Author Archive

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Helping the American Worker Succeed in a Global Marketplace

September 1, 2017

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog

labor day graphic

Helping the American Worker Succeed in a Global Marketplace

As we celebrate Labor Day, the U.S. Department of Commerce is proud to express our appreciation for American workers and reiterate our commitment to helping Americans succeed in a global marketplace.  We firmly believe that given a level playing field, American workers can help grow the economy and build a better future for all Americans.

Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA) is the premier resource for Americans competing in the global marketplace. ITA strengthens the global competitiveness of U.S. industry, promotes trade and investment, analyzes trade trends and opportunities that help businesses make better decisions and ensures fair trade through the rigorous enforcement of U.S. trade laws and agreements.

ITA offers the expertise needed to connect U.S. businesses with trade opportunities that strengthen their bottom lines and grow jobs here at home. In 2016 alone, we enabled $59 billion in exports and facilitated $5.3 billion in foreign investment into the United States.

From January 20, 2017, through August 29, 2017, Commerce has initiated 58 antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) investigations, a 27 percent increase from the previous year, and currently maintains 407 AD and CVD duty orders which provide relief to American companies and industries impacted by unfair trade.

Since President Trump has come into office, ITA has been working hard to fulfill the President’s mission to increase opportunities for American workers. This includes:

  • Fighting for American ManufacturingITA is a leading advocate and ombudsman for advancing the competitive position of U.S manufacturing industries in the global market.  We are ramping up efforts to combat unfair trade practices, intellectual property theft and unfair trade barriers affecting U.S. manufacturing exporters. We provide the data and tools that industry and local government partners need to help companies increase exports, investment and jobs. We also support the negotiation of strong provisions in U.S. trade agreements in key areas, including government procurement, customs and trade facilitation, standards and technical regulations, import licensing, investment, state-owned enterprise behavior, anti-corruption, labor, environment, dumping, subsidies and safeguards. ITA will use its expertise and enhanced data analysis programs to put forth recommendations that will make U.S. companies more competitive and will allow them to support more high-paying jobs here in the United States.

 

  • Empowering American ExportersWith offices in 108 locations across the U.S. and 78 markets worldwide, ITA is uniquely positioned to help American companies overcome the challenges of exporting and capitalize on the opportunities to sell American goods and services around the world. Our team works daily to address the market challenges that U.S. companies – especially small and medium-sized businesses – face when pursuing opportunities in the global marketplace. We provide companies with actionable market intelligence, including practical transactional know-how on the mechanics of exporting, guidance on how to manage and overcome barriers to trade and information on trade financing options.  ITA also provides dedicated advocacy support to American companies competing for foreign civilian and defense government procurements.
  • Fighting Unfair Imports: ITA has a record of accomplishment in delivering timely and responsive relief to American manufacturers and workers from unfair trade and ensuring that U.S. national security interests affected by international trade and investment are vigorously evaluated and addressed. We administer and enforce the U.S. antidumping (AD) and countervailing (CVD) duty laws to defend U.S. manufacturers, ranchers, farmers and workers against injuriously dumped and unfairly subsidized imports. We are steadfast in our work at leveling the playing field through the conduct of these investigations and other proceedings. ITA also provides recommendations and analysis for the Trump Administration of U.S. trade safeguards that protect American industry and jobs. To further strengthen the Department’s abilities to enforce U.S. trade laws, ITA is building capacity to self-initiate trade remedy actions when appropriate.

At home and abroad, ITA works every day to help American workers.  It is our mission and our promise.  Happy Labor Day to everyone!

 

 

 

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How to Ensure Fast, Reliable Payments on International Transactions

August 31, 2017

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

U.S. exporters face many challenges when meeting a foreign buyer who is interested in acquiring their product.  Knowing how to agree to a sale with a foreign buyer, and understanding how to handle the payment transactions can be challenging and frustrating to the exporter, especially when customers are located thousands of miles away.  Frequently, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) do not know how to correctly receive payment for their exports, or fear that once their shipment has left the United States, they will not get paid.  It is important for U.S. SMEs to protect themselves and their business transactions by learning the ins and outs of processing international payments, and ensuring that they get paid in the safest and quickest manner possible to protect their sales, products, business, and customers.

The International Trade Administration’s Office of Digital Initiatives has collaborated with Trade Technologies to offer a webinar series on international payments.  International payments are made between countries, whether a trade debt, unilateral transfer of funds, capital investment, or another purpose. These payments are vital to businesses, as well as economists and national governments, because international debts can impact accumulated balances of foreign currency, claims on foreign currency, loans from creditor to the debtor, drawings on the International Monetary Fund, or movement of gold. International payments are not only important to SMEs, but they are also pertinent for a country balancing its international accounts for its balance of payments.

Trade Technologies, an International Trade Administration (ITA) Strategic Partner since 2013, is the largest global provider of trade document services and software. Spurred by a mutual interest to help SMEs process international transactions quickly and reliably with fewer errors and lower costs, ITA and Trade Technologies is presenting this webinar series that concludes in October 2017.  Richard “Chip” Thomas, an international banker and founder of The American Export Training Institute leads the webinars. The sessions explore transaction methods that enable U.S. SMEs to get paid in the most efficient way while maintaining their competitive advantage in the market. Specific topics of consideration include letters of credit, INCOTERMS 2010, documentation discrepancies in the letters of credit, and payment terms.

For more information about the webinar series, please contact Linda.Abbruzzese@trade.gov or click here to register.

 

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From Interaction to Investment: Tools for Success in the U.S. Market

August 29, 2017

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

By Max Goldman, Intern, SelectUSA

2017 SelectUSA Summit show floor.

2017 SelectUSA Summit show floor.

At this summer’s SelectUSA Investment Summit (June 18-20, 2017), business investors from around the world and representatives from U.S. economic development organizations (EDOs) came to the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center for three days of learning, networking, and business deals. This year’s Summit may be over – but new investment opportunities are just beginning.

Stay Informed About Federal Government Agencies and Programs

At the Summit’s U.S. Government Pavilion in the heart of the Exhibition Hall, representatives of the Federal Interagency Investment Working Group (IIWG) were onsite to introduce available Federal resources and answer participants’ questions. At chair of the IIWG, SelectUSA can help investors and EDOs access information, navigate U.S. government regulations, and get the support they need to succeed. In the meantime, check out:

  • SelectUSA’s Federal Programs and Incentives Database, a searchable guide to programs and incentives that are designed to support businesses in the United States; and
  • Our growing offering of Online Tools, including SelectUSA Stats, which draws from multiple databases to help users visualize data on multiple aspects of investment, including specific countries and industries.

These helpful tools and more can be found on SelectUSA’s website.

Stay Connected

Every year, matchmaking is one of the most popular Summit activities. This year, participants packed meeting areas from morning to night and even continued to meet after the Summit wrapped up. Even with three full days of networking, it was almost impossible to connect with economic developers from 51 U.S. states and territories. Deepen your connections or reach out to new ones through two helpful PDF resources:

Not sure where to get information or to whom you should reach out next?  SelectUSA can help. SelectUSA assists businesses of all sizes with navigating the U.S. market and regulatory environment, and provides EDOs with information on global markets and support with trade and investment promotion.  Visit our website to identify your relevant portfolio manager by international market or U.S. state and territory, and contact us today!

Be sure to follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn and sign up for the SelectUSA newsletter. You can also click here to sign up for the SelectUSA Digest, a weekly overview of the top FDI-related blog posts and social media content from SelectUSA.

Not only do we want you to connect with us, we want to connect with you. Did you ink a deal or have a productive meeting at the Summit? Let us share the good news! Be sure to contact Chris Higginbotham.

Plan Ahead

This year’s event was the biggest and most successful SelectUSA Summit yet. The team is already working hard on next year’s Summit which will be held June 20-22, 2018 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center. To get the latest updates on the 2018 event, sign up here! In the meantime, make sure to take advantage of all of the resources SelectUSA offers all year round. No matter the stage of your project, SelectUSA can take the leads generated at the SelectUSA Summit and help you turn them into reality.

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Global Investment Creates Extraterrestrial Innovation and Hometown Jobs in Alabama

August 24, 2017

By Sandor Galambos, SelectUSA Investment Specialist based in the U.S. Embassy in Switzerland.

RUAG space

Leaders from RUAG Space and the State of Alabama ceremonially open the Swiss company’s first U.S. manufacturing facility.

RUAG Space, a Switzerland-based company, recently cut the ribbon on its first U.S. manufacturing facility, taking a major step to propel growth in the United States. The 130,000 square-foot facility in Decatur, Alabama, will produce high-tech equipment for launch vehicles for outer space operations and will create opportunities for workers in Alabama.

RUAG announced the facility in 2015 and has already created 50 new jobs there, with a plan to increase to 100 jobs over the next two years. The Alabama facility is the beginning for RUAG’s investment in the United States; the company is also in various stages of starting operations at facilities in in Florida, Colorado, and California.

RUAG is expanding in the United States for many of the same reasons why other global companies look to grow their businesses here. RUAG facilities will be at the cutting edge of the space industry, and this level of technology requires a workforce that is both innovative and reliable—the kind of workforce we have in the United States.

The company will also be closer to many of its primary customers, which will allow it to be more responsive to the needs of the industry it serves.

SelectUSA and the economic development team in Alabama have been working with RUAG Space since 2015 to help the company find the best opportunities to expand in the United States. The company attended the SelectUSA Investment Summit in 2016, making more connections in the United States and gaining insight into the regulatory issues relevant to the aerospace industry.

This success story is important for the economic development community, and providing support to RUAG Space and sharing their positive results can help other companies find their own success opportunity in the United States.

To learn more about how foreign-owned companies like RUAG Space are supporting jobs in the United States, check out the data available at SelectUSA.gov.

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SHIPPING OUT: ITA Participates In Ceremony Celebrating the First Shipment of U.S. Thermal Coal to Ukraine

August 22, 2017

By Ryan Russell, Senior International Trade Specialist, U.S. Commercial Service Pittsburgh, Pa. 

Ukranian Coal Blog photo

Deputy Chief of Staff for the Secretary of Commerce Performing the Duties of Under Secretary for International Trade Israel Hernandez, Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States Valeriy Chaly, U.S. Department of Energy  Acting Assistant Secretary Griffith Wells , and Ted O’Brien, Xcoal Energy & Resources Vice President of Capital Markets, at the Port of Baltimore celebrate the loading of the first shipment of Pennsylvania thermal coal to Ukraine on August 21, 2017.

With the backdrop of a large Panamax cargo vessel and the solar eclipse, Deputy Chief of Staff for the Secretary of Commerce Performing the Duties of Under Secretary for International Trade Israel Hernandez joined U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Acting Assistant Secretary Griffith Wells, the Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States, and Xcoal Energy and Resources executives at the Port of Baltimore to celebrate the loading of the first shipment of Pennsylvania thermal coal to Ukraine on August 21.

The ship will depart for Ukraine later this week and arrive in September. The ceremony came two months to the day after U.S. Commercial Service officials, in collaboration with the DOE, first introduced Ukraine’s state-owned utility, Centrenergo PJSC, to U.S. coal companies including Xcoal, and marks a historic new chapter in our commercial relationship with Ukraine.

Centrenergo approached the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv earlier this year seeking to diversify its coal suppliers and identify a reliable U.S. partner to meet its anthracite coal needs. The U.S. Commercial Service staff in Kyiv and their DOE counterparts requested the support of the U.S. Commercial Service offices in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, and the Ukraine office in headquarters to organize a week-long visit to meet potential Pennsylvania coal and technology suppliers. During that June visit, Centrenergo met with Xcoal representatives at the company’s Latrobe, Pa., headquarters, and launched successful commercial negotiations.

On July 31, the Government of Ukraine announced that for the first time ever Centrenergo would purchase American thermal coal. In a joint statement by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, Secretary Ross lauded the momentous deal as “bringing enormous benefit to our nation’s coal communities,” and allowing “Ukraine to diversify its energy sources ahead of the upcoming winter.” Secretary Perry underscored that, “U.S. coal will be a secure and reliable energy source for Centrenergo and its electricity customers.”

The current contract between Xcoal and Centrergo calls for the supply of 700,000 tons of coal between now and December 2017. The landmark deal is estimated to support roughly 70 U.S. mining jobs and more than 300 jobs in shipping and logistics.

During remarks at the loading ceremony, Hernandez noted that “this shipment is part of a larger, positive trend that we’d like to see continue further.”

U.S. trade with Ukraine is up 80 percent through the first half of 2017 compared to last year, and the International Trade Administration is working every day with U.S. exporters seeking additional business opportunities and partnerships with Ukrainian companies to continue that momentum.

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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.