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Maritime Trade Partnership Leads to Big Returns for Small Businesses

August 17, 2017

By Patrick Morris, Intern, Office of Strategic Partnerships

The International Trade Administration’s (ITA) Global Marine Technology Team has been working since 2010 to help grow U.S. exports of marine technology. This specialized team helps U.S. marine technology companies take advantage of worldwide sales opportunities and engage in partnerships with U.S. maritime industry leaders. A mutual interest to support U.S. marine technology exports has forged a notable Strategic Partnership between ITA and The Maritime Alliance (TMA) that is yielding big wins for small businesses.

California-based firm, Blue Robotics, pitches their product to potential buyers at Ocean Business.

California-based firm Blue Robotics pitches its product to potential buyers at Ocean Business.

TMA, a non-profit industry association based in San Diego and an ITA Strategic Partner since 2014, represents one of the largest marine technology communities in the United States and the world. TMA promotes sustainable, science-based ocean and water industries to create jobs and encourage the development of marine or ‘blue’ technology. TMA and ITA collaborate on education, policy and technology resources, information sharing, networking, and outreach to promote innovation and economic development to expand the blue economy.

In 2016 TMA was selected as a recipient for ITA’s Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP), and received $297,000 from ITA to enhance exports from U.S. marine technology firms.

TMA used this funding to launch the first U.S. Maritime Technology Export Initiative (USMTEI) – a three-year project supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in their trade promotion endeavors. Through USMTEI, funding goes directly to U.S. companies to offset the total cost of participation in trade events by up to 50 percent.

Arizona-based firm, Hydronalix, demos its technology during the Rotterdam stop of the trade mission.

Arizona-based firm Hydronalix demos its technology during the Rotterdam stop of the trade mission.

In 2017, USMTEI supported U.S. companies at three separate events: the inaugural Oceanology International North America trade show in San Diego, Ocean Business in Southampton, UK, and a trade mission to Europe.

Oceanology International North America attracted 3,100 visitors, 161 exhibitors, and conference delegates from 39 U.S. states and 46 countries.  TMA organized 75 business-to-business matchmaking meetings between USMTEI companies and potential foreign partners. To complement the matchmaking program, ITA trade specialists working in European, Latin American, and Asian markets participated in nine export counseling meetings with USMTEI companies and conducted more than 25 additional individual consultations with other U.S. companies at the show. In addition, ITA organized a conference session highlighting marine technology opportunities in Brazil, Denmark, Mexico and Singapore, and assisted TMA in recruiting potential foreign buyers to the show.

Ocean Business and the trade mission to Europe showcased export programs, business-to-business matchmaking, and policy discussions between TMA and its European counterparts. A total of 11 U.S. SMEs participated in both activities, and each company benefitted from the trade leads obtained at the events.

Mark Gundersen, President and CEO of Marine Advanced Research commented, “TMA and ITA exceeded my expectations with the USMTEI. We had a packed schedule before, during, and after Ocean Business, meeting with companies and organizations in our industry. You would be hard pressed to find another way to open as many doors in such a short amount of time.”

While Rusty Jehangir, Founder of Blue Robotics, said “As a young, small business, the programs offered by USMTEI, TMA and ITA provided us with an invaluable opportunity to reach new customers and companies.”

As for the future of the USMTEI, TMA intends to support 12-16 U.S. companies to exhibit in the U.S. BlueTech Pavilion at Oceanology International 2018 in London, and lead a follow-up trade mission to Europe.

Online applications to participate in the USMTEI’s 2018 European programs are live, and those who are interested in expanding their company’s export opportunities are encouraged to apply: https://bluetechexports.org/the-maritime-alliance/. For more information on the work of ITA’s Global Marine Technology team and the role ITA plays in promoting blue technology please visit http://2016.export.gov/industry/marine/ or contact Maryanne Burke at Maryanne.Burke@trade.gov.

 

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New UN Report Highlights United States Lead in Global FDI and Digital Economy

August 15, 2017

By Harrison Frye, Intern, SelectUSA

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) plays an important role in the U.S. economy by creating jobs, increasing wealth, and raising living standards. The United States continues to hold the largest amount of FDI in the world. A new report released by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) showed that the United States was also the largest recipient of FDI flows in 2016.

UNCTAD data reflecting FDI inflows, measured in billions of dollars.

UNCTAD data reflecting global FDI inflows, measured in billions of dollars.

How can different numbers tell the same story? FDI is measured in both stocks and flows. Flows are the recorded value of cross-border transactions during a certain period of time. Inward flows are the transactions that increase the net amount of investment foreign investors have in enterprises within the reporting country’s borders. This is different from FDI stocks, which measure the total level of foreign direct investment at any point in time.

After an impressive rise in 2015, global FDI flows faltered during the past year, falling by 2 percent to $1.75 trillion.  This drop can be attributed to weak economic growth and significant policy risks, as seen by multinational enterprises.

This decline was not felt in the Unites States, however, which saw a 12 percent increase in inflows. The $391 billion of inflows to the United States was a record, and accounted for a quarter of global FDI inflows. The large increase in FDI into the country can be attributed to high investor confidence in the American economy and our developed workforce. Moreover, UNCTAD’s business survey found the United States was the top prospective host economy for FDI looking forward to 2017-2019.

More than half of the FDI inflows to the Unites States were in manufacturing, and about one-fifth were in finance and insurance. New apprenticeship programs proposed by the White House are aimed at preparing the next generation of Americans to be successful workers in the years to come, keeping the United States as the most attractive destination for potential investors.

Another area where the United States is seeing significant growth is the digital economy – the secondary focus area of the UNCTAD report. Noting that digital multinational enterprises (MNEs) are expanding at a dramatically faster rate than other multinationals, the report highlights notes that more than 60 of the top 100 digital MNEs are U.S.-based (for Internet platforms this rises to 10 of the top 11). This in turn is shaping global investment patterns in the 21st century economy. Demand-side factors such as income levels, population size, economic growth, and education levels are key elements in determining the amount of private investment in internet infrastructure, putting the United States ahead of other global competitors in attracting digital enterprises.

Are you interested in exploring the digital economy? SelectUSA’s investment specialists help companies understand the overall economy and investment trends using consumer information and industry overviews. SelectUSA also helps connect potential investors to economic development organizations, who then provide guidance and incentives at the local level. Learn more at www.selectusa.gov.

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Congressional Office Commends e-Commerce Firm During ‘Made in America’ Week for Facilitating Medical Exports

August 1, 2017

Susan Crawford is a Communications Specialist for the U.S. Commercial Service Pacific North Network. The U.S. Commercial Service is the export promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration.

VIA Global Health receives U.S. Commercial Service Export Certificate

VIA Global Health receives the U.S. Commercial Service Export Certificate for their achievements. Pictured from left to right: U.S. Commercial Service Seattle Director Diane Mooney, Rep. Jayapal’s District Director Rachel Berkson, International Trade Specialist Bob Deane, VIA Global Health President Noah Perin, Global Healthcare Team Director Tembi Secrist and Office of Health and Information Technologies Senior International Trade Specialist Gerry Zapiain.

VIA Global Health is filling a gap in the worldwide healthcare market with its innovative e-commerce healthcare technologies distribution platform. Through this platform, the Seattle-based company is addressing the needs of nearly six billion people in emerging markets around the globe.

The firm has worked with its local U.S. Export Assistance Center to more than double its distribution network to cover 21 African and South Asian nations. It recently received a U.S. Commercial Service Export Achievement Certificate in recognition of its success. District Director Rachel Berkson from U.S. Representative for Washington’s 7th District Pramila Jayapal’s local office participated in the presentation.

“Medical professionals in developing countries did not have access to innovative products, and innovators were struggling to sell their devices in these markets,” says VIA Global Health President Noah Perin. “We decided to offer a solution, a global platform that would function like the Amazon of the medical supply world.”

VIA Global Health has more than 160 distribution partners spread across 21 countries in Africa, and also in India and Bangladesh. The e-commerce platform offers medical devices, medical supplies, lab supplies and consumables.

“Exporters supported 375,000 jobs in Washington in 2015 and I commend Via Global Health for creating a platform that enables medical technology manufacturers in Washington and the United States to sell their products in the international marketplace,” Berkson said.

Perin contacted the U.S. Commercial Service offices in Seattle and Africa for help. Perin obtained intelligence on demand for medical technologies in Africa, met with potential distributors in Africa and was introduced to the Washington State Department of Commerce which provided funding for Perin’s participation in two African health expos.

“We’re here to take the guess-work out of selling to foreign markets,” said U.S. Commercial Service Seattle Director Diane Mooney. “We counsel local companies on all facets of exporting, help them determine the best export markets for their goods or services, identify and arrange meetings with potential foreign partners or distributors and assist with removing trade barriers.”

Exporters can access healthcare sector resources from the U.S. Commercial Service Global Healthcare Team and e-commerce best practices from the E-Commerce Export Resource Center. To learn more about exporting, please contact your local U.S. Commercial Service office.

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ITA Illuminates the Path for U.S. Lighting Manufacturers at the Guangzhou International Lighting Expo (GILE) U.S. Pavilion

July 31, 2017

Gary Stanley is Director of ITA’s Office of Materials Industries, Industry & Analysis

Attendees tour the USA Pavilion at the Guangzhou International Lighting Expo (GILE) trade show, where there was record high attendance at this ITA Trade Fair Certified event.

Attendees tour the USA Pavilion at the Guangzhou International Lighting Expo (GILE) trade show, where there was record high attendance at this ITA Trade Fair Certified event.

Chinese customers and U.S. lighting product and service providers flooded the U.S. Pavilion at this year’s Guangzhou International Lighting Expo (GILE) trade show, reflecting the record high attendance at this ITA Trade Fair Certified event. For the U.S. lighting companies exhibiting at GILE, the U.S. Pavilion provided a critical nexus for networking, business-to-business meetings, lighting industry expert presentations on growth segments in China’s lighting market, and ITA export counseling.

U.S. lighting products, known for their quality and performance, are strongly competitive in China. While China’s overall imports of lighting declined at an annualized rate of -5.7 percent during 2011-2016, its imports of lighting from the United States grew at a healthy 2.9 percent annualized rate during this period. The U.S. share of China’s lighting import market has grown from 5.1 percent in 2011 to 7.8 percent in 2016. China reported lighting imports from the world of $2.1 billion in 2016, down from $2.8 billion five years earlier.

The total U.S. lighting export portfolio to the world was $3.1 billion in 2016.  China is the third largest market for U.S. lighting product exporters, behind Canada and Mexico. While China receives only 3.5 percent of overall U.S. lighting product exports, it is a growth market for U.S. exporters.  U.S. exports to China have grown at an annualized rate of just under 4 percent over the last five years. This growth far outstrips the 1.6 percent annualized growth of the $3.1 billion overall U.S. lighting product export portfolio during the same period.

The United States imported more than $11.3 billion in lighting products from the world in 2016, including $6.2 billion from China. China is by far the largest source of lighting product imports with a 55.2 percent U.S. import market share. This market share has remained fairly consistent since 2011, when China held 55.8 percent of a smaller U.S. lighting import market of $7.7 billion. The United States has a trade deficit in lighting products with the world that grew at an annualized rate of 11 percent between 2011 and 2016, standing at $8.3 billion at the end of that period. The U.S. trade deficit with China in lighting products likewise has grown from $4.2 billion in 2011 to $6.1 billion in 2016, reflecting a 7.8 percent annualized growth rate during that period.

Exhibitors presenting in the U.S. Pavilion, including McWong, Luminit and Alpha Assembly Solutions, emphasized Chinese lighting market demand trends that suggest continued strong competitiveness for U.S. products that enable interconnectivity, interoperability, and sophisticated control technologies. American companies can further improve their competitiveness by improving lighting efficiency and power through the use of high-purity materials and precision-engineered materials substrates, both hallmarks of U.S. products.

Additional information on China’s lighting market, other top U.S. lighting export markets and U.S. Government resources available to U.S. exporters is available in ITA’s Top Markets Building Products and Sustainable Construction study.

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Trade Fair Certification program is a cooperative partnership arrangement between private sector show organizers and the U.S. government to increase U.S. exports and to expand U.S. participation in overseas trade shows.

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ITA’s Strategic Partnerships Helping eCommerce Firms Sell More Online, Overseas

July 25, 2017

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

By Patrick Morris, Intern in the Office of Strategic Partnerships

Getting to Global staff giving a presentation.

Josh Halpern, Director of ITA’s eCommerce Innovation Lab, works with business leaders in workshops around the world to help them reach new, foreign markets online.

Interested in entering new overseas, online markets?  Join the International Trade Administration’s (ITA) Strategic Partner Global Retail Insights Network (GRIN) and the Getting to Global Initiative for interactive labs around the world. The events are designed to help companies develop a strategy for taking their online business global. Those attending learn best practices for new market entry as well as develop specific plans of action to catapult their e-commerce business’ global network.

ITA established a Strategic Partnership with GRIN in 2016 based on a mutual interest to encourage U.S. domestic companies to learn about and access the online, global market. Recent research suggests that shoppers choose to buy online because it is cheaper, easier, and more convenient. In addition, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) predicts that the global middle class will grow to 4.9 billion people in the next 15 years, compared to 1.9 billion in 2009. Many of these new middle class members will engage in online, cross-border purchases, making e-commerce increasingly more lucrative, especially in emerging economies.

A recent iteration of the GRIN Lab was hosted by another Strategic Partner, eBay, at their Chelsea location in New York City on July 13. The content was designed by Josh Halpern, the Director of ITA’s eCommerce Innovation Lab, and Carl Miller, the Managing Director of a not-for-profit global community for e-commerce professionals. It provided a full-circle guide to accessing overseas markets. The conference covered various topics, such as where and how to begin a global network, how data can be used to identify specific market opportunities, and the tools needed to optimize global pursuits.

Carl Miller discusses the benefits of taking online retail global at the GRIN Lab on July 13 at Strategic Partner eBay’s New York City office.

Carl Miller discusses the benefits of taking online retail global at the GRIN Lab on July 13 at Strategic Partner eBay’s New York City office.

To take advantage of international markets online, stay tuned for future GRIN events as they host more 20 labs annually, in cities including Shanghai, Singapore, Paris, San Francisco, Chicago, and London.  The next lab is in Boston, August 15-16 with a focus on Asia.  The labs, regardless of location, stay dedicated to the same core principles: presenting niche business-knowledge to the broader community, synergizing through the collaboration of business minds with various backgrounds, and helping retailers and brands of all sizes learn from the first-hand experiences of others.

Visit http://www.thegrinlabs.com/leadership-labs/ for a comprehensive schedule of upcoming labs.

You can view video interviews about how to sell more online and overseas from our public/private partnership on the industry site: www.gettingtoglobal.org. To learn more about ITA’s work in the eCommerce market, specifically the work of the eCommerce Innovation Lab, please visit https://www.export.gov/eCommerce.

 

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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