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SelectUSA for Innovation, Knowledge, and Opportunity – 365 Days a Year

June 20, 2017

By Fred Volcansek, Executive Director, SelectUSA

The 2017 SelectUSA Investment Summit, June 18-20, concluded this afternoon. SelectUSA Executive Director Fred Volcansek looks back on the historic Summit and forward to SelectUSA’s ongoing mission: bringing job-creating investment to the United States. Summaries of Sunday and Monday be found here (day one) and here (day two).

I joined SelectUSA to help global businesses succeed by putting the American people first. As I look back over the past three days, I feel incredibly proud of our collective efforts to support this goal. I am inspired by the energy and enthusiasm that investors and economic developers alike have shown throughout the entire event, and believe more than ever that it’s time to get down to business.

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Photo of the Department of Commerce team that made the 2017 Summit a reality. Seated in front, from left to right: Fred Volcansek, Executive Director of SelectUSA; Kenneth Hyatt, Deputy Under Secretary for International Trade; Israel Hernandez, Deputy Chief of Staff and performing delegated duties of the Under Secretary for International Trade; Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce; Judy Reinke, Acting Director General for the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service and Assistant Secretary for Global Markets; and Peggy Philbin, Deputy Executive Director of SelectUSA

First, some reflections over the last three days. This year’s Summit, hosted by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, was SelectUSA’s biggest yet. More than 2,800 international business investors, U.S. economic developers, service providers, members of the global press, and other key stakeholders met under one roof. Economic development organizations (EDOs) from 51 U.S. states and territories had the opportunity to meet directly with decision-making investors from over 60 international markets.

The 79,000-sq.-ft. Exhibition Hall was filled to capacity as EDOs from every corner of the United States showcased what their states, territories, regions, and cities had to offer. Our online matchmaking system is continuing to log floods of individual meetings between U.S. economic developers and global investors, meetings that form the foundation of what will become job-creating business success stories.

CEOs from BMW, Oracle, ABB, Siemens USA, and many more joined forces in plenaries, armchair discussions, and breakout sessions to discuss the latest developments and trends affecting investment in the United States. Secretaries Alexander Acosta (Labor), Steven T. Mnuchin (Treasury), and Rick Perry (Energy) joined Secretary Ross to discuss how each department was working to make the Administration’s America First agenda a reality, while Secretary Rex Tillerson (State) delivered a video message to participants reaffirming the government’s commitment to strengthening public and private sector economic relationships.

The Summit’s theme, “Grow with US”, isn’t just a tagline; it’s an invitation to the world, and I was thrilled to see two companies respond accordingly. In a first for SelectUSA, two companies – French tech startup Klaxoon and Indian business management firm Genpact – joined Secretary Ross to announce their plan to establish operations in New York and Florida.

These announcements represent renewed confidence in the United States. President Trump is dedicated to unleashing America’s economic might, and that includes bringing more foreign direct investment into the country than ever before.

The 2017 Investment Summit may be over, but the work of attracting investment to the United States continues. So much of this work is performed by economic development organizations across the country, which offer a wealth of information and resources to guide investors through the process of establishing or expanding their operations in a specific location. And SelectUSA is also here to help, offering assistance with navigating the federal regulatory system, providing access to data and information, and connecting U.S. EDOs to investors from around the world – both directly and at events like the Investment Summit.

By investing in the United States and its people, you’re investing in your own success and in an economy that powers the world.

Come to the United States – your business is welcome here, and we’re ready to work with you.

For more information on SelectUSA and its services, please visit http://www.selectusa.gov. Follow SelectUSA on Twitter @SelectUSA.

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Day Two: The 2017 SelectUSA Summit Continues

June 19, 2017

By Fred Volcansek, Executive Director, SelectUSA

The second day of the 2017 SelectUSA Investment Summit was one for the record books. On Monday, June 19, we welcomed more than 2,800 attendees – our largest Summit yet – from 51 U.S. states and territories and 64 global markets to the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center.

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Photo from the Klaxoon announcement ceremony – Klaxoon CEO Matthieu Beucher (left) and SelectUSA Executive Director Fred Volcansek (right)

Deputy Chief of Staff and performing delegated duties of the Under Secretary for International Trade Israel Hernandez introduced Secretary Wilbur Ross, who started the first day of mainstage events by welcoming the record 1,200+ international investors to the second day of the Summit.

“To our international delegation members – welcome. We’re glad you’re here. We welcome you as our guests, and we welcome you as investors.” – Israel Hernandez

In addition to Secretary Ross, Energy Secretary Rick Perry highlighted one of the unique advantages to investing in the United States: our vast, low-cost supply of energy from a wide range of sources.

The theme for the 2017 Summit, “Grow with US”, promotes the fact that the United States is the place to invest and grow a business. When you select the United States, you’re gaining access to the world’s most dynamic, innovative market – and so much more.

This message was reiterated on the mainstage by the leading business executives and industry experts in the world, including National Association of Manufacturers CEO Jay Timmons, ABB President of the Americas Region Greg Sheu, General Motors Chair and CEO Mary T. Barra, GE Chairman and CEO Jeffrey R. Immelt, and others.
It was also another day of firsts for the SelectUSA Investment Summit.

One feature of the day was the armchair between Secretary Ross and UK Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox – the first time a U.S. cabinet member has ever shared the Summit stage with an international counterpart.

Building upon last year’s Infrastructure Roundtable, the SelectUSA Infrastructure Symposium brought experts in the field of public-private partnerships (P3s) together to discuss the challenges and opportunities of American infrastructure investment. Richard LeFrak, Chairman and CEO of LeFrak, delivered the keynote address.

Meanwhile, as the Symposium was underway, more SelectUSA history was made. Secretary Ross congratulated French tech startup Klaxoon, which broke the news of its first-ever investment in the United States, right here at the Summit.

Secretary Ross also joined South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster and executives from BMW, Michelin, and Siemens USA to recognize South Carolina’s ambitious workforce development programs.

The full day of listening and networking culminated in U.S. State and Local Night, a lively event where attendees got the chance to strengthen newly formed connections and take mini-trips all over the nation. I have no doubt that many successful ventures will be born, and new American jobs created, because of these connections.

It’s hard to believe that tomorrow, the 2017 Summit will draw to a close. And there is still so much to come. We’ll hear from Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin, Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, and several more international business leaders. I look forward to more exciting firsts, including another investment announcement that involves the creation of 250 new jobs in the Sunshine State.
Visit the Summit website to see the full agenda.

If you were not able to join us this year, check out the livestream for live coverage of mainstage events, and follow SelectUSA on Twitter.

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And So It Begins: Day One of the 2017 SelectUSA Investment Summit

June 18, 2017

By Fred Volcansek, Executive Director, SelectUSA

Today, we kicked off the 2017 SelectUSA Investment Summit with the SelectUSA Investment Academy, a half-day, 25-session program designed to offer a deeper dive into the U.S. investment process. Economic developers and international business investors converged on the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center with one goal: to make the most of their time at the Summit.

The “Make It in Rural America” Academy session. From left to right: Heather Ranck, International Trade Specialist, U.S. Department of Commerce; Brett Doney, CEO, Great Falls Development Authority, State of Montana; Scott Hercik, Transportation and International Trade Advisor, Appalachian Regional Commission; and Brad Little, Lieutenant Governor, State of Idaho

The “Make It in Rural America” Academy session. From left to right: Heather Ranck, International Trade Specialist, U.S. Department of Commerce; Brett Doney, CEO, Great Falls Development Authority, State of Montana; Scott Hercik, Transportation and International Trade Advisor, Appalachian Regional Commission; and Brad Little, Lieutenant Governor, State of Idaho

It all began with early registration and one of many Summit firsts – an opportunity for individuals eligible for the U.S. Global Entry program to participate in pre-arranged interviews with the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) on site! Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States – in other words, more valuable time to get straight to business.

Today’s main order of business was the SelectUSA Investment Academy. With short sessions and a highly interactive format, the Investment Academy is essentially a crash course, or, depending on attendee experience, a refresher. Panels are made up of leading business and economic experts and government leaders, each providing the audience with actionable information on how to make the most of their next investment deal.

This year’s Investment Academy was brimming with interest. In one session, attendees were shown a demo of the U.S. Cluster Mapping Open Data Tool by SelectUSA’s Director of Investment Analysis, Elizabeth Shaefer. At another, a panel of experts explained why and how international investors should “Make It in Rural America.” Still others explored a myriad of topics – from taxes and visas to site selection and economic development lead and pipeline management. Also making its debut at the Investment Academy were special sessions by eight federal agencies/bureaus, sharing valuable information and providing participants with a unique opportunity to engage with some of the U.S. government’s most experienced practitioners. These agencies will also be represented in full force at the U.S. Government Pavilion in the Exhibition Hall throughout the three-day Summit, offering additional valuable face-to-face time.

One of the day’s many highlights was the opening of the Exhibition Hall. Here, the sheer diversity and economic strength of the United States was on full display. Now through Tuesday afternoon, economic development organizations (EDOs) from 50 states and territories are displaying what their states, territories, regions, and cities have to offer the world. If you’re attending the Summit, I encourage you to take this unique opportunity to stroll across the entire United States – in a single 79,000-sq.-ft. room. State and Local Night, which begins on Monday at 5:00, is an especially lively time!

Tomorrow’s Agenda

The Summit continues tomorrow. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross will open the proceedings, welcoming more than 2,800 participants from across the United States and 64 international markets to the largest-yet SelectUSA Investment Summit.

The mainstage panels and breakout sessions will cover a broad range of topics affecting investment in the United States. Senior government officials will be joined by top-level executives from companies like GE, General Motors, Siemens USA, and Oracle. At 12:00 p.m., Secretary Ross will join UK Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade Liam Fox for an armchair discussion on the strength of the bilateral trade relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom.

Additionally, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin and South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster will take the stage, along with Energy Secretary Rick Perry and the Department of Commerce’s Deputy Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Commerce performing the duties of the Acting Under Secretary for International Trade Israel Hernandez.

I am also looking forward to two specific events: an exciting announcement from Secretary Ross regarding a new investment in New York by an award-winning French startup (in Chesapeake D-F), and a workforce development recognition ceremony with Secretary Ross and Governor McMaster in the Exhibition Hall. Both events are firsts of their kind for SelectUSA, and we are proud to have been part of the teams that made it happen.

If you were not able to join us this year, I invite you to watch the main plenary sessions via livestream and follow live coverage on Twitter.

I know this will be the best SelectUSA Investment Summit yet, and I look forward to hearing about how your company or EDO found its next investment deal.

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Join ITA at OPEN for Government Contracting: Summit for Success

June 14, 2017

Jamie Merriman is Acting Director of ITA’s Office of Strategic Partnerships

Interested in learning how to navigate the government contracting landscape, including opportunities for international contracts and sales?  Join ITA and American Express at its 9th annual OPEN for Government Contracting: Summit for Success in Washington DC on June 15th.  The event helps small and middle market business owners get the insight and experience they need to do business with the world’s largest customer: the U.S. government*. This year, for the first time ever, the event will also highlight international opportunities, including information about the services ITA offers to assist U.S. small businesses looking to enter international markets.

Since launching their partnership in June of 2015, ITA and American Express have collaborated on a program of activities to increase trade education and awareness of export opportunities for U.S. businesses.  The joint effort has focused on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the American Express Grow GlobalSM program designed both small and middle-market businesses – those generating up to $1 billion in revenues annually.  American Express and ITA have teamed up to bring the Grow Global program to Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, Baltimore and Long Beach, and are now adding elements of that program to the upcoming OPEN for Government Contracting: Summit for Success in Washington, DC.

The Summit will feature the Director of ITA’s eCommerce Innovation Lab and a Baltimore-based small business that has successfully reached international markets utilizing ITA services.  Register now for this free event to learn how your business can leverage ITA’s services and take advantage of opportunities in international markets.  You can also view video interviews about how to sell more online, overseas, from our public/private partnership on the industry site: http://gettingtoglobal.com/

 

 

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Swiss Companies Like Oerlikon Select the USA

June 13, 2017

Sandor Galambos is a SelectUSA Investment Specialist based in the U.S. Embassy in Switzerland.

With a total stock of $143.5 billion, Switzerland is one of the largest sources of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States. More than 460,000 American workers are directly employed by the U.S. affiliates of majority Swiss-owned firms.

Swiss manufacturer Oerlikon has a global footprint in 37 countries, supporting sales of more than $2.3 billion in 2016. Even with such a massive global operation, the company was looking for a location to start new operations to solidify its global market position in additive manufacturing.

Like many companies in the world, Oerlikon looked to the United States, and its decision to invest here is helping the company find new customers and creating jobs for U.S. workers.

Interestingly, the journey for Oerlikon began at a reception in Zurich, hosted by then-Ambassador Suzan LeVine. It was at that reception that company leaders heard the pitch about the United States—its manufacturing resurgence, productive workforce, and culture of innovation. Our SelectUSA team got involved immediately, working with Oerlikon officials to provide an understanding of the U.S. market and start planning a growth strategy for U.S. operations.

The company chose to participate in the 2016 SelectUSA Investment Summit (Summit), joining a delegation of Swiss companies led by Ambassador LeVine. We set up meetings for Oerlikon representatives in advance, so the entire two days of the conference were spent connecting directly with economic development organizations and potential partners that could help the company hit the ground running in the United States.

It was a meeting with the Charlotte Regional Partnership at the Summit that ultimately led to Oerlikon committing to a $62 million investment in Huntersville, N.C. This facility will employ engineers, research and development technicians, and skilled craftsman at an average salary well above the regional average.

The facility will be operational in 2018, and it will offer U.S. industrial customers a single source for a full suite of integrated advanced manufacturing services, including R&D, design, applications engineering, production, and processing. The Charlotte region is home to a rapidly growing number of global industrial, aerospace, and automotive firms, and the Oerlikon investment will contribute to the region’s manufacturing business culture.

When global companies look to the United States, it truly is a win-win. Not only does the company connect to a promising market, it also creates opportunities for U.S. workers.

Our SelectUSA team looks forward to bringing more Swiss companies to the United States in June for the 2017 SelectUSA Investment Summit, connecting firms to more growth opportunities in the promising U.S. market. For any global company or economic development team looking to make business connections, the Investment Summit is the place to be.

Not Attending the Summit?

If you are unable to attend this year, I invite you to follow the coverage on Twitter. Using #SelectUSASummit and #GrowWithUS17, you’ll be able to join the online conversation with attendees.

 

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In Idaho, Rural is a Great Investment

June 9, 2017

This post is part of SelectUSA’s EDO Spotlight series, highlighting the work of EDOs around the country recruiting foreign direct investment, how that work supports jobs and economic growth across the United States, and how SelectUSA partners with EDOs to support economic development.

By Megan Ronk, Director, Idaho Commerce

In Idaho, we know as well as anyone what great opportunities rural America provides to businesses from across the world. From a highly skilled workforce, government support, and unmatched natural resources, more and more businesses are realizing the advantages of investing in rural states like Idaho.

During the last several years, Idaho has become home to many significant relocation and expansion projects. Chobani’s decision to build the world’s largest yogurt facility in Twin Falls raised eyebrows around the world. But the company’s decision to invest in our state, plus numerous other examples, highlights Idaho’s diverse economy, and the many ways rural America can support a variety of different businesses and industries.

  • Kochava, a leading software analytics company, chose to expand in Sandpoint, creating more than 200 new jobs and more than $100 million in new wages.
  • The Dow Chemical Company constructed a $20 million facility in Burley, generating more than $12 million in new wages.
  • Orgill, the world’s largest independent hardlines distributor, will be expanding into a distribution center in Post Falls, creating more than 130 jobs and $68 million in new wages.
  • McCain Foods USA, whose parent company is based in Canada, recently announced a substantial expansion to its potato processing plant in Burley, an expansion to the tune of $200 million and 180 new jobs. McCain is the largest manufacturer of frozen potato products in the world, and a supplier to thousands of restaurants and supermarkets across the globe

These are not only huge economic wins for Idaho, but also a perfect example of why investing in Rural America is a great business decision.

McCain’s decision to put down roots in Idaho and grow in the state has been the result of a joint effort on the part of the company’s leadership and a collaboration between local and state officials, associations, and the company.

International investments like McCain demonstrate the draw and economic opportunity of rural communities in the United States. By maintaining a business-friendly economic climate, low tax rates, reasonable regulations, access to a first-class workforce, low-cost power, and many other advantages, we expect to see continued growth and expansion in our rural communities.

If you’re a global business investor looking for your company’s next expansion location, we recommend taking a look at rural America.

Attending the SelectUSA Summit?

We are excited to participate in the upcoming SelectUSA Investment Summit, June 18-20. If you’ll be there, too, we invite you to see Idaho Lieutenant Governor Brad Little at the “Make it in Rural America” session during the SelectUSA Investment Academy. Afterwards, stop by Booth 311 in the Exhibition Hall to meet Team Idaho. We look forward to showing you what The Gem State has to offer.

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Automotive Parts Trade Missions to Nicaragua and Honduras, September 26-28

June 7, 2017

Todd Peterson, is an International Trade Specialist in the Office of Transportation and Machinery and Team Lead for the Auto Care Association’s Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP)

The International Trade Administration and Auto Care Association are excited to announce two trade missions to Nicaragua and Honduras for 2017, as part of the Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP) award the association received from the U.S. Department of Commerce to support export promotion projects in Latin America.  Companies do not have to be a member of the Auto Care Association to apply.

The Automotive Parts Trade Missions to Nicaragua and Honduras are designed to inform participants of the local market and provide access to key industry contacts. The number of mission participants is intentionally limited to ensure customized and well-targeted matchmaking scheduling. In addition, U.S. Embassy staff will provide country commercial briefings on the legalities and nuances of doing business in those markets, with the schedule rounded out to include industry-specific networking receptions and site visits. The Auto Care Association’s upcoming missions are an extremely cost-effective way to expand your business prospects in Latin America. The package includes personalized business-to-business matchmaking meetings with foreign industry executives, hotel accommodations and local transportation, networking receptions, interpreters, and country briefings.

The U.S. auto parts sector continues to be one of the largest contributors to total U.S. exports.  In 2016, the U.S. exported over $81 billion in auto parts worldwide. One of the promising, but overlooked regions for U.S. automotive aftermarket parts exports is Latin America, particularly Honduras and Nicaragua. Demand for aftermarket auto parts and repair services in these three markets is increased due to aging vehicles.  In addition, there is a high level of used-car sales and deteriorating road conditions.

In addition, these countries are Free Trade Agreement (FTA) partners with the United States, which increases U.S. market access by breaking down potential market entry barriers. FTA partnership, product quality, available warranties and geographic proximity, all contribute to the United States having a competitive advantage when entering Latin American markets. Under the Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR), 100 percent of U.S. consumer and industrial goods exports to the region are no longer subject to tariffs. Since the CAFTA-DR implementation, export to the region have increased by at least 62 percent.  The United States is Honduras and Nicaragua’s largest trade and economic partner.

For more information on auto parts exports, please see ITA’s Top Markets Report for Automotive Parts.  For more information on the trade mission see www.autocare.org/trade-missions.

Recognizing the opportunities for automotive aftermarket suppliers in Latin America, the International Trade Administration (ITA) awarded the Auto Care Association a three-year matching award of just under $300,000 to support activities designed to help boost exports to that region. This Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP) has already had two successful automotive trade missions to Latin America.  The first mission went to Peru, followed by a mission to Guatemala 2016. There is also an upcoming trade mission to Colombia, June 7-8 that is closed.

The deadline to register for the Nicaragua and Honduras mission is July 31, 2017.

For more information contact:

Kellie Holloway  or Todd Peterson