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Africa Matters: Why the U.S. Should Bolster its Trading Relationships with African Countries

July 5, 2018

Businesses can help grow African economies, create more job opportunities and export more products to the continent’s markets.

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

This post originally appeared on the UPS Blog, Longitudes.

Laura Lane | UPS

As Vice Chair of the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa (PAC-DBIA), I am pleased to be co-leading the private sector contingent of a U.S. Department of Commerce delegation to Africa to learn about and discover new opportunities for U.S. businesses to partner, invest and grow across the continent.

tour of Ethiopian Airlines’ air cargo facility

Laura and the rest of the PAC-DBIA delegation toured Ethiopian Airlines’ air cargo facility and saw first-hand the company’s capabilities to manage all kinds of temperature-sensitive products – from flowers and produce to pharmaceuticals.

Led by the Secretary of Commerce and the Under Secretary of Commerce for the International Trade Administration, the 2018 PAC-DBIA fact-finding mission is exploring potential commercial growth in Ethiopia, Kenya, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire and determining how to overcome barriers to market access and expansion in these markets.

The group prioritized these four countries because of the steps each is taking to create a more business-friendly environment.

Ethiopia is making significant investments in infrastructure and manufacturing centers and moving away from a statist economy to a more market-oriented one; Kenya is promoting business development and actively seeking U.S. companies’ engagement in its power, aviation, healthcare, transportation and agribusiness sectors; Côte d’Ivoire’s government is equally pro-business and seeks more U.S. companies to engage in its transportation and energy sectors to diversify beyond its traditional francophone partners; and Ghana has launched the Beyond Aid Initiative with a particular focus on developing its rail, road, mining and manufacturing sectors.

I have witnessed first-hand the amazing transformation that is possible when countries implement the right policy and programmatic changes.

Laura and the rest of the PAC-DBIA delegation stopped by the African Development Bank.

Laura and the rest of the PAC-DBIA delegation stopped by the African Development Bank.

In 1993-1994, I served as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer in Kigali, Rwanda. While I was there, a genocidal civil war broke out that would claim the lives of nearly 1 million Rwandan men, women and children. Now, more than two decades later, the country is defined by its remarkable strides forward: Rwandans’ life expectancy has doubled; their GDP has averaged 8 percent growth in the last decade; and the poverty rate has fallen dramatically.

In 2016, Rwanda became the first country to establish a policy framework that enabled UPS – in partnership with GAVI and Zipline – to use drones to deliver blood and medical supplies to remote parts of the country. When I returned to Kigali that same year to help launch the drone project, I could hardly believe that this modern, forward-looking and ambitious market was the war-torn country I’d left in 1994.

With the PAC-DBIA, I’ve had the chance to continue learning about Africa’s strengths from the commercial perspective. Rwanda – one of the countries previously visited by the PAC-DBIA – has certainly come a long way and deserves recognition for its advances, but it is far from the only country experiencing such growth and success in Africa.

As the continent takes its place on the global stage, many of its countries offer significant opportunities in terms of U.S.-Africa commercial engagement, thanks to a growing middle class, increasing infrastructure investment and untapped trade markets.

However, overcoming corruption and other market-limiting obstacles will be important next steps for each African government to take to allow American firms to become more robust partners in developing the continent’s economic future.

Growing population and middle class

Many African countries have booming populations that offer significant opportunities to companies considering an investment outside of the U.S. In fact, half of the world’s fastest-growing country populations are in Africa. In addition to overall population growth, the continent’s middle class has grown to 350 million, resulting in increased spending power and consumption.

Already, research shows the African middle class represents more than $400 million in daily spending power. As even more people move into the middle class, they will look for an increasingly diverse and sophisticated array of both necessities and higher value-added goods, which American firms can readily supply.

Investing in infrastructure

But spending power means little if people can’t get to the shops, trucks can’t move products to and from the border and delivery routes are impassable. For U.S. companies to operate in Africa, appropriate and sufficient infrastructure must be put in place – and African countries are hard at work making it happen.

Across the continent, countries are actively investing in transportation infrastructure, water access, energy reliability and other facets of civil engineering that will improve its residents’ standard of living.

As a point of reference, in 2016, Africa actively pursued 286 infrastructure projects worth $324 billion, more than a third of which were in the transport sector. These investments have been critical to meaningful growth on the continent and helping open its countries for business – both within Africa and with the rest of the world.

Africa has financed many of these projects with tied aid, and experts disagree on whether this kind of funding is ultimately beneficial or not. Unlike some of Africa’s other trade and investment partners, the U.S. has made clear – through efforts like the PAC-DBIA trip – that it does not seek to exploit the continent’s natural resources or send it diving into debt.

Instead, U.S. companies want to undertake projects that can accelerate job growth and bring private sector financing to the table.

Public-private partnerships and pro-business policies are two ways African countries could encourage this investment. Public-private partnerships allow American companies to share their best business practices with African partners, which creates a more favorable environment for both parties and enables local African businesses and jobs markets to flourish.

Policies that create a more business-friendly climate also drive the incentive to invest. Ghana, for example, has been pursuing a pro-business environment by reducing and eliminating certain tax barriers, introducing paperless clearance processes at the ports and embarking on a regulatory reform program.

Not only are these improvements attractive to U.S. investors, they can also help shift the U.S.-Africa economic dynamic to one based more solidly on trade and commercial relationships.

Tapping into new markets

Infrastructure, however, isn’t wholly effective for economic growth with limited access to the global goods and services trade. In addition to improved infrastructure, companies need dynamic trade policy that allows intra-continent and worldwide engagement.

As Africa’s consumer bases grow, so will the demand for foreign goods and services – including American products. Additionally, Africa’s growing manufacturing base needs to import critical inputs to develop more cost-efficient and productive machinery.

Therefore, to meet the growing demands of its consumer and manufacturing bases – and achieve the resulting economic expansion – Africa must create a policy framework that is conducive to strategic imports, more efficient borders and frictionless supply chains.

When I worked at the Office of the United States Trade Representative, I oversaw trade-related negotiations between the U.S. and markets around the world.

The resultant agreements increased both U.S. trade and GDP as well as those of the other parties – and we would expect the same result of trade agreements with African countries. In fact, each time a trade agreement is signed in a country in which UPS operates, we see a 20 percent increase in export volume to that trade partner.

As the continent expands its commercial partnerships, pursues the Continental Free Trade Area through the African Union and develops bilateral trade agreements with the U.S., I know that trade will become an even more critical component of Africa’s short- and, more importantly, long-term prosperity.

Overcoming corruption

Despite huge opportunities on the African continent, many companies are still hesitant to invest or trade there. The No. 1 reason for this hesitancy is corruption.

Simply put, foreign direct investment only goes where it is safe and protected. Most companies don’t want to – and, by law, can’t – engage in business in countries where bribery is commonplace. Moreover, governments don’t want to trade with other countries that aren’t upfront about their policies.

The only way to increase trust and cooperation between countries is to value the rule of law and ensure that it prevails over corrupt practices. The assurance that companies, their investments and their intellectual property will be protected by law allows trade relationships to flourish.

Kenya sets a great example for taking the important steps to combat corruption. Kenyans have demanded that the government find ways to eradicate corrupt practices, and officials have responded with public statements with similar messaging.

This powerful combination of support for the rule of law and adoption of anti-corruption practices makes any country on this trajectory more attractive for economic and commercial partners.

Looking to the future

With the support of U.S. and African leaders, businesses like UPS – as an American company dedicated to realizing the benefits of greater trade and increased investment flows – can help grow African economies, create more job opportunities both at home and abroad and export more products to the continent’s markets.

I look forward to working with the rest of the PAC-DBIA delegation to identify ways we can partner with like-minded African governments for mutually beneficial growth, and I hope this trip clearly demonstrates the U.S. government and business community’s commitment to expanding trade and investment in sub-Saharan Africa – not just for the benefit of American companies, but for African countries and their companies and consumers as well.

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U.S.-Brazil Defense Industry Dialogue (DID) Working Groups Convene for Mid-Year Meeting Ahead of Third DID Set for April 2019

June 29, 2018

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

Sam Boone is an intern in the International Trade Administration’s (ITA) Western Hemisphere Office. Raquel Silva is ITA’s Brazil Desk Officer

On June 26, the U.S.-Brazil Defense Industry Dialogue (DID) convened at the Brazilian Naval War College, in Rio de Janeiro, to further defense trade talks between the two countries. More than 135 representatives from the U.S. Government, U.S. defense and aerospace industry, Brazilian Government, and Brazilian defense and aerospace industry, representing approximately 31 U.S. and Brazilian companies and 15 U.S. and Brazilian agencies participated in the four working group meetings.

panel disscussion

The U.S.-Brazil Defense Industry Dialogue holds its midyear working group meetings in Rio to finalize action plans and identify next steps.

This mid-year meeting celebrated the first in-person gathering of all the working groups following their creation in January. The working groups were created to more deeply focus and engage on concrete results for priority topics: Commercial Partnerships, Binational Cooperation, Space, and Defense Trade Policy.

Since its September 2016 launch, the DID has accomplished  the following key milestones related to defense trade:

  • Clarifying export controls to enable more streamlined access to each other’s markets
  • Supporting companies interested in forming strategic business partnerships
  • Relaunching talks on Space collaboration
  • Conducting outreach on how recent how numerous military-to-military agreements can facilitate tech-transfer and defense trade

The DID hopes to use the momentum from the mid-year meeting to implement its action plans in anticipation of DID III (to be scheduled).

The DID was created with the purpose of attracting investment, identifying potential partnerships, and spurring technological transfer between both countries’ defense and aerospace industries. Industry partners in both countries work closely with agencies in both governments, including the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Defense, and Brazil’s Ministries of Defense and External Relations, to ensure coordination and representation from all DID stakeholders.

As the two largest economies in the Western Hemisphere, the United States and Brazil maintain a robust bilateral trade relationship. In 2017, bilateral trade in goods totaled more than $66 billion. The United States exported $37 billion worth of goods to Brazil in 2017, making it the 10th largest export destination for U.S. products.

For more information about the DID, please visit the DID website.

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Expanded Trade, Increased Cooperation between United States and Ethiopia is Goal of Initial Stop on PAC-DBIA Fact-Finding

June 27, 2018

This is the first in a series of posts highlighting a four-nation President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa (PAC-DBIA) fact-finding mission led by U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Gilbert Kaplan. For more information on the PAC-DBIA visit https://www.trade.gov/dbia/ or follow the trip at #PACDBIA.

Judy Lao is a Trade Facilitation Officer in the Office of Latin America & Caribbean 

Photo of Under Secretary Gilbert Kaplan & Ethiopia’s Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation, Dr. Abraham Tekeste signed an MOU on the development & implementation of strategic priority projects in #Ethiopia.

Under Secretary Gilbert Kaplan & Ethiopia’s Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation, Dr. Abraham Tekeste signed an MOU on the development & implementation of strategic priority projects in #Ethiopia.

The initial stop of the PAC-DBIA fact-finding trip to Africa yielded wins for U.S. companies currently doing business in Ethiopia and greatly enhanced the potential for future trade opportunities for other firms in this critical market. Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Gil Kaplan and the delegation met with senior government officials and industry leaders to identify challenges and develop strategies to improve U.S.-Ethiopia commercial relations.

The visit was capped off with a new agreement between the U.S. and Ethiopian governments to support private investment and U.S. participation in key industry sectors. Under Secretary Kaplan met with Minister Abraham Tekeste, Ethiopian Minister of Finance and Economic Cooperation and signed a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at promoting trade and reducing trade barriers. The MOU commits the U.S. Government to work with U.S. businesses and the government of Ethiopia to encourage economic reforms to diversify Ethiopia’s economy and enhance its competitiveness.

There are promising signs of economic change in Ethiopia. On June 5, Ethiopia announced plans to partially privatize leading state-owned enterprises, including Ethiopian Airlines (EAL). EAL is the fastest growing and most profitable airline in Africa, registering an average growth of 25 percent in the past seven years. Following a meeting with Under Secretary Kaplan and the delegation, Ethiopian Airlines Group – parent company of EAL – Chief Executive Officer Tewolde Gebre Marian announced a deal with General Electric to procure 12 General Electric engines valued at $444 million, as well as a separate $473.5 million 10-year maintenance contract. Aviation is the top market in Ethiopia for U.S. companies, and as of 2016 the export of aircraft and aircraft parts represents 54 percent of the principal U.S. merchandise exports to Ethiopia.

A pair of procurement manuals announced during the visit will assist U.S. companies to better understand and successfully compete in Ethiopia’s formal procurement process. The Commercial Law Development Program created its new procurement handbook that highlights Ethiopia’s new Public Private Partnership law, which recognizes the essential role of the private sector to support economic growth and improve the quality of public services in the market. In addition, the U.S. Trade Development Agency capped its collaboration with the Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) with the introduction of an EEP procurement manual for competitive tendering.

Several U.S companies have already taken advantage of the opportunities in the Ethiopian market, announcing new deals and agreements during the visit. In addition to General Electric:

  • Honeywell International, Inc., of Morris Plains, New Jersey, announced a $10.2 million deal for the security system of the Bole Airport expansion, and a $7.2 million Auxiliary Power Unit service contract.

 

  • TROY Group, Inc., from Wheeling, West Virginia, announced a preliminary agreement to provide the Vital Events Registration Agency of Ethiopia with 130 Secure UV printers, TROY’s SecureDocs Software and related licenses. The deal is valued at $750,000.

 

  • BAK USA, from Buffalo, New York, recently won a tender, funded by the African Development Bank, for 4,000 tablet computers for Ethiopia’s Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy. The deal is valued at $2.1 million.

Ethiopia has the fifth-largest and fastest-growing economy in the Sub-Saharan Africa region, and has averaged more than 10 percent annual growth during the last decade. Both the government of Ethiopia and the United States have a desire for foreign direct investment and a more diversified economic relationship between the two nations. This fact-finding visit is a solid step forward to ensuring a bright future.

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Invest, Grow, and Succeed in the United States

June 22, 2018

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

Brian Lenihan is the Acting Executive Director of SelectUSA

Photo of stage and audience at 2018 SelectUSA Investment Summit.

More than 3,000 international business investors, U.S. economic developers, and more joined high-level government officials and Cabinet secretaries, global CEOs, and FDI thought leaders for the 2018 SelectUSA Investment Summit.

Today, thousands of global business investors, U.S. economic developers, senior government officials and service providers concluded the 2018 SelectUSA Investment Summit, the premier foreign direct investment (FDI) event in the United States.

The last three days culminated a year’s worth of hard work and collaboration, resulting in another successful Investment Summit that included several new investment announcements and the beginning of countless future partnerships. But most importantly, I have seen firsthand, the excitement and energy that the world has for investing and doing business in the United States.

While this was my first Investment Summit as Acting Director, I am incredibly proud of our team’s work and dedication. This was one of SelectUSA’s largest Investment Summits. More than 3,000 attendees from all over the world joined SelectUSA at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center for one reason: FDI.

And this Investment Summit has a history of delivering: Past attendees have announced nearly $93 billion in new investment projects, and Thursday alone, four companies announced more than $600 million in projects that will create about 650 U.S. jobs.

Secretary Wilbur Ross hosted the Investment Summit, and concluded it by reiterating the Trump Administration’s commitment to promoting global investment in the United States and the fostering innovation. “Having the world’s most innovative, open system of capitalism is the reason why the United States continues to create entirely new industries that generate strong economic growth,” Secretary Wilbur Ross told Investment Summit participants. “There really is no better place in the world to invest.”

This year’s theme, “Invest Here. Grow Here. Succeed Here,” focused on the connections between global commerce and U.S. communities. U.S. Cabinet secretaries, Governors, CEOs from Fortune 500 companies, FDI experts, and others provided attendees with insights into how FDI impacts a variety of sectors and fields, from the burgeoning commercial space industry to site selection.

Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin spoke about the positive impact of recent tax and regulatory reforms on the U.S. market: “We invite you to join us in this economic renewal, to seize the opportunity to invest in America and grow your business here.”

Secretary of Energy Rick Perry championed America’s diverse and expansive energy market to attending investors: “No matter what measure you use, the American energy climate is just outstanding… We’ve seen a cascade of game-changing breakthroughs and technology driving energy production and efficiency up, and energy prices and emissions down.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s remarks focused on U.S. leadership in promoting a safer, more prosperous world, one where international trade shared among equals: “U.S. economic leadership is built on principles of fairness and a level playing field. The State Department will fight to protect the interests of U.S. intellectual property holders around the world; we’ll work to protect your innovation from theft, copyright violations, or other misuse.”

The Exhibition Hall—the networking hub of the Investment Summit—was full of U.S. economic development organizations (EDOs) from across the United States. Each EDO showcased investment opportunities their communities had to offer the international investors in attendance.  This year’s event included more than 2,700 individual matchmaking meetings among the companies and EDOs in attendance.

On Thursday: four global companies broke news:

  • UK-based health services and clinical research company Re:Cognition Health is investing $15 million in Fairfax, Virginia to open a state-of-the-art facility. Re:Cognition will open an additional 15 facilities across the country in coming years;
  • Dutch cold storage company NewCold will invest between $90 million in Burley, Idaho;
  • Japanese automotive electronic components manufacturer Weastec is investing $3 million in Dublin, Ohio; and
  • Indian steel company JSW announced a $500 million investment in Mingo Junction, Ohio, a town of just 3,300 people.

Friday saw some exciting announcements, too:

  • Governor of Puerto Rico Ricardo Rossello announced the issuance of an RFQ for a public-private, utility-scale energy storage project to upgrade and strengthen the island’s energy grid with renewables and efficiency improvements; and
  • Secretary Ross released SelectUSA’s new report on how FDI has benefitted rural America.

The 2018 Investment Summit may have ended, but the work of maintaining U.S. leadership in FDI continues. It was a privilege to hear from and witness those on the front lines of FDI attraction and promotion: state and local-level EDOs. The United States would not be the top destination of FDI were it not for their work. SelectUSA is here to work with them, with you, and we’re here year-round to help in a variety of ways.

Whether you’re a first-time business investor or an experienced economic development professional, SelectUSA can help connect you to the resources and information needed to make your investment a success. Next year’s SelectUSA Investment Summit returns June 10-12, 2019, at the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C.

For more information on SelectUSA and its services, please visit www.selectusa.gov. I also invite you to follow SelectUSA on Twitter and sign up for email updates to stay in the know with us.

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Modernizing America’s Infrastructure with Foreign Direct Investment

June 15, 2018

This post contains external links. Please review our external linking policyThis post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

Guest blog post by Brian Lenihan,  Acting Executive Director of SelectUSA

From expansive freeways and bridges to thriving seaports and airports, infrastructure is the backbone of the U.S. economy, fueling U.S. competitiveness by creating efficient supply chains, reliable energy information, as well as modern and secure transportation systems.

However, years of underinvestment in infrastructure have partially handicapped U.S. growth potential. As the United States now turns toward reinvesting in its infrastructure, there are countless business opportunities for domestic as well as international firms.

Photo of roadways in the United States.

The SelectUSA Investment Summit’s focus on infrastructure this year is demonstrative of the Trump Administration’s commitment to restoring the infrastructure of this country to its full potential, creating economic growth and American jobs in the process.

On Friday, June 22, April Palmerlee, CEO of the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia, will lead a panel on rebuilding and modernizing America’s infrastructure at the 2018 SelectUSA Investment Summit. The panel will highlight President Trump’s “Building a Stronger America” initiative with a focus on regulatory reduction in the permitting process and creative financing, both key to addressing these needs through public-private partnerships as a source of funding at the state and federal levels.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Build America Bureau will also lead a session during the Investment Summit Academy on Wednesday, June 20. Roger Bohnert, Director of the Office of Outreach and Development, will explain how local and state-level economic development organizations can find support for infrastructure projects through the Department of Transportation.

The SelectUSA Investment Summit’s focus on infrastructure this year is demonstrative of the Trump Administration’s commitment to restoring the infrastructure of this country to its full potential, creating economic growth and American jobs in the process.

The 2018 SelectUSA Investment Summit (June 20-22) is the highest-level foreign direct investment event in the United States. U.S. economic development organizations and international business investors will converge in Washington, D.C., to hear from industry experts and high-ranking government officials providing insight into several key areas of U.S. strength: workforce development, the burgeoning commercial space industry, and advanced manufacturing.

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Medical Device Regulations are Changing in Canada and the EU, Prepare Now to Maintain Market Access

June 11, 2018

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

Susan Crawford is the communications specialist for the U.S. Commercial Service’s Global Healthcare Team. The U.S. Commercial Service is the trade promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration.

Webinar: Preparing for the MDSAP

Date:  June, 28, 2018
Time: 
2:00 – 3:00 p.m. EDT
Registration:
https://go.usa.gov/xQVSh
More Information:
Connie.Irrera@trade.gov

Healthcare regulations are changing in major medical device export markets including Canada and the European Union (EU), and the U.S. Commercial Service (CS) Global Healthcare team is helping to inform U.S. companies about these changes and ensure that exporters have the resources they need to access these important markets.

Canada is launching a new Medical Device Single Audit Program (MDSAP) and all medical devices in Canada must be deemed safe and effective, including software accompanying any medical device. As of January 1, 2019, only MDSAP certificates will be accepted. Therefore, exporters will need to register under the new program to maintain the ability to sell medical devices in Canada in 2019.

The MDSAP Consortium includes Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan, and the United States; however, Canada’s Medical Devices Regulations (SOR/98-282) are unique from other regions covered by the MDSAP Consortium in that it is currently the only one that will use MDSAP certificates to make determinations on Class II, III, and IV devices licenses. As Health Canada notes, “All manufacturers must transition from CMDCAS to MDSAP certificates to meet the quality management system requirements of the Medical Devices Regulations.”

To assist exporters with understanding the new regulation, the Global Healthcare Team is holding a webinar about MDSAP registration and requirements on June 28, 2018, featuring Frédéric Hamelin, Manager of the Quality Systems Section of the Medical Devices Bureau at Health Canada. To register for the webinar, please click here: https://go.usa.gov/xQVSh. For more information, contact Canada-based CS Commercial Specialist Connie Irrera at Connie.Irrera@trade.gov.

Medical regulations have already changed in the EU regarding the treatment of healthcare IT applications, post-market surveillance and liabilities borne by manufacturers. The new Regulation 2017-745 took effect in May 2017, and is the master regulation with which all imported medical devices will need to comply. The new rules will apply after a transitional period which will be three years after entry into force for the Regulation on medical devices (spring 2020), and five years after entry into force (spring 2022) for the Regulation on in vitro diagnostic medical devices, according to the EU Commission.

CS Global Healthcare Team Acting Director Taylor Little (CS New Hampshire) and team members David Edmiston (CS Minneapolis, MN) and Melissa Grosso (CS Middletown, CT) are educating U.S. firms and colleagues about these upcoming regulatory changes and the potential impact on U.S. medical device exports. The three international trade specialists recently completed the Regulatory Affairs Certificate Program in Medical Devices from the Regulatory Affairs Professional Society (RAPS), the largest global organization for those involved with the regulation of healthcare and related products.

“We want to prevent a situation in which a small company loses access to an export market because they were not aware of impending regulatory changes,” Little said.

For more information about the CS Global Healthcare Team, visit our website and click here to find a healthcare trade specialist near you.

 

Resources for Exporters

The U.S. Commercial Service Global Healthcare Team offers a variety of resources to educate exporters about market opportunities and trends for healthcare-related products and services.

Global Healthcare Team Website: https://2016.export.gov/industry/health/

Health Technologies Resource Guide: https://2016.export.gov/industry/health/healthcareresourceguide/eg_main_083726.asp 

Top Markets Series Reports

Additional Resources

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SelectUSA’s $30 Billion Impact on the U.S. Economy

June 7, 2018

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

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

Guest blog post by Steven Meyers, Director of Outreach and Communications, SelectUSA 

SelectUSA graphic announcing more than $30 billion of greenfield investment into the United States since its inception.

This month, the SelectUSA team hit a major milestone, having now facilitated more than $30 billion in client-verified business investment projects.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States is a key contributor to U.S. economic growth, directly and indirectly supporting nearly 13 million American jobs. It contributes to U.S. exports, drives innovation, and – most importantly – sends hardworking Americans home with a paycheck.

Since 2007, the SelectUSA program has worked with thousands of clients – business investors, economic development organizations (EDOs), and other leaders – to support job-creating FDI in the United States. Just this month, the SelectUSA team hit a major milestone, having now facilitated more than $30 billion in client-verified business investment projects.

This is the culmination of years of working with clients, hosting global business events, and working closely with American EDOs.

This past year was especially strong, as the SelectUSA team:

  • Held the largest-ever SelectUSA Investment Summit, with more than 1,200 potential business investors and economic development representatives from 52 states and territories.
  • Brought 10 European medical technology startups to Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Austin as part of its first inbound investment mission.
  • Hosted investment road shows in India and China that facilitated more than 300 meetings between EDOs and potential business investors.
  • Released its first-ever research reports, analyzing the positive effects of FDI on manufacturing and high-tech industries.
  • Led 20+ EDO delegations to some of the largest trade shows in the world, including Hannover Messe in Germany and BIO Korea.

We were also happy to share many FDI success stories on the International Trade Administration blog. Swiss additive manufacturing company Oerlikon decided to invest $62 million in Huntersville, North Carolina, after attending the 2016 SelectUSA Investment Summit. A.T. Kearney ranked the United States as the world’s top destination for business investment for the 5th year in a row. And Mahindra recently shared its reasons for investing in the United States, creating jobs in Michigan.

Our team at SelectUSA and our partners in the economic development community make this all possible. I thank them for their dedication and hard work.

You may not have heard of SelectUSA, and you may not regularly think about the impact of FDI, but millions of U.S. workers rely on FDI for their livelihood. We are proud to support that, and we look forward to working with more clients and helping to create U.S. jobs.

Learn more about the upcoming 2018 SelectUSA Investment Summit, June 20-22, in Washington, D.C. at selectusasummit.us. Visit selectusa.gov for more information about our services, events, and more. You can also follow us on Twitter @SelectUSA.