Archive for the ‘Indo-Pacific’ Category

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Hispanic Heritage Month: Business and Career Advice from Three Entrepreneurs

October 13, 2022

Christopher Munoz is an International Trade Specialist with the U.S. Commercial Service in Miami, Florida.

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

A graphic that reads, "National Hispanic Heritage Month" on a purple background. Below the text is an image of the International Trade Administration logo.

It’s an important time in America. September 15 to October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month, and this year’s theme, “Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation,” acknowledges that our nation becomes stronger as we combine our diverse cultural talents and values.

At ITA, we use this time to honor the contributions of those in the Hispanic community, including those in the field of international business and trade. At our recent Discover Global Markets: The Blue Economy event—ITA’s flagship business networking forum—we spoke with three exporters of Hispanic descent representing the fields of marine science, port security, and dredging. Each spoke about their experiences and their advice for entrepreneurs interested in exploring exporting.

  • Tony Lizarraga is the international sales director of Novak Technologies in Miami, Florida. Tony’s wife founded their business in 2013 based on opportunities she saw to sell U.S.-made security products to countries/governments in Central and South America. When they encountered business financing issues, Tony and his wife consulted ITA’s U.S. Commercial Service in Miami, which connected them with the Florida Export Finance Corporation, resulting in the financing they needed to take revenues from $200K in 2013 to $6.5 million in 2022. Our team also connected them with key decision makers in several countries in the realms of government, ports, airports and more, which helped Novak Security pitch its products. Tony’s advice is “do not hesitate to reach out and ask for help and resources from the U.S. government.” 
  • Jaime Lara has worked for 8 years at Hydronalix in Green Valley, Arizona, which produces drones used in crisis/natural impacted areas to assist with rescue operations and more. Impressed with Hydronalix’s humanitarian work, Jaime applied for an internship there and received a full-time position afterward. An electrical engineer by training, Jaime was given autonomy over his projects and thought of uses for drones that the company did not originally see. He is now a project manager with several National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) research grant proposals under his belt – he says nearly every product Hydronalix developed started as a NOAA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant. Jaime recommends that young professionals “take risks, put yourself out there, apply for scholarships, and work hard.” 
     
  • Andres Borasino is International Sales Manager at Ellicott Dredge, LLC in Houston, which makes dredging equipment for navigation, mining and infrastructure projects. He came to the United States after college in Peru led to an internship at Shell. He then became the Latin American sales rep for a solar company in Texas. Andres says that coming from a diverse background gave him an awareness and appreciation for diverse business cultures which can frustrate people who are not used to working outside of the United States. Andres has been working with our U.S. Commercial Service for the past 15 years and got involved with the Houston District Council in 2022. His advice is to “stick with an opportunity until you get the most of it. Immerse yourself in an experience.” 

In addition to grants and opportunities offered by ITA and Commerce bureaus (to include the Minority Business Development Agency), we encourage women and minority-owned small and medium-size enterprise owners also consider reaching out to agencies and organizations such as the Small Business Administration 8(a) Business Development ProgramLatino Business Action Network, and United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. 

As an International Trade Specialist with the U.S. Commercial Service’s office in Miami, I encourage all in the Hispanic community to consider the benefits of exporting internationally. Please reach out to our team so we can help you in your pursuits to provide solutions and deliver results that benefit all communities.

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A Mission to Explore Southeast Asia’s Hot Healthcare Market

September 28, 2022

Arun Venkataraman is the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Global Markets and Director General of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service

Assistant Secretary Venkataraman speaks while seated between two other panel members.
Assistant Secretary Venkataraman speaks during a panel discussion at the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore.

Last week, ITA wrapped a trade mission covering two of the hottest topics in trade: healthcare and the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF). As a leader in healthcare innovation, the United States has much to offer consumers across Southeast Asia—a region of almost 700 million people! With President Biden’s focus to increase our competitive edge in Asia, the timing couldn’t be better for a trade mission to explore new market opportunities on the other side of the Pacific.

To that end, last week I led 12 U.S. companies on a Healthcare Trade Mission to Southeast Asia, namely Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam, which are all upgrading their healthcare regulations and infrastructure, making them ideally suited to benefit from high-quality U.S. products and services.

Thailand, which has a robust medical travel market, has recently passed extensive medical device regulations that U.S. companies in the healthcare space need to know about. Since U.S. healthcare firms and manufacturers have a strong reputation for quality, after-sales service, and training support, they are well positioned to assist Thailand in fulfilling its needs. Our trip was a fruitful one, with U.S. businesses engaging in one-on-one meetings with potential buyers and partners, which will foster growth in both countries.

Malaysia was one of the first Southeast Asian economies to upgrade their medical device regulations. In 2021, the United States, thanks to our high-quality equipment industries, has maintained our position as the top exporting country of medical devices to Malaysia. Malaysia is now expanding its infrastructure, and because of the inroads we’ve made, we are well-positioned to offer innovative solutions such as digital health, telemedicine, imaging equipment, in-vitro diagnostics, cardiology, and genomics sequencing for precision medicine.

Also, U.S. health care trade in Vietnam has perhaps the greatest potential for development, as Vietnam’s growing middle class is driving increasing demand for high-quality healthcare infrastructure and services, and in recent years the country has also enacted decrees to increase oversight over the medical device sector. The high quality that U.S. companies provide, as well as the innovative healthcare solutions that U.S. companies have available, position the United States as a top choice for Vietnam. Through trade with Vietnam, U.S. companies can reduce the length of hospital stays while facilitating outpatient care and treatment, thereby contributing to lower health care costs while saving and extending countless lives.

People sitting across from each other at tables engage in discussions.
Healthcare Trade Mission participants engage in one-on-one meetings with ITA experts.

Another major purpose of my trip was to promote U.S. trade in this strategic and growing region, which is why I made an important stop before the mission to Singapore, a country viewed by many companies as a trade gateway to Asia. Last year we launched the U.S.-Singapore Partnership for Growth and Innovation (PGI), an initiative designed to significantly expand our economic partnership with Singapore and the ASEAN region, beginning in four areas: digital economy, energy and environmental technologies, advanced manufacturing, and health care. I had the opportunity to meet with Singaporean officials and U.S. and Singaporean businesses to not only hear about the progress we’ve made in these areas, but also how we can further expand bilateral commercial collaboration and build on nearly two decades of growth bolstered by our historic free trade agreement!

While the healthcare sector is not an explicit IPEF focus area, my travel to these countries also allowed me to underscore that the pursuit of IPEF commitments among Indo-Pacific partners has strong potential to deepen commercial ties and increase benefits across the economy, including for health care companies, workers, and consumers. This includes, among other areas: goals of building an environment of trust and confidence in the digital economy and advancing resilient and secure digital infrastructure and platforms; minimizing disruptions and vulnerabilities in the supply chain; and promoting transparency and integrity in government procurement practices. 

Given IPEF as well as our bilateral initiatives, Southeast Asia will continue to be an important region of the world to watch in weeks and months ahead. Next month we’ll be leading an Advanced Manufacturing Trade Mission to Indonesia, Singapore, and Japan. In November, we will lead an Aerospace and Defense Trade Mission to Indonesia. And we’ll be returning to the region in March 2023 when Trade Winds, the largest U.S. government annual trade mission, heads to Bangkok with mission stops to five other countries in the region. Visit the Trade Winds ASEAN web page to learn more!

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The U.S. is Enhancing Development and Growth Through Energy Opportunities in the Indo-Pacific

July 23, 2019

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

By James Sullivan, Deputy Assistant Secretary and performing the non-exclusive duties of the Assistant Secretary for Industry and Analysis

James Sullivan, Deputy Assistant Secretary and performing the non-exclusive duties of the Assistant Secretary for Industry and Analysis participates on Energy Investment and Infrastructure in Asia panel hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington on July 18.

Last week, I had the privilege of participating in an Energy Investment and Infrastructure in Asia event hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) on the one-year anniversary of Asia EDGE. At this event, I joined U.S. government officials, the U.S. private sector, and foreign governments to discuss Asia EDGE and highlight the International Trade Administration’s (ITA) contribution to the U.S. government’s Indo-Pacific energy initiative.

What is Asia EDGE?

Launched in July 2018 as an initiative to support President Trump’s vision for the Indo-Pacific region, Asia EDGE (Enhancing Development and Growth through Energy) is a U.S. whole-of-government effort to grow sustainable and secure energy markets throughout the Indo-Pacific. Asia EDGE seeks to strengthen energy security, increase energy diversification and trade, and expand energy access.

How does ITA support Asia EDGE?

  • Mobilize private sector investment: ITA coordinates interagency advocacy efforts on behalf of U.S. exporters competing against foreign firms for international public sector projects. With 57 active energy sector cases in the Indo-Pacific valued at $191.5 billion that total more than an estimated $171.6 billion in U.S. export content, these efforts seek to support hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs.
  • Promote U.S. exports: ITA launched a data-driven series of events called “Access Asia” to connect commercial diplomats and policy experts throughout the region with U.S. companies in targeted sectors and cities. To date, the program has conducted events in more than 25 cities across the United States reaching over 1,000 new companies.
  • Remove trade barriers: Througha Federal Register Notice, a private sector roundtable, and ITA-administered federal advisory committees, ITA is actively engaging the U.S. private sector to improve U.S. government understanding of private sector interests and programmatic and policy needs. ITA has incorporated feedback into its commercial diplomacy engagements to promote free, fair, and reciprocal trading relationships.
  • Strengthen standards and best-value procurement practices: Because the development and use of standards is critical for U.S. companies doing business in the region, ITA established a Regional Standards Attaché in Jakarta, Indonesia, to pursue equal market access for U.S. companies in the region.

How can you get involved in ITA Asia EDGE programs?

  • Join an Asia EDGE Energy Industry Working Group (EIWG): ITA’s Asia EDGE EIWG Network is the private sector participation mechanism for U.S. firms to connect to all Asia EDGE activities, inform U.S. government policy, and advance U.S. trade and investment goals.
  • Send us your comments: As outlined in the Federal Register, ITA continues to seek individual comments from industry on government programs. These comments will use used to inform the catalyzation of U.S. private sector participation in commercial energy opportunities in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Leverage our services: ITA offers companies a full range of services to plan, assess, promote, and expand business in the Indo-Pacific. Companies can find assistance domestically in more than 100 U.S. offices nationwide and in 23 markets across the Indo-Pacific!
  • Find us at an upcoming event: ITA goes where you go! Connect with ITA staff and foreign buyers to expand international sales by meeting with our team at global trade events in the United States and abroad:

Jul 30-31, 2019:          Coal Conference                                 New Delhi, India

Sep 15-18, 2019:         IAEA U.S. Trade Mission                 Vienna, Austria

Sep 17-19, 2019:         Gas Tech                                       Houston, Texas

Sep 23-26, 2019:        Solar Power International                      Salt Lake City, Utah

Oct 9-11, 2019:          LAGCOE 2019                             New Orleans, Louisiana

Oct 28-31, 2019:         Singapore Int’l Energy Week                     Singapore

Nov 4, 2019:               Indo-Pacific Business Forum                   Bangkok, Thailand

Nov 5-7, 2019:            Energy Storage NA                            San Diego, California

Nov 19-21, 2019:        PowerGen 2019                            New Orleans, Louisiana

Jan 28-30, 2020:         DistribuTECH International                      San Antonio, Texas

Mar 16-24, 2020:        Asia EDGE U.S. Trade Mission           Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand

For more information on ITA’s Asia EDGE programs contact AsiaEDGE@trade.gov.

Learn more today about ITA at www.trade.gov and www.export.gov!