Archive for the ‘Export Assistance’ Category


Future of Urban Innovation: Startups Summit

June 12, 2015

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

People sitting in chairs on a stage that appear to be having some sort of panel discussion.

Future of Urban Innovation: Startups Summit

On June 9, the U.S. Department of Commerce, in partnership with Columbia University, hosted the Future of Urban Innovation: Startups summit in New York City, to discuss urban innovation and how government, academia, and the private sector can work together to help startups and spur economic growth. The summit was part of ongoing efforts, by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), to provide information and resources to innovators and entrepreneurs in the region.

Urban innovation is a key driver of economic growth for the U.S., with tech-based entrepreneurs helping to develop the domestic manufacturing base and the urban supply chain. Urban innovation also spurs the formation of new businesses with high paying jobs, and innovative companies that export their goods contribute to America’s competitiveness in the global marketplace.

In her remarks, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker discussed the advantages cities offer entrepreneurs looking to start a business, including leading research universities; start-up incubators; financial institutions; advertising and marketing firms; the talent pool to develop new products; and a concentrated customer base. She issued a call-to-action for higher education institutions, the private sector, local governments, and other economic development stakeholders to invest in their urban innovation ecosystems. “Providing the tools for researchers and entrepreneurs to turn their discoveries into commercially viable products – whether in cities or any other setting – is a key priority for the Department of Commerce and the Obama administration,” Pritzker said. Pritzker gave examples of agencies that are supporting these goals, including the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Economic Development Administration (EDA), and the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA).

To utilize these resources, Secretary Pritzker emphasized the importance of strong, cross-sector partnerships to support businesses as they move out of the research and development phase to tackling the challenges of starting and growing a company. She also outlined the wide variety of ways that the Department of Commerce invests in urban centers across America, facilitates groundbreaking research in diverse fields, and collaborates with various partners to take new ideas from the lab to market.

Through its issuance of strong patents and protection of intellectual property, the USPTO plays a key part in urban innovation efforts by promoting inventive discovery. The strength and vitality of the U.S. economy depends directly on effective mechanisms that protect new ideas and investments in innovation and creativity. The continued demand for patents and trademarks underscores the ingenuity of American inventors and entrepreneurs, and the USPTO is at the cutting edge of the nation’s technological progress and achievement.

“In order to be at the forefront of fostering innovation through intellectual property rights, we are not just operating from a distance, but instead need to be present where innovation happens,” said USPTO Director Michelle K. Lee at the summit. In the last three years, the USPTO has stood up four new regional offices – DetroitDenverDallas, and the Silicon Valley – designed to serve innovative communities on a more regional basis. In addition, where the USPTO does not have a permanent presence, they are partnering with local organizations, such as Cornell Tech at their technology campus in New York City. These partnerships are a force multiplier in order to increase USPTO’s reach to all innovators.

In a panel of intellectual property (IP) experts during the summit, Director Lee discussed IP strategies for technology entrepreneurs. Topics included best practices and common pitfalls relating to start-up patent strategies, tips for working with attorneys, insights into the role of IP for emerging companies, and the possible impact of pending patent reform efforts being considered in Washington. During a session on federal support for entrepreneurs, speakers from the MBDA, EDA, and the Small Business Administration (SBA) discussed opportunities for companies to receive grants, funding, and other assistance. Throughout the summit, there were startup pitches by entrepreneurs as well as networking events.

The Department of Commerce is committed to investing in urban centers across America, facilitating groundbreaking research in diverse fields, and collaborating with various partners to take new ideas from the lab to market.


Brazil’s Top Industry Sectors Seek U.S. Exporters

May 28, 2015

Tom Hanson is a Commercial Officer for Commercial Service Brazil, posted in São Paulo.

It’s World Trade Month and the Commercial Service (CS) Brazil is highlighting the Commercial Aircraft and Civil Aviation sectors, one of the top industry prospects for U.S. exporters in Brazil. This is the first of several blog posts that will highlight market opportunities in Brazil for U.S. exporters.

As part of World Trade Month activities, CS Brazil organized a Roadshow to Rio and Sao Paulo that connected such U.S. technology companies as Honeywell, Rockwell Collins and L-3 and several new-to-market exporters with airport administrators throughout Brazil.  This roadshow built upon the U.S.-Brazil Aviation Partnership, which is administered by the USTDA. Through the Government of Brazil’s infrastructure build out initiative, airport concessions, modernizations, and expansions are ongoing at all of the country’s international airports, with plans underway to expand and improve more than 270 regional airports. The government’s Public-Private Partnership regulations allow for U.S. providers to align with Brazilian companies to win business.

Aircraft Design and Construction is one of Brazil’s top three industrial sectors, led by Brazilian manufacturer Embraer.  The worldwide trend of airlines replacing larger jets with smaller designs that can fly more efficiently should help sustain Embraer’s role as leader in this market segment, thereby presenting good opportunities to U.S. aircraft parts and component manufacturers. Embraer imports about 50 percent of its components from U.S. suppliers. As Embraer climbs in world rankings, the U.S. benefits in other ways, too: the company now operates facilities in Florida and Arizona, and most recently won its first U.S. defense contract.

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. Doing business in Brazil requires intimate knowledge of the local environment, including both the direct as well as the indirect costs of doing business in Brazil (referred to as “Custo Brasil”). Such costs are often related to distribution, government procedures, employee benefits, environmental laws, and a complex tax structure.

The team at CS Brazil is standing by to guide U.S. exporters on uncovering new markets in this high-flying Aviation Best Prospect sector.  For more information, please review CS Brazil’s Country Commercial Guide.



Think Big to Become Big!

May 28, 2015

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

Lynn Costa is in the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asia

Think your business is too small for global opportunities?

False. Consider the following:

  • Small and Medium-sized exporters (SMEs) account for 98 percent of exporters in the United States.
  • 95 percent of consumers live outside of the United States.

However, international trade operations, especially exporting , may seem daunting and undoable. Having the knowledge of Supply Chain Management enables companies, who are new to exporting, to create a flow/process that ensures products are delivered to the end consumer.

Supply Chain management is critical across industries in order to get products and services to manufacturers and consumers at increasingly faster speeds.  Companies also need to meet higher quality parameters through global supply chains, which are becoming more sophisticated and complex each year.  Supply Chain Management is a combination of innovation, collaboration, and problem-solving. Cultivating successful Supply Chain relationships create a sustainable competitive advantage. Additionally, the use of Supply Chains can enhance efficiency (cut costs) and increase growth thus improving the “bottom line”. A successful supply chain can ultimately involve a wide range of firms, including manufacturers, retailers, transportation companies, third party logistics firms, and service firms.

The U.S. Department of Commerce offers a variety of services and events that have assisted businesses like yours to gain share in new markets. The APEC SME Global Supply Chain Event is one such event.

The International Trade Administration and the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry are offering a unique opportunity for U.S. SMEs to interact with Asia-Pacific region SMEs. The APEC SME Global Supply Chain Conference will take place on June 8-9, 2015, at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center in Atlanta.

This event, free for U.S. small and medium-sized companies, offers four distinct supply chain tracks:

  • Supply Chain Management, Cold Chain Storage and Technical Regulation, including financing mechanisms for SMEs
  • Healthcare products & Non-Tariff Barriers
  • Global Value Chains
  • Non-Tariff Measures and the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement

The intent of this conference is to educate SMEs on multinational corporation requirements, government regulations, supply chain financing, cold chain technology, smart chain and logistics management, and IT chain solutions.  Leaders in Supply Chain Management will be present to share their companies’ “best practices”.  Not only will SMEs learn these various topics and industry practices, but they will also have the opportunity to network and create relationships transnationally.

As a bonus, the Department of Commerce and Chinese Taipei are joining forces to host a discussion of the best practices for innovative start- ups and high-growth SMEs to facilitate early-stage investment. Participants at the APEC Accelerator Network Forum will hear experts from multinational corporations, accelerators and start-ups sharing their perspectives and experience on the facilitation of early-stage investment to accelerate innovative growth.

Register now! Every obstacle presents an opportunity. Conquer your company’s challenges and create opportunities by attending APEC SME Global Supply Chain Conference 2015.








Des Moines Metro Export Initiative Featuring International Education as a Business Sector

May 27, 2015

Patricia Cook Director is the director of the Des Moines U.S. Export Assistance Center.

International Education Event – bringing together Iowa’s International Educators.

International Education Event – bringing together Iowa’s International Educators.

Did you know the fastest-growing export sectors in Des Moines, Iowa are financial services, international education, biotechnology, and value-added foods? These results were reported in a Brookings Institution study highlighting the results of the city’s first year as part of the Metropolitan Export Initiative (MEI).

The Des Moines region was among the first U.S. metro areas selected to participate in the MEI, which was launched as a partnership between the International Trade Administration and Brookings. The initiative’s goal is to explore and analyze local market export data.

The project brought together public and private sector partners to talk about what is working in Central Iowa and what opportunities are being missed. The U.S. Commercial Service served on the Steering Committee along with the State of Iowa International Trade Office, The Greater Des Moines Partnership (the project host), the City of Des Moines Mayor and County Supervisors, International Traders of Iowa, Iowa DEC members, SBA, SBDC, and interested members of the trade services community.

Since 2013, the Greater Des Moines Partnership has continued the work begun during the MEI by establishing an International Committee, with many of the MEI members plus a few more interested parties.  This group manages how the MEI report directives are tied to actual progress in the business community.  In April 2014, the region was branded under the umbrella theme of “Cultivation Corridor”; this will be the marketing framework for the biotechnology and foods segments.  Regarding the services sectors, these will remain deserving of a special focus. The analysis showed that while most of the United States has around 30 percent of its international activity tied to services, the Des Moines region has an unusually high proportion of activity, 40 percent, in the business service sectors. As a result of the MEI, Iowa now hosts an annual Global Insurance Symposium, which is well attended by global financial services and insurance industry representatives with presentations promoting international business expansion, as well as foreign direct investment.

But what about activities in the space of international education? While the StudyIowa Education Consortium was already an established group representing both rural and urban schools and education services, there was nothing underway to connect that statewide group to the MEI’s International Committee.  As Director of the Des Moines US Export Assistance Center I came up with an idea to host a meeting that would introduce the significant players in international education in Iowa.

This very successful event kicked off efforts to boost international education as a business sector here in Iowa. Forty enthusiastic representatives of businesses, government, rural and urban colleges, education sector business owners, and other public leaders attended the event. The U.S. Commercial Service, Des Moines U.S. Export Assistance Center, has successfully introduced the Greater Des Moines Partnership to StudyIowa; to the Iowa DEC; to International Traders of Iowa; to State of Iowa International Trade Office; and to the Iowa Global Health Consortium.

Future project goals, alongside the International Council objectives, are to connect international students with the internship programs of the Des Moines region, lobby work for visa and immigration reform to allow international students to remain in Iowa to fill highly skilled positions, and to establish an improved referral network of students to the regional businesses which are eager to hire the graduates of local community colleges, private colleges, and public universities.



Celebrating World Trade, Growth, Expansion and Job Creation

May 21, 2015

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

This is a guest blog post by Harry Arnon, the President and CEO of Hernon Manufacturing, Inc.

I am honored to have received the President’s “E” Award for Exports on Monday. As a worldwide innovator in high performance adhesive sealants and precision dispensing equipment, Hernon Manufacturing, Inc. creates adhesives and sealants for companies across the globe. During World Trade Month 2015, HERNON has a lot to celebrate!

Several years ago, I believed there was an unrealized potential in international markets, and decided to refocus the company’s efforts and make exporting a top priority for our growth strategy. Those efforts have paid off. Today, HERNON exports to 44 countries and has a number of partners across the globe including China, India, Brazil, Singapore and South Korea.

In the last four years, HERNON has doubled sales, with exports being a key contributor in our growth. In fact, the team is projecting continued development, through innovative, efficient, and cost-effective design and production processes.

Our company has been bursting at the seams. Two years ago we had to move our equipment division to a separate rental space to accommodate our rapid increase in business. In March of this year, HERNON held a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate its new building expansion and job growth. Even Rick Scott, Florida’s governor, attended.

The new building expansion will add 27,000 square feet of additional space to HERNON’s current building space. Ever focused on efficiency, we look forward to the completion of the construction to bring all divisions back under one roof.

HERNON also forecasts increasing its workforce by nearly 50 percent over the next two years to keep up with production need. In the years to come, the team will continue to work together, to advance and secure our future through international trade and logistics. Exports are helping build a stronger economy and HERNON is proud to be part of that effort!


What’s New with the 11th Edition of ‘A Basic Guide to Exporting’?

May 14, 2015

Curt Cultice is a Senior Communications Specialist for the International Trade Administration’s U.S. Commercial Service.

Basic Guide to Exporting CoverFor more than 75 years, A Basic Guide to Exporting has helped U.S. companies make their first international sale and grow their businesses through exporting. Now, with an 11th edition, you may ask, what’s different? I’ll give you a few examples.

In this new edition, there is expanded information on cross-border e-commerce and export controls, as well as a new chapter on rules of origin in Free Trade Agreements. This edition also provides updated content on creating export plans to strategically start or increase export sales. Good news for the many small- and medium-sized businesses who might be “winging” their current export sales.

Additionally, A Basic Guide to Exporting features all new case studies including “micro multinationals,” which are small U.S. companies that sell to buyers in 30 or more countries. For example, Chapter 3 profiles Pennsylvania-based Zeigler Bros., Inc., a firm that researches and develops foods for animal and aquatic diets. The company made an early strategic decision to boost its bottom line by doing business overseas and has never looked back. Today, Zeigler supplies 300 different products to 50 countries, with exports accounting for more than 50 percent of overall sales. In Chapter 3, the guide describes how International Sales Manager Chris Stock overcame the challenges the company faced when trying to sell internationally, including helping customers deal with localized issues such as diseases that affect fish species being farmed, finding reputable partners, and gaining an understanding of environmental regulations in the countries where the firm does business.

What are the keys to Zeigler’s export success? For one, the company focuses on markets that are perceived as being more risky than some others: Nigeria and Ghana in West Africa; Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia in Southeast Asia; and India and China. “Africa is on the cusp, I think. A lot of people see the opportunity, so it’s a great time to get in early, because it’s a huge emerging middle class that’s developing there with spending power,” said Stock. “They need things more than any other part of the world. They have a lack of access to some of the higher-tech products and things that the United States can offer.”

Related Post: Exporting is an Open Book: 11th Edition of ‘A Basic Guide to Exporting’ Now Available

U.S. companies, particularly SME’s that are new to exporting, as well as those looking to expand their current export sales, will find this filly revise and expanded publication an invaluable tool.

Another solution for Zeigler is the U.S. Commercial Service, which helped the firm develop its export plan, and which Stock calls “a reliable go-to kind of hub.”

“In general, we come to them when we have export regulatory issues and we need somebody inside the government to guide us,” Stock added. “A big thing about exporting is realizing that you don’t know it all and that you’re always going to need support. The [U.S.] government has helped bring us into new markets. We went on a trade mission to Ghana when we were getting our Africa business warmed up and met people there that are clients now and important partners.”

This is part two in a series of four blog posts. Next week, in part three, we will provide a snapshot from A Basic Guide to Exporting on how to write an export plan. 


Exporting is an Open Book: 11th Edition of ‘A Basic Guide to Exporting’ Now Available 

May 7, 2015

Curt Cultice is a Senior Communications Specialist for the International Trade Administration’s U.S. Commercial Service.

Basic Guide to Exporting CoverSince May is World Trade Month, it’s only fitting that the U.S. Department of Commerce reiterate its commitment to helping companies—especially small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) —that are interested in exporting. Earlier today, we released the 11th edition of ‘A Basic Guide to Exporting’ which will help businesses navigate the avenues of trade.

U.S. companies, particularly SMEs that are new to exporting, as well as those looking to expand their current export sales, will find this fully revised and expanded publication an invaluable tool. With 96 percent of the world’s consumers outside of the United States, exporting holds excellent opportunities for U.S. businesses to expand market share, build competitiveness, and add to their bottom lines.

For many businesses, the export process can seem overwhelming and too difficult to pursue. This book dispels the myths that exporters need to be big, or that exporting needs to be complicated, making exporting more viable than ever for even the smallest businesses. In A Basic Guide to Exporting, first-time exporters will find information on topics including:

In addition to practical, “how to” advice, the publication includes case studies of successful exporters. Take for example, Dallas-based Avazzia, Inc., highlighted in Chapter 8: Preparing Your Product for Export. Founder and CEO Tim Smith, whose father taught him the basics of electronics as a youngster, applied his engineering expertise honed in high school to help the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) put a man on the moon. After leaving NASA, Smith created electronic devices that manage chronic and acute pain, and started his own company in 2004. The firm manufactures 11 varieties of therapy devices and 50 accessories, selling to markets in Canada, Malaysia, Korea, Singapore, United Kingdom, and India.

Today, Avazzia’s exports account for 20 percent of the company’s overall sales, and could well grow to 50 percent within two years. As its sales have grown, so have the number of employees, which now total 15. Along the way, the firm has benefitted from U.S. government export assistance dealing with quality and safety certification issues, and the business matchmaking services of the worldwide U.S. Commercial Service that helped the company connect with international partners. “Our sales generate increased cash flow, which helps us meet payroll; so you might say I’m bullish on our export potential,” said Tim Smith. To those companies interested in exporting, Smith advises them to, “Leverage your ongoing business experience, [because] you may have a greater skillset than you realize. If you’ve sold here in the United States, that’s a great asset to becoming a successful exporter.”

Smith is by no means the sole source of export encouragement you will find in the book. Read the chapters on export advice and the experiences of entrepreneurs who took on the challenge of selling internationally and never looked back. We hope you will be inspired to join their ranks.

This is part one in a series of four blogs. Next week, we will discuss what’s new in the 11th edition of A Basic Guide to Exporting, available at, and soon in hardcopy at GPO Bookstores.