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Human Trafficking Prevention: Resources Your Business Needs to Know

January 31, 2023

Jennifer Knight is ITA’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Textiles, Consumer Goods, Materials Industries, Critical Materials, and Metals

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

As National Human Trafficking Prevention Month comes to a close, it’s crucial we remember that human trafficking is a global and domestic issue that harms the most marginalized and vulnerable members of society. It deprives individuals of their rights, freedoms, safety, and dignity. Human trafficking also impacts and compromises national and economic security. According to the latest numbers from the International Labor Organization, about 28 million people around the world who are trapped in forced labor are victims of human trafficking.

Image of a man in a wetland conducting agricultural work.

Forced labor is well documented in every sector of the supply chain and private economy, particularly in agriculture, fishing, manufacturing, construction, and domestic work. U.S. law holds liable any person or business that benefits financially from its involvement in human trafficking, provided that the business knew or should have known of the scheme. Thus, it’s incumbent upon us to do our due diligence and not engage in activities that directly or covertly support human trafficking or forced labor.

As part of his National Human Trafficking Prevention Month proclamation, President Biden calls on businesses, civil society organizations, and all Americans “to counter injustice and fortify our commitment to pursue dignity and freedom for all people.” To help U.S. businesses understand risks in their supply chains, ITA and our federal partners developed an important training module, Human Trafficking: Forced Labor in Global Supply Chains, to help companies monitor their supply chain’s compliance with laws and regulations, identify red flags, and develop due diligence plans. This is a free training, and I encourage all businesses, especially smaller and medium-size firms with fewer resources, to take it.

As government employees involved in global commercial trade, we are in a unique position to not only be aware of forced labor human trafficking but to report it. ITA employees have a similar training available to them, and I encourage my colleagues in public service to also take this training.

Learn more about human trafficking prevention and 20 ways you can help fight human trafficking.

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The Road to Trade Winds ASEAN: Thailand

January 25, 2023

John Breidenstine is the ASEAN Regional Senior Commercial Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Thailand.

This is the second piece in a blog series about different markets that will be featured during Trade Winds 2023. 

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

U.S. businesses looking to grow their bottom line through export sales would be well advised to consider Thailand, the largest economy in mainland Southeast Asia and one that is increasingly important globally. Central to the future of the Indo-Pacific Region, Thailand is the United States’ oldest friend, partner, and ally in Asia, with this year marking the 190th anniversary of diplomatic relations.  

With overall bilateral trade jumping 50 percent over the past two years, Thailand is the 26th largest export destination for the United States and saw $12.7 billion in U.S. exports in 2021, 13 percent more than in 2020. In turn, the United States is Thailand’s largest export market, followed by China, Japan, and Vietnam. As such, the trade and investment relationship between our countries is on the up, with numerous U.S. companies pursuing opportunities across a variety of sectors.

U.S. small, medium and large businesses in the energy, digital, infrastructure, healthcare, aerospace and defense sectors – among others – can find success in Thailand’s market if they offer innovative and high-quality products and work closely with local distributors and partners. There are numerous reasons that Thailand is an outstanding place to do business: it has an open culture; low cost of living; a large, skilled, and adaptable workforce; a strong and diversified manufacturing base; and a range of government incentives for businesses.

Fittingly, the International Trade Administration chose Bangkok, Thailand, as this year’s location for the Trade Winds Trade Mission and Business Development Forum, March 13-15. Well over 200 participants are expected to attend and take advantage of this dynamic networking opportunity. The Business Development Forum will feature meetings with U.S. commercial diplomats from over 20 Asian countries, business-to-business matchmaking meetings, and engagements with Thai government officials, all of which will provide U.S. companies with information and insight into potential opportunities and partnerships across a variety of markets. Concurrently, a SelectUSA Tech Seminar on March 14 will give Asia-Pacific, early-stage technology companies the practical information and tools that they need to launch their businesses in the United States. On March 15, startups will pitch before a panel of judges to win an opportunity to attend and present during the May 1-4 SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington, DC. 

To sign up to attend the Trade Winds Mission and Business Forum in Bangkok, go here, then click REGISTER. When prompted, select Business Forum Only. The registration fee is $750 per attendee.

Beyond Trade Winds, there are several other trade events for U.S. companies interested in exploring Thailand. Please reach out to your local Commercial Service office for further information and opportunities to explore Thailand and other markets across Southeast Asia.

Other Upcoming Trade Events in Bangkok

March 13-17, 2023: The Asia-Pacific Association for International Education Conference offers delegates from around the world the opportunity to share best practices and learn more about the innovative ways in which Asia Pacific universities are partnering across the region and with the world.

May 17-19, 2023: Future Energy Asia will convenes the world’s national gas, LNG, power and renewable energy leaders in person in the region’s most important industry platform to engage in strategic dialogues that will help shape the energy transition and transformation of the next decade.

May 24, 2023: The Smart Cyber Security Summit is a complimentary, invite-only exhibition and conference tailored for senior decision makers and end-user professionals.

June 14-17: ProPak Asia is the region’s number one international trade event for food, drink, and pharmaceutical processing and packaging technology.

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The Road to Trade Winds ASEAN – First Stop: Singapore

January 17, 2023

Christopher Quinlivan is a Senior Commercial Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Singapore 

This is the first piece in a blog series about different markets that will be featured during Trade Winds 2023. 

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

U.S. businesses looking to boost their bottom line by making new export sales are increasingly looking to Singapore as a place to do business. A gateway to Southeast Asia with a business-friendly environment, Singapore offers excellent opportunities for U.S. firms, including small and medium-sized companies.   

To this end, the U.S. Commercial Service in Singapore looks forward to hosting a Trade Winds mission stop, as part of the larger Trade Winds Trade Mission and Business Forum from March 13-15, 2023 in Bangkok, Thailand. Mission stops include business-to-business matchmaking meetings with pre-screened buyers, agents, distributors, or joint-venture partners.  

As the United States’ largest trading partner in Southeast Asia, Singapore has a proven track record as a welcoming center for business. More than 2,500 American companies already do business in Singapore, and many use it as a base for regional business. The United States is the leading source of foreign direct investment (FDI) for Singapore, with nearly $295 billion in FDI stock, more than five times that of China. In recent years, Singapore has become a leading investor in the United States, as well, and current Singapore FDI stock in the United States exceeds $30.2 billion.

Illustration featuring the wording "Road to Trade Winds ASEAN Singapore" with the ITA logo on the lower left and an image of the Singaporean skyline at night and the Marina Bay Sands building at center.

In addition, Singapore is a U.S. Free Trade Agreement partner and is unique in its high level of development, including infrastructure, rule of law, IP protections, and ease of doing business. The World Bank’s 2020 Doing Business report ranked Singapore second overall in the world in “ease of doing business,” while the World Economic Forum ranked Singapore as the most competitive economy globally. U.S. products and services are well received in Singapore; however, the market is very competitive and highly regulated. 

A small city-state roughly the physical size of New York City, Singapore’s wealthy population nears about 6 million people. English is the primary language spoken there. Exporters will find proven market opportunities for a wide range of products and services, including consumer goods, high-tech business solutions and services, machinery, electrical machinery, aircraft, optical and medical instruments, and mineral fuels. 

The Singapore mission stop will be held on March 10th, and 20 participants are expected to attend. Although the business-to-business matchmaking meetings are currently at capacity, interested companies may still register for the Business Forum in Bangkok. For more information, and to sign up, go here, then click REGISTER to continue. When prompted, select Business Forum Only. The registration fee is $750 per attendee.  

Beyond Trade Winds, there are also several other trade events for U.S. companies interested in exploring the Singapore market. Please also feel free to reach out to your local Commercial Service office for further information and opportunities to explore Singapore and other markets across Southeast Asia. 

Other Upcoming Trade Events in Singapore 

April 25-28, 2023: FHA Food & Beverage offers an exemplary experience underlined by the most wide-ranging food & drink products and innovations that are top and trending across the globe. More than 70% of exhibitors are made up of direct manufacturers and as many as 15% are expected to use this platform as a launch pad for new-to-market innovations. FHA-Food & Beverage will provide global suppliers with valuable access to quality buyers including distributors, importers, manufacturers and retailers, and attendees will also gain valuable insights into developments and future trends of the food & beverage industry. 

May 3-5, 2023: IMDEX Asia is Asia’s leading naval and maritime defense event that gathers the world’s naval elite and the finest fleets of maritime innovations. Since its inaugural edition in 1997, the maritime and defense exhibition has steered forward at the helm of the industry, becoming a platform for businesses of the sea to debut its latest vessels, systems and technologies. With established conferences and real-time discussions on maritime security, IMDEX Asia continues to draw a plethora of global leaders and distinguished guests for each edition. 

June 6-9, 2023: Asia Tech x Singapore (ATxSG) is Asia’s flagship tech event where technology intersects with society and the digital economy. ATxSG features anchor events that include BroadcastAsia, CommunicAsia, SatelliteAsia and TechXLR8 Asia. Exhibits span a variety of technologies and sectors, including electronic media, audio, graphics & animation, artificial intelligence, augmented reality/virtual reality, and others.

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New Year, New Monitor:  ITA Tool Tracks Global Aluminum Trade

January 10, 2023

Hugh Smachlo is an Import Policy Analyst in the Enforcement and Compliance Industry Monitoring and Analysis Unit

Aluminum is a hot trade topic to watch in 2023. A new tool is now available to help industry analysts track data and trends for the largest aluminum importing and exporting countries. This week, ITA released the Global Aluminum Trade Monitor (GATM), the first publicly available data visualization tool  for comparative analysis that provides insight into the global aluminum industry and its impacts on U.S. producers and importers.  

Aluminum smelter pouring molten hot product

Since 2001, the number of primary (non-recycling) aluminum smelters in the United States has dwindled from 23 to 5. Primary aluminum smelters use unrecycled, raw material to make high-purity aluminum used in nearly every aluminum product, including cars, infrastructure, aerospace, packaging, and consumer goods. They are a critical link in many of these supply chains.

A drastic reduction in the number of American aluminum smelters could erroneously indicate that the U.S. demand for aluminum has dropped, or that the U.S. aluminum industry has suffered a dearth of investment; however, neither is the case. Since 2013, the U.S. aluminum industry has invested more than $7 billion in domestic manufacturing, and global aluminum demand has spiked as a result of climbing interest in recyclable and lightweight materials like aluminum.

The newly released GATM dashboard sheds light on this issue by indicating where there is demand for aluminum. Among its thousands of customizable charts, its “Top Partner Countries” comparison feature allows users to see aluminum import or export flows to or from a selected country. While globally China’s share of aluminum production increased from 12% to 60% from 2012 to 2021, the GATM comparison tool shows that its aluminum exports were concentrated in five countries: the United States, Vietnam, South Korea, Mexico, and Thailand. GATM reveals the ripple effects of China’s voluminous global exports on the U.S. aluminum industry, which, paired with an increase in unfair trade practices, caused the U.S. aluminum industry to seek trade remedies.

This chart shows two associated line graphs:  one for annual data from 2012 to 2021 and one for YTD (October) data from 2018 to 2022. In each graph, the top five export markets for Chinese aluminum are shown for the relevant time period: South Korea, Mexico, Thailand, the United States, and Vietnam. For annual data, the general trend shows Chinese exports to South Korea, Thailand, and Mexico increasing over time, with the exception of 2012-2014 for Mexico, where Chinese exports to Mexico declined. With respect to annual data for Chinese exports to Vietnam and the United States, the trend line generally spikes between 2014 and 2018 but otherwise follows the general upward trend in Chinese exports to other countries. For YTD data, the trend line for Chinese exports to all five countries generally follows a v shape with the lowest overall exports in YTD October 2020 and highest exports in 2022, with the exception of Mexico, Thailand, and Vietnam between YTD October 2018 and 2019 where Chinese exports to those countries increased.
Figure 1. On the left, annual data from 2012 to 2021 of China exports to selected partner countries on all aluminum products in metric tons. On the right, one for year to date (October) data from 2018 to 2022. In each graph, the top five export markets for Chinese aluminum are shown for the relevant time period: South Korea, Mexico, Thailand, the United States, and Vietnam.

In 2021, based on requests from the domestic aluminum industry and following rigorous investigations, Commerce put in place antidumping and/or countervailing duty (AD/CVD) orders on common alloy aluminum sheet (CAAS) from 16 countries, and AD/CVD orders on aluminum foil (foil) from five countries. These trade remedies build upon the already existing AD and/or CVD orders on CAAS and foil from China and give the U.S. industry the opportunity to compete on a level playing field against unfair foreign pricing and subsidization.

GATM visualizations also provide a glimpse into another region’s rippling impact on the U.S. aluminum industry. Since 2012, the Middle East has emerged as a major aluminum-producing region due to an abundant supply of low energy costs and efforts there to diversify national economies. For example, on the first tab titled “GATM,” users can see that United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Oman’s total exports to the U.S. increased 190% between 2012 and 2018.

This figure shows two associated line graphs: one for annual data from 2012 to 2021 and one for YTD (October) data from 2018 to 2022. In each graph, trend lines depict the volume of imports into the United States from the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Oman (in order from highest to lowest volumes). For annual data, the U.S. imports from all three countries generally increased from 2015 through 2017, and then generally leveled off and decreased before 2021, however higher than the original 2015 import volumes. For YTD October data, the U.S. imports from all three countries generally decrease from YTD October 2018 through YTD October 2020 and generally increase by YTD October 2022.
Figure 2. These graphs depict U.S. imports from selected countries of all aluminum products in metric tons. On the left, annual data from 2012 to 2021. On the right, year to date (October) data from 2018 to 2022. In each graph, trend lines depict the volume of imports into the United States from the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Oman (in order from highest to lowest volumes).

These two images, amongst the thousands of publicly available and customizable charts in the GATM, provide necessary context for understanding global aluminum trade flows and their impact on the U.S. industry. Furthermore, they help to explain, in part, the status of the U.S. as a net importer of aluminum products for each of the seven standard subcategories: bars, rods, and profiles; foil; pipes and tubes; plates, sheets, and strip; tube or pipe fittings; unwrought; and wire.

Ensuring the aluminum industry has the data it needs, the GATM comes at a critical moment for the United States and for our aluminum industry and workers. The domestic aluminum industry directly employs 164,000 American workers and indirectly supports an additional 470,000 workers, accounting for $73 billion dollars in U.S. economic output. 

This is one of many tools that ITA provides U.S. companies to make informed decisions based on solid information about global markets.

For additional information, please e-mail aluminum.license@trade.gov.

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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