Archive for the ‘Export Assistance’ Category

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Export Assistance Center Director Honored for Helping Utah Firms Succeed Internationally

October 7, 2015

Thomas McGinty is the International Trade Administration’s National Director for U.S. Operations.

What does the director of the Salt Lake City U.S. Export Assistance Center (USEAC) have in common with a former Utah governor and a former director general of the U.S. Commercial Service? They are all recipients of the annual Utah International Person of the Year Award.

Dave Fiscus accepts award

Director of the Salt Lake City U.S. Export Assistance Center, Dave Fiscus (2nd from right) accepts the Utah Person of the Year Award

I was thrilled to learn that Dave Fiscus, director of our Salt Lake City USEAC, recently received the 2015 Person of the Year Award for going beyond the call of duty to promote trade and help Utah companies succeed in international markets. The award was presented to Dave by KeyBank and the World Trade Association of Utah. This is a tremendous honor and professional achievement for him and the entire Commercial Service family. We challenge our employees to ‘Dare to Be Great’ in creating opportunities for U.S. businesses and promoting exports. I congratulate him for his outstanding work in Utah.

Terry Grant, president of KeyBank in Utah and member of the nominating committee, commended Dave for his deep engagement in the Utah business community, particularly his outreach to rural companies and the support he provides to state and World Trade Association events. This year, the governor led five trade missions and Dave played a major role in planning and executing each of them. Mr. Grant attended several of the missions and noted that the Gold Key meetings organized by Dave were extremely valuable in connecting Utah exporters with prospective overseas clients and partners.

Dave was also instrumental in recruiting 130 foreign buyers for the first time ever to attend this year’s Outdoor Retailer Summer Market trade show in Salt Lake City—100 more foreign buyers than the show organizer expected.

Director Fiscus in Salt Lake City and our international trade specialists in more than 100 other domestic Export Assistance Centers are helping U.S. firms succeed internationally by providing a range of services including:

  • Counseling on export mechanics and the development of an export strategy;
  • Market intelligence on best export prospects, market conditions, legal and cultural issues and more;
  • Matchmaking services to identify qualified foreign distributors and arrange meetings with these pre-screened contacts in the target market; and
  • Background reports on potential distributors, agents and partners.

To find an Export Assistance Center near you, visit Export.gov.

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Insight on Crafting an e-Commerce Strategy for Europe

September 16, 2015

Anna Flaaten is a Senior International Trade Specialists at the International Trade Administration’s Export Assistance Center in Phoenix, Arizona.

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

Earlier this week, ITA hosted a webinar to gain insight on crafting an e-commerce strategy for Europe. Participants included experts in the fields of supply chain management, payment services, search engine optimization, and direct on-line marketing.  Here are a few takeaways on the unique aspects of e-commerce in Europe:

  • The UK is the largest e-Commerce market for US goods and services.
  • The e-Commerce market in the EU is worth $472B USD – relatively split equally between goods and service exports.
  • Smaller countries import more than larger markets! For example 88% of Nordics shopped online last year.
  • Service providers in the logistic space that will know how to set up distribution in Europe.
  • Direct online marketing is easiest to start by creating a Google-friendly site
  • Using analytics and Search Engine Optimization is critical- with “search” it’s about telling you that the potential customer is already interested in your product.
  • Many countries also have their own search engines that are popular in those markets.
  • It’s helpful to translate keyword searches in languages for the markets your company wants to target – for example, if you’re targeting France, translate the keywords into French.
  • Credit cards are still the most popular payment alternative in both Europe and the US by a market share of approximately 40%; however, payment methods vary greatly between countries in the EU and offering multiple payment methods is helpful.
  • One of the most common reasons people drop out of the checkout process if they can’t find their preferred payment method- not localizing payment methods can result in the loss up to 50% of potential sales.
  • Regarding logistics, how e-Commerce works in the EU is very different than the US as parcel rates vary by country or even within a country
  • Varying shipping rates can be challenging for international pricing – use “mixed set up” meaning using one supply chain company for certain countries and a different one for other.
  • Non-EU countries like Norway and Switzerland have different customs documentation requirements.
  • Set up distribution where there’s the shortest lead time to consumers.
  • Although duties are uniform across the EU members, VAT taxes vary by country.

A special thanks to our speakers:

  • Jan Paul Olijslager, Sr. Manager Supply Chain Solutions, Holland International Distribution Council (HIDC)
  • Andreas Thim, U.S. Director, Klarna
  • Justin Seibert, President, Direct On-line Marketing
  • Commercial Specialist Heming Bjona

We will continue this discussion at our upcoming DGM e-Commerce Seminar October 8-9 in Dallas/Ft.Worth, Texas. You don’t want to miss it!

register

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Startup Global Pittsburgh: Preparing Early-Stage Exporters for the Global Marketplace

August 10, 2015

Evi Fuelle is an intern in the International Trade Administration’s Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee Office.

Shark Tank is no longer the only place where startups can go with the hope of expanding their business.

Announced in February, the Startup Global pilot program is a series of seminars held around the country that provide focused export assistance and information to early-stage companies. In collaboration with U.S. incubators and accelerators, the International Trade Administration (ITA) provides workshops—organized through local U.S. Export Assistance Centers—to address the most pressing global issues startups face.

The next installment of Startup Global will be held tomorrow in Pittsburgh, where U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews will deliver the keynote remarks to kick off the event. Several of Pittsburgh’s research institutions, incubator and accelerator partners, and technology associations are coming together for the August 11 event.

Attendees will hear from peer startup companies that have found success in the global marketplace, as well as specialists from ITA’s global network, including Foreign Commercial Officer Richard Stanbridge, currently based in the United Kingdom, who will provide a pan-European overview of market opportunities. Topics for the workshop include intellectual property protection; legal considerations when exporting; international e-commerce; and trade financing, including guidance on how to manage different currencies and international transactions.

ITA launched Startup Global to bring together startups and private companies from all across America that have one thing in common: they are all on the cutting edge of innovation. More than 25 startups participated in the first event in June at 1776 in Washington, D.C., and last month, 40 budding companies joined an event with the Nashville Entrepreneurship Center.

Each pilot event features panel discussions and Q&A sessions on topics including finding buyers and partners, lessons learned from local companies, intellectual property protection, and global trends.

Startup Global participants acknowledge that their perspectives change after attending pilot events. In fact, many were surprised that the U.S. government has an array of services and information available to help companies grow their business internationally.

The Startup Global program grew from the Obama administration’s broader national export strategy, the National Export Initiative (NEI)/NEXT, which aims to make the export process easier and help more U.S. companies start exporting or expand international sales. The NEI/NEXT strategy prioritized the launch of the Startup Global pilot initiative because many technology-enabled businesses are in a reactive position when international sales opportunities arise, and many are unaware of where to go for assistance and best practices.

By engaging early-stage exporters, Startup Global demonstrates the Obama administration’s commitment to ensuring American entrepreneurs have the tools they need—and know where to go for help—to prepare for global business from day one.

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Get Real: A Discussion About e-Commerce

August 5, 2015

Anna Flaaten and Martin Herbst are Senior International Trade Specialists at the International Trade Administration’s Export Assistance Center in Phoenix.

Last week, ITA hosted a webinar featuring speakers Aparna Lahiri from eBay’s Global Shipping Team and Chris Ko, Owner and Managing Partner of Nationwide Surplus. The webinar is a result of a strategic partnership between ITA and eBay. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker formalized the agreement to use strategic resources to support U.S. exporters last year.

e-commerce strategies

Join us Oct 8-9 in Dallas to learn about e-commerce strategies

“International e-commerce is at the heart of what we do here at eBay” and “enabling cross-border trade is key to our success” said Lahiri during the webinar. About 190,000 entrepreneurs on eBay are selling to four continents and those that are export-oriented grew a whopping 91% versus businesses that focused only on the domestic market at 58%. Here are some interesting facts we learned during the webinar:

  • Selling internationally isn’t as complicated as you think – the emergence of the internet can simplify the process. Intermediary partners including online marketplaces, secure payment collection, shipping and customs support can make life easier for the entrepreneur.
  • Mobile is here to stay– buyers are purchasing goods more from their smart phones than the traditional PC. A seamless presence across various devices is critical, especially for consumers in emerging markets.This is especially true in China and India, and eBay is seeing similar trends in Latin America where mobile usage has tripled over the past year.
  • There is tremendous demand for just about everything in the global online marketplace. Buyers online are finding inventory more affordably from US sellers and/or looking for a variety of products that are not available to them locally.

Nationwide Surplus, a company that specializes in refurbishing computers and electronics, provided the small business perspective on marketing and selling products online. The company exports 21% of their products to over 100 countries. Ko started his business in a small warehouse with a desk and a computer. He now has 47 employees and is opening a second warehouse location.

Here are some of his insights:

  • Photos, photos, photos – include detailed photos online including 360 degree angles if possible. Nationwide Surplus even disassembles their products to capture interior component images.
  • Understand the international marketplace – purchase prices overseas can exceed those of the US market if the international consumer does not have local access to certain products. AND, there may be a demand for your products internationally even if there is no US consumer demand.
  • Handling returns – understand and plan for returns as they can be expensive depending on the duties, taxes, and shipping costs, etc… involved.
  • Correct paperwork is critical – accurately identifying harmonized tariff codes, for example.
  • Export assistance – “I didn’t realize how much export assistance is out there” stated Mr. Ko, and of particular value is the assistance provided by the US Department of Commerce.

To learn more about international e-commerce, network with other entrepreneurs and US Commercial diplomats, register for our upcoming Discover Global Markets: E-Commerce Strategies event taking place in Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX on October 8-9, 2015. Early bird discount ends August 14th.

The content will resonate with any company interested in e-commerce and social media as key drivers for international business development.

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Brazil’s Energy Sectors Seek U.S. Exporters

July 30, 2015

Commercial Officer Tom Hanson just completed his three-year tour at the U.S. Commercial Service in São Paulo.

Brazil’s enormous offshore oil and gas finds, called the pre-salt fields, are located 200 miles off its southern coast and lie approximately 7,000 feet below the ocean’s surface. As these logistically and technologically challenging discoveries are explored, substantial business opportunities arise for U.S. suppliers of oil and gas equipment and services.

Although Brazil’s largest oil player, Petrobras, has yet to publish its revised five-year investment plan for the 2015-2019 period, industry sources estimate that it may range between US$130 billion to US$ 140 billion.  The exploration and production subsector should take 80% of the total planned investment. However, due to financial constraints brought about by investigations surrounding budget improprieties, Petrobras is likely to reduce its investment plan substantially, and may sell off some of its assets to offset its cash flow issues.

As Petrobras has not yet issued its 2015-2019 equipment and services demand forecast, based on its previous Business Plan as of February 2014, U.S. providers of supplies and operating systems for platforms and tankers and manufacturers of workboats and transport vessels would stand a great chance of winning new business. Despite the current crisis involving Petrobras and its main turnkey contractors, Petrobras’ expansion plans may represent one of the world’s largest business opportunities in the oil and gas sector until at least 2020. Commercial Service (CS) Brazil counsels U.S. exporters who are not already established in Brazil to partner with a local firm that is registered as a supplier to Petrobras – a prerequisite – rather than attempting to register directly.

Meanwhile, CS Brazil is engaged in the dynamic Renewable Energy sector. Brazil generates nearly 80 percent of its electricity from renewable sources – hydro, wind, solar, bio-mass, waste-to-energy – driven by both its immense renewable energy resource potential and rising energy demand. In fact, renewable energy capacity in Brazil is registering an average annual expansion of 12 percent, with special emphasis on wind energy, biomass from sugarcane, and small hydropower plants.

To date, most U.S. exports have been in the form of services and high value-added products that are not available domestically. However, exports to Brazil are hindered by significant import tariff barriers. Brazil imposes a 14 percent tariff on wind turbines, component parts for the wind industry, and hydropower turbines; and a 12 percent tariff on imported solar equipment, both PV and thermal.

CS Brazil can assist U.S. exporters navigate the complex path of market entry to find their niche markets and identify partners in these and other industry segments. Other, indirect costs of doing business in Brazil (referred to as “Custo Brasil) are often related to distribution, government procedures, employee benefits, environmental laws, and a complex tax structure.

Brazil has a large and diversified economy that offers U.S. companies many opportunities to partner and to export their goods and services, and U.S. exports are increasing rapidly. For more information about export opportunities in these energy sectors, please review the Country Commercial Guide and Top Market reports.

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Five Drivers of Export Opportunity: U.S. Building Products and Green Building

July 23, 2015

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

Joanne Littlefair is Senior International Trade Specialist in the Office of Materials Industries, Industry & Analysis

The vibrant global trend seeking a greener built environment will help create some $46 billion in export opportunity for a group of U.S. building product manufacturers by 2017, according to new report Top Markets, Building Products and Sustainable Construction from the International Trade Administration. U.S. manufacturers of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration equipment (HVACR), lighting, plumbing, insulation, wood products, doors and windows and glass construction products are well positioned to deliver on the resource conservation and environmental improvement benefits that are key goals of green building, and to meet traditional construction requirements.

The ITA Top Markets study ranks 75 international markets in terms of 2017 sector export prospects, supported by country-specific case studies detailing market trends and the competitive state of play.  The study elaborates at least 5 key drivers of export opportunity:

  1. Buildings matter, and the world knows it. Buildings account for more than 40% of global energy use and 25% of global water use, according to the United Nations Environment Program’s 2012 reporting. It is easy to understand how nearly one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions are attributed to buildings. These figures underscore that buildings cannot be ignored when resource conservation is the goal.
  1. Consumers, businesses, and governments all want to conserve resources. Whether it is policymakers seeking to meet national objectives, developers seeking to boost asset values via more efficient buildings, or occupants pursuing higher quality indoor environments and lower utility bills, greener buildings are a shared goal. This is a deepening trend globally. The ITA Top Markets report includes country case studies for leading export markets, showing how public policies and market trends are shaping opportunities.
  1. It’s not just about conserving, it’s about improving. Buildings with green attributes have been shown to have benefits beyond immediate resource savings. Improved access to natural light, better indoor air quality, and other green improvements have been linked to better outcomes in schools, hospitals, and the workplace. Results matter.  This creates opportunity around the world for U.S. building products with demonstrated performance strengths.
  1. U.S. products are globally competitive. Based on a strong global reputation for quality and value, U.S. buildings products compete in developed and developing markets alike, around the globe. The ITA Top Markets report can help U.S. building product suppliers and industry associations identify high-prospect export markets and learn about ITA resources in support of the export strategies. The study looks sector-wide and then at each industry in turn to identify top 2017 export markets for HVACR, lighting, plumbing, insulation, wood products, doors and windows and glass construction product manufacturers.
  1. Everyone can win – SMEs and large corporations. Small and medium-sized U.S. companies, as well as major corporations, have a meaningful role to play in global construction markets. Both traditional and green building markets show continuing demand for high-quality niche solutions to meet common challenges. ITA trade specialists in the U.S. and around the globe stand ready to assist U.S. companies with their international market development objectives.

For further information on these key drivers of export opportunities and global market prospects, download the full new report Top Markets, Building Products and Sustainable Construction.

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Understanding Renewable Energy Export Markets and the Opportunity for U.S. Companies

July 21, 2015

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

Ryan Mulholland is a Senior Advisor for Industry & Analysis. 

The renewable energy industry remains one of the most transformative sectors of the global economy. The International Trade Administration is committed to providing U.S. renewable energy exporters the data-driven market intelligence they need to succeed globally – whether finding your next export market or comparing opportunities to export for the first time.

Last year, we released our first-ever Top Markets Report to provide exporters analysis of future export opportunities in the renewable energy sector.  This year’s Renewable Energy Top Markets Report, now part of a larger Top Markets Series from ITA, has been updated with expanded analysis, new sections, updated case studies, and improved methodology. The result is a report that can prepare exporters to compete effectively in foreign markets by providing the analysis firms need to invest resources more strategically.

So what does the future hold for the sector? In short, we believe that the next two years will likely be as transformative as any two-year period in the history of the clean energy sector.  Technology improvements, cost declines, and the catalytic influence of new financing structures, have turned the sector into a driver of economic growth – both at home and abroad.

Here are some important findings in the report:

  • China is expected to account for more than one-third of all non-U.S. capacity installations over the next two years. Its renewable energy investment is expected to be split relatively evenly between solar, wind, and hydropower through 2020.
  • The sector’s growth is now global in nature, escaping the traditional markets of Western Europe and strongly taking root in Asia, Latin America, and Africa. Over the remainder of the decade, this trend will continue with important consequences for U.S. export competitiveness.
  • The United States does – and should continue to – capture a larger share of the import market in the Western Hemisphere. In fact, the share of the import market captured by U.S. renewable energy exporters more than doubles in the Hemisphere across technology sub sectors.
  • While opportunities can be found in most markets, the destination of U.S. renewable energy exports will continue to be highly concentrated. The top 4 export markets are expected to account for over 50 percent of all exports in the sector through 2016, while the top 12 markets should support three-quarters of all exports.

ITA’s framework for considering renewable energy export opportunities based on market size and market share was the most commented on and lasting impact of the 2014 edition of the Top Markets Report. ITA continues to encourage exporters to develop market entry and market expansion strategies based on these two variables.

  • If a market is large and U.S. exporters are likely to capture a significant market share, efforts should focus on making as many connections as possible. Exporters can feel good about their prospects, but may find other American competitors also having success in the market. Participation in trade missions, reverse trade missions, trade shows, and other “traditional” export promotion activities is encouraged in these markets.
  • In markets that are large, but in which the United States captures only a tiny fraction of the import market, exporters should consider the cause of the United States’ insufficient competitive position before pursuing opportunities. Perhaps importers are demanding products not often sold competitively by U.S. exporters, in which case a niche product might play well in the market. In markets, where U.S. market share is low because of a specific trade barrier, then exporters may want to prioritize other markets and alert U.S. Government entities, so that appropriate action can be taken.
  • In some markets, U.S. firms capture a large market share, but a relatively small market in which to do business. Exporters are encouraged to help the U.S. Government pursue market development activities in these locations, as any market development should lead to future export opportunities.
  • And finally, some markets are neither large nor support significant U.S. market share. While some companies may find niche opportunities, most exporters would be wise to consider opportunities elsewhere.

This post has only touched on some of the analysis you will find in this year’s Top Markets Report. We invite you to download the full report for our in-depth market analysis; and welcome feedback on our methodologies, viewpoints, and rankings.