Archive for the ‘Export Assistance’ Category

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New Interactive Market Diversification Tool Identifies Top Potential Markets for U.S. Businesses

November 15, 2018

Market Diversification Tool Logo

Jean Janicke is Director of ITA’s Office of Trade Negotiations & Analysis

U.S. companies produce some of the most innovative and high-quality products in the world.  But how does a company figure out where in the world to go next to sell its product?  What if the market conditions change for your current exports and you need to find a new market? The Market Diversification Tool is here to help answer that question.

In the past, a manufacturer might have relied on one data point or market research indicator to figure out its next step, but was unlikely to be able to go to one place to mine multiple data sources.  It could get overwhelming.  Now with the Market Diversification Tool, there is one place to start the market research journey that brings together product-specific and market-level data points across 11 indicators to give you a ranked list of choices.  We field-tested the tool with our Commerce colleagues all over the country to make sure the results match what they would expect from experience and to ensure that the tool is easy to use.

Here’s how it works.  A U.S. producer exporting to at least one market answers two simple questions: what is your product, and where are you exporting now?  A team in Commerce’s Industry and Analysis Unit has figured out an algorithm and collected all the data needed to help you find your next potential market.  The tool applies weights to 11 different indicators, runs calculations based on your input, and gives you a ranked list of recommended markets with scores for each country.

And it is not a black box. The results display all the data the algorithm uses so you can better interpret them. The data can also be exported.  Want to only look at markets in Europe and get help locally once your search is done? The tool allows you to narrow your search to select regions or markets and provides information on your local U.S. Commercial Service Export Assistance Center as well as links to other resources such as Country Commercial Guides.

Example: Producer ready to find its next market

Since there are many small and medium sized cosmetics producers in the United States, let’s take the example of a lipstick producer that currently exports to Mexico.  Here are the results:

The search results show high scores for Canada and the U.K. with a bunch of markets ranked in the 40s.

Export Destination Ranking

In these results we can see that Singapore, with average imports from the United States of $9,283,075, ranked higher than Germany and South Korea, both with higher U.S. export figures.  The results illustrate that the tool does more than just a straight ranking by trade or a listing of FTA partners; it combines multiple factors by weight to generate top export destinations.

Example:  Search When Market Conditions Change

Now let’s take an example of changing market conditions.  A U.S. motorboat producer exports to Belgium, but now the producer faces foreign retaliation in Europe, Canada, and Mexico.

Market Diversification Tool

The search brings up Canada and Mexico and some EU markets, but it also shows opportunities for diversification beyond markets that are retaliating against motorboats.  From this search, a company responding to market changes could start exploring Asia-Pacific options like Australia and Singapore, for example, or consider prospects in Israel.

Example: Regional focus

There are more ways to customize the tool results.  Let’s say a company has limited international travel funds and is visiting a current customer overseas.  The company could use the tool to find the top potential markets in the region. Or if a company is participating in a big regional trade mission like Tradewinds, it could use the tool with a regional selection to focus its travel and meeting choices.  This customization option helps companies make the most of limited resources.

Next steps:

Need help with next steps?  By entering your zip code, you’ll get connected to a Commerce trade office in your area.  For example, the motorboat producer could use the results to explore market research and other programs for Hong Kong and Singapore with a local U.S. Export Assistance Center.

Armed with the ranked list, you are ready to start more in-depth research and find partners in new markets.

Try out our new tool today!

Disclaimer: Consistent with its mission, the International Trade Administration (ITA) provides the information on this website for informational purposes, to assist U.S. exporters seeking to identify potential new export markets. The market rankings provided by the tool do not have official or legal status and should not be taken as a business recommendation or as business counseling. The information in this tool does not constitute legal advice. ITA has taken every effort to ensure that the information presented is accurate and that the algorithm provides useful results; however, ITA assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions. ITA advises users to independently verify any information contained in this tool prior to relying on it. Users are further advised to conduct their own due diligence and seek the advice of legal counsel before entering into business ventures or other commercial arrangements in these markets. ITA assumes no responsibility or liability for the actions users may take based on the information provided.

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Join ITA at Summit for Success

May 11, 2018

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

Guest blog by Ed Marsh, Export Advisor to American Express

American Express logoInterested in finding new strategies to grow your business, receiving mentorship from industry experts and being inspired by other entrepreneurs who face similar challenges?

You’re invited to join hundreds of fellow business owners along with global trade experts, large prime contractors, the International Trade Administration (ITA) and other government resources at the American Express Summit for Success on June 26, in Washington, D.C.

The Summit for Success is a free full-day event packed with interactive learning and development workshops to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) do more business and reach new customers.  Attendees will discover opportunities for growth through international sales, government contracting, and corporate procurement, and learn the roadmap for successfully implementing each during targeted sessions.

A series of breakout sessions on exporting will cover topics like powering global business growth through your existing investment in digital marketing, finding government resources to help you grow globally, managing the risks and uncertainties of global payments and logistics, and using ITA programs that will introduce you to local buyers in overseas markets.

In addition to networking opportunities, attendees can sign up to join onsite roundtable mentoring sessions with experts in a range of exporting-related disciplines.

The Summit for Success aims to help all businesses in attendance – from those who are just beginning to consider exporting to those who have some experience and up to those with robust global sales success –with new ideas for growth through exporting.

ITA and American Express launched their Strategic Partnership in 2015, and have collaborated on a series of activities to increase trade education and awareness of export opportunities for U.S. businesses.  The joint effort has focused on SMEs (those generating up to $1 billion in revenues annually), and has brought programming to Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, Baltimore, and Long Beach, as well as the 2017 Summit for Success in Washington, D.C.

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Are you Export Savvy? Get the Edge on Exporting with New Export.gov Resources

April 19, 2018

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

By Curt Cultice, Senior Communications Specialist, and Jennifer Stone Marshall, Senior International Trade Specialist, U.S. Commercial Service

Logo for Export.gov's new email service, Export Today.Setting your compass in international trade can be rewarding, but challenging. Are you wondering “What is my firm’s potential for international sales?” or “How do I find greater success abroad?” We have two new online tools that can help you chart a course: export.gov’s exporter (self) assessments and export business tip emails.

Exporter Assessments Point the Way Forward

The U.S. Commercial Service’s exporter assessments can help improve your export planning while pointing to helpful resources. With expert input from our global network of trade professionals, the quick and easy-to-use assessments are customized to different levels of experience: new-to-export companies, exporters expanding into new markets, or experienced exporters in more challenging markets.

There are many questions to consider. Here is a brief overview of questions that are answered in the assessments:

  • Does your firm have sufficient production capacity that can be committed to the export market?
  • Does your company have capabilities to modify ingredients and product packaging to meet foreign import regulations, cultural preferences, and survive competition?
  • Will financing be required for any expansion?
  • Has your business considered pursuing U.S. free trade agreement countries as part of a broader export strategy?
  • Is your company familiar with U.S. Department of Commerce resources to help resolve trade issues and problems?

Moreover, each assessment provides important links to additional information, including the informative Exporting Basics videos series.

New “Export Today” Emails Give You Tips for Success

To continue developing your exporting competency, subscribe to our new email tip service, Export Today. You will receive biweekly emails from the U.S. Commercial Service, and get pointers on exporting issues relevant to your company’s experience level. Whether it’s shipping issues, trade finance assistance, researching the market, or a separate issue, Export Today will provide you with insights and connect you with the best content on export.gov. Sign up today.

Get Started Today on Export.gov

With our decades of experience in helping U.S. companies sell abroad, we bring you the most useful information and tools on export.gov. Companies that take the time to think through an export plan tend to have greater international success. The effort can make the difference between generating a few international sales and achieving real business growth. Get export savvy and on the path to new export sales by taking your own exporter assessment and signing up for Export Today email tips.

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Ready to Grow Your International Business? Find the Right Market with Video Series

February 27, 2018

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

By Curt Cultice, Senior Communications Specialist, and Jennifer Stone Marshall, Senior International Trade Specialist, U.S. Commercial Service.

Has your company sold to customers in one or two countries? Congratulations, this is a great foundation for tapping into the international marketplace like many small and medium-sized U.S. businesses. The U.S. Commercial Service (CS) can help you grow and find even greater success.

Many U.S. companies are making limited export sales when they could be pursuing new market opportunities. In fact, U.S. Department of Commerce statistics show that 59 percent of all U.S. exporters sell to only one market. Many businesses perceive exporting as being too burdensome or lack a proactive export plan for entering new markets. The result is missed opportunity.

You already have some knowledge and experience with the marketing and logistics skills involved in exporting, and likely a track record of proven demand and sales. The potential for success in a new market grows exponentially with an export plan built around carefully chosen markets. Let us help you.

Download this video.

How to Find New Foreign Export Markets

A new CS video series can help you identify markets for your business’s growing export strategy. Each year, thousands of U.S. companies find new customers and trade partners abroad with help from CS global trade professionals.

Among the series of Export Destination video shorts covering 20 high-profile market destinations, there is a sub-group of 10 markets for you to consider. These markets may be less crowded with foreign competitors, while still offering high-growth opportunities.

In Latin America, Chile is a good platform for American companies to reach other Latin American markets. A major benefit is that 100 percent of American-made products enter Chile duty-free. Colombia is a strategic hub for entering Latin America, and the only South American country with two oceans. The country is investing in key infrastructure such as railroads, airport, transportation, and roads. Peru is one of the fastest-growing economies in Latin America, averaging an annual growth rate of about six percent during the last decade.

In Asia, Indonesia is located on one of the world’s major trade routes, and is Southeast Asia’s largest economy with more than 250 million people. Japan is the fourth-largest importer of U.S. products, with fast-growing sectors that include advanced manufacturing, cyber security, and eCommerce. Malaysia is a robust eCommerce market, with 50 percent of Malaysians now making purchases online, and 47 percent of mobile phone users buying products with their devices. Vietnam has transformed into one of the most vibrant markets for U.S. exporters. Since the economic reforms of the 1980s, Vietnam’s annual growth rate of more than five percent has been second only to China in Asia. South Korea is a top U.S. trade partner in the Asian region. American sellers often compete well against Korean suppliers, especially when selling via eCommerce in this high-wired market.

In the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) features world-class infrastructure and is the largest U.S. export market in the Middle East. The UAE has $270 billion worth of opportunities per its 2015-2020 plan for infrastructure investments.

In Africa, South Africa is the most mature and advanced country in Africa with opportunities in power, telecom, healthcare, and more. As Africa’s second-largest economy, the country’s solid infrastructure serves as a base for selling throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

Watch a brief overview of the trade opportunities in a foreign country today, or see the entire market destination video series on export.gov. After watching the video, learn more about doing business in the country with our Country Commercial Guides. The guides are authored by CS trade experts at U.S. embassies and consulates in more than 140 countries, and provide economic overviews and insights into industry opportunity, selling techniques, trade financing, business travel and more.

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New-to-Export? Find the Right Export Market with Our New Video Series

December 14, 2017

By Curt Cultice, Senior Communications Specialist, and Jennifer Stone Marshall, Senior International Trade Specialist, U.S. Commercial Service.

Many U.S companies—particularly small and medium-sized businesses—don’t export because they believe it’s too burdensome, or don’t know where to start. How about your company?  Are you leaving money on the table by not selling to the 95 percent of world consumers who live outside of the United States?

We can help you find the right export market. The internet, improved logistics options, and the array of available export assistance through the U.S. Commercial Service and federal, state and local partners, has made exporting more viable for even the smallest businesses.

Successful exporting is highly dependent on developing an export plan, or “roadmap.” Many companies begin export activities haphazardly, without carefully screening markets or options for market entry. Without an export plan, the chances of making a costly mistake increases, and better export opportunities are often overlooked. This in turn, can cost your company valuable time, resources and customers.

How to Begin Exporting 

Download Video [39MB]

So, where to start? The U.S. Commercial Service has developed a series of video shorts covering 20 high-profile market destinations. Among these are a sub-group of five markets that new-to-export companies might wish to consider. These markets may be geographically closer to the United States, or may offer more transparency and ease of doing business than many other markets:

In North America, Canada is America’s number one trade partner, and many U.S. businesses sell directly to Canadian consumers and retailers via eCommerce. Mexico is our nation’s second-largest export market with over 120 million citizens and a growing middle class. U.S. exporters benefit from a well-developed Mexican supply chain closely integrated with the United States.

In Europe, Germany is the 4th largest market in the world, and its 80 million people generally have a high standard of living with plenty of disposable income. The United Kingdom is the world’s 5th largest economy, and more than 40,000 American companies sell there. Exporters benefit from a common language, low trade barriers, and a business-friendly environment.

Australia has one of the strongest economies in the world, notching positive economic growth every single quarter since 1991. The Australia-U.S. Free Trade Agreement enables 99 percent of American-made consumer goods to enter the country duty-free.

Watch a brief overview of each market, and find the entire market destination video series on market destination series. After watching the video, learn more about doing business in the country with our Country Commercial Guide. The guides, authored by U.S. Commercial Service trade experts at U.S. embassies and consulates in more than 140 countries, provide economic overviews and insights into industry opportunities, selling techniques, trade financing, business travel and more.

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Partnership and Collaboration in Trade Finance Education For Washington State SME Exporters

December 7, 2017

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

Yuki Fujiyama is a trade finance specialist in the Office of Finance and Insurance Industries and the author of the Trade Finance Guide: A Quick Reference for U.S. Exporters.  Diane Mooney is the Director of the U.S. Commercial Service Seattle.

Participants of the EFACW Trade Finance Workshop pose for a photo on Sept. 14 at the World Trade Center Seattle.

Participants of the EFACW Trade Finance Workshop on Sept. 14 at the World Trade Center Seattle.

With 95 percent of the world’s consumers living outside of our borders, U.S. companies must take greater advantage of the tremendous business opportunities in fast-growing markets around the world.  Exporting enables U.S. businesses to expand markets, generate new distribution and revenue streams, and weather changes in the domestic economy.

Despite the clear benefits of exporting, however, many U.S. businesses, especially small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), face challenges in going global. The obstacles most often cited by these SMEs include: (1) the risk of non-payment by foreign buyers; and (2) the accessibility of trade finance.

To help address such challenges, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA), the federal government’s lead export promotion agency; and the Export Finance Assistance Center of Washington (EFACW), a non-profit and a fiscal year 2017 ITA strategic partner; recently presented a half-day interactive trade finance workshop for Washington state SMEs considering going global or expanding export operations.

The interactive workshop followed the format as outlined in the U.S. Commerce Department’s Trade Finance Guide and helped participants learn how to: (1) assess and mitigate the risk of non- and delayed payment by foreign buyers; (2) select an appropriate payment method; (3) evaluate and access export finance options; and (4) manage foreign exchange risk.

The workshop, which was held in September at the World Trade Center Seattle, was part of a joint ongoing effort between ITA and EFACW to help Washington state SMEs become better educated about trade finance options and the risks associated with cross-border transactions. For exporters, trade finance is essential for international trade transactions and is a means to turn export opportunities into actual sales. By effectively managing the risks associated with doing business internationally, exporters can ensure they’ll get paid in a timely manner.

Brent Sisco of Acrowood Corporation, an Everett, Washington-based forest products equipment manufacturer, praised the workshop, noting that “This training was very beneficial because ITA trade finance expert Yuki Fujiyama provided straight forward descriptions, reviewed pros and cons of the most common techniques companies use to extend credit to overseas customers and the offered in depth explanations after the presentation.” 

Michael Kuehner, President of Greenwood Clean Energy, a Redmond, Washington-based privately-held renewable energy company developing biomass fired heating appliances, agreed, commenting that “The workshop was a great introduction to the complex world of export financing. In particular, Yuki Fujiyama’s session on Trade Finance was invaluable to those of us new to exporting. The introduction and the resource he provided, The Trade Finance Guide, has already helped us become better informed and active in pursing international business.”

EFACW Director Zara Castillo concurred with the sentiments expressed by Mr. Sisco and Mr. Kuehner, emphasizing that “Many other attendees remarked that our joint training workshop was very educational and beneficial.  EFACW looks forward to our continued partnership with ITA in serving Washington state SME exporters.”

Main Entrance of the World Trade Center Seattle with Flags of Different Countries and the Port of Seattle.

Main Entrance of the World Trade Center Seattle with Flags of Different Countries and the Port of Seattle.

Other partners who collaborated with ITA and EFACW to participate in the workshop as presenters included: U.S. Export-Import Bank, U.S. Small Business Administration, Key Bank, and Sallyport Commercial Finance.

In addition to the September 14th workshop, EFACW actively collaborates with the U.S. Commercial Services Washington, which operates ITA’s two local U.S. export assistance centers in Seattle and Spokane, to assist Washington state-based SMEs with export planning and foreign market sales.

In 2016, Washington’s $79.6 billion in goods exports helped contribute to the $2.21 trillion of U.S. goods and services exports. In 2015, over 375,000 U.S. jobs were supported by goods exports from WashingtonIn 2014, over 11,000 SMEs in Washington exported their goods to global markets, accounting for 90 percent of Washington goods exporters.

ITA offers helpful videos that are all about getting paid and financing options available to U.S. companies beginning to export.

Do you need more info on trade finance? Our Trade Finance Guide is a great place to start!

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Finding the Right Bank to Help Your Company Go Global

October 25, 2017

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

Robert Kurek is the Senior Vice President for International Financial Institutions at KeyBank

A few weeks ago, our team here at KeyBank had the pleasure of joining more than 350 people at the Discover Global Markets: U.S. Manufacturers to Europe and Beyond in Cleveland. As a proud sponsor, we were onsite, meeting with attendees on what to look for in a potential banking partner when entering global markets.

The rewards of an expanding global footprint are numerous, such as access to new growth markets and a diversified customer base, but with these benefits comes a certain amount of risk. Corporate treasurers are challenged every day to recognize, measure, and minimize these risks in a global economic environment that is anything but certain; however, with the right bank your company can recognize and minimize the dangers of international expansion.

If you were unable to attend the event, don’t worry. These are the top five questions to ask a potential banking partner as you explore international growth:

  1. What types of financing and foreign exchange transactions does it provide?
  2. What resources are available to help the importer or exporter?
  3. How does the bank evaluate foreign risk?
  4. Is the bank willing to take the time to understand your business and explain your options?
  5. Does the bank have well-established correspondent banking relationships abroad?

If a bank cannot confidently answer these questions, it is likely not the right partner for your international business ventures.

Finding a bank with global market experience ensures businesses make the most of their foreign trade opportunities. Small businesses should expect their bank of choice to offer working capital to help fill new orders from foreign buyers, including facilities supported by the Small Business Administration and the U.S. Export-Import Bank. These agencies accommodate special trade financing, which allows exporters to borrow against their foreign accounts receivable and extend short-term credit to foreign buyers.

Small and medium-sized businesses interested in expanding their foreign trade should access tools and informational resources to learn how to manage their risks while staying globally competitive.

The right banking partner plays a key role in connecting businesses to a wide range of resources, allowing them to take advantage of global opportunities. Businesses should be able to import, export, or both with confidence by utilizing appropriate finance tools and techniques to help them expand while mitigating risks. Check out some of our financial tools and resources available to help you manage risks and turn foreign business opportunities into profitable outcomes.