Author Archive

h1

South Korea Submits Intent to Participate in Asia-Pacific Data Transfer Agreement: the APEC Cross-Border Privacy Rules System

January 17, 2017

Michael Rose is a Policy Advisory in the Office of Digital Services Industries

Another country is making it easier for companies to transfer personal data across borders, while at the same time, raising privacy standards.

In January 2017, South Korea submitted its Intent to Participate in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Cross-Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) System.  The CBPR system facilitates commercial transfers of personal data across borders and raises privacy standards among the signatories by setting baseline data privacy practices for participating companies.  This facilitates trade and economic growth throughout the region by supporting supply chains and digital commerce in a critical region for U.S. exporters.

The expansion of the CBPR System across APEC builds consumer trust and reduces compliance costs for companies, which otherwise must rely on a myriad of compliance mechanisms. South Korea will become the fifth APEC Economy to participate in the data transfer agreement – joining the United States, Japan, Canada, and Mexico – once its application is finalized this year.  The CBPR System includes some of the largest companies in the United States including Apple, IBM, Merck, Cisco, and Hewlett Packard, which have raised global privacy standards in their companies by meeting APEC CBPR certification standards and registering with an approved APEC Accountability Agent.

“Korea offers significant market opportunity for American exporters,” Acting Assistant Secretary for Industry and Analysis Ted Dean said with the announcement. “Korea’s participation in the APEC CBPR System will promote digital trade, benefit companies in the United States and around the region, and drive uptake of higher privacy standards for consumers in the Asia-Pacific.”

The CBPR System continues to build international recognition as a mechanism to build confidence for consumers, businesses, and regulators in regional privacy practices.  The growth of the CBPR System advances interoperability between data transfer regimes and ensures strong privacy protections for consumers.

In November 2016 the Leaders of all 21 APEC Economies reiterated their commitment to open data flows and strengthening privacy protections.  The APEC CBPR System has become a template for creating a global solution to data transfer restrictions.

h1

Colorado: Attracting FDI by the Numbers

January 12, 2017

By Dan Lane, Global Business Manager, Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade

At the Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade (OEDIT), attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) is an important part of our overall mission to create a healthy economy for our state. Foreign companies doing business in Colorado create jobs for our residents, build our state’s international connectivity, and help to fill gaps in our economy.

Looking back, 2016 was another strong year for the State of Colorado in welcoming foreign investment and defining a strategy that truly works.

At OEDIT, we have learned to take a targeted approach to attracting FDI. The world is a big and potentially overwhelming place, and without a targeted strategy driven by data and analytics, we would spend far too much time chasing leads and scrambling for any and all types of investment. A data-driven approach, however, helps us create a win-win situation by providing foreign companies with a prime market opportunity in the United States and simultaneously shoring up some of the gaps in Colorado’s economy.

building

Colorado State Capitol in Denver

OEDIT’s in-house data and analytics team plays a vital role in crafting Colorado’s FDI attraction strategy, examining a wide range of economic indicators from Colorado and around the world to help refine our approach. This team continuously analyzes Colorado’s economy to see where we have gaps in our local industries and supply chains. Earlier this year, our analysts also pored over world economic indicators to identify countries that met two key criteria – strength in industries where we had identified gaps, and robust growth projections over the next year.  By overlaying these data sets, OEDIT was able to craft a strategy targeting companies from fast-growing economies that could fill unique niches in Colorado.

Of course, our strategy plays to Colorado’s strengths as well. Colorado’s attractiveness as an FDI destination was highlighted by several speakers at the 2016 SelectUSA Investment Summit, including Secretary of State John Kerry.  In his remarks, Secretary Kerry highlighted the grand opening of a new $1.3 million global R&D center in Boulder by Envision Energy, a Chinese producer of wind turbines and smart wind farm software.  The Envision Global Blade Innovation Center is expected to create up to 42 jobs for highly-skilled Coloradans – and according to Envision, far and away the most important driver for selecting Colorado was its talented local workforce.

Colorado is becoming the “wind energy capital of America” largely due to its innovative, talented and highly educated population. In fact, Colorado is the second most highly educated state in the nation.  This fact may come as a surprise to people who associate the U.S. coasts with higher education; but for Envision, Colorado’s excellent universities revealed a hidden gem of highly educated local talent. Boulder’s close proximity to the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) – the ideal testing ground for Envision’s blade designs – was also a key factor in the company’s choice of this location. In fact, Colorado has the highest density of national labs anywhere in the United States. This is yet another reason why Colorado has a correspondingly high density of engineering talent and attracts companies like Envision.

We at OEDIT are proud of the great strides we have made in attracting foreign direct investment to our state. At the same time, we recognize that there is still work to be done.  While Colorado’s reputation as a business hub is well known domestically, we still need to work hard to boost our recognition on the international level. This is an area where SelectUSA has been particularly helpful to Colorado. First and foremost, the Investment Summit provides an excellent platform for Colorado to compete side by side with coastal states that are better known among foreign business people. SelectUSA also helped Colorado organize and host a group of Chinese CEOs who saw firsthand what a great place Colorado is to do business.  Finally, SelectUSA is renowned for its data-driven approach to FDI, and offers a wide range of resources, including online data tools ranging from an interactive FDI dashboard, to an industry cluster mapping tool, and much, much more!

At OEDIT, we plan to continue taking advantage of the opportunity to partner with SelectUSA and take advantage of the platform that they provide, and we are excited to see what 2017 brings.

h1

Miscellaneous Tariff Bills Public Comment Period Opens

January 10, 2017

Jeffrey Eversman is an International Economist in ITA’s Office of Trade Negotiations and Analysis

The U.S. International Trade Commission’s (USITC) Public Comment Period for the 2016 Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) cycle will begin tomorrow, January 11, 2017. The USITC published a Federal Register notice, which can be found on the USITC MTB website, inviting the public to comment on the list of petitions it received during the MTB submission period. The website includes details and specific dates for filing pubshippinglic comments, along with the full list of MTB petitions. The window for submitting public comments to the USITC will close on February 24.

Anyone, including U.S. companies that produce a like or competing product for which a petition has been submitted, may submit a public comment supporting or objecting to the proposed tariff reduction or suspension. The USITC will use these comments and input from the Department of Commerce (Commerce) and other agencies in making a final recommendation to Congress on whether individual MTB petitions should move forward.

Commerce’s involvement in the MTB process is centered on answering two simple questions: does domestic production of the product subject to petition for duty suspension or reduction exist, and, if so, does a domestic producer of the product object to the duty suspension or reduction. Verified instances of domestic production and any subsequent objection from domestic producers will be shared in Commerce’s report to the USITC and to Congress in mid-April.

Commerce will be reviewing all claims of domestic production submitted through the public comments. Companies that prefer to remain anonymous but would still like to note an objection are encouraged to do so to Commerce directly by sending an email to CommerceMTBs@trade.gov. Commerce will not share information on domestic producers who wish to remain anonymous. However, for the purposes of Commerce’s report, all claims of domestic production will still be verified by Commerce staff. Again, the USITC is responsible for making the ultimate determination of whether domestic production of a given product exists and making a recommendation to Congress on each petition.

If you would like to contact the Department of Commerce directly regarding any petition, staff can be reached at the email address CommerceMTBs@trade.gov. More detailed information on MTBs and Commerce’s role in the process may be found at http://www.trade.gov/mtbs.

 

h1

A Middle Class Market of 350 Million People

January 10, 2017

Curt Cultice is a Senior Communications Specialist in ITA’s U.S. Commercial Service

Country Commercial Guides Put Africa into Focus

With so many global opportunities, what are some expert suggestions as to which markets U.S. companies should include in their initial research?  In a recent blog, Jack Leslie, Chairman of Weber Shandwick and the U.S. African Development Foundation as well as a member of the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa, offers some valuable insight:

“The integration of the African continent in the global economy is one of the most significant — and, to me, energizing — trends of our time. Companies looking for the next great business market to invest in or sell goods and services are flocking to Africa — and for good reason. Africa’s middle class has expanded to 350 million people. Between now and 2025, Africans are expected to spend an estimated $4 trillion — equal to the size of Japan’s economy today.”CCG

Expanded U.S. Commercial Service Footprint

As part of President Obama’s Doing Business in Africa initiative (DBIA), the U.S. Commercial Service recently expanded its footprint throughout sub-Saharan Africa. In addition to its offices in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and South Africa, the U.S. Commercial Service has increased its presence from four countries to eight by opening new offices in Angola, Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Tanzania. The U.S. Commercial Service also partners with the State Department in 23 U.S. embassies throughout Africa which also provide export promotion services.

For many current and potential U.S. exporters and investors, the growing opportunities in Africa make the new Country Commercial Guides (CCGs) even timelier. Why? Because now there’s even more Africa market research available through updated and expanded CCG global coverage. In 2016, the Africa portfolio has been upped to 32 countries, with the addition of new CCGs from the Sub-Saharan Africa countries of Chad, Sao Tome and Principe, Uganda, and Zimbabwe—bringing the total CCG coverage to more than 140 countries worldwide.

Each CCG features “boots-on-the-ground” market intelligence compiled by U.S. commercial and economic officers based at U.S. embassies and consulates abroad. The CCGs include market-by-market economic overviews, selling techniques, investment climate considerations, trade financing options, and business travel advice and resources.

In addition, the CCG portfolio also includes a World Bank Group Commercial Guide that provides insights into how World Bank-funded projects work, and how American firms, from prime contractors to subcontractors and suppliers, can identify and access opportunities, including those in Africa.

A Growing Regional Business Environment

According to the International Monetary Fund, Africa has three of the world’s top-ten growing economies in terms of projected percentage real GDP growth for 2016: Côte d’Ivoire is the 3rd fastest growing economy at 8.0%, Tanzania is 6th at 7.2%, and Senegal is 9th at 6.6%. The World Bank’s Doing Business Report recently ranked Sub-Saharan African economies among the world’s top improvers of business climate.

Along with citing Africa’s sustainable growth, rising incomes, and economic diversity, Leslie points to another major trend of interest: while Africa’s GDP and labor force are today highly dependent on agriculture, the manufacturing sector is also growing and is expected to double from $500 billion in economic output today to $930 billion by 2025.

“Africa has the advantage of a young population and will soon have the world’s fastest rate of urbanization,” Leslie says. “Africa’s young workers are highly entrepreneurial and increasingly skilled and educated. Within two decades, Africa’s workforce will be larger than either that of China or India.”

Need further incentive to explore the African market? Read on to what Leslie has to say:

“In my capacity as Chairman of the U.S. African Development Foundation, I have seen first-hand the power of African entrepreneurship, and the eagerness of the continent’s young workforce to partner with investors from the U.S. and around the world. Africa is the continent of the future. I would encourage U.S. companies to update their global business strategies today to ensure they are positioned to take advantage of Africa’s rising.”

Is your company ready to get started? Do your research now by visiting the U.S. Country Commercial Guides at www.export.gov. On the site, you can also find out more about U.S. Commercial Service export assistance through our global network of 108 U.S. Commercial Service offices across the United States and in U.S. embassies and consulates in more than 75 countries, including our offices in Africa.

h1

Get Ready for Hannover Messe 2017!

January 9, 2017

Jana Dorband is Senior Investment Specialist at the U.S. Embassy Berlin

Hannover Messe – the world’s leading industrial technology trade show – will take place on April 24 – 28 2017. SelectUSA will again lead a robust delegation to the event, and host the U.S. Investment Pavilion in Hall 3. 

Hannover Messe 2017 – the world’s leading trade fair for industrial technology – is just around the corner.  Once again, the United States Investment Pavilion will provide a platform for U.S. economic development organizations to showcase their regions to thousands of potential investors. More information, including pricing and registration information, can be found on our flyer.

The official lead theme in 2017 will be “Integrated Industry – Creating Value”, drawing attention to the long-term impact of the fourth industrial revolution on issues beyond mere production technologies.  Key questions on the agenda will include:

  • What are the long-term benefits we gain from digitalization?
  • How will companies adapt to the new technologies?
  • What are the implications for the workforce, for training and for education?
  • What partnerships do we need to forge – across industry sectors, between businesses and government and between countries – to further advance technological change?

Last April, President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel joined the stage to officially open Hannover Messe 2016.  Many of us sat in the audience that night and witnessed what was truly a historic moment.  For the first time in the fair’s 69-year history, the United States served as the official Partner Country.  President Obama was the first sitting U.S. president to attend the show.

The U.S. delegation was the largest it has ever been – over 350 U.S. companies and research institutions, including 200+ small and medium-sized companies, and 90+ U.S. economic development organizations (EDOs).  Partner Country status afforded U.S. pavilions maximum exposure to over 200,000 visitors, 6,000 EDOs and industrial exhibitors, and thousands of journalists and bloggers across 27 exhibit halls.

Our SelectUSA team coordinated the Investment Pavilion, which was the heart of the U.S. presence at the show and provided EDOs with a unique platform to meet and engage with international investors and our own team of investment specialists from around the world.

“This fair gave us a very good opportunity to develop FDI leads with companies we never would have identified with other methods.”Appalachian Partnership for Econ

At Hannover Messe 2016, we witnessed first-hand how the digital age has revolutionized manufacturing, turning traditional production sites into “smart factories.”  This year’s focus on creating value underlines once again that Hannover Messe is more than just a trade show.  It has convening power for decision makers around topics that will shape the future of our economies and our global competitiveness. As Secretary Penny Pritzker pointed out at the event’s 2016 Economic Forum: “[I]n a globalized economy, the separate pursuit of our visions is insufficient. Advanced manufacturing relies on highly integrated processes and supply chains that transcend international borders.” There is no better place to forge these alliances than Hannover Messe.  Whether you are a company or an EDO – if you want to participate in the new age of manufacturing, you can’t afford to miss this opportunity.

Show the world what you have to offer and join the 2017 U.S. delegation to Hannover!  Please contact the SelectUSA team or Ethan Carter with Hannover Fairs USA with any questions or for more information.   We look forward to working with you.

h1

Ringing in 2017 with a Focus on Foreign Direct Investment

January 6, 2017

Vinai Thummalapally is Executive Director of SelectUSA

“There’s no substitute for those three proud words: ‘Made in America.’” Thus began my first ever blog post as Executive Director of SelectUSA in 2013.  These words were spoken by none other than President Barack Obama on October 31, 2013 addressing participants of the inaugural SelectUSA Investment Summit.  Clearly the words made an impression – and it’s been a very good year for foreign direct investment (FDI).

people

Thummalapally (front, left) leads a demonstration of SelectUSA’s online data tool with staff and Summit participants at last year’s SelectUSA Investment Summit.

Total FDI in the United States again broke records, reaching $3.1 trillion.  In 2016, for the fourth year in a row, the United States topped A.T. Kearney’s FDI Confidence Index. And additionally we received a new honor – ranking first in the Global Entrepreneurship and Development Institute’s annual Index.

FDI attraction is a highly collaborative endeavor, requiring business leader input, all-of-government engagement, inter-agency cooperation, and the deep local knowledge, expertise, and passion of economic developers.  This is exemplified by the U.S. Investment Advisory Council (IAC), which was officially convened as a true public-private partnership of international business leaders, economic developers, and government representatives to advise the Secretary of Commerce on the best ways to attract FDI to the United States.  The Council recently made four recommendations for enhancing FDI in the United States – promote infrastructure investment opportunities; continue to work to remove barriers to FDI; harmonize federal, state, and regional FDI attraction objectives and strategies; and redouble our workforce development efforts to prepare for today’s needs.

Another notable milestone in 2016 was how our events settled into a comfortable rhythm, auguring high expectations for 2017.

In April, the SelectUSA brand achieved peak visibility through our participation at Hannover Messe as official Partner Country with Germany.  President Barack Obama led the largest-ever U.S. delegation to the world’s top industrial technology trade show, and became the first sitting U.S. President to attend the event.

In June, the third SelectUSA Investment Summit was held in Washington, D.C. with more than 2,500 attendees. More than 1,000 investors from 70 countries, economic development organizations from every corner of the United States, 20 federal agencies and 8 cabinet members joined the President to welcome the delegation. With our 2017 Summit fast approaching in June, our signature event has become an annual tradition.

Finally, we all celebrated the many investment successes for EDOs across the country, a number of which are being highlighted in our latest blog series, Spotlight on EDOs.  To date, SelectUSA, working with our EDO and investor clients in close coordination with our Commercial Service colleagues, has assisted more than $23 billion in client verified investments in the United States.

We are all optimistic about what 2017 will bring.  The fundamentals that make the United States a great place to invest – our markets, our climate of innovation, our rule of law and our people  – are stronger than ever.  And there are new areas opening up than ever before.  For instance, it is widely believed that investment opportunities in infrastructure could amount to more than $1 trillion.  There has never been a better time to invest in the United States.

h1

Questor Technology: A Success Story

January 5, 2017

Audrey Mascarenhas is President and CEO of Calgary-based Questor Technology Inc.

Questor is a clean technology company whose core commercial business is providing high efficiency waste gas incineration.  Energy efficiency is a key benefit with Questor and this has resulted in additional technology offerings such as waste heat to power and waste water vaporization. As Questor continues to provide solutions that eliminate toxic gases and result in cleaner air, these new technologies that utilize excess heat will lower costs and increase site efficiencies for Questor’s customers. In an ever-changing regulatory landscape, Questor provides its clients with peace of mind with best in class performance, innovative solutions and cost cutting technologies that deliver compliance and social license.

lady

Audrey Mascarenhas

When Audrey reflects on her company’s increasingly successful expansion into the United States, she notes that her introduction to SelectUSA by CS Calgary and subsequent participation in the Canada delegation to the 2015 SelectUSA Summit were key accelerators for Questor’s rapid and successful expansion into the United States. “During the 2015 Summit, Ambassador Bruce Heyman introduced me to Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper; the governor subsequently connected me to his economic development and regulatory teams. I decided to stake a claim in Colorado for the expansion of Questor. The U.S. Foreign Commercial Service team in Calgary and their colleagues in Washington continue to partner with Questor as we expand into new U.S. markets.”

Not one to sit still, Audrey also made similar connections with that state’s economic leaders during the 2015 Summit, recognizing opportunities for establishing fabrication and operations centers in Florida.

Today, Questor employs approximately 25 people in Alberta and Colorado and 3 in Florida.

The SelectUSA Investment Summit will be held June 18-20, 2017. This is the highest-profile event dedicated to promoting foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States. This signature event provides an unparalleled opportunity to bring together companies from all over the world, economic development organizations from every corner of the nation, and other parties working to facilitate business investment in the United States. For more information on this years event, please visit us on the web.