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Aerospace: a sector that can elevate our collective international interests

October 27, 2015

Stefan M. Selig is the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade.

Today, I attended the first industry specific all-of-government effort to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) into the United States, the National Aerospace FDI Expo in California. The event reminded me of the evolution of this industry and the abundant potential in the global aerospace market.

Stefan Selig

Under Secretary Stefan Selig talks about the future of the Aerospace industry.

Aerospace has historically been the keystone of American leadership in the 20th century, leading into the 21st – from the defense technology that helped create the strongest military in history, to the space technology we pioneered, to the resulting services and products that have improved people’s lives here and around the world.

While witnessing hundreds of businesses connecting with each other and with local Economic Development Organizations (EDOs), I thought about the innovative and productive workforce that supports this industry. It truly is a testament to the power that the aerospace sector represents. The U.S. aerospace sector produces our country’s largest manufacturing surplus. It has registered an increase in exports during the past five years of more than 50 percent, and directly employs 500,000 American workers. Utility patents in the aerospace sector are twice those of the biopharmaceuticals sector, and the operational profit per employee is consistently higher than the global average.

As the leader of the International Trade Administration, I know that the aerospace industry in the United States can serve as an engine for growth and profits for international manufacturers through foreign direct investment. FDI stock into U.S. aerospace products and parts companies totaled just under $22.5 billion in 2014, growing since 2008 at a compound annual growth rate of nearly 6.3 percent. FDI growth in the aerospace sector outpaced all other industries during that same period. The development and ascendance of the industry; in conjunction with the global explosion of growth, development, and innovation has catalyzed the very industry we see today. Throughout the entire supply chain, this industry sector is more international than we have ever seen before.

That is why work of turning growth opportunities into business realities will continue after this week’s event. The SelectUSA team at ITA is continuously working to cultivate FDI opportunities. We help companies navigate the federal government by coordinating the resources and services of more than 20 federal agencies to address investors’ concerns, including those that relate to federal regulatory issues.

This is also why ITA has an entire Aerospace Team, within our Industry & Analysis unit, dedicated to supporting the industry by creating top-rate commercial intelligence, developing strategies and technical assistance to assist the sector, and connecting companies directly with business partners. Export resources such as the Aerospace Resource Guide have helped many companies learn the basics of exporting within the industry.

And as we look towards the future of Aerospace, a finalized Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP will offer an unprecedented opportunity to liberalize access for investment by ensuring fair and non-discriminatory treatment of investors. TPP will also strengthen and deepen aerospace supply chains. Aerospace manufacturers will have greater access to inputs gathered from all 12 TPP markets because those inputs will be considered originating and receive equal treatment as a domestically made input or product. We want to help U.S. companies tap into that potential and utilize these new benefits.

ITA is the industry’s primary export resource and should be your first point of contact when looking to sell internationally. Our team of domestic and international trade specialists, located at our Export Assistance Centers in the United States and at U.S. Embassies overseas, is prepared to assist in increasing your export sales.

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