Investment Summit helps international investors see success in the U.S.
Jasjit Singh is the Executive Director of SelectUSA

Are you interested in U.S. investment and looking to attract international investors, collaborate with U.S. economic development organizations (EDOs), or receive guidance on which state you should move your business to in the United States? If so, mark your calendars for the next SelectUSA Investment Summit, which returns May 1-4, 2023, to the Washington, D.C. area. The Investment Summit is the United States’ premier platform to bring attention to your organization and find out about investment opportunities within the United States.

A text graphic image with a variation of the SelectUSA star logo which contains the wording "2023 May 1-4 SelectUSA Investment Summit" as well as "SelectUSA Investment Summit CALL FOR SPEAKERS" and the "SelectUSASummit" hashtag.

Speaking at SelectUSA’s Investment Summit is a particularly good way to garner attention for your organization and provide expert assistance to those interested in U.S. investment. SelectUSA’s application for 2023 Investment Summit speakers is now open for you to submit speaker suggestions or apply to speak yourself. Speaker applications close on September 2.

The 2022 SelectUSA Investment Summit in June was the largest ever, with more than 3,600 attendees. This includes 2,000 international delegates from more than 70 global markets, about 650 economic development representatives from 51 states and territories, more than 300 speakers from around the world, and nearly 300 service providers from various companies.

If you want a taste of what of what happens at the Investment Summit, here are highlights from our 2022 program:

  • Topics from breakout sessions were many and varied and included: tips on pitching your product to different regions in the world; shipping and logistics; federal tax credits and incentives; resources for inventors; opportunities in various industries; and much more.
  • Topics from the plenary sessions provided guidance and insight for all attendees and included: advantages of investing in the United States and particular states/regions; secrets of successful investment in the United States; partnering with the USA in areas such clean energy and the food industry, including funding available; what underserved communities offer investors; apprenticeships and where to find them; what the United States is doing to fix supply chain issues; and more.
  • Participation in SelectUSA Investment Summits creates success stories! At the 2021 Summit, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo met with the CEO of Saitex, a sustainable denim manufacturer. Since then, Saitex opened a $17 million factory in Los Angeles and plans to hire more than 200 employees. And at the 2021 Summit’s Select Global Women in Tech program, TurtleTree CEO Fengru Lin participated in the Success Stories panel. Since then, the Singapore-based biotech startup invested $800,000 to launch its R&D headquarters in California.

View the full 2022 agenda to see the full scale of SelectUSA’s Investment Summit programming. Don’t wait for 2023 to get involved! The time is now to plan your attendance, exhibit, or pursue a speaking opportunity for next year’s Investment Summit! Agenda items will include plenary programming, SelectUSA Tech pitching sessions, and timely themes reflecting the U.S. investment environment and industry trends. SelectUSA also invites members of the foreign direct investment (FDI) community to propose qualified speakers the 2023 Investment Summit. Remember, the deadline for speakers is September 2. Apply now!

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Complying with Sanctions and Export Controls in Russia and Belarus

August 3, 2022

Agnes Pawelkowska is an International Trade Specialist at the International Trade Administration’s Office of Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia.

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

This blog is part of an ongoing series designed to provide U.S. exporters with information and resources on developments pertaining to U.S. sanctions and export controls in response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Regulations and market conditions can change with little notice. Companies are encouraged to reach out to the Points of Contact listed at the end of this article for latest information.

Page of paper with words Due Diligence and glasses.

As discussed in our previous blog, Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine and the subsequent Western sanctions and export controls imposed have forced U.S. exporters to rethink the way they perceive the Russian market and conduct business in the country. It has also prompted all of us at the International Trade Administration (ITA) to consider how best we can support U.S. exporters as they seek to ensure their businesses are in compliance with the relevant laws and regulations. As such, ITA’s Office of Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia has compiled and centralized a series of resources that may be of assistance to U.S. exporters. Please see the complete document on the ITA Russia web page for additional details and read on for a high-level overview of the resources that the document contains.

U.S. Government Information & Resources

  • While the United States government has imposed significant sanctions and export controls on Russia in response to its unlawful aggression against Ukraine, some U.S. companies can still do business in Russia.
  • In addition to sanctions and export controls on Russia, the U.S. government has also imposed stringent restrictions on Belarus, including new export controls, in response to its substantial enabling of Russia’s attack on Ukraine.
  • The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is the lead agency for implementing and enforcing sanctions. The Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) and its Export Administration Regulations (EAR) are the lead agents for implementing and enforcing export controls.

Export Controls

  • Humanitarian aid, agricultural commodities, medicine, medical devices, and telecommunication devices which support the free flow of information are generally exempt from export controls.
  • Apart from the above, to see if your transaction is affected, check out end users on the Consolidated Screening List (CSL) on ITA’s website. A search tool and a downloadable list are available.
  • Make sure your product is properly classified and does not require a BIS license due to expanded export controls against Russia and Belarus. To find out more, call an export counselor at (202) 482-4811 (Washington D.C. outreach office), or at (949) 660-0144 (Western regional office), or e-mail EXDOEXS@bis.doc.gov.

Sanctions

  • To see lists of sanctioned persons and sanctions programs, check out the OFAC website.
  • Check with your financial institution before contracting for payment from Russia. More than 80% of Russia’s financial sector is currently sanctioned by the United States.

General Recommendations for U.S. Exporters Considering Russia or Belarus

  • Sign up for automatic e-mail notifications from OFAC.
  • Check the Federal Register for BIS, OFAC, and other USG actions and set up an account that will allow you to receive automatic e-mail notification of U.S. government actions regarding Russia.

ITA Points of Contact

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Supply Chain Sustainability: An Opportunity for U.S. Businesses

July 29, 2022

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

Caroline Kaufman and Francys Veras are International Trade Specialists in the Office of Supply Chain, Professional & Business Services.

The Covid-19 pandemic exposed the vulnerabilities of global supply chains, making them a household matter for everyday Americans. Across the country, Americans have experienced shortages of essential products, such as toilet paper, disinfecting wipes, and bottled water, as well as long delays to receive products ranging from household furniture to exercise bikes. As images of empty store shelves and backlogged cargo ships in ports became commonplace, so did the call for stronger, more resilient U.S. supply chains.

For U.S. supply chains to be strong and resilient, they must also be sustainable. Each process in the supply chain, from procurement of sustainable raw materials to low-emission delivery of the product, can be assessed to mitigate its environmental impacts. Sustainable supply chains not only protect global value chains in periods of crisis like a pandemic, but they can also improve overall productivity and help businesses reduce waste. In addressing the climate crisis, stakeholders across the supply chain must recognize that dependence on fossil fuels for the majority of supply chain activity is not a long-term solution.

A pie chart depicting U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by economic sector in 2020 with the transportation sector accounting for 27 percent of total emissions. The next source of GHG emissions is the electricity sector with 25 percent, followed by industry with 24 percent, commercial and residential with 13 percent, and agriculture with 11 percent. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Since 1990-2020.
Figure 1: The pie chart depicts U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by economic sector in 2020, with the transportation sector accounting for 27 percent of total emissions. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Since 1990-2020. Most recent data was released in April 2022.

In 2020, the U.S. transportation sector accounted for the largest portion (27 percent) of total U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Freight transportation accounted for over one third of those emissions. With transportation services responsible for the movement of global trade, these supply chain services industries are increasingly critical to addressing not only the supply chain crisis, but also the climate crisis.

Moving the Needle Forward: Public and Private Sector Must Work Together

The Biden-Harris Administration has prioritized strengthening U.S. supply chains, as well as creating sustainable U.S. supply chains. In November 2021, Congress passed the Biden-Harris Administration’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, or the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act (IIJA), which invests $17 billion in modernizing infrastructure at coastal ports, inland ports, waterways, and land ports of entry.  

A graphic showing a cardboard airplane trailed by green leaves on a blue background.

The Administration has also worked closely with the private sector to set ambitious goals across the freight logistics industries, for example by announcing the Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) Grand Challenge in September 2021. The SAF Grand Challenge seeks to inspire the domestic production of at least three billion gallons per year of SAF by 2030 and 35 billion gallons of SAF by 2050, enough to supply 100 percent of projected U.S. aviation fuel demand in 2050.

While government initiatives are part of the solution, supply chain sustainability initiatives must also be led by the private sector. Across the different freight transportation industries – including aviation, maritime, rail and truck – U.S. businesses have committed to creating both a more resilient and more sustainable domestic supply chain.

ITA’s Supply Chain Sustainability Efforts and New Report

To help identify where opportunities and challenges exist for U.S. supply chain businesses, ITA’s Office of Supply Chain, Professional and Business Services (OSCPBS) works to address policy and regulatory issues to ensure that the U.S. supply chain system will be among the world’s greenest and most sustainable in facilitating the movement of goods across the nation and abroad. We identify the latest U.S. industry developments in supply chain sustainability. Using that information, we support industry in reducing their carbon footprint and work to enhance the competitiveness of sustainable U.S. transportation and logistics services.

ITA’s OSCPBS recently published a Supply Chain Sustainability Report that examines related key trends, public and private sector initiatives for a more sustainable future across the major modes of freight transportation, and describes how the Biden-Harris Administration and industry have worked together to set ambitious goals to reduce emissions, an important groundwork for progress. It notes that fuel technologies are a key area for research and investment for U.S. freight companies, and it offers examples of ongoing developments. It also notes that while the private sector has been increasingly innovating to address climate change, there continues to be a great need for strong regulatory and market incentives to accelerate decarbonization in the freight sector.

Check out ITA’s Supply Chain Sustainability Report to learn more.

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Turn Export Opportunities into Sales: New Online Trade Finance Guide Makes it Easier than Ever

July 27, 2022

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

Yuki Fujiyama is a trade finance specialist in the Office of Finance and Insurance Industries and the author of the Trade Finance Guide: A Quick Reference for U.S. Exporters.

Many U.S. small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) struggle to find ways to expand their sales, unaware of the economic potential that lies in diverse global markets. And, with 95% of the world’s consumers residing outside of the United States, it can be daunting to consider how to reach them and navigate global trade.

Front cover image of ITA's Trade Finance Guide, A Quick Reference for U.S. Exporters

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA) is dedicated to helping U.S. businesses reach success through exports. One of the ways we do this is through ITA’s free online resource, our Trade Finance Guide: A Quick Reference for U.S. Exporters.

This concise, easy-to-understand and use tool was first published in 2007 and specifically developed as a how-to guide for U.S. SMEs seeking to enter and expand their businesses in global markets, while also overcoming common challenges to leverage export opportunities into actual sales. Whether you’ve been in business for years or are just starting out in the export market, we have the information and resources you need to make well-informed decisions and get your business on the map.

Let me walk you through our guide.

What is the Trade Finance Guide?

The Trade Finance Guide covers the most commonly used trade finance techniques and U.S. government export finance programs written in plain, easy-to-understand language. The Guide is:

  • A “60-minute” self-learning tool for America’s new-to-export SMEs that wish to learn about their financing options and how to ensure getting paid from export sales.
  • A user-friendly counseling tool for international credit, banking, and trade finance professionals and export counselors for client assistance and business development.
  • A flexible educational tool for academic institutions teaching international business subjects.

Our guide uses a no-nonsense approach to make it easier for new-to-export SMEs to learn the basics of trade finance and to understand how to mitigate the risk of non-payment while winning new cross-border sales opportunities and assuring the delivery of goods and services to importers.

What’s New 2022?

The Guide is now an online-based publication! ITA will continuously update the new online edition of the Guide, including making available a downloadable version with revisions annually.

The modernizedGuide has been refined to provide better clarity, and adds two new chapters targeting SMEs in their recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and to explore financial innovation through digitalization:

  • Chapter 1:   Access to Capital for Startups in Global Markets
  • Chapter 16: Emerging Trends: The Digitalization of Trade Finance

Finally, the Trade Finance Guide website will post short resource videos in the following chapters:

We hope that you’ll use this information to think globally when planning business strategy. Remember that ITA has dedicated staff to assist you, regardless of what step in the process you’re in.

The 2022 online edition of the Trade Finance Guide was developed in collaboration with the following private-sector organizations and U.S. government export finance agencies.

Private Sector Organizations:

  • BAFT:  Bankers Association for Finance and Trade
  • FCIB:  Finance, Credit, and International Business Association
  • ICTF:  Association of International Credit & Trade Finance Professionals
  • IFA:  International Factoring Association
  • ITFA:  International Trade and Forfaiting Association – Americas Regional Chapter
  • NASBITE:  NASBITE International
  • Thunderbird: Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University

U.S. Government Export Finance Agencies:

For more information about the Trade Finance Guide, contact Yuki Fujiyama, the author and project manager of the Guide, in ITA’s Office of Finance and Insurance Industries via email at yuki.fujiyama@trade.gov .

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Exporting across the Globe: Spotlight on the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

July 18, 2022

Janelle Santerre Weyek is a senior commercial officer in the Foreign Commercial Service at the International Trade Administration.

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

Plants grow from soil with a light bulb at the right end, with an upward trending graph line above the plants and lightbulb.

You have probably heard of the World Bank and the IMF (also known as the International Monetary Fund). You also may have heard of some others, e.g., the Inter-American Development Bank, the African Development Bank, or the Asian Development Bank. These institutions are also known as multilateral development banks (MDBs). Although you may not have heard of is the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), now is a great time to learn.

Put simply, MDBs provide financial and technical support to developing countries seeking to strengthen their economic management and reduce poverty. Across the globe every year, these banks lend billions of dollars to countries seeking to improve their economies and the lives of their citizens. They also offer numerous business opportunities for U.S. companies to expand their international footprint while simultaneously supporting global economic development.

For the past 3 years, I have served as the International Trade Administration’s liaison to the EBRD in London. Established in 1991, the EBRD has invested over 160 billion euros in more than 6,000 projects. In particular, the EBRD is a leader in climate finance and has launched extensive programming that dovetails with the Biden-Harris Administration’s Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment and clean technology priorities, making EBRD an ideal partner for ITA in collaborating on targeted outreach to U.S. industry.

During my time at the EBRD, I deepened the relationship between ITA and the EBRD to better support U.S. business interests and expand opportunities for U.S. companies interested in competing for tenders issued by the EBRD. This May, my EBRD colleagues and I finalized an unprecedented memorandum of understanding through the ITA Strategic Partnership Program. This memorandum will help us to better support U.S. businesses interested in working with the EBRD in specific priority sectors, namely the digital economy, the green economy and clean tech.

This first-of-its-kind memorandum of understanding mean for ITA and U.S companies advances three key objectives:

  1. The memorandum will facilitate engagement between EBRD borrowers and U.S. industry decision-makers. That is, it will facilitate engagements that will put U.S. businesses in the room with clients of the EBRD, this will help to inform U.S. industry of the bank’s goals and objectives, as well as opportunities to get involved.
  2. The memorandum can provide immense opportunities for U.S. small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs). This is because the memorandum focuses specifically on increasing engagement on the EBRD’s Green Cities Program, which is a strong match for U.S. industry and U.S. small, medium-sized, women-owned, and minority-owned businesses, as the program has municipal-level opportunities of the appropriate size and scale for diverse enterprises looking for new business.
  3. Enhanced public engagement and counseling with U.S. businesses that target projects with international development financing. As a result of this memorandum, ITA is organizing a series of best practices roundtables and webinars that will involve ITA and EBRD clients, EBRD decision-makers and program leads that will take place over the next several months and throughout the fall of 2022.

While we’re just getting started on this partnership, I am very excited about the increased programming and support to boost U.S. businesses access and exposure to opportunities through this new partnership between ITA and the EBRD.

Please visit trade.gov to learn more about ITA’s work with multilateral development banks or check out ITA’s Guide to Doing Business with the Multilateral Development Banks.

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Russia-Ukraine War: Perspectives U.S. Exporters Need to Know

June 22, 2022

Evan Johnson and Agnes Pawelkowska are international trade specialists at the International Trade Administration’s Office of Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia.

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

Russia’s latest unprovoked attack on Ukraine, and the Western sanctions that have followed, have had profound impacts on the global economy and forced businesses operating in Russia to re-think their way forward. Although numerous U.S. companies have successfully operated in Russia for many years, many are deciding to either withdraw from the market or suspend their operations in Russia, regardless of the significant economic losses incurred.

In a series of market intelligence pieces, we’ll try to address some of the pressing questions, offer insights, and share updates on how the International Trade Administration and its U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service are working to support U.S. exporters as they navigate these complex considerations.

What is the current economic situation and is it sustainable to do business in Russia since its invasion of Ukraine?

The United States first levied sanctions after Russia first invaded Ukraine in 2014, seizing Crimea and supporting separatists in Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk and Donetsk regions.  During the 2014-2021 period, most businesses outside of a few targeted sectors were able to adjust over time. However, the new international sanctions adopted beginning in February 2022 have been much more swift, severe, and comprehensive, forcing companies to reconsider their business operations in the Russian market. Payment transactions, letters-of-credit, insurance, foreign exchange operations, profit repatriation, new investment, international travel and staffing, and logistics all have become much more complicated. In light of these developments, U.S. companies with regional headquarters in Moscow have had to consider alternative arrangements to sustain their presence in the broader Eurasia region. Although some companies have chosen to stay in Russia while temporarily suspending operations, others have found that the already challenging business environment in Russia has become increasingly unstable and unpredictable virtually overnight. Complicating matters further, Russia has threatened Western companies with retaliatory measures, including proposals to seize the assets of Western companies that decide to leave Russia.

Close up of Central Asia on a colorful world map.

What are U.S. companies doing?

As it becomes increasingly difficult to conduct and plan business in Russia, there are a number of relocation alternatives and alternative markets to consider for companies who would like to sustain their presence in the Eurasia region. Some Russian citizens and businesses have already started to move to Central Asia and the Caucasus. Multilateral development banking institutions have shown renewed interest in supporting regional renewable energy, infrastructure, and agricultural projects.

U.S. companies rethinking investment positions in Russia may want to consider industries ripe for growth in Central Asia. Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are currently courting U.S. companies in the extractive industries, and firms able to supply the engineering, mining, oil and gas, construction, and infrastructure sectors have good opportunities to expand their presence in the region. These nations not only possess an abundance of natural resources, but both countries are touting their political and economic reforms as selling points that could appeal to U.S. companies looking to shore up footholds in a region made difficult by the sanctions and export controls imposed against Russia.

Opportunities are also ripe for U.S. exporters in agriculture/agribusiness, environmental technology and healthcare sectors.

How is the U.S. government able to help?

Whether U.S. companies are looking to understand the complexities of sanctions and export controls or considering reorienting their regional sales plans or operational footprints, the U.S. government has resources to assist companies conduct due diligence and to consult directly with the agencies responsible for developing and implementing these actions.

For example, the Treasury Department’s Office of Financial Asset Control (OFAC) offers consultations on specific sanctions questions. Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) export counselors can also consult on specific questions regarding a business’ products and the export control lists that BIS administers. Furthermore, the Commerce Department’s Consolidated Screening List search tool is the most comprehensive due diligence tool for checking entities and individuals against the U.S. government’s sanctions and export control lists.

An upcoming segment will take a look at the current business environment in Ukraine. The U.S. government continues to coordinate humanitarian and other relief to Ukraine. To learn more or get involved, visit our Ukraine: Support and Engagement page.