h1

How to Become a Member of our Trade Finance Advisory Council

September 10, 2018

Ericka Ukrow is a Senior International Trade Specialist in the Industry & Analysis Office of Finance and Insurance Industries in the International Trade Administration and serves as the Designated Federal Officer for the Trade Finance Advisory Council.

Interested in Advising the Secretary of Commerce on Trade Finance Solutions?

I have great news! The U.S. Department of Commerce has announced the re-chartering of its Trade Finance Advisory Council (“TFAC” or the “Council”). This federal advisory committee advises the Secretary on how to expand access to finance for U.S. exporters and their foreign buyers.

What Does the TFAC Do?

During its first two-year term, the TFAC provided detailed policy and technical recommendations to enhance private and official financing options for U.S. companies—and grew to become a premier platform for government engagement with the private sector on trade finance.

In its renewed charter term, the TFAC will bring together an expanded number of trade finance professionals and thought leaders and will for the first time include, as ex-officio members, representatives from the Export-Import Bank of the United States and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The TFAC works to advance the Department’s strategic goal of increasing U.S. exports and job creation by reducing the costs, complexities, and risks of exporting. In particular, the Council:

  • Evaluates credit conditions and financing challenges faced by U.S. exporters,
  • Identifies potential resources for addressing financing gaps,
  • Examines how new financial technologies and other innovations could improve the availability and affordability of trade finance solutions,
  • Highlights trade finance-related developments in international standard setting bodies, and
  • Addresses other noteworthy concerns raised by Council members and the public.

How Is the TFAC Structured?

The TFAC is comprised of up to 25 members appointed by the Secretary of Commerce to serve for a two-year term. Members do not receive compensation for their service to the Council.

Except for those Members who are trade finance experts from academia and public policy organizations, TFAC Members express their own views and insights and those of the entity or organization and industry sector they represent. Those Members who serve as experts from academia and public policy organizations are subject to ethical standards applicable to special government employees.

What Are the Criteria for TFAC Membership?

The TFAC is seeking executive-level candidates who will reflect a balanced cross-section of U.S. trade finance users, providers, and experts from private, public, and not-for-profit organizations. We are looking for business representatives from diverse industries, regions, and company sizes—including:

  • U.S. exporters of goods and services,
  • U.S. commercial banks that provide trade finance products, cross-border payment services, or foreign exchange solutions,
  • Non-bank U.S. financial institutions that provide trade finance products, cross-border payment services, or foreign exchange solutions,
  • Associations that represent (i) U.S. exporters, and/or (ii) commercial banks or non-bank financial institutions (or other professionals) that facilitate international trade transactions,
  • U.S. companies or entities focused on trade-finance-related activities or services;
  • U.S. scholars, academic institutions, or public policy organizations with expertise in global business, trade finance, and international banking related subjects, and
  • Economic development organizations and other U.S. regional, state, and local governmental and non-governmental organizations whose missions or activities include the analysis, provision, or facilitation of trade finance products/services.

Members will be selected based on their ability to achieve the Council’s objectives, in accordance with applicable Department of Commerce guidelines and in a manner that ensures a variety and balance of views.

When is the Deadline for Membership Applications?

To be considered, applicants must submit the required documentation by 5:00 p.m. EDT, Monday, October 15, 2018 to TFAC@trade.gov.

For full membership criteria and application details, please review the Federal Register notice announcement, or the Council’s website at www.trade.gov/TFAC/.

For additional information, please contact Ericka Ukrow, Designated Federal Officer, Office of Finance and Insurance Industries, at (202) 482-0405, or at TFAC@trade.gov.

Click here to see our TFAC FAQs.

h1

ITA’s South Korea/U.S. Power Working Group: Bringing Together Major Decision Makers

September 6, 2018

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

This is the fourth and final entry in a series of guest blogs highlighting ITA activities that help connect U.S. companies to opportunities in the Indo-Pacific region following the recent Indo-Pacific Business Forum where Secretary Ross, Secretary Pompeo and other cabinet officials spoke about the Administration’s commitment to the region.

Click here to read the second entry of our Indo-Pacific blog series.

Guest Blog Q & A with Mitchell Williams, Managing Director, Curtiss-Wright Korea, Japan

ITA: Tell us about your business and what makes your product/service unique?

Williams: Curtiss-Wright Corporation has a long history with its roots dating back to Orville and Wilbur Wright’s first flight in 1903, and Mr. Glenn Curtiss, the father of naval aviation. In 1929, the companies founded by these three great aviation pioneers, the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company and Wright Aeronautical Corporation, merged to form the largest aircraft company at the time, Curtiss-Wright Corporation.

Mitchell Williams

Mitchell Williams, Managing Director, Curtiss-Wright Korea, Japan

We have continued the path of innovation and advanced engineering and have applied that expertise to a number of critical applications in high-performance markets. Our success has resulted in a world-renowned reputation for performance, long-standing customer relationships and significant growth and profitability in the markets in which we compete.

Today, we are a diversified, multinational provider of highly engineered, technologically advanced products and services. We maintain a balanced and diversified business portfolio with revenues generated across our three segments: Commercial/Industrial, Defense and Power, which support several of the largest, most vital industries in the world. We have been a publicly traded company for nearly 90 years and our highly engineered, innovative products and services are recognized for their advanced technology and unsurpassed reliability.

What makes a world-class organization? It all begins with core values that provide a strong foundation for success. Simple in theory, the values of Curtiss-Wright are reflected in every aspect of our operations. To our employees, these are more than words on a wall – we all take these values to heart in our relationships with our customers and each other.

ITA: How do you see Asia affecting your business in the future?

Williams: Our opportunities in Japan have increased in the industrial space as nuclear plants have remained closed and alternate sources of power have been introduced. Particularly in the data analytics and remote monitoring solutions areas we have seen success through our partnerships with the local power companies. The continuous phase-out of nuclear power in South Korea is expected to shrink our order volume as we lose locations. The 2030 plan from the Korean government calls for 13GW of renewable energy which is providing opportunities to play more in that space. Taiwan is looking to restart their nuclear fleet to meet their energy needs. This change will also provide opportunities there.

ITA: What was uniquely useful about the South Korea/U.S. Power Working Group?

Williams: It was uniquely helpful in that it brought together major decision makers and shareholders to deliberate on issues facing the industry. All presented well-thought out and prepared statements which provided useful knowledge and background into the opportunities and challenges we face today. Where presentations were made, all materials were provided to the participants for future reference. This caliber of meeting demands the respect of all included and turns competitors into colleagues and government officials into friends. Nowhere else have I seen this level of participation and quality discussion.

ITA: Why do you work with ITA? And/or How has ITA already helped you in Asia?

Williams: The ITA works to increase U.S. content through advocacy, webinars, seminars, working focus groups and more. ITA members have been supportive of the work we do and of helping us to achieve our goals in Asia. Members of the ITA’s U.S. Commercial Service have shown support by attending industry events, seminars, and conferences together to learn more about the industry and to provide support where necessary. They have introduced us to high level officials during their visits to Asia, something we would have had much difficulty arranging on our own. Finally, the ITA supports the work I do as Chair of the Energy and Environment Committee at the American Chamber in Korea. They are always keen to attend committee meetings and provide meaningful input. I would recommend the ITA services to any multinational company wanting to do business more intelligently and mitigate risk in Asian markets.

ITA is proud to connect U.S. companies to opportunities in the Indo-Pacific region. If you are interested in how ITA can help you access Asian markets, contact your local International Trade Specialist.

 

h1

ITA’s Indonesia Power Working Group: Open Access to the Decision Makers and Policy Makers

August 31, 2018

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

This is third entry in a series of guest blogs highlighting ITA activities that help connect U.S. companies to opportunities in the Indo-Pacific region following the recent Indo-Pacific Business Forum where Secretary Ross, Secretary Pompeo and other cabinet officials spoke about the Administration’s commitment to the region.

Click here to read the latest entry of our Indo-Pacific blog series.

Guest Blog Q & A with David Mansfield, Director for Asia, Powerphase International Singapore

ITA: Tell us about your business and what makes your product/service unique?

Mansfield: Powerphase manufactures an innovative High Efficiency Incremental Power Technology called TurboPhase. This technology enables users of Gas Turbine Technology to both increase the power output of their GT’s as well as efficiency, at the lowest cost of generation currently available in the market.

Mansfield speaks at the PWG Energy Day in January 2018, at the Ministry of Energy.

Mansfield speaks at the PWG Energy Day in January 2018, at the Ministry of Energy.

ITA: How do you see Asia affecting your business in the future?

Mansfield: Asia is without doubt the most significant contributor to global development for the foreseeable future. With countries like Indonesia, Vietnam & Thailand on constant expansion into industrial markets, and with the development of renewable generation, this market will need products like ours to ensure stability of generation, now and in the future.

ITA: What was uniquely useful about the Indonesia Power Working Group?

Mansfield: To put it simply, access to the decision makers and policy makers. To change the way a country approaches its electricity solutions on a macro scale requires both. The PWG is the only method to achieve this.

ITA: Why do you work with ITA? And/or How has ITA already helped you in Asia?

Mansfield: The ITA is a one stop shop to access the market. With a limited team based in Asia, having open access to the decision makers and policy makers is critical. The ITA have additionally supported driving opportunities through to conclusion in a challenging political environment. A unique capability which every U.S. Company should consider for its foray into these challenging markets.

Please visit www.powerphase.com to see what exciting projects they are working on thanks to the help of the ITA.

ITA is proud to connect U.S. companies to opportunities in the Indo-Pacific region. If you are interested in how ITA can help you access Asian markets, contact your local International Trade Specialist.

 

h1

AES: Reaching Business Opportunities in Vietnam

August 29, 2018

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

This is the second entry in a series of guest blogs highlighting ITA activities that help connect U.S. companies to opportunities in the Indo-Pacific region following the recent Indo-Pacific Business Forum where Secretary Ross, Secretary Pompeo and other cabinet officials spoke about the Administration’s commitment to the region.

Click here to read the first entry of our Indo-Pacific blog series.

Guest Blog Q & A with David Stone, President – Vietnam, AES, on ITA’s Vietnam Energy Working Group

 ITA: Tell us about your business and what makes your product/service unique?

Stone: AES is the first independent power producer to reach successful financial closure in Vietnam since 2003, with a total financing of approximately $1.46 billion. The company has been investing in Vietnam since 2010 and successfully developed, built, and currently operates the 1,240 MW Mong Duong 2 BOT Power Project in Quang Ninh province. The project was completed with an award-winning safety record, on budget, and ahead of schedule. The plant is expected to generate up to 7.6 billion kilowatt hours of electricity annually.

AES is looking at other business opportunities in Vietnam including renewable energy and natural gas power generation. AES signed an MOU on November 12, 2017, in the presence of Vietnam President Tran Dai Quang and United States President Donald Trump. This MOU is a critical milestone, expressing the commitment of both PetroVietnam Gas Joint Stock Corporation (PV Gas) and AES to jointly develop the Son My LNG Terminal Project, with a partnership structure of 51 percent and 49 percent for PV Gas and AES respectively. This marks another milestone in the historic partnership and strong collaboration towards mutual economic development between Vietnam and the United States.

In addition to Son My LNG Terminal Project, AES has also expressed interest in investing in the Son My 2 CCGT Project, which will not only create jobs in Vietnam and in the United States through exports of equipment to Vietnam,but could substantially contribute to the bilateral trade and investment relationship between the two countries. The Son My LNG Terminal Project and Son My 2 CCGT Project may pave the way to increased long-lasting economic ties that would benefit both countries, and further increase the visibility of Vietnam in the US and vice versa.

ITA: How do you see Asia affecting your business in the future?

Stone: AES’s mission is improving lives by accelerating a safer and greener energy future. We strongly believe that Asia should be part of the transition to CO2 free energy production and we work in this direction committing to different projects in the region that will bring it to a new level of energy production and consumption.

ITA: What was uniquely useful about the Vietnam Energy Industry Group?

Stone: In the rapidly changing global environment the dialogue and exchange of ideas is the engine that drives the economies further. That is why we are happy that the newly-formed US-Vietnam Energy Industry Group has been able to create an energy forum and that facilitates dialogue to help business communities have the chance to discuss ideas with the local and national authorities of Vietnam, generating plans for economic development of the country.

ITA: Why do you work with ITA? And/or How has ITA already helped you in Asia?

Stone: ITA is a valuable partner that helps us to strengthen the dialogue between the business and the authorities in different country. The fruitful dialogue with our key stakeholders is essential for the development of our ideas reflecting the needs of the local societies. In Vietnam we work with the Embassy and Department of Commerce to provide to the Government of Vietnam messages to reinforce AES commitments as well as request for a thorough consideration from the Government to ensure a fair business.

ITA is proud to connect U.S. companies to opportunities in the Indo-Pacific region. If you are interested in how ITA can help you access Asian markets, contact your local International Trade Specialist

h1

Pacific Islands Opportunities: First Stop Papua New Guinea

August 22, 2018

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

This is the first entry in a series of guest blogs highlighting ITA activities that help connect U.S. companies to opportunities in the Indo-Pacific region following the recent Indo-Pacific Business Forum where Secretary Ross, Secretary Pompeo and other cabinet officials spoke about the Administration’s commitment to the region.

Guest Blog Q & A with U.S. Ambassador to Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, Catherine Ebert-Gray.

ITA: Tell us a little about the Pacific Islands, particularly Papua New Guinea (PNG), and its strategic importance.

headshot of Catherine Ebert-Gray

U.S. Ambassador to Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu, Catherine Ebert-Gray

Ambassador Ebert-Gray:  The Pacific Islands are increasingly responsible and democratic nations with an emerging middle class and growing potential for tourism, investment, and development.  Their diverse cultures, rainforests, pristine seas, natural resources, and beauty make them attractive to intrepid travelers and businesses.   The United States has a long and proud history in the Pacific that I’m honored to represent.  Increasingly, we are seeing non-traditional partners such as China working with Pacific Island countries.  It’s important for the United States government and the American business community remain engaged and active in the region as the economies and interests of the Indo-Pacific grows.  PNG is hosting the Asian Pacific Economic Forum in 2018, which represents 21 of the regional economics, 47 percent of global trade, and 57 percent of global GDP.   As Americans, we have tremendous advantages and goodwill which we should leverage to preserve and build strong relations.

ITA: What kind of export opportunities are there for U.S. companies to explore?

Ambassador Ebert-Gray:  While Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are countries with stable and growing economies, Papua New Guinea is by far the largest.  With a land area the size of Oregon or Sweden and a population the size of Michigan, New Jersey, Switzerland, or Israel, it is a market with tremendous potential.  Historically, PNG mostly exported minerals and agricultural products.  That changed in 2014 when ExxonMobil completed construction and began operation of the $19 billion PNG LNG project that exports liquefied natural gas to Asian markets.  Following that success, other oil and gas companies, including French supermajor, Total, are active in PNG working to bring future projects online.

American products and services have been integral to the success of resource projects throughout PNG’s history.  Power is generated by GE turbines or Cummins generators.  Earth is moved with Caterpillar equipment.  The employees take a break to enjoy a cold Coca-Cola.  I see future energy and other extractive projects as ripe targets for American business.  Right now, American companies have been most interested in healthcare and medical products, resource development equipment, electrical generation both traditional and renewable, and increasingly consumer electronics as Pacific Islanders have rapidly moved online.

ITA: How should interested U.S. companies start exploring?

“Representatives of the Lae Chamber of Commerce welcome Ambassador Ebert-Gray and the familiarization tour delegates. Lae is the second largest city in Papua New Guinea.”

Representatives of the Lae Chamber of Commerce welcome Ambassador Ebert-Gray and the familiarization tour delegates. Lae is the second largest city in Papua New Guinea.

Ambassador Ebert-Gray:  They should give us a call, send us an email, or stop by the embassy in Port Moresby!  My team and I love to hear from American businesses who are interested in the region.  We’ve been able to help companies as diverse as fire engine manufacturer exporting for airport improvement projects in PNG to a self-employed American looking to provide consulting services on an Asian Development Bank water project in the Solomon Islands.  To formalize our work, my embassy signed a Post Partnership agreement with the Department of Commerce.  The agreement allows my economic team to offer the full suite of Commercial Service products and services overseas for American companies.  Further, and just as importantly, it allows us to plug in to the terrific network at Commerce to get the resources and assistance we might need.  A capstone to this work will be an American business familiarization trip this August.  We have partnered with the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia and the Commercial Service’s office in Australia.  I’m very excited to welcome American companies to my beautiful, exciting, and opportunity-filled part of the world.

If companies are looking for a bit more information on Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu, I would recommend the following resources online.

ITA is proud to connect U.S. companies to opportunities in the Indo-Pacific region. If you are interested in how ITA can help you access Asian markets, contact your local International Trade Specialist.

h1

Helping Small Business Owners Identify their Vital Intellectual Property

August 20, 2018

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

This post originally appeared on the Minority Business Development Blog.

Rachel S. Salzman is an International Trade Specialist in the Office of Intellectual Property Rights in the Industry & Analysis Bureau of the International Trade Administration

Benjamin N. Hardman is an Attorney-Advisor with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on detail with the Office of Intellectual Property Rights in the Industry & Analysis Bureau of the International Trade Administration

Intellectual property (IP) is a key commodity in U.S. trade. Each year more than 50 percent of U.S. merchandise exports and more than 10 percent of total U.S. services exports come from IP intensive industries. The United States has become the global leader in cutting-edge sectors in part due to strong IP protection regimes. We know that IP is how the U.S. economy will continue to grow, and that protection both at home and abroad is critical for our industries to flourish worldwide.Photo of professionals working together.

As part of the Department of Commerce’s overarching commitment to helping the American economy grow, commerce agencies, including the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, International Trade Administration (ITA), and Minority Business Development Agency:

  • Work with stakeholders to increase the effectiveness of the U.S. IP system domestically and abroad;
  • Provide U.S. stakeholders with information and training on best practices to protect and enforce intellectual property; and
  • Provide minority businesses with information on intellectual property protection.

The International Trade Administration’s Office of Intellectual Property Rights (OIPR), Industry & Analysis, is committed to educating U.S. business, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, including minority-owned businesses, about protecting IP at home and in foreign markets. We work to make sure that when U.S. businesses export or otherwise work with foreign partners and suppliers, they know how to do so in a way that protects innovative technology and keeps American intellectual property safe and secure.

The cornerstone of OIPR’s educational outreach is the signature STOPfakes Roadshow program. Roadshows are interagency programs led by OIPR and coordinated in partnership with local U.S. Export Assistance Centers that bring IP experts from across U.S. agencies to cities around the country to help educate small and medium-sized enterprises about protecting their intellectual property. Roadshow participants hear from representatives of agencies including ITA, Customs and Border Protection, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, the Small Business Administration, and the Copyright Office, with other partners, including MBDA, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and Naval Sea Systems Command participating at select locations. In addition, participants can apply onsite for trademark and copyright recordation with CBP and to register their copyrights with the Copyright Office. Agencies have experts onsite to provide personalized assistance. Finally, each Roadshow concludes with the opportunity for one-on-one consultations with agency representatives. N 2018, ITA relaunched the STOPfakes Roadshow program with Roadshows in Seattle and Portland on July 24 and July 26. The next events will be in Dallas on August 21 and in Austin on August 23. A full schedule of upcoming Roadshows, along with agendas and further information about speakers is available at http://www.stopfakes.gov/roadshows.

In addition to the STOPfakes Roadshows, OIPR makes a wide variety of educational material available on www.STOPfakes.gov to assist U.S. entrepreneurs in understanding the ins and outs of IP protection. Materials include industry toolkits, country IP Snapshots, and in-depth country toolkits, in addition to webinars and an online diagnostic module to help small business owners identify their vital IP and think about a business plan for protecting it. You can also follow us on Twitter @STOPfakesGov to get the latest information on events and online resources.

h1

What Small Businesses Should Know About Tariffs

August 13, 2018

This post originally appeared on the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Blog, SBA News and Views.

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

Our friends at the Small Business Administration recently published a blog post assembling a list of resources to assist small businesses with questions about tariffs and where to find more information about what imported products are impacted. Please continue reading and make use of the resources listed to help you make the most informed business decisions.

Peter J. Cazamias serves as the Small Business Administration’s Associate Administrator for SBA’s Office of International Trade.

What are tariffs?

arrows pointing in various directions

Tariffs are a taxes, levies, or duties on a particular category of imports. These fees are charged as a percentage of the price of an imported good paid for by a U.S. buyer. These charges are collected by U.S. Custom and Border Protection agents at all U.S. ports of entry.

How can I obtain a tariff waiver on my foreign purchases?

U.S. businesses may request that individual imported products be excluded from the new tariff charges; and U.S. producers may also comment on why certain exclusions should be denied. The Department of Commerce and the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) have separate application procedures based on the actions taken by their organizations.  Decisions are case by case and require separate individual applications for each item to be imported.

Where can I find out more information?

SBA directs small businesses to visit the following U.S. Government resources for more information, to receive answers to frequently asked questions, and to request a tariff exclusion on imported products:

  • Information on a Second Tranche of Goods from China with Additional Tariffs of 25%:
    • A list of goods with additional tariffs of 25% to be collected starting August 23, 2018 is available on the USTR.gov website under press releases.  (Click here ).
  • A List of Goods from China Under Consideration for Further Tariff Actions:
    • A list of Chinese goods USTR proposed additional tariffs of 10% is available at www.regulations.gov under USTR-2018-0026-0001. (Click here). In light of the possible increase of this additional duty rate to 25 %, USTR has extended the public comment period until September 6, 2018 and requests to appear at a public hearing until August 13, 2018.  (Click Here))
  • Information on Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum Global Imports:
    • The United States has imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, as amended.
    • Information on the Department of Commerce exclusion application and objection process can be found on the Bureau of Industry and Security websites at  https://www.bis.doc.gov/232-steel and https://www.bis.doc.gov/232-aluminum.
    • Questions regarding steel exclusion requests can be addressed to the U.S. Department of Commerce at 202-482-5642 or Steel232@bis.doc.gov..
    • Questions regarding aluminum exclusions requests can be directed to 202-482-4757 or Aluminum232@bis.doc.gov.
    • Information on foreign government response and goods impacted can be found here.
  • Some impacted goods may also be subject to anti-dumping (AD) or countervailing duties (CVD) duties for unfair trade actions involving selling at less than fair value and prohibited government support. Small businesses importing goods with additional duties related to an AD/CVD investigation should be aware that the estimated AD/CVD duties paid during an investigation can increase significantly and a bill may follow after the goods clear U.S. Customs.  Small businesses may direct questions on specific tariff lines and AD/CVD duties to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Enforcement & Compliance Communications at 202-482-0063.