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Arlington County, Va.: Showcasing at SelectUSA

July 20, 2017

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

By Natalie Monkou, Business Development Manager, Arlington Economic Development.

Arlington Economic Development logoAs a region, the Greater Washington area is a prime destination for international companies that want to expand and grow in the United States. Arlington’s location, just across the Potomac River from Washington, allows companies, both regional and international, unparalleled access to the entire region and the world.

For the past three years, Arlington Economic Development (AED) has attended the SelectUSA Investment Summit (Summit), using the event as an opportunity to showcase Arlington, Va., and its community, businesses, and infrastructure. International companies interested in expanding or locating to the Washington region will find that Arlington has many tangible benefits including:

  • Strategic East Coast location within a two-hour flight time to major business centers in the United States
  • Easy access to three international airports (Washington Dulles International Airport, Ronald Reagan National Airport, Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport) that connect to markets representing 80 percent of the world’s economy
  • Closest proximity of any Virginia jurisdiction to U.S. federal government, international organizations, and institutions
  • Highest percentage of 25- to 34-year-olds in the country with the majority working in the professional, scientific and technical services industries

As we look to grow and expand our business community, Arlington views SelectUSA as a great convener of subject matter experts that discuss topics of interest to our mission and community. Currently, Arlington is focused on attracting companies in high technology markets such as cybersecurity, energy, health, education, and big data. The Summit provides an ideal platform to engage with compatible businesses and organizations.

This year, as a kickoff to the Summit, we co-hosted a regional dinner with the Greater Washington China Investment Center and our partner EDOs from Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Northern Virginia. During this event, AED representatives engaged with 120 Chinese delegates and investors and local companies that are currently doing business or are interested in expanding their business to the United States.

The Summit is also a great platform to attract international companies. During our first visit to SelectUSA in 2015, AED met with representatives from Arktis Detection Systems, Inc., a Zurich, Switzerland-based company that develops cutting-edge radiation detection systems. The company has received funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which also happens to be headquartered in Arlington, to continue work on its advanced range of detectors. As a result of those discussions, in April 2016, Arktis opened its first U.S. subsidiary in Arlington. The Arlington location has given the company a home base in the United States to support and grow its operations. It was especially rewarding this year to see and listen to Rick Muntz, acting president of Arktis, speak on the “Preparing for and Managing Sustainable Growth: Exploring U.S. Soft Landings” panel at the Summit.

Overall, this served as a reminder of the success and the support that international companies, especially early-stage startups, receive when locating or expanding to the United States and Arlington, Va.

Interested in learning more about Arlington, Va., or how Arlington Economic Development can assist with your company’s business move? Contact us at aed@arlingtonva.us.

 

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Learn Exporting Essentials to Capitalize on Foreign Markets

July 17, 2017

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

By Linda Abbruzzese, Senior International Trade Specialist at the Office of Digital Initiatives, U.S. Commercial Service and Patrick Morris, Intern at the Office of Strategic Partnerships, Industry and Analysis

The U.S. Commercial Service, the export promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA), is collaborating with the National Customs Brokers Freight Forwarders Association of America (NCBFAA) Educational Institute to present an exporting mechanics webinar series. The NCBFAA represents more than 970 member companies with 110,000 employees in international trade, and through its various committees, counsel and representatives, the Association maintains a close watch over legislative and regulatory issues that affect trade.

NCBFAA, an ITA Strategic Partner since 2016, collaborates with ITA to provide educational opportunities to the larger trade community. Based on a mutual desire to increase U.S. wages and jobs through exporting, ITA and NCBFAA host educational sessions in areas that include supply chain management, customs brokerage, global logistics, and export transactions. In 2015, exports supported an estimated 11.5 million jobs in the U.S., providing increased security to the job market and greater prosperity to the national economy.

This series will give U.S. small and medium size businesses the basic exporting information they need to help them increase exports abroad, while increasing employment in the United States. The series will consist of 12 hour-long, monthly sessions and cover a variety of topics, including “Ecommerce Best Practices and Strategies”, “AES / EEI Regulations”, “Export Compliance”, “Export Control Basics”, “ATA Carnet 101″, “Sanctions”, “Export Administration Regulations”, “Export Licenses”, “ECCN Classification Numbers”, “Letters of Credit”, “U.S. Harmonized Tariff Classification Numbers”, “Duty Drawback and Refunds.”

The informational sessions are designed to assist companies in the preliminary stages of the exporting business, including those that have never exported before. The series will provide valuable tips as well as contacts in the exporting community to help companies grow and compete in foreign markets across the global.

For more information about the webinar series or to register for the sessions, please visit http://www.ncbfaa.org/Scripts/4Disapi.dll/4DCGI/cms/review.html

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Meet the Experts Through ITA Trade Events

July 13, 2017

By Anne Driscoll, Assistant Secretary for Industry & Analysis and Tom McGinty, National Director for U.S. Operations, U.S. Commercial Service

No matter what business you’re in, chances are that as an exporter you use U.S. and international trade shows and industry or market-focused workshops, seminars, and conferences as part of your marketing mix.  As the federal agency primarily responsible for international trade matters, ITA understands this and works to fulfill the needs of companies that export with an eclectic mix of events.

Major Trade Shows

At 25 or more major U.S. industry shows every year, ITA provides export experts who counsel, offer market briefings, and connect U.S. exhibitors to international buyers. The International Buyer Program adds significant value to your trade show experience. While you’re working hard to connect with buyers at your booth, ITA brings the connections, information, and expertise to you. To see which shows are participating in the International Buyer Program this year, visit export.gov/ibp.

Export-focused, U.S.-based In-person Events

These events address common exporter interests and offer expert, on-site trade counseling and export education. Some events are short, single-topic events; others cover the full spectrum of international trade issues. Typical shorter in-person events include “export 101,” “e-commerce” or “export compliance” workshops. Full-scale conferences like the U.S.-based Discover Global Markets and internationally based Trade Winds series offer an industry or regional focus and come with a wide spectrum of activities including one-on-one appointments with U.S. commercial diplomats based overseas; business-to-business matchmaking meetings with foreign buyers; briefings that relate to particular industry export issues; and plenty of opportunities for networking with fellow exporters, export service providers, and U.S. and foreign government officials. To find out more about in-person events, visit export.gov/discoverglobalmarkets OR export.gov/tradewinds.

Trade Missions

These events bring U.S. companies to international markets to explore and pursue export opportunities by meeting directly with potential buyers, partners, or distributors in their sector. Trade Missions capitalize on the extensive connections and expertise of ITA staff worldwide, and can typically accommodate 10-25 companies. Missions offer meetings with pre-screened foreign buyers; networking with local industry multipliers; market briefings from ITA and local business and government experts; and site visits. Mission participation is by application and selection, and you can get more information about how the process works at export.gov/trade-missions.

Webinars

These are free, quick, easy ways to get up to speed on a variety of topics and hear from government and private sector experts. ITA sponsors webinars every month and topics range from export compliance to cybersecurity and market entry tips. Webinars are also typically held prior to in-person events and can help exporters learn more before committing to participation. For more information about ITA webinars visit export.gov/webinars.

For general exporting information and resources or to find an office near you, visit export.gov/services.

 

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Foreign Direct Investment: Driving Global Competitiveness and Innovation

July 7, 2017

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

The following is a cross-post from the U.S. Economic and Development Administration 

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) plays an important role in the U.S. economy. It leads to the creation of jobs, an increase in wealth and living standards, and overall growth and innovation that drive the U.S. economic competitiveness. Last month, the Commerce Department hosted the 2017 SelectUSA Investment Summit providing a platform to communicate economic priorities and affirm the United States as the number one destination in the world for foreign direct investment.Direct Employment by majority foreign-owned firms in the US graph

The United States remains an attractive destination for FDI for a variety of reasons, including a large consumer base, a productive workforce, a highly innovative environment, and legal protections. As a result, foreign firms make investments in the United States on a regular basis by establishing new operations, purchasing existing operations of another company, or providing additional capital to their existing U.S. operations.

The U.S. welcomes foreign investment, and the numbers show that investors have confidence in the opportunities here. With a population of 320 million and a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) that’s over $18 trillion, our nation is home to more FDI stock than any other country.

The numbers paint the big picture:

  • 12.1 million jobs are attributable to FDI.
  • 6.4 million reflects the number of U.S. workers who are directly employed by majority foreign-owned firms.
  • 2.4 million includes jobs attributable to the economic activity of majority foreign-owned firms, including jobs in those firms’ supply chains, jobs attributable to higher incomes, and other economic effects.
  • In the manufacturing sector alone, productivity growth from technology spillovers associated with FDI contributed 3.5 million jobs.

At the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administratoin (EDA), FDI is one of our investment priorities. These priorities are designed to provide an overarching framework to guide the agency’s investment portfolio and ensure its investments contribute the strongest positive impact on sustainable regional economic growth and diversification.

Since FY2011, EDA invested more than $109 million in 91 projects to help advance local strategies to attract FDI. Of the total, 61 projects totaling close to $98 million are expected to create and/or retain 30,073 jobs and attract over $8 billion in private investment. The other 30 projects totaling close to $12 million support FDI-related planning, research, technical assistance, access to capital, and/or other activities that are essential for successful economic development and job creation in the future.

Examples that show how EDA is investing to support FDI include:

  • Mississippi: Mississippi State University’s Canton-based office received the Mississippi Economic Development Council’s Community Economic Development Award for its work to bring advanced manufacturing jobs back to America. The program acquired its initial funding through EDA. According to the University, the initiative resulted in a nearly $11 million economic impact, with more than 33 direct investment opportunities identified and 333 jobs created or saved. Additionally, the program saw 262 industry certifications and 221 paid internships in high-demand advanced manufacturing skills.
  • Georgia: Over the last three decades, the global automotive sector has established a noticeable presence in the Southeast United States. From Mercedes in Alabama, to BMW in South Carolina, many automotive manufacturers are seeking to take advantage of the Southeast’s comparatively inexpensive cost of doing business, warm climate, and excellent transportation networks. In 2015, EDA invested $700,000 in Public Works Program funds in the city of Lavonia, Georgia, to make sewer systems improvements that helped bring a foreign-based automotive parts manufacturer to the region. As a result, it is estimated that the region will gain 400 new manufacturing jobs and attract $54 million in foreign direct investment.
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Small Medical Technology Firm Overcomes Shipping Challenges and Succeeds in International Sales

June 30, 2017

Pompeya Lambrecht is a senior international trade specialist in the U.S. Commercial Service Northern Virginia office and a member of the Global Healthcare Team. The U.S. Commercial Service is the export promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration.

Last year I met Patrick Cheng, CEO of eKare, Inc., when he was signing a distribution agreement to sell his firm’s medical wound imaging devices in Asia and other regions throughout the world.  This is a big success for the Washington, D.C., area start-up that wasestablished in 2014.  However, without previous international shipping experience, Cheng needed help figuring out how best to ship his products. tech

eKare’s products use machine intelligence and sensor technologies to deliver wound imaging directly to a mobile device at the point of care.  While the product looks like a tablet, it’s a medical device powered by eKare’s proprietary software.

High-tech medical devices such as these make our lives better, but they present special challenges in the international trade environment.  For instance, do you ship the device as a computer tablet or a medical device?  What product registrations does eKare need to comply with foreign government regulations?  What U.S. export regulations does eKare need to observe?

With the help of the U.S. Commercial Service and introductions to private sector volunteers like Kathy O’Keefe, appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to serve on the Virginia/D.C. District Export Council, eKare completed its first international shipments.

“Exporting can be very complicated, and we couldn’t have done it without guidance from Pompeya and Kathy, and support from the U.S. Department of Commerce,” Cheng said.

Selling internationally can seem daunting.  Nevertheless, with management’s commitment and patience to sell overseas, even small companies like eKare can increase their international footprint.  There is a network of resources available to help small and medium-sized companies sell internationally.  These include other federal agencies like the EXIM Bank as well as local economic development partnerships, like the Virginia Small Business Development Center.  Healthcare firms can access sector-specific resources from the U.S. Commercial Service Global Healthcare Team. To learn more, please contact your local U.S. Commercial Service office.

 

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U.S. Exporters Poised to Capitalize on Global Demand for Smart Grid Products and Services

June 29, 2017

By Vickie Gunderson, Smart Grid Analyst

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

The average number of Internet-connected devices per household is expected to increase five-fold by 2022, leading to potentially over 50 billion connected devices by 2025.  As more devices are connected to the Internet– in our homes, offices, and manufacturing facilities – it is becoming increasing more critical that people have access to reliable, secure, affordable, and clean electricity to power them.  And U.S. firms that provide the products and services to meet these grid modernization needs are seeing increased global interest.

Earlier this year, we released an Update to the 2016 Smart Grid Top Markets Report. These articles offer detailed analysis of the near-term growth potential for U.S. exporters of smart grid products and services overall and for three sub-sectors:  transmission and distribution (T&D) equipment, smart grid information communications technologies (ICT), and energy storage.  The Update expanded the number of ranked international markets for U.S. exporters from 34 to 50 markets and ranks them according to opportunities.

Across the suite of sub-sectors, U.S. exporters remain global leaders. Deployment of these advanced technologies across the United States to modernize our grid is serving as a global test bed for these disruptive technologies. Nowhere is this more apparent than for energy storage systems.

Today, the United States is one of the global leaders in deployment of energy storage with more than 200 battery projects totally over 400 MW added to the system and remains the world leader for testing innovative policy, regulatory, and business models. However, projects are being deployed across the globe with global deployment of energy storage expected to increase seven fold over the next five years.  This presents a key export opportunity for U.S. manufacturers and service providers.

Over the last eight years, the costs of grid-scale battery energy storage has decreased ten fold. These types of cost reductions are driving the deployment of a wide range of energy storage systems in the United States and around the globe and enabling electric utilities to store electrons (electricity) to provide power when it is needed and help steady the 24/7 need to balance the generation and the demand for electricity.

As a result, the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (TPCC-REEE), and the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Energy are leading an interagency effort to enhance services and programs to support U.S. competiveness in a range of sub-sectors across this diverse industry – including for energy storage.

In the  2016 Smart Grid Top Markets report, the Department of Commerce included dedicated analysis on energy storage to increase market intelligence for U.S. exporters, and our January 2017 Update included the first sub-sector rankings for energy storage exporters. Additionally, at DistribuTECH 2017, under the International Buyer Program, the Department of Commerce led delegations totaling more than 400 foreign buyers to facilitate meetings with U.S. energy storage and smart grid companies, as well as interact with U.S. utilities who have successfully deployed these products domestically.

Further recognizing the link between technology deployment and regulatory barriers, we have engaged in a series of market-specific activities. At the third U.S.-India Smart Grid Workshop in New Delhi,I participated in public-private discussions on the challenges to smart grid technology deployment in India. We also held discussions on communications networks for electric utilities in Brazil under our partnership with the Utilities Technologies Council through our Market Development Cooperator Program, and later this year (October 31-November 2), we will be leading a delegation of U.S. firms to Toronto and Calgary for the Renewable Energy Integration Trade Mission.

And this is just the beginning! Stay tuned for upcoming events related to global smart grid opportunities, and a full update to the Smart Grid Top Market Report later this fall. Sign up for our Global Energy Team newsletter to stay in the know!

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Helping North Carolina Small Businesses Learn How to Access Finance and Get Paid from Export Sales!

June 28, 2017

Yuki Fujiyama, a trade finance specialist in the Office of Finance and Insurance Industries and the author of the Trade Finance Guide: A Quick Reference for U.S. Exporters, currently serves as the Global Finance Team Leader.  Greg Sizemore, the Executive Secretary of the North Carolina District Export Council, currently serves as the Director of the U.S. Commercial Service North Carolina.

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

Expanding access to finance for U.S. exporters, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and their foreign buyers is important to the International Trade Administration (ITA), the federal government’s lead export promotion agency. As part of the Department’s efforts to help American SMEs fully capitalize on markets around the world, ITA and the North Carolina Small Business and Technology Development Center (NC SBTDC) partnered to present The Global Trade Finance Workshop recently at the University of North Carolina Wilmington Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship.

Participants of the Global Trade Finance Workshop at the University of North Carolina Wilmington Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Many SMEs face significant challenges in accessing finance and ensuring they get paid from export sales customers. The Wilmington workshop helped the 10 local SMEs in attendance to discover ways to overcome such challenges by learning about the methods of payment and export finance options described in ITA’s Trade Finance Guide.

In 2016, North Carolina’s $30 billion in goods exports helped contribute to the $2.21 trillion of U.S. goods and services exports. In 2015, more than 158,000 U.S. jobs were supported by goods exports from North Carolina.  In 2014, nearly 10,000 SMEs in North Carolina exported their goods to global markets, accounting for 88 percent of North Carolina goods exporters.

NC Port of Wilmington

NC Port of Wilmington

These Global Trade Finance Workshops are designed to help SME exporters learn how to improve their cash flow cycle, profitability, and competitive advantage globally, and focus on the following topics:

  • Analyzing and understanding your financial capacity for trade finance.
  • Determining the best method of payment for international transactions.
  • Weighing the pros and cons of cash-in-advance and open accounts.
  • Considering letters of credit and documentary collection options.
  • How to manage export working capital to meet growing customer demand.
  • How to utilize export credit insurance to gain and retain foreign customers.
  • Leveraging overseas private investment in foreign direct investment.

Do you need more info on trade finance? Our Trade Finance Guide is a great place to start!  ITA also offers two helpful videos that are all about getting paid and financing options available to U.S. companies beginning to export.