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NOTICE: Due to a lapse in appropriations…

December 26, 2018

NOTICE: Due to a lapse in appropriations, this account will not be updated until a new appropriations act is enacted. Learn more: https://www.commerce.gov/news/blog/2018/12/shutdown-due-lapse-congressional-appropriations

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ITA’s Enforcement and Compliance Unit

December 21, 2018

Candice Appiakorang, Public Affairs Specialist in our Office of Public Affairs sat down with ITA’s Enforcement and Compliance Communications Director, Brooke Kennedy, to get an in-depth look into the importance of enforcing trade laws and ensuring compliance with trade agreements. Keep reading to find out how this office promotes the creation and maintenance of U.S. jobs and economic growth.

Brooke, thanks for joining me for this important discussion on the Enforcement and Compliance business unit within the International Trade Administration (ITA). Here at ITA we are focused not only on the international competitiveness of U.S. industry, promoting trade and investment, but also ensuring fair trade and compliance with trade laws and agreements. Your office leads this effort. Tell me about the Enforcement and Compliance (E&C) unit and your role?Legal signs

Thanks, Candice.  I am really excited to talk about the work of E&C, especially at a time when the importance of fair trade is covered in the media almost daily! 

First, let me say that, very simply, I see the role of ITA as helping U.S. companies participate effectively in the global trading system. In E&C, we carry out this mission by providing a suite of services that enhance the strength of U.S. industries and ensure fair competition both at home and abroad. 

To do this, our E&C team has four primary responsibilities:  enforcing the laws on dumped (sold at less-than-fair value) or unfairly subsidized imports, preventing unfair foreign trade barriers, ensuring compliance with trade agreements by our trading partners, and aiding U.S. manufacturers access the benefits of foreign-trade zones.  In short, E&C has the critical responsibility of making sure that international trade works for American manufacturers and workers. 

Let’s touch on each of E&C’s responsibilities a little bit more. What types of services does each team provide to U.S firms and exporters?

One of E&C’s core responsibilities, our bread and butter, is to examine allegations of sales at less-than-fair value and unfair subsidization, which we refer to as antidumping and countervailing duty (AD/CVD) investigations.  That means that when a foreign company dumps a product into the U.S. market at an unfair price or when a foreign government unfairly subsidizes a particular product, E&C investigates those practices and, when warranted, provides relief to a domestic industry by imposing a duty on imports.  Currently, we have 51 active investigations into allegations of dumping or unfair subsidization from countries such as China, India, Thailand, and Vietnam.  E&C is also currently enforcing over 460 border measures on products ranging from steel and aluminum to olives and pasta.

E&C also provides advocacy and support for U.S. companies subject to foreign trade remedy actions like AD and safeguard proceedings, and we monitor foreign government compliance with international obligations.  Our E&C team works directly with U.S. companies to help ensure they are well-positioned to defend their interests and our team can even intervene with foreign authorities to protect the interests of U.S. exporters.  In 2016, our advocacy efforts helped lead to the termination of 27 foreign trade remedy actions, affecting approximately $374 million in U.S. exports. 

In addition, E&C makes sure foreign governments comply with the terms of our trade agreements.  Non-compliance often manifests itself as non-tariff barriers to U.S. exports and investment; E&C works with experts across ITA, both at headquarters and in the field, to end these barriers now and secure lasting changes to the offending laws, procedures, or practices so these barriers hopefully don’t occur again in the future.  Trade compliance means making trade agreements work for U.S. industry.

Last, but not least, E&C plays a key role in helping U.S. manufacturers access the benefits of the Foreign Trade Zones (FTZ) program.  A FTZ is a special economic area in which manufacturers can operate with delayed or reduced duty payments on imports.  Our FTZs program helps level the playing field by reducing the costs of U.S. operations.  One of our best-known FTZs, for example, is BMW’s factory in South Carolina, which supports $5+ billion in exports annually – over half its production – and 10,000+ jobs.

If a business is interested in learning more, where would you suggest they go? 

If you believe your firm is facing dumping our unfair foreign competition, please contact E&C’s Petition Counseling and Analysis Unit at 202-482-1255.

If your firm or industry is facing a foreign antidumping or countervailing duty investigation, please contact E&C’s Trade Remedy and Compliance Staff at 202-482-3415.

If you need assistance with a foreign trade barrier or would like to report a foreign trade barrier, please contact the Trade Agreement Negotiation and Compliance Office’s hotline at 202-482- 1191.

For matters related to Foreign Trade Zones, please contact 202-482-2862.

For general matters, please contact our experts at the E&C Communication Office at 202-482-0063.

 

 

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Faribault: The Most Global Small City in Minnesota

December 19, 2018

Elise Buchen, Deanna Kuennen, Samantha Markman, and Laurence Reszetar promote the State of Minnesota to international business investors at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s Trade Office.

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.

Standing on Park Avenue in Faribault, Minnesota is just like standing on Park Avenue in New York: everywhere you turn you see successful global businesses.

If you face east, you see the U.S. headquarters of a multi-generational Mexico-based company. Turn west, and you see the U.S. headquarters of a world-leading, high-tech French company. Look slightly northwest and there is a large warehouse teeming with traffic, which is owned by a German company. Just up Park Avenue, a large Japanese firm is building a state-of-the-art facility.Faribault Banner Picture

Faribault is just like New York City… if New York City had a population of 24,000, was located an hour south of Minneapolis, and had a median house price of $182,400.

In truth, Faribault might be the most global small city in Minnesota, if not the world. Its motto is Small Town Pride, Big City Opportunity, and it has the data to back both of those up. Faribault proudly features the following countries and businesses:

  • The global headquarters of Sage Electrochromic Glass, a division of Saint-Gobain (France), is located in Faribault. Sage manufactures specialized glass that remains transparent even as it uses electrochromic technology to block out the solar radiation. Glass is expensive and difficult to ship, so you know it must be the high-quality if it’s being manufactured in Faribault and shipped around the world, from Dubai to Dallas.
  • Faribault Foods, owned by La Costeña (Mexico), just completed its $150 million dollar investment in a first-of-its-kind, vertically-integrated food manufacturing plant in Faribault. When La Costeña made the decision to expand its facility, the opportunities in Faribault caught the company’s attention.
  • Daikin Applied (Japan) just announced its $40 million expansion to build some of the most energy-efficient cooling HVAC units in the U.S. At the heart of the expansion was an unprecedented effort where the county, city, and local economic development authority jointly conducted hearings where the permits and incentives for the project were approved simultaneously by all three bodies. This gave the green light for the company to convert a vacant 300,000 square foot warehouse to a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility.
  • A German-owned powerhouse in food distribution located on the banks of Interstate 35, Aldi Distribution provides a high-class warehouse and distribution facility for the multinational Aldi food stores. This was one of the first Aldi Distribution facilities in Minnesota. The company recently completed a 60,000 square foot expansion, further proving that Faribault can support the growth and expansion of global industries.

Faribault’s small town pride shows in that nearly 1,350 Faribaultians work for these foreign-owned enterprises. They have titles like mechanical and quality engineers, production control analysts, and manufacturing services liaisons. It’s because of their commitment and the leadership of these global corporations that Faribault’s Small Town Pride creates Big City Opportunities that meet the world’s demands and continue to grow the world’s economy.

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New Memorandum of Understanding with Côte d’Ivoire Slated to Strengthen the United States’ Ties to Africa

December 17, 2018

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce Blog.

 Janel Edens is the West & Central Africa Desk Officer in ITA”s Office of Africa 

On December 7th, 2018, the U.S.-Côte d’Ivoire Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between U.S.Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross on behalf of the government of the United States and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marcel Amon-Tanoh on behalf of the Government of Côte d’Ivoire.

Signing of MOU

Secretary Wilbur Ross and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marcel Amon-Tanoh sign MOU

“We are fundamentally changing the business narrative between our two great nations,” noted Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross during the signing.

The MOU seeks to build awareness among the American business community of commercial opportunities and participation in strategic agriculture, industry, transportation, energy, and other priority projects in Côte d’Ivoire. In fact, these sectors have been prioritized in Côte d’Ivoire’s National Development Plan (NDP) for 2016-2020.

The projects implemented under this MOU will accelerate business growth, increase agricultural output, boost infrastructure and energy development, industrialize the economy, as well as improve the standard of living for Ivorians, while providing new opportunities for U.S. firms.

The Department of Commerce will take the lead in organizing a comprehensive approach that coordinates Federal government programs for providing financing and other assistance to U.S. companies. In addition, under the MOU, the Federal government will work directly with the Côte d’Ivoire Government on removing trade barriers that could prevent American businesses from finding success in Côte d’Ivoire.

The MOU signing was the culmination of an extensive effort that began some time ago. Under Secretary Kaplan himself and business leaders from the United States visited Côte d’Ivoire to conduct high-level discussions during the Presidential Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa Members’ fact-finding trip to the continent several months ago.

Côte d’Ivoire is a country primed for growth. The nation is already one of the top ten export markets for U.S. goods in Sub-Saharan Africa and considered a strong regional partner for the United States.

The signing of the U.S.-Côte d’Ivoire MOU marked another defining moment in the U.S.-Côte d’Ivoire bilateral relationship and reaffirmed that both countries seek to enhance commercial ties for years to come.

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U.S. Companies Can Grow Their Business in Southeast Asia Thanks to New Agreements with Singapore

December 7, 2018

Margaret Hanson-Muse is the Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs for Singapore and ASEAN.

The Commercial Service team in Singapore has developed several new agreements with Singapore leaders that will help U.S. companies grow their business in the Indo-Pacific, particularly in the region known as ASEAN—the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. With a combined population of 647 million people, a burgeoning middle class, and a young and growing population, the ASEAN region presents tremendous commercial opportunities for U.S. companies.

On September 13, Under Secretary for International Trade Gil Kaplan signed Statements of Intent on behalf of the International Trade Administration (ITA) with the Singapore Business Federation, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the Singapore Manufacturing Federation to forge closer ties between U.S. and Singaporean companies and to facilitate ASEAN regional outreach in key areas such as energy, smart cities, aerospace, fintech, and standards.

Meeting in Singapore

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Southeast Asia Executive Director John Goyer, Singapore Business Federation President Ho Meng Kit, and Under Secretary for International Trade Gil Kaplan celebrate the signing of an industry statement of intent on September 13 in Singapore.

On November 16, Vice President Pence and Singapore Prime Minister Lee met in Singapore and announced a two-year government-to-government (G2G) commercial collaboration framework led by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Singapore Ministry of Trade and Industry. The G2G framework reinforces commitments made in September by U.S. and Singaporean industry leaders and encourages U.S. and Singaporean companies to explore cooperative opportunities in Southeast Asia and other relevant third-country markets. The framework prioritizes collaboration on infrastructure, energy, standards, smart cities, fintech, e-commerce, and deep technology.

A major goal of the framework is to foster links between U.S. and Singaporean companies, including in rapidly developing fields such as additive manufacturing (also known as 3D printing), blockchain, and driverless cars. The benefits of the framework are expected to extend beyond Singapore to include U.S. business partners and consumers in the broader ASEAN and Indo-Pacific regions, including through U.S. support for the newly established ASEAN Smart Cities Network.

Vice President Pence with Singapore Prime Minister Lee during his November 2018 visit to Singapore for the ASEAN and East Asia Summits where they jointly announced a commercial collaboration memorandum of understanding.

Vice President Pence with Singapore Prime Minister Lee during his November 2018 visit to Singapore for the ASEAN and East Asia Summits where they jointly announced a commercial collaboration memorandum of understanding.

Our team is busy implementing the new agreements with Singapore, including through support for these recent and upcoming activities:

  • A September 2018 best practices business roundtable on medical technology standards and certification processes led by the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) and the Singapore Manufacturing Federation;
  • ASTM International’s October 2018 announcement that Singapore’s National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC) will join ASTM’s Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence as a strategic partner;
  • An October 2018 memorandum of understanding on additive manufacturing standards between NAMIC and the Ivaldi Group (San Leandro, California), building on previous Access Asia outreach in California;
  • A strategic partnership launched in October 2018 between ITA and the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO), a global codes, standards, and conformity assessment organization, which will support the development of smart city-related standards throughout Southeast Asia;
  • Participation by ITA Deputy Assistant Secretary for Services James Sullivan in the November 12-16 Singapore FinTech Festival, where he met with U.S. companies displaying their products and services at ITA’s U.S. Pavilion and spoke on a panel on Blockchain Opportunities and Threats;

    Deputy Assistant Secretary for Services James Sullivan (fourth from left) is joined by U.S. Commercial Service staff at the November 2018 FinTech Festival in Singapore.

    Deputy Assistant Secretary for Services James Sullivan (fourth from left) is joined by U.S. Commercial Service staff at the November 2018 FinTech Festival in Singapore.

  • A U.S. Country Showcase in Singapore featured November 12-15 at the ASEAN and East Asia Summit Meetings, highlighting innovative technology, service, and standards solutions from U.S. firms;
  • Plans to support 45 U.S. companies participating in the November 27-29 OSEA Show in Singapore, which is the largest and most significant buying event in Asia for the oil and gas sectors; and
  • Plans to develop a U.S.-ASEAN Smart Cities Network Partnership event in 2019 in close coordination with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the U.S. Department of State, and other interagency partners.

Please Share Your Feedback! Welcoming Industry and Stakeholder Ideas to Maximize the Value of the New Agreements

While these steps are a good start, I welcome your ideas on how to maximize the value of these new agreements with government and industry leaders—including through trade events, best practices workshops, business-to-business matchmaking, educational webinars, and other activities that help identify and advance commercial deals. I encourage you to contact me at Margaret.Hanson-Muse@trade.gov or (65) 6476-9037 to share your ideas and to continue the conversation.

Click here for details about the December 10-12, 2018 Discover Global Markets aerospace and defense show in Salt Lake City, Utah. Click here for details about the May 6-13, 2019 Indo-Pacific Trade Winds event in New Delhi, India with optional stops in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Participating companies can get country-specific business counseling from Asia-based commercial officers.

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New Interactive Market Diversification Tool Identifies Top Potential Markets for U.S. Businesses

November 15, 2018

Market Diversification Tool Logo

Jean Janicke is Director of ITA’s Office of Trade Negotiations & Analysis

U.S. companies produce some of the most innovative and high-quality products in the world.  But how does a company figure out where in the world to go next to sell its product?  What if the market conditions change for your current exports and you need to find a new market? The Market Diversification Tool is here to help answer that question.

In the past, a manufacturer might have relied on one data point or market research indicator to figure out its next step, but was unlikely to be able to go to one place to mine multiple data sources.  It could get overwhelming.  Now with the Market Diversification Tool, there is one place to start the market research journey that brings together product-specific and market-level data points across 11 indicators to give you a ranked list of choices.  We field-tested the tool with our Commerce colleagues all over the country to make sure the results match what they would expect from experience and to ensure that the tool is easy to use.

Here’s how it works.  A U.S. producer exporting to at least one market answers two simple questions: what is your product, and where are you exporting now?  A team in Commerce’s Industry and Analysis Unit has figured out an algorithm and collected all the data needed to help you find your next potential market.  The tool applies weights to 11 different indicators, runs calculations based on your input, and gives you a ranked list of recommended markets with scores for each country.

And it is not a black box. The results display all the data the algorithm uses so you can better interpret them. The data can also be exported.  Want to only look at markets in Europe and get help locally once your search is done? The tool allows you to narrow your search to select regions or markets and provides information on your local U.S. Commercial Service Export Assistance Center as well as links to other resources such as Country Commercial Guides.

Example: Producer ready to find its next market

Since there are many small and medium sized cosmetics producers in the United States, let’s take the example of a lipstick producer that currently exports to Mexico.  Here are the results:

The search results show high scores for Canada and the U.K. with a bunch of markets ranked in the 40s.

Export Destination Ranking

In these results we can see that Singapore, with average imports from the United States of $9,283,075, ranked higher than Germany and South Korea, both with higher U.S. export figures.  The results illustrate that the tool does more than just a straight ranking by trade or a listing of FTA partners; it combines multiple factors by weight to generate top export destinations.

Example:  Search When Market Conditions Change

Now let’s take an example of changing market conditions.  A U.S. motorboat producer exports to Belgium, but now the producer faces foreign retaliation in Europe, Canada, and Mexico.

Market Diversification Tool

The search brings up Canada and Mexico and some EU markets, but it also shows opportunities for diversification beyond markets that are retaliating against motorboats.  From this search, a company responding to market changes could start exploring Asia-Pacific options like Australia and Singapore, for example, or consider prospects in Israel.

Example: Regional focus

There are more ways to customize the tool results.  Let’s say a company has limited international travel funds and is visiting a current customer overseas.  The company could use the tool to find the top potential markets in the region. Or if a company is participating in a big regional trade mission like Tradewinds, it could use the tool with a regional selection to focus its travel and meeting choices.  This customization option helps companies make the most of limited resources.

Next steps:

Need help with next steps?  By entering your zip code, you’ll get connected to a Commerce trade office in your area.  For example, the motorboat producer could use the results to explore market research and other programs for Hong Kong and Singapore with a local U.S. Export Assistance Center.

Armed with the ranked list, you are ready to start more in-depth research and find partners in new markets.

Try out our new tool today!

Disclaimer: Consistent with its mission, the International Trade Administration (ITA) provides the information on this website for informational purposes, to assist U.S. exporters seeking to identify potential new export markets. The market rankings provided by the tool do not have official or legal status and should not be taken as a business recommendation or as business counseling. The information in this tool does not constitute legal advice. ITA has taken every effort to ensure that the information presented is accurate and that the algorithm provides useful results; however, ITA assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions. ITA advises users to independently verify any information contained in this tool prior to relying on it. Users are further advised to conduct their own due diligence and seek the advice of legal counsel before entering into business ventures or other commercial arrangements in these markets. ITA assumes no responsibility or liability for the actions users may take based on the information provided.

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Why Unleashing Veterans’ Entrepreneurial and Leadership Skills in Global Commerce Helps Strengthen America’s Economic and National Security

November 9, 2018

Murat Muftari is a Senior International Trade Specialist in the International Trade Administration’s U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service and founder of the Vets Go Global initiative and a former U.S. Special Forces soldier.

On Veterans Day, November 11, 2018, let us take a moment to honor America’s veterans for their sacrifice and willingness to serve for the common good of a grateful nation. For many veterans, their service continues well beyond the battlefield and into the commercial and private sector where transitioning veterans continue to evolve their mission from military boots to executive suits. Whether we look at veteran-owned or veteran-led businesses, it comes as no surprise that veterans thrive as leaders. Their business leadership skills are particularly well suited for international business, where their understanding of the geopolitical environment and how economic factors play a prominent role in U.S. national security allows them to help unleash American ingenuity and expand economic influence around the world.american flag

This economic influence helps provide economic security, defined as the ability to protect or advance U.S. economic interests in the face of events, developments, or actions that may threaten or block these interests. And this economic security translates to protecting U.S. national security. That is why the International Trade Administration and the Vets Go Global initiative works to better empower veteran-owned and veteran-led businesses to continue their mission of protecting our nation, from the frontlines of war to the frontlines of international commercial activity. The economic well-being of the United States depends on the smooth conduct of national and international commerce, so the U.S. can continue to play a prominent role in shaping the international economic environment.

There are a multitude of tools and resources that the International Trade Administration provides to assist American businesses, all a form of economic means to help achieve national security ends. These tools include offering U.S. Commercial Service export promotion services to help increase American exports and the relative size of the U.S. economy; direct U.S. government support of U.S. companies competing for foreign government contracts through programs like the International Trade Administration’s Advocacy Center; increasing foreign investment in the United States through programs like SelectUSA; maintaining access to foreign markets and reducing trade barriers through U.S. Commercial Service commercial diplomacy efforts; and promoting market-oriented economic policies and free and fair trade agreements that help U.S. companies to compete and win in international markets. Continuing to build an American economy that is more dynamic and more robust than economies elsewhere cannot be taken for granted. That is why we must continue to support veteran businesses and all U.S. businesses with the resources and tools they need to survive and thrive in international markets.

The Vets Go Global initiative will continue to collaborate with private and public organizations that offer resources to veterans by presenting additional avenues of economic opportunity to veteran-owned and veteran-led businesses and helping them survive and thrive in global markets.

I call on the veteran-owned and veteran-led business community to continue to rise to the occasion when opportunity knocks and seek to grow your business in international markets. To get started, and learn more about existing export opportunities and resources, contact the Vets Go Global team at vets@trade.gov or your nearest Export Assistance Center.

Again, I would like to personally thank the brave Americans who have served – as well as their families – and those who continue to serve our country as members of the Armed Forces.