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Indian Automaker Succeeds in United States

February 16, 2018

This is a guest blog post from Rick Haas, CEO of Mahindra Automotive North America.

Mahindra company logoI grew up in Detroit during a period when car culture was the dominant force driving this area. I recall the many warm summer afternoons spent “helping” my uncle and his friends wrench on their muscle cars, hoping that I would have my own hotrod to tinker with someday. But one way or the other, I’d caught the bug, and at the ripe old age of 12 decided that the auto industry was my future.

The men and women here at Mahindra Automotive North America (MANA) have this same passion for creating and producing new and exciting products, many having grown up with experiences like mine. It’s why we’re attracted to Mahindra. Through our investment in Michigan, we are creating and delivering thoughtful new products – and with them new jobs and growth to the Detroit regional economy. We have built a team of highly experienced and talented Americans from the Detroit area to help make this dream a reality and contribute to the rebuilding of this great city.  In November, we opened the first automotive manufacturing facility in Detroit in more than 25 years and are off to the races.

This journey dates back to 1945, when Mahindra began producing the iconic Willys CJ3 under license in India.  Since that time, Mahindra has grown to a $19 billion company that employs 200,000 people in more than 100 countries. When the company was looking to establish a new international auto facility, it had many options including Korea, Japan, Germany, and the United Kingdom.  However, the same rugged, hardworking ethic that has fueled Mahindra for more than 70 years is what drew us to Detroit – still the auto capitol of the world.  The recession hit Detroit and its automotive sector hard, but you can’t keep its hardworking and talented people down long, and I’m proud to be a part of the city’s economic resurgence.

Mahindra established an automotive design technical center just north of Detroit in Troy, Michigan, in 2013, and our work continued to grow – and grow we did! Fueled by the remarkable talent available in the Detroit area, we have tripled our workforce in the last 18 months. The technical center has outgrown our first building and we now have three facilities—in Auburn Hills, Pontiac, and Troy— and have established MANA.  We are currently working with the U.S. Postal Service to develop the Next Generation Delivery Vehicle, we will introduce an off-road utility vehicle (UTV) in the first quarter of 2018, and will add another 400 jobs in the Detroit area by 2020.

At Mahindra, we believe the time is now to succeed in America. We are increasing investment in the United States and we expect to grow our American operations significantly in the coming years. We’ve accomplished this with the help of federal, state, and local leaders, including SelectUSA, all of whom have been terrific partners in our growth. Programs like SelectUSA serve as the catalyst to accelerate companies’ investment initiatives in the United States and provide that win-win partnership that can turbocharge job growth in many towns across this nation.

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Eastern Idaho Secures Its First Foreign Direct Investment

February 9, 2018

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

Guest post by Lisa Buddecke, Regional Economic Development for Eastern Idaho

Photo of Sakae Casting President and CEO Takashi Suzuki and Lt. Governor of Idaho Brad Little at the 2017 SelectUSA Investment Summit, June 20, 2017.

Sakae Casting President and CEO Takashi Suzuki and Lt. Governor of Idaho Brad Little at the 2017 SelectUSA Investment Summit, June 20, 2017.

Eastern Idaho, known for its Innovation Corridor – featuring extensive science, technology, and research sectors – secured its first foreign direct investment (FDI) success as a direct result of SelectUSA.

In the spring of 2017, Regional Economic Development for Eastern Idaho (REDI) celebrated the grand opening of two Japan-based metal fabrication businesses, Sakae Casting and Ohzen, in Idaho Falls. These investments, the first for both companies in the United States, were finalized after meeting with the Idaho team and SelectUSA representatives at the 2016 SelectUSA Investment Summit.

This FDI came about in a unique way. REDI’s CEO Jan Rogers first contacted Sakae Casting during its 2016 visit to Idaho Falls, thanks to a sister city program between Idaho Falls and Tokai-mura, Japan. At the recommendation of Rogers, Sakae, together with the company’s partner Ohzen, attended the SelectUSA Investment Summit later that summer.

“Thanks to Sakae Casting and Ohzen’s success at the SelectUSA Summit, their representatives returned to Idaho Falls to meet with potential partners, including the University of Idaho, Boise State University, and local advanced manufacturing companies,” Rogers said. “With support from our contacts at SelectUSA, Sakae decided to open its first U.S. location here to focus on research and development and partner with our universities, nuclear, and advance manufacturing companies in product development and sales.”

Selecting Idaho Falls was an ideal fit for Sakae and Ohzen. With the University of Idaho, Idaho State University, Brigham Young University-Idaho, and Idaho National Laboratory in the region, these entities are already beginning to pay off for Sakae Casting.

In November 2017, the Idaho Department of Commerce awarded a nearly $238,000 Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission (IGEM) grant to the University of Idaho, Boise State University, and the Center for Advanced Energy Studies to partner with Sakae Casting on research and development on spent nuclear fuel storage and cooling capabilities. The results of this partnership could impact nearly 100 nuclear power sites. The IGEM funding is vital to kick-starting Sakae’s extensive R&D efforts.

Without Sakae Casting attending the SelectUSA Investment Summit and SelectUSA’s ongoing support throughout the process, none of this would have been possible. This successful interaction is a testament to how valuable SelectUSA can be in fostering and supporting FDI in the United States, and how FDI projects can grow foreign capabilities and economic development years after the initial investment.

To learn more about the upcoming 2018 SelectUSA Investment Summit (June 20-22), please visit selectusasummit.us.

 

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Incorporating FDI in Economic Development: How the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) Helps

January 5, 2018

This post originally appeared on the U.S. Economic Development Administration blog

By Peter Torpey, Intern, SelectUSA

SelectUSA and EDA slogansAs chair of the Federal Interagency Investment Working Group (IIWG), SelectUSA works across the federal government to coordinate and streamline policies and programs that affect foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States. A significant part of that mission includes making resources readily available to the public, which is why SelectUSA and the EDA came together for the latest edition of the SelectUSA USG Webinars last month.

This webinar helped participants gain a thorough understanding of how EDA works with eligible grantees to support local strategies designed to attract FDI. Additionally, EDA specialists explained how their grants support the conditions needed to foster strong regional economic ecosystems that are attractive to foreign investors.

Working in concert with its grantees and state and regional economic development organizations (EDOs), EDA’s investment priorities , are designed to help establish a foundation for sustainable job growth, and the development of durable regional economies throughout the United States.

So, how exactly does EDA assist EDOs in attracting foreign investors?

EDA’s grantees are supported through a portfolio of flexible grant tools, which can help communities looking to advance their FDI strategies take control of their future, and position themselves for economic prosperity and resiliency.

A key EDA program that can help communities develop and implement these strategies is its Planning Program. The Planning Program invests in a national network of EDA-designated Economic Development Districts (EDDs), as well as Indian Tribes and other eligible recipients to support long-term strategic economic development planning efforts.

Through the development of Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies, regions have established and maintained robust economic ecosystems by helping to build regional capacity that contributes to individual, firm, and community success.

EDA’s Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance Programs can help communities implement their strategies. Through the Public Works program, eligible grantees can revitalize, expand, and upgrade their physical infrastructure to support new industry, business expansion, and economic diversification to generate or retain long-term, private sector jobs and investment. The Economic Adjustment Assistance Program – EDA’s most flexible program – helps communities adjust or bring about change to an economy through investments in infrastructure, planning, technical assistance, and access to capital.

In addition, EDA serves as the Federal Government’s lead for the integration of Federal economic development resources.

The webinar will be available on the SelectUSA website in February 2018. For an electronic copy of the EDA presentation, or for more information on future SelectUSA USG Webinar Series presentations slated for 2018, please email the SelectUSA Events team.

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United States Becomes First Economy to Offer Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Privacy Trustmark to Data Processors

December 29, 2017

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

Michael Rose is a Policy Advisor in the International Trade Administration’s Office of Digital Services Industries

The United States is the first Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economy to join the APEC Privacy Recognition for Processors (PRP) System, which offers a trustmark certification to personal information processors (processors) in the region. By improving transparency and trust in contracting relationships, PRP certification allows your business to showcase its commitment to consumer privacy protections, and facilitate partnerships with multinational companies in the digital economy.

To obtain PRP certification, your business must first confirm that its data privacy policies and practices comply with the PRP System’s baseline security and accountability standards for data protection. To verify compliance, an APEC-recognized auditor, known as an Accountability Agent, will review your security policies and practices, and may request additional information on relevant contractual obligations. You will also be required to demonstrate to the Accountability Agent what measures you have in place to hold your business accountable to those consumers and partners whose information you process. In many respects, the PRP certification process is comparable to that administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce for the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield and Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield Frameworks.

Additional APEC economies, including Singapore and the Philippines, have already expressed interest in joining the PRP system in the coming year. Expanded implementation of the PRP System across the APEC region will help U.S. companies in evaluating whether prospective international business partners are committed to effective consumer privacy protections.

The 21 APEC member economies adopted the PRP System for data processors in 2015, as a corollary to the APEC Cross-Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) System for data controllers. Together, the PRP and CBPR Systems cover the entire data ecosystem—strengthening consumer privacy protections and trust across the Asia Pacific region, while facilitating trade by minimizing barriers to the cross-border flow of information.

The CBPR and PRP Systems are both voluntary but enforceable. In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission has primary responsibility for enforcing a company’s PRP certification and public attestations, and for bringing enforcement actions for false claims of certification.

The International Trade Administration’s Office of Digital Services Industries in the Industry and Analysis unit leads U.S. Government efforts to implement and expand the APEC CBPR and PRP Systems. We invite you to direct any feedback or questions to Michael Rose.

 

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New-to-Export? Find the Right Export Market with Our New Video Series

December 14, 2017

By Curt Cultice, Senior Communications Specialist, and Jennifer Stone Marshall, Senior International Trade Specialist, U.S. Commercial Service.

Many U.S companies—particularly small and medium-sized businesses—don’t export because they believe it’s too burdensome, or don’t know where to start. How about your company?  Are you leaving money on the table by not selling to the 95 percent of world consumers who live outside of the United States?

We can help you find the right export market. The internet, improved logistics options, and the array of available export assistance through the U.S. Commercial Service and federal, state and local partners, has made exporting more viable for even the smallest businesses.

Successful exporting is highly dependent on developing an export plan, or “roadmap.” Many companies begin export activities haphazardly, without carefully screening markets or options for market entry. Without an export plan, the chances of making a costly mistake increases, and better export opportunities are often overlooked. This in turn, can cost your company valuable time, resources and customers.

How to Begin Exporting 

Download Video [39MB]

So, where to start? The U.S. Commercial Service has developed a series of video shorts covering 20 high-profile market destinations. Among these are a sub-group of five markets that new-to-export companies might wish to consider. These markets may be geographically closer to the United States, or may offer more transparency and ease of doing business than many other markets:

In North America, Canada is America’s number one trade partner, and many U.S. businesses sell directly to Canadian consumers and retailers via eCommerce. Mexico is our nation’s second-largest export market with over 120 million citizens and a growing middle class. U.S. exporters benefit from a well-developed Mexican supply chain closely integrated with the United States.

In Europe, Germany is the 4th largest market in the world, and its 80 million people generally have a high standard of living with plenty of disposable income. The United Kingdom is the world’s 5th largest economy, and more than 40,000 American companies sell there. Exporters benefit from a common language, low trade barriers, and a business-friendly environment.

Australia has one of the strongest economies in the world, notching positive economic growth every single quarter since 1991. The Australia-U.S. Free Trade Agreement enables 99 percent of American-made consumer goods to enter the country duty-free.

Watch a brief overview of each market, and find the entire market destination video series on market destination series. After watching the video, learn more about doing business in the country with our Country Commercial Guide. The guides, authored by U.S. Commercial Service trade experts at U.S. embassies and consulates in more than 140 countries, provide economic overviews and insights into industry opportunities, selling techniques, trade financing, business travel and more.

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An American Delegation of States in Paris (to Promote FDI)

December 11, 2017

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

By Marie-Josee Andrieu, Investment Specialist at the U.S. Embassy in Paris, France, SelectUSA

SelectUSA logoFrance is the sixth-largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) into the United States and an important international trading partner. Majority French-owned firms directly support more than 677,000 American jobs, while majority U.S.-owned firms directly employ 440,000 French workers. A central goal of the U.S. Embassy in Paris is to strengthen these bonds through increased cooperation and understanding.

SelectUSA and the Council of American States in Europe (CASE) recently hosted a “Set Up, Expand, and Succeed in the United States” seminar for 30 French companies planning to invest in the United States. We were joined by economic developers from 10 CASE member states: Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Ohio, Missouri, and South Carolina.

A panel of FDI experts provided attendees with information on the U.S. investment climate, as well as legal and regulatory considerations. French aerospace company Safran, which launched its U.S. operations in the 1970s, joined the panel to discuss its experiences.

Initial discussions between French companies and U.S. economic developers took place during more than 80 meetings at the event. We look forward to a continuing dialogue among these companies and CASE to promote potential investments. We hope to see many of the participants at the upcoming 2018 SelectUSA Investment Summit, June 20-22, in Washington, D.C.

For more information on the premier FDI event in the United States, please visit www.selectusasummit.us.

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Partnership and Collaboration in Trade Finance Education For Washington State SME Exporters

December 7, 2017

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

Yuki Fujiyama is 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.  Diane Mooney is the Director of the U.S. Commercial Service Seattle.

Participants of the EFACW Trade Finance Workshop pose for a photo on Sept. 14 at the World Trade Center Seattle.

Participants of the EFACW Trade Finance Workshop on Sept. 14 at the World Trade Center Seattle.

With 95 percent of the world’s consumers living outside of our borders, U.S. companies must take greater advantage of the tremendous business opportunities in fast-growing markets around the world.  Exporting enables U.S. businesses to expand markets, generate new distribution and revenue streams, and weather changes in the domestic economy.

Despite the clear benefits of exporting, however, many U.S. businesses, especially small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), face challenges in going global. The obstacles most often cited by these SMEs include: (1) the risk of non-payment by foreign buyers; and (2) the accessibility of trade finance.

To help address such challenges, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA), the federal government’s lead export promotion agency; and the Export Finance Assistance Center of Washington (EFACW), a non-profit and a fiscal year 2017 ITA strategic partner; recently presented a half-day interactive trade finance workshop for Washington state SMEs considering going global or expanding export operations.

The interactive workshop followed the format as outlined in the U.S. Commerce Department’s Trade Finance Guide and helped participants learn how to: (1) assess and mitigate the risk of non- and delayed payment by foreign buyers; (2) select an appropriate payment method; (3) evaluate and access export finance options; and (4) manage foreign exchange risk.

The workshop, which was held in September at the World Trade Center Seattle, was part of a joint ongoing effort between ITA and EFACW to help Washington state SMEs become better educated about trade finance options and the risks associated with cross-border transactions. For exporters, trade finance is essential for international trade transactions and is a means to turn export opportunities into actual sales. By effectively managing the risks associated with doing business internationally, exporters can ensure they’ll get paid in a timely manner.

Brent Sisco of Acrowood Corporation, an Everett, Washington-based forest products equipment manufacturer, praised the workshop, noting that “This training was very beneficial because ITA trade finance expert Yuki Fujiyama provided straight forward descriptions, reviewed pros and cons of the most common techniques companies use to extend credit to overseas customers and the offered in depth explanations after the presentation.” 

Michael Kuehner, President of Greenwood Clean Energy, a Redmond, Washington-based privately-held renewable energy company developing biomass fired heating appliances, agreed, commenting that “The workshop was a great introduction to the complex world of export financing. In particular, Yuki Fujiyama’s session on Trade Finance was invaluable to those of us new to exporting. The introduction and the resource he provided, The Trade Finance Guide, has already helped us become better informed and active in pursing international business.”

EFACW Director Zara Castillo concurred with the sentiments expressed by Mr. Sisco and Mr. Kuehner, emphasizing that “Many other attendees remarked that our joint training workshop was very educational and beneficial.  EFACW looks forward to our continued partnership with ITA in serving Washington state SME exporters.”

Main Entrance of the World Trade Center Seattle with Flags of Different Countries and the Port of Seattle.

Main Entrance of the World Trade Center Seattle with Flags of Different Countries and the Port of Seattle.

Other partners who collaborated with ITA and EFACW to participate in the workshop as presenters included: U.S. Export-Import Bank, U.S. Small Business Administration, Key Bank, and Sallyport Commercial Finance.

In addition to the September 14th workshop, EFACW actively collaborates with the U.S. Commercial Services Washington, which operates ITA’s two local U.S. export assistance centers in Seattle and Spokane, to assist Washington state-based SMEs with export planning and foreign market sales.

In 2016, Washington’s $79.6 billion in goods exports helped contribute to the $2.21 trillion of U.S. goods and services exports. In 2015, over 375,000 U.S. jobs were supported by goods exports from WashingtonIn 2014, over 11,000 SMEs in Washington exported their goods to global markets, accounting for 90 percent of Washington goods exporters.

ITA offers helpful videos that are all about getting paid and financing options available to U.S. companies beginning to export.

Do you need more info on trade finance? Our Trade Finance Guide is a great place to start!