Black Business Month: Celebrating Black Excellence in Business Globally

August 30, 2023

Terri Batch is the director of ITA’s Global Diversity Export Initiative.

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Each August we celebrate National Black Business Month, an annual observance that began nearly 20 years ago by two San Francisco-based Black business executives to highlight the remarkable achievements and contributions of Black-owned businesses across the United States. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, there are 3.6 million Black-owned businesses in the United States, generating $217 billion in annual revenue and supporting more than 3.56 million U.S. jobs. The financial impact of Black- or African American-owned businesses in the United States is multifaceted and dynamic, and translates into real economic impact and creates jobs for workers of all backgrounds.

The U.S. Department of Commerce is committed to carrying out the Biden-Harris Administration’s vision of advancing racial equity and support for disadvantaged or underserved communities. At the International Trade Administration (ITA), this means engaging with Black entrepreneurs and other minority-owned businesses to take their products and services global through exports. ITA offers tailored support for black-owned businesses via the Global Diversity Export Initiative (GDEI), a program that I lead which is designed to help minority-, women-, and LGBTQ+-, disabled-, and veteran-owned businesses showcase their capabilities to international partners. This type of sustained government-to-business (G2B) engagement and outreach efforts means a lot of travel for our team, both across the U.S. and internationally, which our team is proud to do to connect Black businesses with buyers, distributors, and key partners in foreign markets.

This past weekend, I had the privilege of attending the 123rd Annual National Black Business Conference in Atlanta, organized by two ITA strategic partners, the National Business League (NBL) and the National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC). We met with Black business owners from every corner of the country to promote ITA’s resources to support Black entrepreneurs – particularly those who haven’t previously engaged in international trade – discover new international markets for their products and services. During this event, I had the opportunity to moderate a Pan African Diaspora lunch panel that featured the services of the U.S. Commercial Service, Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM), the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), the U.S. Patent and Trademark Agency (USPTO), as well as entrepreneur and founder of Eminent Future, Isaac Barnes. This dynamic panel offered practical advice and support for black businesses pursuing business opportunities in Africa and beyond.

Throughout the conference, we were also joined by speakers from other federal agencies including U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Census Bureau, and Prosper Africa. This whole-of-government approach to provide support for black-owned businesses to grow and scale into international markets is essential to carry out an inclusive and equitable economic agenda. ITA’s team of trade specialists and representatives from other federal agencies at the conference were available throughout the conference to provide counselling and support to the more than 1,000 participants.

I was thrilled to share some insights and reflections from the historic GDEI trade mission to Africa led by Under Secretary for International Trade Marisa Lago earlier this month. Twenty-four U.S. companies explored partnership opportunities and created valuable connections in South Africa, Ghana, and Nigeria markets. What was striking about this mission—22 of the 24 U.S. companies in tow were Black-owned firms or associations, specializing in sectors including technology, cybersecurity, health/beauty products, and electric automotives.

The mission provided a tangible deliverable to support black-owned businesses expand into Africa. Executing the GDEI trade mission and participating in the black business conference in Atlanta are two ways in which ITA amplified black businesses during the month of August. What was even more exciting about the conference in Atlanta, is that five of the companies that participated in the trade mission that ended only a few weeks earlier, changed their schedules to attend the Atlanta conference. The relationships and bonds that were created during the mission amongst the trade mission participants laid an important foundation for future engagement and created an ecosystem for continued support for black businesses in international expansion.

Tiffany Cartwright, Owner of Amarra Products, participated in both the trade mission and the Atlanta conference. She remarked that, “After the amazing trade mission to Africa, I was honestly done traveling for the year. However, because of the amazing experience and awesome folks on the trade mission, especially my dearly esteemed colleague from Detroit, Dr. Ken Harris, I could not miss the opportunity to connect in Atlanta and I am so very glad I did. In addition to connecting with my fellow GDEI trade mission participants, I was able to meet business contacts to expand G.L.A.M. Body Scrubs into Uganda, Kenya, Senegal and India.”

Companies such as DiverseIT seized the opportunity to work with ITA to expand their global footprint and create lasting impact. On the recent GDEI trade mission, DiverseIT, which specializes in providing premiere solutions and services in various areas of information technology, was able to take advantage of ITA business-to-business matchmaking service to sell IT services in South Africa and Ghana. Derrick Knox, Jr., Founder and CEO of DiverseIT remarked that, “The GDEI Trade Mission to Africa has really been an experience of a lifetime. The opportunities it afforded me as a black business owner has been second to none. We had productive conversations with people, government officials, and local businesses on the continent about ways we cannot just be distributors, but contributors to Africa. DiverseIT is grateful for the overall experience and excited about the future ahead.”

Furthermore, Funlayo Alabi, President of Shea Radiance, writes in her LinkedIn reflection about the trade mission that, “This trade mission was a success for us on so many levels. We strengthened our network through meaningful connections with fellow delegates and made many important business connections in South Africa, Ghana and Nigeria. These connections have the potential to significantly grow our business. I am grateful for the GDEI efforts to level the playing field for minority owned businesses by providing access to opportunities in Africa and the global market.”

These are just a few examples of companies that exemplify the potential and resilience of Black-owned businesses in the international arena. So, whether you’re an entrepreneur, startup or an established enterprise, ITA is here to offer valuable assistance to Black business owners looking to export their products or services abroad.

Not sure where to start? Here are several ways you can engage with ITA:

  • Attend a ‘Building Bridges to Global Markets’ event: ITA hosts a workshop series that introduces prospective exporters and associations to facilitate growth, promote innovation, and open doors to new opportunities for Black and other minority-owned businesses across America. See the schedule of upcoming events near you.
  • Discover Global Markets’ will take place next month in a city near you! These one-day business forums will feature opportunities to connect with industry leaders, schedule one-on-one meetings with U.S. commercial diplomats and specialists based in key European markets, and network with fellow exporters.
  • Apply for the GDEI focused ExporTech Training™: GDEI is partnering with the National Alliance of Black Business to conduct a virtual series of six 3-hour trainings that include one-on-one export training and coaching over an 11-week period. The program will accelerate a company’s export strategic planning process into a concise time frame. Application deadline is September 30, 2023. For more information or to apply, contact Eve Lerman at Eve.Lerman@trade.gov.
  • Connect with ITA’s trade experts and an ITA trade specialist to learn more about resources and tools available to help you compete successfully in the global marketplace.

After participating in a Building Bridges event in South Los Angeles, Sarah Harris, President & CEO, of the Black Business Association said, “A driving force behind America’s industrial prowess since its inception has been the ingenuity and enterprise of the Black community. Presently, with over 3 million Black-owned businesses operating in the United States, a growing proportion of them are engaged in producing goods and commodities rather than adhering strictly to service-oriented models. This shift signifies an unprecedented surge in possibilities for expanding exports. Participating in U.S. Commercial’s Building Bridges to Global Markets event proved to be an enlightening and warmly welcomed educational experience. It provided insights into the available resources that empower small enterprises to receive the necessary backing and resources for international growth and prosperity.”

ITA’s work to support Black business owners isn’t limited to the 31 days of August. We encourage Black-owned businesses to connect with us year-round to explore the resources available for their international endeavors. Together, we can ensure that Black entrepreneurs continue to make significant contributions to the U.S. economy and the global business landscape. By empowering Black businesses, we contribute to a more diverse, inclusive, and prosperous future for all.


Small, but Mighty: How the U.S. Government Helps Small Businesses Succeed Internationally

August 22, 2023

Uma Menon is with the ITA Office of Public Affairs

This is the second post in a blog series about the 2023 National Export Strategy, a government-wide strategic plan to support American businesses through trade promotion activities. This article focuses on the Export Assistance for Small Businesses and Underserved Communities chapter of the NES. 

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

There’s no question about it: small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy and the primary source of jobs for Americans. The success of small businesses is crucial for our national economy, especially because they make up 99.7% of all companies in the United States. Trade presents a tremendous opportunity for small businesses to grow. After all, 95% of the world’s customers live outside our borders.

For this reason, the Biden-Harris Administration is committed to helping small businesses, including first-time exporters and those from underserved communities, reach global markets through the 2023 National Export Strategy (NES). The NES highlights that building a more resilient U.S. economy not only requires diversifying what our nation exports, but also expanding the pool of exporters to ensure equitable economic growth in communities across America.

Graphic featuring the ITA logo, an image of a group of 4 business executives in an office in a roundtable setting, and text that reads: National Export Strategy, Helping Small Businesses. Image also features artwork from the National Export Strategy cover page.

Here’s how U.S. government agencies are supporting small businesses looking to export internationally.

1. Introducing small businesses to global markets

There are endless opportunities for exporting, but small businesses often face challenges in tapping into this knowledge due to limited networks and knowledge on how to navigate the process. The International Trade Administration (ITA) is using its wide range of institutional relationships to help businesses find global clients and partners. ITA’s Global Diversity Export Initiative, for example, has also initiated 12 strategic partnerships with community organizations and a Building Bridges to Global Markets event series to share exporting tools and resources with minority, women, LGBTQI+ and veteran-owned businesses. Under the Prosper Africa initiative, the U.S. Agency for International Development is connecting African diaspora businesses with companies in Africa to promote mutual prosperity and success. Additionally, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can participate in government-organized trade missions to visit potential markets or attend trade shows around the world where ITA staff help U.S. exporters connect with potential foreign buyers.

2. Providing trade and commerce data

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, less than 1% of minority-owned businesses export their goods or services. Thorough and expansive data, as collected by the U.S. Census Bureau, ITA and other government agencies can help businesses understand trends in trade and investment in target markets and sectors. The first chapter of the NES, Exports and the U.S. Economy, provides a profile of U.S. trade of goods and services. ITA also hosts a Visual Data Center, which helps users absorb large amounts of data, identify emerging trends, and make informed decisions. Want to learn which export markets may be right for your company? Use ITA’s Global Market Finder and the Market Diversification Tool to identify potential markets. You can also find information about your target markets with the FTA Tariff Tool and USA Trade Online.

3. Supporting digital progress

Keeping up with emerging trends in technology is vital for commercial success and innovation. To help businesses adapt to new technological environments, ITA has a plethora of eCommerce learning resources online as well as trade specialists trained to provide guidance on digital commerce.  With technological progress comes some uncertainty, but the U.S. Government is also prepared to help small businesses identify and mitigate risk early. The Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has created a Cybersecurity Framework, awareness training and other resources to help small businesses develop risk management processes. Similarly, ITA’s STOPfakes program provides companies with online trainings and country toolkits to address IP-related issues before they export.

4. Helping SMEs access capital and thrive

Access to capital and investment can help small businesses achieve greater heights and thrive.  U.S. Government initiatives like the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program provides public financing during the early stages of research and development to support innovation-led growth. The Small Business Administration also has several export loan guarantee programs that increase access to financing.

Learn more about other ways the government is supporting and creating a level playing field for small businesses and underserved communities in the 2023 National Export Strategy


Advancing the Clean Economy: ITA’s Inaugural Hydrogen Industry Roundtable 

August 17, 2023

Charles Saad is an International Trade Specialist with ITA’s Office of Energy and Environmental Industries.

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

Clean energy innovators and producers around the world have been responding to the looming challenge and consequences of climate change by developing and deploying new technologies to protect communities from climate impacts and accelerate the clean energy economy. Investments in clean energy and climate since the Inflation Reduction Act was signed into law have created more than 170,000 jobs, and the law is projected to create more than 1.5 million additional jobs in the United States over the next decade. One particular segment of the clean energy transition, hydrogen, has received unprecedented attention, and demand is expected to grow 9.2% per year through 2030.

Hydrogen – a versatile and flexible energy carrier that can be produced with low or zero carbon emissions – is an emerging fuel that produces water rather than greenhouse gas emissions when combusted or consumed in a fuel cell. It can be generated from several sources, including solar, wind, and fossil fuel, with carbon capture and storage. The development of clean hydrogen technology advances the Biden-Harris Administration’s ambitious climate goals to reach net-zero emissions by 2050—a target necessary to limit warming to 1.5° C and avoid the most severe impacts of climate change.

Image depicts a wetland with a large white tank labeled 'Hydrogen H2'. Wind turbines are shown behind the tank.

In June, the Biden-Harris Administration released the first-ever U.S. National Clean Hydrogen Strategy and Roadmap, aiming to accelerate the production, processing, delivery, storage, and use of clean hydrogen. Later that month, the International Trade Administration (ITA) hosted its inaugural Hydrogen Industry Roundtable with key business leaders from the clean energy sector as well as representatives from the U.S. Departments of Commerce, Energy, and State, and the White House to inform future steps to support this fast-growing industry. The discussion focused on how the Department of Commerce and other federal agencies can support the hydrogen industry as demand grows and advance the economic and environmental priorities of the Biden-Harris Administration.

The roundtable featured diverse stakeholders and industry partners who are directly involved in the manufacturing, trade, and deployment of clean hydrogen technology. Participants ranged from prospective market entrants with technology prototypes to some of the largest electrolyzer manufacturers in the country. Many participants welcomed the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act’s 45V Hydrogen Production Tax Credit, which will provide credits for hydrogen production with sufficiently low emissions intensity.

The hydrogen economy can potentially add 100,000 jobs to the U.S. economy and support our progress towards decarbonization. To boost export competitiveness, some industry leaders expressed interest in:  

  1. Establishing global clean energy standards, underscoring the achievements of existing standards that have proven successful for light-duty fuel cells. 
  1. Identifying and pursuing additional project financing opportunities and feasibility studies, with the backing of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, to further bolster the growth of this sector. 
  1. Strengthening collaboration with international partners to facilitate the smooth import of essential critical minerals, crucial for the production of clean hydrogen, thus fostering more efficient and sustainable processes. 

The roundtable was immensely valuable for connecting private sector representatives with leaders from federal agencies who are eager to support the hydrogen sector’s growth and build a more secure and sustainable clean energy economy. To build on this momentum, ITA’s Office of Energy and Environmental Industries is planning additional stakeholder roundtables to gather recommendations and share best practices aimed at accelerating progress to meet our global climate goals.

For more information regarding upcoming events and opportunities, industry stakeholders are encouraged to contact us at Hydrogen.Economy@trade.gov.


Renewing Trade and Economic Engagement through IPEF

July 28, 2023

By Uma Menon, Office of Public Affairs, International Trade Administration 

Since President Biden launched the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) in May 2022, it has sparked discussions on innovative ways to enhance longer-term economic cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, the world’s most populous and fastest-growing region. The framework harnesses the economic power of the United States and 13 partners — Australia, Brunei, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam — to support the development of a fair, resilient and secure regional economy that can meet the demands of the future.

Indo-Pacific countries are crucial economic partners for the United States. Combined, the markets of the 14 IPEF countries represent nearly 40% of the world’s gross domestic product, presenting significant opportunity for collaboration and economic growth. Trade with the Indo-Pacific supports more than 3 million American jobs and is the source of nearly $900 billion in foreign direct investment in the United States. As the leading exporter of services to the region, the United States is also helping to drive regional growth and development.

This framework for economic cooperation strengthens ties between the United States and the Indo-Pacific region to promote and facilitate trade, improve supply chain resiliency, enable the clean economy transition, and combat corruption and improve tax administration. In addition, by establishing high-standard labor, environmental and accountability commitments as well as facilitating coordination across borders, IPEF puts workers and consumers at the center of foreign economic engagement.

IPEF focuses on forging innovative partnerships across distinct pillars through the negotiation of four separate agreements: (I) Trade, (II) Supply Chains, (III) Clean Economy, and (IV) Fair Economy. On behalf of the U.S. Government, the U.S. Department of Commerce leads on Pillars II, III and co-leads on certain provisions in Pillar IV, while the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) leads on Pillar I. Sharon H. Yuan represents the U.S. Department of Commerce alongside Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, Sarah Ellerman, and together they serve as the Chief Negotiators for the United States with IPEF partner countries.

To advance the Biden-Harris Administration’s objectives, Chief Negotiator Yuan balances complex issues, including commercial diplomacy, policymaking and negotiation both with the IPEF partners and within the U.S. Government. Within the first four months after IPEF’s launch in Tokyo, the 14 partner countries moved quickly to establish shared goals in working to address challenges related to supply chains, climate action, taxation and corruption.

In just over one year, the IPEF partners have engaged in four in-person negotiating rounds in Brisbane, Australia; Bali, Indonesia; Singapore and Busan, South Korea; one Special Negotiating Round in New Delhi, India and two ministerial meetings. During the ministerial meeting held in Detroit, Michigan in May 2023, the 14 partner countries announced a significant achievement, the substantial conclusion of negotiations for one of the IPEF pillars that is crucial to economic resilience for the partners—supply chains.

The proposed IPEF Supply Chain Agreement gives partner countries new tools to collaborate and respond to supply chain disruptions and economic challenges before a crisis occurs, as well as during, through the establishment of an IPEF Supply Chain Council, a Supply Chain Crisis Response Network, and a Labor Rights Advisory Board consisting of government, private sector, and worker representatives that will support cooperation on labor rights.

The Agreement will bolster jobs by helping American businesses plan for an ever-changing international economic landscape. As the pandemic made clear, disruptions in key sectors or goods can lead to shutdowns that leave workers and consumers worse off. The activities envisioned under the Agreement will work to reduce and prevent these kinds of chokepoints and ensure U.S. firms have access to the inputs they need to compete globally.

As part of this, the U.S. plans to work with IPEF partners on programs to strengthen and diversify supply chains across the region. This will include leading trade missions and high-level delegations to target markets, implementing technical assistance and capacity building initiatives on topics like cybersecurity and risk assessment in regional ports, and developing a workforce with skills critical for our supply chains through studies and exchange programs.

With negotiations on the remaining Pillars still underway, the U.S. Department of Commerce remains strongly committed to the transparent development and implementation of the Biden-Harris Administration’s economic agenda and enhancing engagement with our partners in the region. In the coming weeks and months ahead, work will intensify on the Pillars to support this new model for greater economic cooperation and deliver concrete benefits to American businesses and workers and our IPEF Partners.

Stay updated on IPEF developments by visiting the U.S. Department of Commerce’s website: https://www.commerce.gov/ipef


Five Critical Questions About What’s in the 2023 National Export Strategy 

July 10, 2023

By Uma Menon, Office of Public Affairs, International Trade Administration 

The 2023 National Export Strategy (NES) was released on June 29. This is the first blog in a new series to explore trade promotion topics within the NES.

International trade is an undeniably important part of the U.S. economy—it allows businesses to exchange goods and services with people across the globe. It’s no surprise, then, that promoting U.S. exports has been a major focus of the Biden-Harris Administration. As part of the Investing in America agenda, the Administration has made historic investments to boost U.S. competitiveness and ensure equitable place-based development.

Last week, the Administration released the 2023 National Export Strategy (NES), a U.S. government-wide plan to support American businesses through export promotion activities. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo emphasized that, “The NES is an essential element of the Department’s mission to advance U.S. leadership in the industries of the future, revitalize domestic manufacturing, and create quality jobs across the country. It sets forth a cohesive strategy and a robust toolkit to support U.S. exporters and to channel the power of exports into economic progress, growth, and security on behalf of the American people.”

In this blog series, we will take a deeper look at the various sections of the NES. Read on to learn more.

Question 1: What are the objectives and priorities of the NES?

The 2023 NES aims to foster U.S. business innovation and enhance inclusive economic growth for American businesses and workers. The NES provides a framework to align U.S. government export promotion activities and trade financing to help exporters grow global sales and support good-paying jobs. The NES is also focused on promoting export-led growth that is equitable by helping small businesses and underserved communities increase their international competitiveness.

The NES is particularly timely right now as we face a myriad of global challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic caused declines in international trade, so U.S. government efforts are critical to facilitating a complete recovery. Other challenges, such as climate change and Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine, also underscore the importance of promoting America’s economic security and competitiveness on the global stage.

Question 2: Why is export promotion important?

The data are clear: businesses that export on average earn higher revenues, support good-paying American jobs, pay better wages, and bring revenue to regional and local economies. U.S. exports comprise over 10% of our annual GDP, and in 2021, the strongest year on record, exports of goods and services brought $2.6 trillion into our economy. Approximately 97% of goods-exporting companies are small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and during pre-pandemic times, exports supported around 9.9 million jobs annually. As these figures show, promoting exports is vital to unleashing economic opportunity and providing a pathway to growth, diversification, and resiliency for American businesses,  including SMEs, businesses from underserved communities and those new to exporting.

Question 3: What sectors are covered in the NES?

The NES covers a broad range of industries that can benefit from export promotion. Areas of focus include climate and clean technologies, manufacturing, travel and tourism, international education, global infrastructure development, agriculture, fish, and forestry and seafood. The NES addresses key policy areas within these sectors, in addition to initiatives to strengthen trade financing, improve outreach, promote sustainability, and support innovation. The NES also includes a section dedicated to export assistance for small businesses and underserved communities.

Question 4: What are the top U.S. exports?

International trade is central to our economy—the United States is the world’s largest exporter of services and second-largest exporter of goods. America’s top five exports are refined petroleum, petroleum gas, crude petroleum, cars, and integrated circuits. In 2021, we were also the world’s largest exporter of medical instruments, gas turbines, and corn. American companies export goods and services in a variety of sectors—from electronics, to healthcare, to food—and this diversity is crucial to ensuring a strong and resilient economy that can withstand shocks like COVID-19.

Question 5: How does the NES benefit global economies?

While the NES aims to bolster the competitiveness of American businesses and workers, it also promotes innovation and strengthens economic cooperation globally. For example, it includes strategies to position the climate and clean technology sector to help reduce global emissions. These include supporting research and development, expanding manufacturing facilities that support U.S. exports, and helping innovative technologies gain market acceptance. Another section of the NES is dedicated to global infrastructure development, which envisions how the U.S. government can help American companies meet the needs of emerging economies that face an infrastructure deficit by improving interagency coordination to support early stage and active deals and promoting commercial advocacy. The NES will help U.S. exporters identify opportunities to address meaningful global challenges.

To learn more about the NES, visit our webpage, and stay tuned as we highlight more features in the months ahead!


Through Trade, U.S. Companies Can Help Export Climate Solutions Globally

May 10, 2023

Megan Hyndman and Victoria Yue are climate trade policy specialists with ITA’s Industry & Analysis business unit.

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

A few weeks ago, we witnessed communities across the world come together to celebrate Earth Day. Tending to Mother Earth has never been more important, especially as climate change and extreme weather are challenging the way global businesses and governments prepare for and respond to disasters. Helping communities become more resilient has never been more important; thus climate adaptation has emerged as an opportunity for governments to collaborate with the private sector to think creatively about ways to ensure a more sustainable future.

Illustration featuring a city skyline featuring building and a park, along with artwork of symbols that include a hand holding a plant, a globe grid with a plant, an image of a water drop, recycling logo, wind turbines, and heart health symbol.

International trade and commerce are intrinsically linked with climate change. The Biden-Harris Administration made climate change a top priority and recent legislation, such as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act and the Inflation Reduction Act, commits funding for programs that strengthen the resilience of U.S. critical infrastructure, water services, public health, and food security systems. The Commerce Department is a leader in efforts to ensure that we are aligning resources with climate priorities, including supporting U.S. trade and investment in technologies that help mitigate and adapt to climate change.

To that end, this week, the Department of Commerce and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency published a Climate Adaptation Request for Information inviting comments (through June 30) on opportunities and challenges facing exporters of climate adaptation and resilience-related technologies and services in key sectors, including: energy resilience, environmental technologies, resilient transportation systems, digital solutions, and infrastructure and engineering services. We welcome U.S. companies and other stakeholders to provide feedback to ensure that ITA’s trade policy and trade promotion activities are aligned with promoting U.S. industry competitiveness in climate adaption and resilience-related solutions.

At ITA, we continue to help connect climate solutions businesses with global markets and are committed to promoting the deployment of technologies that will reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. In the lead up to the UN Climate Change Conference, or COP28, in December 2023, we are partnering with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to support a U.S. GreenTech business delegation to the United Arab Emirates (COP28’s host country) on May 29 to June 1. U.S. businesses that participate in this mission have the opportunity explore learn more about opportunities to deploy climate solutions in the region. Follow ITA on Twitter to learn more about this mission as it unfolds.

If you are a U.S company advancing climate solutions or are a forward-thinking business leader looking to expand your business into international markets, reach out to ITA. Let’s create a better, more sustainable future for the next generation together!


The Road to Trade Winds ASEAN: Indonesia

March 6, 2023

Eric Hsu is Counselor for Commercial Affairs at U.S. Embassy Jakarta.

This is the sixth and final 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.

Looking to grow your business internationally? Indonesia is where you need to set your sights.

As the world’s fourth most populous country with attractive economic fundamentals and strong democratic values, Indonesia has promising market potential for U.S. companies. Total bilateral trade between our countries has also been steadily increasing in recent years, reaching over $44 billion last year. At the same time, Indonesia is a market that requires both time and investment to develop an understanding of policies and regulations and the landscape of local industry, as well as to build relationships with the public and private sectors.

Strong economic growth has facilitated a growing middle class in Indonesia with increasing disposable income. As such, Indonesian households are actively seeking and consuming U.S. products and services. Businesses active in the mining, information and communications technology (ICT), and health care sectors are among the best positioned to benefit from an accelerated expansion in economic activities.

An illustration featuring the ITA logo and the skyline of Jakarta, Indonesia, with two lines of text that read: Road to Trade Winds ASEAN; Indonesia

In the mining sector, Indonesia possesses over one-fifth of the world’s nickel reserves and is the world’s third largest source of cobalt. Both of these are key inputs for clean tech, like electric vehicles, and battery technology. To capitalize on these natural resources, the Indonesian government is pursuing policies to strengthen downstream processes that strengthen domestic production capacity.

The ICT sector is another key commercial opportunity. Digital platforms, including smart phone applications, have become so popular that are now a must-have for daily life in Indonesia, counting active users in the hundreds of millions. To support these digital technologies, Indonesia is modernizing its telecommunications infrastructure to 5G. U.S. companies will find substantial opportunities with related telecommunications equipment and technology that can help further accelerate Indonesia’s digital transformation.

Finally, the Indonesian government has made tremendous strides in expanding access to quality health care. American medical devices, diagnostic equipment, and medicines are helping healthcare providers deliver the best care possible with cutting edge technologies and approaches. That said, companies in this sector must be willing to navigate nuanced procurement, local production and tax requirements in order to succeed.

As a way to provide export opportunities for U.S. companies in this region, the International Trade Administration (ITA) looks forward to hosting a Trade Winds mission stop in Indonesia on March 16 as part of the Trade Winds Trade Mission and Business Forum. Although registration is at capacity, participating companies will have the opportunity to meet with commercial diplomats and country experts to learn more about opportunities in Indonesia during the Business Forum in Bangkok, which will take place from March 13-15, 2023. For more information, visit the Trade Winds ASEAN website.

Over the coming year, the U.S. Embassy Jakarta will create programs focused on expanding access to market opportunities, including the digital economy, energy and health care spaces among other sectors. If your company would like to learn more, please contact us at office.jakarta@trade.gov.


The Road to Trade Winds ASEAN: Philippines

February 24, 2023

Paul Taylor is the Senior Commercial Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Manila, Philippines

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

The United States and the Philippines have had a very close trade relationship for more than a hundred years. With a bilateral trading relationship valued at over $30 billion annually, the Philippines punches above its weight when compared against that of much larger neighboring countries in Southeast Asia. Furthermore, thanks to our deep cultural, economic, and historical ties, Filipino customers and businesses tend to be knowledgeable and avid consumers of American products. U.S. companies interested in doing business or expanding into the dynamic Indo-Pacific market should strongly consider the Philippines.

The United States is among the Philippines’ top three trading partners and is one of the largest foreign investors which contributes to employment and economic growth across the archipelago. The Philippines’ largest export by value is semiconductor chips, tested, assembled, and packaged in the Philippines for international markets, and a large number of U.S.-based semiconductor manufacturers help train Filipino workers, increasing access to high-paying jobs and helping drive the country’s economy. Estimates are that the Philippines will spend approximately $4.4 billion on digital infrastructure over the next six years, which also offers U.S. companies in the information and communications technology and cybersecurity sectors numerous opportunities to export goods and services.

Graphic that reads "Road to Trade Winds ASEAN" "Philippines". Graphic contains an ITA logo and an image of a skyline from Manila, Philippines.

Defense and Security

The U.S.-Philippines partnership in defense and security is rapidly becoming a critical pillar of our security cooperation in the region. For U.S. companies with security and defense technology and equipment, this creates many areas of opportunity to partner with the Armed Forces of the Philippines. The Filipino security forces are well-trained, highly efficient, and have a strong preference for U.S. equipment and modernized technology. Your contacts at the U.S. Embassy in Manila can provided unparalleled access to key decision makers with the Armed Forces and within the Department of National Defense.

Clean Tech, Transportation and Healthcare

Clean energy and tech, transportation infrastructure, and healthcare sectors are all growing prospects for U.S. companies. For example, through the country’s “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program, U.S. firms can sub-contract through key suppliers or engage in public-private partnership projects that advance upskilling and the digital economy alongside a Philippine partner when competing for public tenders.

Trade Winds

As a way to provide export opportunities for U.S companies in this region, we at the International Trade Administration (ITA) look forward to hosting a Trade Winds mission stop in Philippines on March 9, 2023 as part of the Trade Winds Trade Mission and Business Forum. There is still room for interested businesses to participate at the Business Forum in Bangkok which will take place from March 13-15, 2023. For more information, and to sign up, visit the Trade Winds ASEAN website.

In the coming months, the Commercial Section of the U.S. Embassy in Manila will be creating programs specifically focused on expanding U.S. access to market opportunities in commercial space, health care, telecommunications, agricultural technology, and defense and security. To learn more, contact businessphilippines@trade.gov.


The Road to Trade Winds ASEAN: Malaysia

February 14, 2023

Francis Peters is the Senior Commercial Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Malaysia

This is the third 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 for opportunities to export to Southeast Asia should strongly consider Malaysia. A country with a growing upper-middle income population, Malaysia has a well-established legal framework, a business-friendly environment, and a large English-speaking worker and consumer base. With an increasingly receptive market for sophisticated products and services, including in technology, manufacturing, and healthcare, Malaysia remains the 19th largest trading partner of the United States, and trade between the two countries has nearly doubled over the last decade, peaking at $72.9 billion in 2022.

If you are a U.S. exporter looking to explore new emerging sectors, Malaysia’s position as a regional hub for technology, logistics, and manufacturing offers tremendous potential. Furthermore, since Malaysian consumers have fully adopted digital payment transactions, those who export consumer goods have low-cost access to the country’s wide consumer base. Ecommerce is expected to grow throughout the country, reaching 56 percent of Malaysians by 2027, with fashion, electronics, and beauty/health products expected to generate the highest revenue.

Malaysia has also become a leading global destination for international patients in Asia. The Malaysian government’s focus on providing world-class quality healthcare is driving demand for healthcare technology, medical devices, and digital health products and services. Other economic sectors are also rapidly expanding. The country aspires to be a regional aerospace hub and an integral part of the global aerospace supply chain, focusing on aerospace digital technology, advanced manufacturing (“Industry 4.0”) ecosystems, and human capital development—all of which present opportunities to enterprising U.S. firms.

Malaysia welcomes small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), which are generally perceived to be more flexible and result oriented in comparison to larger companies. For example, a California-based SME and U.S. Commercial Service client that manufactures silicone gripping aids for users with disabilities was able to partner with a Malaysian distributor and open up a new market for the company in 2022.

As a way to provide export opportunities for U.S companies in this region, we at the International Trade Administration (ITA) look forward to hosting a Trade Winds mission stop in Malaysia on March 16 as part of the Trade Winds Trade Mission and Business Forum. Although the business-to-business matchmaking meetings in Malaysia are at capacity, interested companies may still register for the Business Forum in Bangkok, which will take place from March 13-15, 2023. For more information, and to sign up, visit the Trade Winds ASEAN website.

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

Other Upcoming Trade Events in Malaysia 

March 17, 2023: The U.S.-Malaysia Clean Tech Forum will be a platform to engage the Malaysian government and private sector in strengthening the clean economy through the implementation of U.S. technologies and expertise. Discussions will center on best practices in carbon mitigation and renewable energy, featuring experts from both countries. As this event is by invitation only, interested companies may contact the U.S. Commercial Service Malaysia to register.

May 23-27, 2023: The Langkawi International Maritime & Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA) is a maritime and aerospace exhibition that takes place once every two years in Langkawi, Malaysia. The last event took place in 2019. The show welcomes companies from the most diverse sectors of the aerospace and maritime industry, including space, civil, military, manufacturing technology, rotary, and MRO providers.

September 14, 2023: The Clinical Waste Trade Mission is an excellent opportunity for U.S. waste management exporters to explore market opportunities in Southeast Asia. The event will include matchmaking appointments, market briefings, policy-focused roundtables, site visits, and opportunities to build relationships with potential partners and representatives from the Ministry of Health and the Department of Environment.


The Road to Trade Winds ASEAN: Vietnam

February 7, 2023

Steve Green is the Senior Commercial Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Vietnam. 

This is the third 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.

The Vietnamese economy is one of the fastest growing in Asia, and American companies are increasingly looking there as a place to do business. Two-way trade in goods between the United States and Vietnam has increased dramatically over the past 28 years since the normalization of U.S.-Vietnam bilateral ties—from $450 million in 1995 to nearly $139 billion in 2022. If you’re a U.S. business looking to explore new opportunities, Vietnam offers tremendous potential worth considering.

Currently, Vietnam is the United States’ 8th largest goods trade partner and our largest goods trading partner in Southeast Asia. Key U.S. exports include agriculture, aviation, defense and security, healthcare, IT, environmental technology, power generation, and more. It is also the fastest-growing economy in Southeast Asia. Vietnam has a large population of potential consumers and workers as well—over 100 million people, 70 percent of whom are under the age of 40. Given our robust and growing trade relationship, the country’s rapid economic growth, and its sizable and young population, Vietnam presents numerous export opportunities for American companies across a variety of sectors. Altogether, U.S. goods and services exports to Vietnam supported more than 55,000 U.S. jobs in 2021.

This demonstration of increased commercial engagement comes at an opportune moment as this year our countries celebrate the 10th anniversary of the U.S.-Vietnam Comprehensive Partnership. Looking ahead, the United States seeks to elevate our relationship to a Strategic Partnership that will help advance the deep cooperation we have on trade and investment. For example, the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) has identified clean energy, health care, critical infrastructure, and technology as priority sectors to enhance its export finance portfolio in Vietnam, further expanding opportunities for U.S. businesses of all sizes.

As a way to provide export opportunities for U.S companies in this region, the International Trade Administration looks forward to hosting a Trade Winds mission stop in Vietnam on March 10 as part of our agency’s larger Trade Winds Trade Mission and Business Forum. Although the business-to-business matchmaking meetings in Vietnam are at capacity, interested companies may still register for the Business Forum in Bangkok, which will take place from March 13-15, 2023. For more information, and to sign up, visit the Trade Winds ASEAN website.

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

Other Upcoming Trade Events in Vietnam 

August 3-5, 2023: The Vietnam International Medical and Pharmaceutical Exhibition is the Vietnamese Ministry of Health’s international trade fair covering medical technology showcasing the latest achievements of the healthcare industry in Vietnam. Exhibitors come from all over the world to find new business partners in Vietnam’s growing healthcare sector. 

November 2023: The U.S.-Vietnam Trade Forum is the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade’s annual flagship platform to showcase progress in the bilateral commercial relationship and discuss collaboration opportunities in the country’s highest-potential industry sectors.