Archive for the ‘Export Assistance’ Category

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Where do thousands of U.S. Exporters look for advice?

May 31, 2017

Export.gov, U.S. Commercial Service offer trade expertise to help your business compete and succeed in the global marketplace

David Fiscus is the Regional Director of the Pacific North, U.S. Commercial Service
Looking to add international sales to your bottom line? Why wait? There’s a lot you can do today to accelerate your entry into global markets. One of your first stops should be a visit to export.gov, where you can find export-related educational articles and videos, tools, local events, market intelligence, and much more.

Each year, thousands of U.S. companies navigate the export.gov website to take advantage of free information designed to help their businesses grow. New to the vast line-up of exporter resources is our Exporting Basics Video Series. Topics addressed include export planning and strategy, finding foreign buyers, getting paid, making the export sale, and other considerations such as intellectual property protection.

As companies develop an export plan, contacting their local U.S. Commercial Service office is a valuable avenue to gathering additional market intelligence, confirming market opportunities, and identifying prospective foreign partners through an array of specialized marketing and due diligence programs. With more than 100 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service is the export promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA). Check out a short video highlighting our unique capabilities.

There’s an incredible depth of experience across the entire U.S. Commercial Service. Our trade specialists throughout the United States and “boots-on-the-ground” professionals in overseas markets possess a wealth of international business skills, industry sector expertise, and connections that are second-to-none.  Our people around the world work seamlessly as a team – identifying market opportunities and addressing and resolving market access barriers to help U.S. exporters compete and succeed in the global marketplace.

Each year, the U.S. Commercial Service assists thousands of American businesses in making new export sales and expanding into markets worldwide, helping generate billions of dollars in U.S. export sales. In fact, 86 percent of the firms we assist are small and medium-sized companies with fewer than 500 employees. You could be one of them.

The results speak for themselves. In a 2016 U.S. Department of Commerce study, nine out of 10 companies that used ITA export programs would likely recommend ITA’s assistance. On average, these companies increased their annual revenue from the previous year by 9 percent, or $1.9 million, as a result of this assistance. Moreover, the same percentage of companies also anticipated increased revenues within the next three years due to ITA assistance.

Our success is your success. Get Inspired. Read how other U.S. small business exporters are succeeding abroad. Check out our Exporting Basics Video Series and get on the path to export success today!

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World Trade Week: Celebrating the Achievements of American Exporters

May 22, 2017

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

Sarah Kemp is the Acting Deputy Under Secretary at the International Trade Administration

This month, the International Trade Administration (ITA) joins the world in celebrating World Trade Month. In fact, this week is recognized as World Trade Week (May 21-27).

Nearly 295,000 U.S. companies exported goods in 2015. In fact, 97.6 percent of these companies were small- or medium sized businesses, with fewer than 500 employees. This is a perfect time to celebrate the achievements of American exporters, particularly small-and medium sized businesses.

Today, Secretary Wilbur Ross welcomed hundreds of U.S. company representatives to the Department of Commerce in honor of the President’s “E” award. The Award was created by Executive Order of the President in recognition of a firm or organization that has made significant contributions to the increase of American exports. For example, previous recipients have included; Chicago-based Garrett Popcorn which sells gourmet popcorn from retail shops, and has expanded to sell their products throughout Asia and the Middle East; Nanci’s Frozen Yogurt of Mesa, Arizona, which makes and sells soft serve, flavorings, and smoothie mixes to frozen yogurt chains and restaurants in dozens of countries around the world; and Hernon Manufacturing, Inc. of Sanford, Florida, which makes high-performance adhesives, sealants,  and precision processing equipment, and exports to 44 countries.

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Secretary Wilbur Ross congratulates winners of the 2017 President’s E Awards at the Department of Commerce

Whether you are a small business or a huge corporation, here at ITA, we are charged with helping U.S. exporters and workers succeed in the global marketplace. We have a number of resources to help. Throughout the month, our Industry & Analysis sector leads will be releasing new Top Markets reports, adding to a collection of sector-specific reports that are designed to help U.S. exporters compare markets across borders, using our unique combination of market analysis, data and economic modeling. Each Top Markets report includes commentary on opportunities, trends, and challenges facing U.S. exporters in the largest potential markets, allowing exporters to target their resources at the most impactful opportunities.

ITA also has resources to help current exporters challenge unfair trade practices. The agency’s Office of Trade Agreements Negotiations and Compliance (TANC) is another great resource for U.S. exporters. They specialize in working with U.S. businesses to remove unfair foreign government-imposed trade barriers.

Our unique role in promoting exports, attracting investment, and leveling the playing field continues to produce results. Last year, we assisted over 28,000 U.S. companies (nearly 90% of which were small-and-medium-sized enterprises). Our efforts enabled $59 billion in U.S. exports. We also facilitated more than $5.3 billion in foreign investment into the United States; administered 368 Anti-Dumping and Countervailing Duties orders; and successfully removed, reduced, or prevented 110 foreign trade barriers. In total, our work supported more than 300,000 American jobs last year alone.

Our resources help exporters at every stage of the process, from becoming an exporter to helping your company face unfair trade barriers. Whether you are a big or small, new to exporting or have been exporting for decades- we are here to help. Every day, we strive to expand opportunities for American businesses through new markets. Our U.S.-based export assistance centers are in more than 100 cities, and our foreign commercial service offices  are in more than 75 markets around the world. Together we help U.S. businesses tap into global markets in ways they may not have been able to otherwise.

Throughout World Trade Month, events across the country are being held to recognize the importance of exporting. I encourage you to follow ITA on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. We will be covering a series of events throughout the month.

It is an honor to see the profound impact our agency has had on exporting and helping clients across the country. We would love to hear your story! Tell us how ITA has supported job creation at your company. Make sure to tag us on Twitter, @TradeGov,

 

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Commercial Service Officers travel through Northern California spreading the word about export opportunities in Asia

April 28, 2017

Susan Crawford is a Communications Specialist for the Pacific North Region at the International Trade Administration 

Do you know which Asia-Pacific nation has experienced 25 consecutive years of growth? Or which one has the world’s highest R&D investment per capita? Can you name the Asian powerhouse that recently liberalized its energy sector?

If you are an exporter from Northern California, and met a few of our senior commercial officers at one of several events last month, chances are you know the answers to these questions. Australia. Korea. Japan.

Asia is a such an important export market that the U.S. Commercial Service (CS) offices in Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay area jumped on the chance to host  six of the CS’s  Asia-based senior commercial officers for two days in Northern California.cali

The visiting officers were Doug Wallace from Sydney, Australia; Rosemary Gallant from Jakarta, Indonesia;  Andrew Wylegala from Tokyo, Japan; David  Gossack from Seoul, Korea; Catherine Spillman from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia;  and Gregory Wong from Bangkok, Thailand. Each officer manages CS operations in their respective location. They were joined by Commercial Officer and Executive Director, Asia, James Golsen, based in Washington, D.C.

The CS’s network of more than 100 domestic and 75 international offices work closely together to provide U.S. companies with a full range of export-related services including trade counseling, market intelligence and business matchmaking.cali2

Through a series of presentations and networking events, the visiting officers educated local companies on the latest market trends and opportunities for U.S. products and services in their markets. The officers also toured Silicon Valley-based firms and witnessed the latest advances in U.S. manufacturing, biotech and artificial intelligence.

The CS Silicon Valley, San Rafael, San Francisco and Oakland offices organized a jam-packed agenda for the officers that included:

  • Presentations at an Asian Business Forum at Dominican University’s Barowsky School of Business in San Rafael, followed by networking with 15 North Bay firms, graduate students and faculty.
  • A reception with the Northern California District Export Council (DEC) and networking with 90 local companies (click here to learn more about the DEC’s mission to support the CS and promote exports).
  • A tour of Foster City-based Gilead Sciences, a biopharmaceutical firm; and presentations and discussions on Asian market trends with Gilead, the California Life Sciences Association and five life science start-ups.
  • Facility tours and export presentations at San Jose-based Jabil Blue Sky Center, a contract manufacturing firm; Santa Clara-based NVIDIA, an artificial intelligence computing company; and Sunnyvale-based Plug and Play Tech Center, a global innovation incubator.

Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia and Thailand are just a handful of potential export markets to consider. For information on opportunities in Asia and the rest of the world, please view our County Commercial Guides.

Click here to find the nearest CS domestic office to obtain assistance in developing a strategy to help turn your export goals into reality.

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Cross Border eCommerce Payment System Strategies

April 5, 2017

James Bledsoe is the Deputy Director of the eCommerce Innovation Lab based out of Tacoma, Washington.

eCommerce isn’t just the future – it is now. eCommerce issues currently shape the way businesses structure and strategize, and will continue to be a primary business factor for the foreseeable future.

The Return on Investment (ROI) for businesses that seriously pursue an eCommerce strategy varies– a business with up to $1 million in annual sales can realistically achieve a median annual sales growth rate of up to 137 percent as a result of its eCommerce efforts alone.

With eCommerce providing such lucrative potential ROI for many businesses, including a person on your team who has an idea of the “what” and “why” of the eCommerce process is essential.

One of the main eCommerce issues companies face, time and time again when handling cross-border eCommerce transactions is the payment process. With credit cards being the most common form of payment associated with these transactions, there are number of factors that can go into ensuring the process is as smooth as possible.

It’s important for businesses to:

  • Develop an understanding of rates and fees associated with card-based transactions;
  • Mitigate fraud risk through use of advanced security tools;
  • Employ a streamlined workflow for handling and fighting chargebacks; and,
  • Select the best payment gateway to ensure compliance and maximize ROI for their industry

To help you and other U.S. exporters to better understand the “what” and “why” of eCommerce payments, the U.S. Commercial Service will host a two-part webinar series titled “Cross Border eCommerce Payment System Strategies” on Tuesday, April 18, and Thursday, April 20, both at 1pm EST.

The webinar is hosted by the U.S. Commercial Service’s Vets Go Global Team and the eCommerce Innovation Lab and led by Ryan King of Guardian Payment Systems.  In Part One (April 18), Ryan will explain the technology behind the payment process – shopping carts vs gateways, along with card rates and strategies to optimize your processing fees.  In Part Two (April 20), Ryan will show you how to work with your funding bank on issues such as chargebacks and risk management, and explore the tools and resources that are different for processing international payments.

Click here to register for Part 1 (Tuesday, April 18, 1pm EST).

Click here to register for Part 2 (Thursday, April 20, 1pm EST).

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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.

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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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Put Your Company at the Export Starting Gate

December 5, 2016

Country Commercial Guides Cover 97 Percent of World Economy Outside of the United States

By Curt Cultic, Senior Communications Specialist, U.S. Commercial Service, International Trade Administration

So what’s new on the export horizon for your company? Perhaps it’s narrowing down your choice of a new market in which to export, finding the latest market intelligence, or looking for the best way to pursue market entry strategies. Whatever your needs, when conducting research on foreign markets, do what thousands of U.S. businesses do each year: start by checking out the International Trade Administration’s U.S. Country Commercial Guides (CCGs). Altogether, the CCGs cover markets representing 97 percent of global GDP outside of the United States.CCG

Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Director General of the U.S. Commercial Service, Arun Kumar today unveiled an expanded portfolio of U.S. Country Commercial Guides, designed to help U.S. companies doing business overseas. This year, 16 new countries, and a World Bank Commercial Guide have been added to the current CCG portfolio. Altogether, the more than 140 countries covered by the CCGs now represent 97 percent of global GDP outside of the United States.

“Made in America has a worldwide reputation,” said Kumar. “Greater access to cutting edge market intelligence is key to helping more U.S. exporters leverage new and emerging international opportunities.”

With the recent addition of 16 new countries, the CCGs now serve as a window into more than 140 foreign markets. Businesses will be able to gain insight into the latest intelligence on high-demand industry sectors – and also receive market-by-market economic overviews, selling techniques, investment climate considerations, trade financing options, and business travel advice and resources.

Since the CCGs are written by “boots-on-the-ground” U.S. Commercial Service trade professionals and U.S. State Department economic officers—all living and working in the country—you can be confident on getting accurate and up-to-date information on your market of interest.

Among the new country additions are the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Ecuador, Fiji, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Oman, Namibia, Qatar, Suriname, and Sri Lanka; as well as a number of sub-Saharan Africa countries: Chad, Sao Tome and Principe, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. In addition, the new 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 in them.

By doing your homework first, you can avoid costly mistakes that could set your company back and cost valuable time and money. That’s critical in today’s competitive global economy where more than 95 percent of world consumers reside outside of U.S. borders.

On the website, businesses can also find out more about the global U.S. Commercial Service export assistance network of 108 offices across the United States, and in U.S. embassies and consulates in more than 75 countries.