Archive for the ‘Advocacy’ Category

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Commerce Department’s New Investment Advisory Council Seeks Membership Applicants

April 13, 2016

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

Guest blog post by Vinai ThummalapallyExecutive Director of SelectUSA

Earlier this month, the Secretary of Commerce established the United States Investment Advisory Council (IAC). This council will serve as a key conduit for stakeholder input on how best to support U.S. economic growth through the attraction and retention of foreign direct investment (FDI).

Infographic on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)

Infographic on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)

This Council will consist of no more than 20 members appointed by the Secretary of Commerce. Each IAC member will serve for a two-year period and the Council will convene twice a year. The mission of the IAC is simple but important for job creation in the United States. The IAC shall:

  • Advise the Secretary on U.S. government policies and programs that affect FDI;
  • Identify and recommend programs and policies to help the United States attract and retain FDI; and
  • Recommend ways to support the position of the United States as the world’s preeminent destination for FDI.

The Investment Advisory Council is actively seeking candidates through May 10, 2016 who are U.S. nationals from eligible organizations including, but not limited to:

  • U.S.-incorporated companies that are majority-owned by foreign companies or by a foreign individual or individuals, or that generate significant foreign direct investment (e.g., through their supply chains);
  • U.S. companies or entities with business that includes FDI-related activities or the facilitation of FDI; and
  • Economic development organizations and other U.S. governmental and non-governmental organizations and associations with missions or activities that include the promotion or facilitation of FDI.

As a relatively new program within the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration, SelectUSA has already made an impact by helping facilitate more than $19 billion worth of FDI. But, we can always do better, and we seek to maximize every opportunity to attract new FDI and retain and expand current investments.

FDI is a fundamental element of the U.S. economy. With a total stock of FDI valued at $2.9 trillion (or 17 percent of GDP), the United States is the leading recipient of foreign investment worldwide. Across the country, the U.S. affiliates of foreign companies directly employ more than 6.1 million people, with an average compensation of $79,979 – well above the national average.

An additional 5.9 million jobs can be attributed to FDI through sourcing, increased incomes, productivity gains, and other economic effects. FDI also helps drive American innovation and connects American communities with global markets. In fact, in 2013 alone, these companies spent $53 billion on research and development in the United States and were responsible for more than one fifth of U.S. goods exports ($360 billion).

Global companies continue to recognize the benefits they can derive from investing here, such as our stable and transparent business environment, strong culture of innovation, and highly productive workforce. These investors, along with U.S. economic developers, industry representatives, and others, can serve as some of the strongest advocates for American economic growth through channels such as the IAC.

The inaugural meeting of the IAC is anticipated to coincide with the  2016 SelectUSA Investment Summit, a three-day event in Washington, D.C. from June 19-21.  Our 2015 Summit was filled to capacity with business executives from 70 countries, economic developers from every corner of the country, and others working to facilitate job-creating investment. We are already on track for another high-profile event!

To learn more about the IAC, please visit www.trade.gov/IAC. For full membership criteria and application details, please review the Federal Register notice announcing the opportunity to apply. General inquiries can be addressed to IAC@trade.gov.

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Former Secretaries of Commerce Urge Congress to Pass Trade Promotion Authority

March 25, 2015

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

Guest blog post by William M. Daley, former Secretary of Commerce (1997-2000)

Former U.S. Secretary of Commerce William M. Daley

Former U.S. Secretary of Commerce William M. Daley

Free trade agreements are critical to strengthening American competitiveness, spurring economic growth, and bolstering job creation. With the trade agreements we currently have in place, U.S. exports hit a record-high for the fifth straight year in 2014, reaching $2.34 trillion and supporting 11.7 million American jobs. Goods exports to the 20 economies that have trade agreements with the United States reached a record $765.1 billion in 2014– an increase of 4.3 percent from 2013.

As Commerce Secretary under President Clinton, I led a number of efforts to open new markets to U.S. goods and services, and to help American companies navigate the trade landscape in foreign countries. I visited more than 40 countries to promote U.S. exports, expanded the Department’s overseas commercial staff to support U.S. exporters, and aggressively monitored the impact of trade practices of other nations on U.S. business and workers. I saw firsthand how free trade agreements benefited American businesses, and supported good-paying jobs for American workers.

We must ensure that President Obama can utilize the same tools to negotiate and implement new trade agreements that have been afforded to every President since President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s.Along with nine other Commerce Secretaries whose tenures span back to 1973,  we all agree – passing Trade Promotion Authority is not a Democratic or Republican request; it is a bipartisan issue that Congress must address now.

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Advocacy Center Helps Keep the Ball in Colorado’s Court

July 8, 2013

Nicholas Barter is an intern in the International Trade Administration’s Office of Public Affairs. He’s a graduate of Eastern Connecticut University, taking graduate courses at the George Washington University.

Representatives from Ball Aerospace and the Korean Aerospace Research Institute signed their business contract during the Trade Winds Asia 2013 trade mission.

Representatives from Ball Aerospace and the Korean Aerospace Research Institute signed their business contract during the Trade Winds Asia 2013 trade mission.

Odds are you don’t need a scanning UV-visible spectrometer. You may not even know what that is. But the Korean Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) does need one, and it contracted with Colorado-based Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. to provide it.

Contracts like these will continue to bring quality American-made products to organizations across the globe.

Ball signed the contract with KARI on May 13, and will deliver a scanning UV-visible spectrometer to detect pollution and monitor long-term climate change in the Asia-Pacific region.

The contract will support an estimated 100 American jobs. It also supports Colorado’s top export sector — Computer and Electronics. The sector was the state’s leading merchandise export category in 2012, accounting for $2.1 billion in export sales.

Competing for foreign public contracts can be difficult. There could be a home-field advantage, as foreign governments may want to support their own country’s businesses. There could be artificial roadblocks, customs issues, or any number of potential hurdles.

That’s when the Department of Commerce’s Advocacy Center can be helpful.

The Advocacy Center has helped hundreds of small, medium, and large U.S. businesses win contracts across the world. Its goal is to guarantee that U.S. products and services can compete abroad on a level playing field. For this contract, Ball beat out companies from Germany and the Netherlands.

Advocacy Center Regional Manager, Frederick Helfrich, attended the signing of the contract by Ball and KARI during the Trade Winds Asia 2013 trade mission. Under Secretary Francisco Sánchez extended his congratulations to Ball at the mission as well.

If your business is in need of assistance to expand globally, please contact the Advocacy Center. Our team would be glad to help your company compete for foreign government contracts.

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Advocacy Center Success Supports Louisiana Jobs

April 18, 2013

Chris Higginbotham is a Communications Specialist in the International Trade Administration’s Office of Public Affairs.

With help from the Jean-Marc Teleu and Chadian Abassador to U.S.HIS EXCELLENCY MAITINE DJOUMBE sign a contract to export 500 John Deere agricultural tractors to Chad Department of Commerce’s Advocacy Center, an American company has just signed its largest ever contract.

Louisiana-based Tuleu Consulting Company (TCC) today signed a $22.5 million contract to sell 500 John Deere tractors in the African country of Chad at a signing ceremony held at the U.S. Department of Commerce. TCC estimates this deal will support 100 American jobs at the company.

“TCC benefited from an aggressive, coordinated interagency commercial advocacy campaign spearheaded by our Advocacy Center to win a contract that will mean more jobs for American workers,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Administration Francisco Sánchez, who witnessed the signing of the contract. “I congratulate TCC on winning this valuable contract.”

The tractors will support Chad’s efforts to become self-sufficient in food production.

The Advocacy Center coordinates U.S. government resources to level the playing field for American companies competing against foreign firms for international contracts. In many cases, the Center will coordinate official messages to foreign officials on behalf of the U.S. government to support American companies.

“The services of the Advocacy Center are effective at helping companies like Tuleu and everyone at the Department of Commerce is glad to support American businesses,” Sanchez added.

This isn’t the first success for the Advocacy Center. The team actually had a banner year in Fiscal Year 2012, helping 53 companies secure international contracts worth a total of $87.1 billion. The Center estimates those contracts support 370,000 U.S. jobs.

Learn how advocacy services from the U.S. government can help your business compete overseas at export.gov/advocacy.

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Banner Year for U.S. Advocacy Center

October 16, 2012

Bryan Erwin is the Director of  The Advocacy Center in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration

The Advocacy Center of the Department of Commerce has had its most successful year since its creation in 1993. Never before has the Center helped U.S. businesses win as many international public contracts as in the past fiscal year 2012 .

U.S. companies won 53 international contracts, with a total value of $87.1 Billion. Of this amount, $73.9 Billion is U.S. export content – which means that it was made here in the U.S. – ensuring jobs for Americans. In fact, the Advocacy Center estimates that our work has helped support some 370,000 U.S. jobs.

These statistics are a record for us. In the year before, the value of the U.S. exports in the contracts was only $23.7 Billion. In 2010, it was $16.8 Billion.

Our mission is to coordinate U.S. Government resources and authority in order to level the playing field on behalf of U.S. business interests as they compete against foreign firms for specific international contracts or other U.S. export opportunities. In doing so, the Advocacy Center helps create and retain U.S. jobs through exports. And our success in 2012 was very much a collaborative effort of the whole of the Department of Commerce, and in some cases whole-of government.

But it is not only the total number which is impressive. The Advocacy Center also helped more sectors vital for the National Export Initiative win contracts. One fifth of the acquired contracts were won by Small and Medium Enterprises. Their share used to be in the single digits.

The clean energy and environmental sector and the health care sector were also able to acquire more business. International contracts won in 2012 will support almost 2,400 US clean energy jobs and 200 U.S. healthcare jobs.

A focus of the Center has also been Emergency Rescue and Disaster Relief Projects, contracts in Reconstruction Areas, and bidding contests in the so called BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) markets. In each of these focus areas, the Advocacy Center was able to assist more U.S. firms win contracts than in the recent past.

One example of our success in an emerging market is in Indonesia, in which case the U.S. Government advocated on behalf of Electro-Motive Diesel Inc. (EMD), based in LaGrange, IL, to win a government contract in Indonesia. In August, EMD reported that it was awarded a contract to provide PT Kereta Api Indonesa (PTKA), a state-owned railway company, with 44 diesel-electric locomotives as a result. EMD estimates that the total value of the procurement at $140 million, with U.S. export content of $94.0 million. And this contract will help support 470 U.S. jobs alone!

Our work on behalf of U.S. businesses is important that ever as we continue to help position companies to compete in an increasingly competitive global marketplace. That is why although 2012 was the Advocacy Center’s most successful year – we are already working on breaking this new record in 2013.

For more information about the Advocacy Center, please visit http://export.gov/advocacy/

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The Untold Story About the U.S.-Mexico Border

September 28, 2012

Michael Camuñez is the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Market Access and Compliance

Violence. Narco-trafficking. Illegal Immigration. A place of great insecurity. Listen to the national media and these are the images they would have you believe define and characterize the U.S.-Mexico Border. It’s true, Mexico is confronting serious security challenges and is working hard to tackle them, making progress each day in part with the assistance of the United States. But the benefits derived from scale and magnitude of our economic partnership with Mexico—still one of the best performing and fastest growing economies in the G20 and OECD—literally dwarf those challenges. And that’s a story that’s well worth remembering.

Assistant Secretary for Market Access and Compliance Michael Camuñez delivers remarks during "Realizing the Economic Strength of Our 21st Century Border: Trade, Education, and Jobs"

Assistant Secretary for Market Access and Compliance Michael Camuñez delivers remarks during “Realizing the Economic Strength of Our 21st Century Border: Trade, Education, and Jobs” (Photo Tim Trumble)

That’s why earlier this week in Tempe, Arizona, I convened and, together with Arizona State University’s Center for Trans-border Studies, co-hosted a bi-national conference focused on the commercial importance of the border region. The conference, entitled “Realizing the Economic Strength of Our 21st Century Border: Trade, Education, and Jobs,” brought together a diverse and distinguished group of leaders from academia, the private and public sector leaders, and members of civil society from throughout the border region. Our goal was two-fold: to identify and share strategies that will promote economic growth and job creation through increased trade; and to raise awareness and build consensus concerning the economic contribution of the border region to the U.S. and Mexican economies. In short, the conference was about changing the narrative about the U.S.-Mexico border by telling the full story about how and why the border region is a key driver of our global competitiveness and shared prosperity. As evidenced in a recent Arizona Republic editorial highlighting the conference, our efforts are already paying off.

I’ve previously written extensively about how the border region is vital to the U.S.-Mexico commercial relationship, which is one of the most dynamic economic partnerships in the world. In 2011, two way trade in goods and services between the U.S. and Mexico exceeded a staggering half trillion dollars. U.S. exports to Mexico totaled close to $200 billion, exceeding our exports to Brazil, Russia, India and China combined! According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, approximately 6 million U.S. jobs depend on trade with our southern neighbor. Six million jobs!

And what happens on the border doesn’t solely affect border towns and border states. More than 20 U.S. states count Mexico as their first or second largest export market, and 28 states did more than $1 billion in trade with Mexico in 2011.

Manufacturers in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois and throughout America depend on integrated U.S.-Mexico supply chains to bring components, supplies and finished goods back and forth across the border every day, sustaining millions of jobs in factories around the country. And this doesn’t even get to the nearly 13.5 million Mexican tourists who traveled to the U.S. in 2011 and spent $9.2 billion supporting the U.S. economy.

Given the importance of this powerful relationship, the Obama Administration launched the Border Export Strategy to highlight the significance of the U.S.-Mexico trade relationship and, more specifically, the vibrant, diverse, and talented communities that make up the border region. This week’s conference, which was attended by more than 250 leaders from both countries, is a key element of that strategy, which in turn supports the President’s National Export Initiative, the aim of which is to double U.S. exports by the end of 2014.

The conference also advanced the 2010 joint declaration by Presidents Obama and Calderon on 21st Century Border Management, which is designed to enhance economic competitiveness while augmenting our nation’s security and public safety by supporting a bilateral border master plan process for infrastructure projects in order to increase capacity; expand trusted traveler and shipper programs; and explore opportunities for pre-clearance, pre-inspection, and pre-screening processes for commercial goods and travelers.

The conference agenda was packed with substantive discussions and industry-focused breakout panels; it also included important fora where U.S. and Mexican border mayors, members of congress, governors and industry leaders came together to talk about how the border economy is driving growth throughout the region. As co-host, I delivered a keynote address and helped facilitate a discussion concerning the Obama Administration’s 21st Century Border Management Initiative with counterparts from Mexico, Customs and Border Patrol, and the State Department. We also had a chance to hear from representatives of Mexican President-Elect Peña-Nieto, who shared the incoming administration’s vision for the region.

My primary message at the conference was to convey that President Obama and his administration understand the value of border trade and the contributions that border communities make each and every day to our national wellbeing. I also emphasized that the United States and Mexico, together with Canada to the north, comprise one of the most competitive regional platforms in the world. With our open borders, low tariffs, strong protections for intellectual property, low energy costs, integrated supply chains, and, most importantly, our skilled work force, our nations are working cooperatively to bring jobs back from remote shores, which is one reason why, for the first time in a decade, U.S. manufacturing job growth is again on the rise. The border truly is a source of strength for both countries, and it is a region that merits investment, support and serious attention from Washington. I’m proud that the Obama Administration is telling that story.

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Promoting the RV Lifestyle in China: Recreation Vehicle Industry Association Receives Cooperator Award

September 12, 2012

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

Charlie Rast is an International Trade Specialist in the Office of Consumer Goods Industries within the Manufacturing and Services division of the International Trade Administration.

Returning from a recent trip to Shanghai and Beijing, representatives of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) had great things to say about the potential for U.S. RV manufacturers in the growth and development in the Chinese RV industry. RVIA’s trip to China June 19 to July 1 was the association’s fourth trade mission to the country.

The U.S. RV industry believes there is great potential for RVs in China. RVs and RV camping are becoming increasingly popular in the country, and U.S. exports of RVs to China are growing. In 2011, U.S. RV exports to China exceeded $24 million, an increase of 78 percent since 2009. China is the third largest market of U.S. RV exports, following Canada and Mexico.

An important issue towards advancing the growth of the RV industry in China is the development of Chinese standards that are compatible with U.S. standards. Among the key achievements during its recent trip was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between RVIA and the China Automotive Technology and Resource Center (CATARC) to work together on RV standards issues.

RVIA President Richard Coon signs CATARC agreement. (Photo RVIA)

RVIA President Richard Coon signs CATARC agreement. (Photo RVIA)

“This Memorandum of Understanding with CATARC is a significant step toward developing a more formal RV standard for China that is harmonized with our North American standards, which would be a boost to U.S. RV manufacturers and suppliers interested in doing business in the Chinese RV market” RVIA President Richard Coon said in a recent press release.

Among the other organizations and agencies RVIA met with during the trip included the China Ministry of Transportation, to discuss road use regulations affecting RVs, and the Shanghai Tourism Administration to talk about RV and campground projects.

RVIA also met with officials from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers to discuss the association’s role on a new RV committee formed by the organization, as well as China Travel Services to talk about how the company can work with RVIA and its members.

RVIA also met with officials and staff from the U.S. Commercial Service at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, who are assisting U.S. industry’s efforts in the country.

In addition to RVIA’s achievements during the recent trip, ITA recently announced that the association has been selected to receive a Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP) award from ITA for its programs and initiatives in China, as well as Japan. The RVIA initiative financial award is $300,000 over a three year period.

Under the award, RVIA will work with ITA to accomplish the following objectives:

  • Establish an office in Beijing;
  • Pursue adoption of RV and campground industry standards compatible with U.S. standards;
  • Pursue the inclusion of RV definitions in the China motor vehicle code and removal of regulatory obstacles;
  • Pursue adoption of China Compulsory Certification (CCC) requirements that take into account the unique issues faced by RV manufacturers;
  • Pursue reduction of RV import duties and tariffs;
    Establish a website in Chinese and use social media and trade shows to promote RVing in China with an emphasis on U. S. products;
  • Serve as a resource for growing the RV market and campground development in China;
  • Demonstrate how to operate an RV and tow a trailer; and
  • Pursue opportunities to provide Japan with RVs for the country’s post-disaster assistance efforts.

Through this collaborative effort between the U.S. Department of Commerce and the RVIA, more U.S. made recreation vehicles will find their way to the highways and byways of China.

(This article was edited on May 8, 2013 to correct the title of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association.)

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