Author Archive

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How Manufacturers Can Energize Their Trade Show Cycle in 2017

December 19, 2016

Pamela Plagens is a Senior International Trade Specialist at the International Trade Administration

Manufacturers are always looking for synergies within their operations: when two things work together to deliver a result that’s greater than their individual impact.

Now, allow us at ITA help your company realize the synergy of participating in two very important events in 2017 to grow your international sales: Discover Global Markets: Advanced Manufacturing and HANNOVER MESSE.

MFG

Just like manufacturers look to maximize efficiencies in their operations, using both Discover Global Markets: Advanced Manufacturing and HANNOVER MESSE can provide synergies to your export business in 2017.

Here’s how you can parlay both events to take your export business to the next level:

Discover Global Markets: Advanced Manufacturing, Feb. 16 – 17, Scottsdale, Arizona

The Discover Global Markets series offers a way for U.S. companies to gain specialized market intelligence from around the world at an unbelievable value. You can meet one-on-one with U.S. commercial diplomats from over 20 countries to gain customized market intelligence for your firm. Why travel to 20 different international markets when the markets can come to you?

An executive at Pampered Perch, a Texas-based manufacturer of products for nail and hair solons, had this to say after attending a previous Discover Global Markets event:

“This conference was extraordinarily well done…I got all the contacts I will need to pursue export opportunities in Canada, Singapore, and France.  Thank you for your excellent, efficient and informative conference.”

Discover Global Markets: Advanced Manufacturing will also feature industry experts who will share export opportunities in Latin America, Asia, and Europe in engaging formats.

Now is the time to sign up! The cost is only $425 – a bargain considering the value you’ll bring back to your company.

Attending the Discover Global Markets event in sunny Scottsdale (in February, no less) is one of the most cost-effective ways to gain global market intelligence to your firm. Taking that market intelligence and finding willing buyers is the next step, which is where the HANNOVER MESSE fair comes in.

HANNOVER MESSE, April 24 – 28, Hannover, Germany

HANNOVER MESSE is the world’s largest industrial technology trade fair, featuring seven leading trade shows and an investment summit all in one. More than 200,000 attendees from more than 70 countries come to Hannover for the event – it’s a “who’s who” for both the manufacturing and technology industries where U.S. companies have had great success finding business partners.

As one example, Insequence, a Tennessee-based small business that makes software for the manufacturing and logistics industries, attended HANNOVER MESSE for the first time last year. They were looking for a way to promote their expansion into Europe, and as a result of attending HANNOVER MESSE the company was able to make sales in Europe and North America. Here’s what their marketing manager had to say after attending HANNOVER MESSE:

“We came into contact with potential end-user companies that we would have never met due to their geographical location. HANNOVER MESSE and the Commercial Service have provided us with substantial publicity, branding and public relations opportunity.”

HANNOVER MESSE is the place to put your market intelligence into action, it’s where you can show off your products, meet with prospective buyers, and move your new contacts towards that all-important purchasing decision. Booths in the U.S. pavilion at HANNOVER MESSE start at $7,200.

Finally, there’s a common thread that weaves itself between these two events that will delivery maximum value for your firm: the U.S. Commercial Service. The trade experts at the U.S. Commercial Service will support any and all of the attendees at Discover Global Markets: Advanced Manufacturing, as well as those U.S. companies who make the trip to HANNOVER MESSE. They will help you formulate your export strategy, identify the most promising international markets, help schedule meetings with buyers, and ensure you’re making the most of both events.

So as your 2017 calendar comes together with trade shows and events, I strongly encourage you to talk with the U.S. Commercial Service about how these two events can “work together” to save you thousands of dollars and take your export business to the next level.

 

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Putting the “Global” in Global Delaware

December 15, 2016

Emma Pautler is Marketing Director of Global Delaware 

For Global Delaware, 2016 has been an exciting and busy year. We have long known of the critical role foreign direct investment (FDI) plays in our state economy; indeed, FDI in Delaware directly supports more than 28,000 jobs. But sometimes it is just as important to pause and reflect on how it all comes about. 

The First State is known for its business friendly corporate law – and part of our work at Global Delaware is focused on showcasing this – not to mention the economic infrastructure that provides for quick and easy access to markets, our approachable local government. . . (OK, we will spare you the full pitch).

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Delegates from the Embassy of Spain meet with representatives of Global Delaware and SelectUSA Deputy Investment Services Director David Campbell at SevOne Inc.’s Newark, Delaware campus.

Since January, we’ve hosted delegations from China, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, and Turkey. In April, we joined the largest-ever U.S. delegation in the USA Pavilion at Hannover Messe 2016; President Barack Obama even stopped by our booth and posed for a picture with a cardboard cutout of a well-known Delawarean – Vice President Joe Biden. In June, the largest startup campus in Europe, Factory Berlin, opened its first U.S. location in Wilmington.  We also attended the 2016 SelectUSA Investment Summit, which led to several new leads – and we’ve been busy hosting, following up and assisting the many business owners we met there. There’s no way we are missing the 2017 Investment Summit next June!

Many people from different sectors and organizations pulled together in order to make this all happen.  Indeed, some of these successes would not have been possible without help from our friends at SelectUSA and the Department of Commerce. Deputy Investment Services Director David Campbell traveled to Delaware to help us welcome delegates from the Spanish Embassy. Investment Specialist Nathan Regan helped us with market research to lock in a French IT company, slated to open their operations in January 2017. The U.S. Consul General in Munich Jennifer Gavito, together with our friend Jana Dorband, kindly supported our many trips to Berlin to finalize details for Factory Berlin’s launch.

A growing challenge (though not necessarily a bad one) for our team has been how not to become victims of our own success.  Delaware IS welcoming and business friendly – but we are also so much more than corporations.  This is why, beyond meeting with delegations and international business owners, we’ve spent a great deal of time developing innovative strategies that create value for international investors looking to bring their business to Delaware.

The most exciting endeavor in this field was the launch of the Delaware Blockchain Initiative. Governor Jack Markell announced the project in May, generating interest around the world. This technology efficiently records financial transactions between parties on a network without the costs and delays associated with intermediaries. We are already working hard with entrepreneurs around the world to develop practical applications.

In short, over the past year, we have forged international partnerships and implemented new strategies that show the world that the First State is open for investment like never before. Given the incredible successes we saw this year, we are excited to see what 2017 holds. Stay tuned by visiting our website and following us on Twitter.

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Finding Foreign Buyers Through eCommerce Sales Channels

December 15, 2016

James Bledsoe is Deputy Director of the eCommerce Innovation Lab

eCommerce is the future of cross-border trade.  Most conservative estimates posit that ecommerce will be responsible for over 50 percent of all global sales by 2020; this percentage is even higher in the retail sector. Around the world, 95 percent of the global consumers hold 75 percent of the global purchasing power—is  your business in a position to connect with these online consumers?  With ecommerce sales, it is not so much about finding the buyers online, but rather finding out where it is online that the buyers can find you.

Before you invest heavily in an ecommerce market strategy, I and my office of the ecommerce Innovation Lab, part of the Department of Commerce, recommend that you should first take time to conduct basic research about the existing ecommerce market for your products or services.

[Download Video 18MB]

There are Country Commercial Guides available for you to use, as well as ecommerce-specific Country Briefs that will help you to Identify eCommerce Market Opportunities for your target markets.  There are many online tools to help you find out which market is right for you; for example, Google’s Market Finder can help translate keywords into target market languages to see their popularity by the relative values placed on them.

I also recommend that for your online business you should work on an ecommerce strategy:

  1. Objectives: What do you want your online presence to achieve? Are you looking for an active sale through your website, or are you educating the potential buyer for a more passive sale?
  2. Resources: What are your contingency options for sales? The return-on-investment (ROI) you put into building your consumer networks may be months away.
  3. Target Market and Audience: Who are your buyers? Businesses?  Young consumers?  This will determine how you will approach your online presence.
  4. Competitor Analysis: Who are your closest competitors? What makes them successful online?  Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
  5. Website Feature List: Create a simple mockup of what functions and abilities you want your site to have before you decide on a professional web developer to help you.

Next, you will want to Choose the Right Channel Mix of ecommerce sales channels to pursue in your target market to help you be found by the consumers you are targeting.  There are four general sales channels for ecommerce:

  • Your Own Website – you educate for a passive sale or actively process sales through your own website. This can be your US-based site, or a country-specific site through your web developer.
  • Online Marketplaces – Amazon, eBay, Baidu, Mercado Livre.
  • Third Party Distributor – they will sell your products through their website, utilizing their existing in-country sales and marketing networks.
  • Social Media – a great opportunity to establish a presence/brand, but be sure to use a local marketing firm that is aware of and sensitive to local culture and traditions.

I don’t recommend that you solely focus on one ecommerce sales channel, but rather choose the right mixture of sales channels for your business. For example,70 percent your own website, 20 percent online marketplaces, 10 percent social media; or 40 percent online marketplaces, 50 percent third party distributor, 10 percent social media, for example.  In other words, cast the widest (and smartest) net possible to establish yourself in online positions where your consumers frequently visit.

My best advice for businesses looking for online buyers, both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C), is to work with a local distributor to get established in that market.  Local partners have the existing marketing infrastructure that you don’t have to invest in, the existing customer networks that you don’t have to build, and most importantly, the local recognition and reputation that you don’t need to establish outside of your product/brand.  There are Matchmaking Services that our International Trade Specialists can assist you in finding the right in-country partner through our 85 overseas U.S. Embassy postings.  You should also consider contacting your nearest trained Global eCommerce Specialist for free counselling to help you develop your eCommerce strategy and guide you through the cross-border ecommerce landscape.

For more information on resources available to find reliable partners and foreign buyers, see the Exporting Basics videos on Finding Foreign Buyers.The videos discuss the many ways to find foreign buyers, including: using local sales representatives, taking advantage of customized exporting services, attending trade shows or trade missions, and connecting through ecommerce.

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Three Reasons to Apply to the U.S. Maritime Technology Export Initiative

December 14, 2016

Derrick Small is a Communications Specialist for the Pacific South Network for the U.S. Commercial Service

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

Recently, the U.S. Commercial Service of the International Trade Administration (ITA) along with The Maritime Alliance (TMA) announced the first Maritime Technology Initiative to support U.S. Blue Tech companies with global expansion.

The press conference included TMA executives, Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-CA); Supervisor Greg Cox (First District) and Holly Vineyard, principal deputy assistant secretary for the U.S. Commercial Service.

“This is the first time that funding has been awarded to focus on maritime technologies, which we see as a growth opportunity for U.S exports given the increasing global demand of ocean technologies,” said Vineyard.

Three Reasons to Apply:

Financial Support to Increase Exports

The U.S. Maritime Technology Export Initiative aims to increase exports among U.S. maritime technology companies. The initiative received $297,000 in federal funding from ITA’s Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP).

“Our goal is to position the United States to get ahead of that curve and support marine tech companies who have developed innovative ocean technologies to meet that growing demand,” said Victoria Yue, oil and gas trade specialist with ITA’s Office of Energy and Environmental Industries. “To do this, collaboration with organizations like The Maritime Alliance is essential.”

The Maritime Alliance will match the MDCP award with a $948,570 investment. Each MDCP award winner pledges at least two-thirds of the project costs and to sustain its project after the initial MDCP award period ends.

“The U.S. Maritime Technology Export Initiative will increase exports by assisting small companies to attend ocean technology related trade shows and trade missions over the next three years,” said Greg Murphy, executive director of The Maritime Alliance.

Aron Davidson, senior international trade specialist with the U.S. Commercial Service, adds that the MDCP gives additional resources for TMA members to take advantage of USCS services which may serve as a multiplier effect for export promotion.

“The MDCP has raised the profile of the marine technology sector which is a large and important industry throughout the US but particularly here in the San Diego region which plays host to 200+ marine technology-oriented businesses,” said Davidson.

Develop International Partnerships

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) estimates that the value of the Ocean Economy is expected to reach $3 trillion annually by 2030 up from $1.5 trillion in 2010.

The U.S. Commercial Service’s Maritime Technology Industry Primer states that ITA anticipates that countries and communities will invest heavily in maritime, ocean and port infrastructure over the next decade. In particular, several strong trends in the marine technology industry offer opportunities for U.S. companies in maritime defense and security, shipbuilding, ocean observation and data management, offshore oil and gas and port infrastructure and services.

“The marine technology sector, made up in significant part of small and medium businesses, is inherently export oriented,” adds Davidson. “Many of the world’s nations touch the oceans and as such have a need for marine technology. This means that there is a tremendous market for US-made marine technology across the globe that will only increase over time.”

Open to all Small U.S. Maritime Technology Companies

According to Yue, any small maritime technology company from the United States may apply to join the initiative regardless of membership status with TMA.

“The MDCP specifically targets SMEs and intends to support companies that are first-time trade show participants,” said Yue. “Over the next three years, we anticipate that the U.S. Maritime Technology Export Initiative will fund up to 90 small and medium sized companies to participate in trade shows and trade missions, starting with Oceanology International North America, which is being launched at the San Diego Convention Center February 14-16, 2017.”

Other events include the Ocean Business trade show April 4-6, 2017 in Southampton, UK, Oceanology International, March 13-15, 2018 in London and Blue Tech Trade Mission to Europe in April 2017.

Applications will be available mid-November 2016, and due December 23rd, 2016 for consideration by a national advisory panel.  For more information, visit www.bluetechexports.org or contact TMA Executive Director Greg Murphy at grmurphy@themaritimealliance.org.

The U.S. Commercial Service is the trade promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration. U.S. Commercial Service trade professionals in over 100 U.S. cities and in more than 75 countries help U.S. companies get started in exporting or increase sales to global markets. For information on the U.S. Commercial Service contact your local trade specialist.

Oceans span the globe – does your Marine Technology business? Keep your company growing by devising or expanding your international export strategy. The U.S. Commercial Service’s Marine Technology team can help your company take advantage of worldwide sales opportunities. Locate Marine Technology Specialist.

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First Meeting of Trade Finance Advisory Council Seeks Increased Access to Finance for U.S. Exporters

December 12, 2016

Ericka Ukrow is a Senior International Trade Specialist in the Office of Finance and Insurance Industries

The Department of Commerce has responded to the needs of its clients and partners – it is stepping up efforts to expand private sector trade finance with the inaugural meeting of the Trade Finance Advisory Council (TFAC).

The Council is comprised of 20 private-sector leaders representing banks, financial technology companies, other trade finance organizations, exporters, and a research institution charged with advising the U.S. Commerce Secretary on policies and programs that can help expand access to private sector trade finance for U.S. exporters, especially small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), and educate them about the resources available.

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TFAC members sharing their perspective on key priorities for the TFAC with Commerce officials.

In her remarks last month to the Council, Secretary Penny Pritzker underscored the importance that trade finance plays in supporting trade. “Nearly all global merchandise trade, worth in excess of $18 trillion annually, is supported by some sort of finance or credit insurance. Put simply: without trade finance, there is no trade,” she said.

More of Secretary Pritzker’s tweets can be found here:

https://twitter.com/PennyPritzker/status/799655952257466368

https://twitter.com/PennyPritzker/status/799652779472076800

Acknowledging that the federal government is a critical source of American exporters’ financing needs, Secretary Pritzker reminded all participants that ultimately, it is the private sector that finances approximately 98 percent of U.S. export transactions. Accordingly, she affirmed the Department’s commitment to working collaboratively with the private sector in supporting efforts that will enhance the financing environment of our exporters and their foreign buyers.

Deputy Secretary Andrews shared Commerce’s priorities and vision for the TFAC. “Without adequate levels of trade finance,” he said, “companies considering whether to expand overseas might never do so; and companies already engaged in exporting may not expand to new markets. This limits the potential for a key element of our country’s economic growth strategy – ultimately costing us jobs that otherwise would have been created. That is why access to finance has been an important part of the Administration’s export agenda.We need industry to help us find solutions to the systemic barriers that impact this sector,” he added.

Council’s Key Priorities

Under direction of the Advisory Council Chair Chris Bozek, a seasoned banker and now Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s North America Head of Trade and Global Product Executive, Council members deliberated and established four initial areas of focus:

  • Innovation and Financial Technology
  • Collaboration and Partnerships
  • Education and Outreach
  • Market Information

These key areas align with the Secretary’s shared vision.

Other Speakers

Recognizing the important role of federal export financing agencies and regulators in the dialogue, Commerce invited representatives from the Export-Import Bank, Small Business Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Department of The Treasury to brief members on their perspectives in this area.

Council members also had the opportunity to learn about existing Commerce resources that support U.S. exporters such as the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee (TPCC), the Strategic Partnership Program, guides to exporting and trade finance, market intelligence reports, and trade missions. They also learned about financing programs and services that the Minority Business Development Agency offers to its client companies.

In his closing remarks, Acting Assistant Secretary for Industry and Analysis, Ted Dean, assured members that “in collaboration with the broader U.S. government, Commerce stands ready to work with Council members to ensure they have the support they need to provide important insights on opportunities to enhance the trade finance environment for our exporters.”

It was an inspiring environment, underscoring that achieving an enhanced financing environment for American exporters is not a task that government can do alone. It must be built on a commitment of collaborative work between the government, private sector and academia. This meeting marked a key step to embracing this path.

The Council is scheduled to hold its second meeting in early spring of 2017.

To learn more about the Department of Commerce Trade Finance Advisory Council, please visit www.trade.gov/tfac or contact us at TFAC@trade.gov.

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Foreign Investment Breathes New Life Into Ohio City

December 8, 2016

Guest blog post by Kristi Tanner, Automotive Senior Managing Director, JobsOhio

On October 7, Fuyao Glass America, a subsidiary of China-based Fuyao Group, celebrated the grand opening of its auto glass manufacturing facility in Moraine, a small industrial city just south of Dayton, Ohio. The company invested nearly $600 million to convert a shuttered General Motors assembly plant into the world’s largest auto glass fabrication facility – the largest capital investment east of the Mississippi by a Chinese company.

Many of us involved with the Fuyao project had the good fortune to tour the facility at its various stages of life. I recall seeing the plant before it closed when GM employed nearly 2,000 people producing the Chevrolet Trailblazer and GMC Envoy. Its transition from a behemoth building sitting empty during the recession to the world’s largest auto glass fabrication facility employing more than 2,000 workers today is how we know a long-term vision and collaborative approach are must-haves in any economic development strategy.

A coordinated effort and long-term vision to attract foreign direct investment is a must-have in any economic development strategy. Had local leadership not fought to keep the building from being demolished in the early days of the GM closure, we would never have been able to find a strong industrial developer willing to take a risk on the facility. Similarly, without the strong partnership and collaboration between SelectUSA, JobsOhio, the Dayton Development Coalition, Montgomery County and the city of Moraine, among others, we might never have been about to attract this company that is now giving hope to a city hit hard by job losses during the Great Recession.

The story behind Fuyao’s decision to redevelop the shuttered facility in Ohio is a textbook case illustrating how local, regional, state and national economic development organizations can work together to successfully attract foreign direct investment in the United States. Here’s how the story began.

Fuyao had expressed a desire to build a manufacturing plant in the U.S. to put the company’s automotive glass production closer to its North American customers. This led JobsOhio, the state’s private, non-profit economic development corporation, to attend the grand opening of Fuyao’s plant in Russia in September 2013. At the event, I presented Fuyao Group’s Chairman Cao Dewang with a personalized letter from Governor John Kasich inviting him to visit Ohio. The exchange led to an invitation to visit Fuyao’s corporate headquarters in Fuzhou, China, where I spent a day touring the operations and meeting with Chairman Cao other company leaders.

At around the same time, Cao was invited to attend the annual SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington, D.C. He decided he would travel to the U.S. for the event to meet with – and ultimately visit – the finalist sites for Fuyao’s planned U.S. manufacturing facility. He liked what he saw in Moraine – a skilled and available workforce, an existing plant near a rail line and an interstate highway, and easy access to both suppliers and customers. He also recognized Ohio’s genuine desire to support Fuyao’s long-term success in the U.S.

Fuyao’s investment has breathed new life into the plant and the city of Moraine. Hundreds of people who had been out of work now have jobs, including some that worked in the plant for GM. Income tax revenue from the new plant already is allowing the city to make much-needed road improvements. The plant is stimulating additional growth in Dayton’s automotive industry. Local economic development leaders are eager to see if Fuyao attracts additional Chinese investment in the region.

This is how today, combined with a globally connected economy and a coordinated effort among economic development leaders at every level, a Chinese company is now helping make the American Dream come true. The proof is history-making results for communities, states and companies alike.

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El Paso plastic molding company grows international sales by $8 million, exports 85 percent of product

December 8, 2016

After years of working with the U.S. Commercial Service, a plastics molding company here has expanded its profit margin by more than $8 million and created more than 100 jobs through cross-border sales into Mexico.

Plastic Molding Technology, Inc., a manufacturer of injection-molded plastic components that produces more than 150 million parts per year, has worked with the U.S. Commercial Service in El Paso and New Mexico since 2011. During that time, Robert Queen, Director of U.S. Commercial Service-El Paso, worked with PMT to lock in several new customers across the border in Ciudad Juarez.

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Congressman Beto O’Rourke (center, left) and PMT owner and CEO Charles A. Sholtis joins PMT employees honor of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Export Achievement Award.

This is something PMT CEO Charles A. Sholtis said directly attributed to their company’s success today.

“PMT regards Robert Queen and the El Paso Commercial Service as excellent partners for our company, as well as strong advocates for American manufacturing,” said Sholtis. “The organization is professional and supportive of our needs as a plastic components manufacturer on the US-Mexico border. From helping us link with new opportunities, to connecting us in B2B meetings, to recognizing our achievements as an exporter, we value our partnership and appreciate the support.”

Together with its El Paso operations, the U.S. Commercial Service is a federal agency under the U.S. Department of Commerce dedicated to helping small and medium-sized businesses successfully enter global markets.

Through the assistance provided by CS El Paso, Robert Queen said PMT has had its visibility enhanced within the borderplex community. Additionally, the U.S. Commercial Service’s relationships and resources provided for important connections through business-to-business matchmaking and trades shows as well as up-to-date market intelligence, trade analysis data and industry reports that lead to a number of trade leads.

“The work we have done with PMT has been much more than just finding them opportunities overseas for export,” Queen said. “We’ve also helped to strengthen their position locally through networking, consulting, and talking about projects taking place both in El Paso and Cuidad Juarez.”

The increased demand for PMT’s products has also had an effect on their workforce. With the increased need for plastic molding injection with businesses on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, PMT has increased their workforce to 100 employees. These employees are broken down into four shifts that keep the plant running 24 hours, seven days a week.

“For companies like PMT, it’s more than just exporting; companies along the U.S.-Mexico border are taking part in product sharing, which requires more back-and-forth coordination and consulting,” Queen said. “This can take multiple years to complete. Because we are very much engaged in the local manufacturing environment due to its exports across the border, it’s easy for the U.S. Commercial Service to stay on the cusp of the manufacturing supply chain locally.”

According to their website, for five decades, PMT has serviced a wide array of industries Including automotive, appliance, electrical, medical, agricultural, marine, and consumer products. Strategically located in El Paso, Queen said PMT is well-positioned to serve the maquiladora plants in Mexico, and continue to seek out other opportunities in the United States’ southern neighbor.

Interested in connecting with the U.S. Commercial Service? Visit us on the web to find an office near you.