Archive for the ‘Manufacturing’ Category

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Smart Fabrics 101

March 22, 2018

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

Guest blog post by Linden L. Wicklund, Director of Member Services, Industrial Fabrics Association International 

Smart Fabrics Summit logoWe are fast approaching an important gathering of business and government leaders in Washington, D.C., at the Smart Fabrics Summit, co-hosted by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration and the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI) on April 24.  The Summit will bring together more than 200 representatives from the apparel, technology and textile industries to explore the challenges and opportunities facing designers, manufacturers, and retailers of smart fabrics and wearable products.

The capabilities of everyday textiles and apparel are rapidly expanding as new technologies are developed, redefining how we interact with our environment through clothing and other textiles.  Like cell phones, which have evolved from being used for simple phone calls to incorporating a variety of “smart” functions into a single device, textiles and apparel are evolving and gaining the ability to be used in new and innovative ways.  Smart fabrics – textile materials developed using new technologies to provide revolutionary properties – can communicate with other devices, conduct and store energy, and even monitor biometric data.  One smart fabric is an active wear jacket that allows users to control a smart phone from the jacket’s sleeve. Another cutting-edge technology offered by smart fabric technologies is a sock which tracks an infant’s heart rate and oxygen level while he or she sleeps and sends an alert to the parents’ smartphones if there is a problem.

Defining and understanding smart fabrics is key to developing product standards, intellectual property protections and export strategies. Smart fabrics can include sensors that identify or react to outside stimuli, such as environmental conditions or the wearer’s actions. Sensors may be created through electrical circuits woven into or printed on the material with chemical treatments and coatings, or through fiber or yarn engineering. Smart fabrics may change color in reaction to a stimulus, such as bandages that change color to signal an infection. Smart fabrics may collect solar energy or serve as a carrier for medicine. They can be self-cleaning and even fight air pollution.

Bar graph showing worldwide market for smart fabric products growth equates to 18 percent annually during the past four years to reach $3.1 billion in 2017.

Worldwide market for smart fabric products growth equates to 18 percent annually during the past four years to reach $3.1 billion in 2017.

Research by Jeff Rasmussen, IFAI’s Director of Market Research, shows that worldwide, the market for smart fabric products has grown by 18 percent annually during the past four years to reach $3.1 billion in 2017. With this explosive rate of growth, marketing opportunities for U.S. smart fabrics and technology firms are sure to expand. Smart fabric products may be used in multiple market segments, including fashion and entertainment, industrial and commercial, medical and healthcare, military and government, sports and fitness, and transportation.

Join us for the Smart Fabrics Summit on April 24 and learn more about what this diverse and growing market provides to U.S. manufacturers and consumers. The day’s events will include an address from Dr. Yoel Fink, CEO of Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA), panel discussions covering collaboration with educational institutions, developing standards for smart fabrics, trends in public-private R&D partnerships for smart fabrics, and data security and privacy for connected textiles and apparel. The Summit will also provide demonstrations of various smart fabrics under development.  We hope to see you there!

 

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Indian Automaker Succeeds in United States

February 16, 2018

This is a guest blog post from Rick Haas, CEO of Mahindra Automotive North America.

Mahindra company logoI grew up in Detroit during a period when car culture was the dominant force driving this area. I recall the many warm summer afternoons spent “helping” my uncle and his friends wrench on their muscle cars, hoping that I would have my own hotrod to tinker with someday. But one way or the other, I’d caught the bug, and at the ripe old age of 12 decided that the auto industry was my future.

The men and women here at Mahindra Automotive North America (MANA) have this same passion for creating and producing new and exciting products, many having grown up with experiences like mine. It’s why we’re attracted to Mahindra. Through our investment in Michigan, we are creating and delivering thoughtful new products – and with them new jobs and growth to the Detroit regional economy. We have built a team of highly experienced and talented Americans from the Detroit area to help make this dream a reality and contribute to the rebuilding of this great city.  In November, we opened the first automotive manufacturing facility in Detroit in more than 25 years and are off to the races.

This journey dates back to 1945, when Mahindra began producing the iconic Willys CJ3 under license in India.  Since that time, Mahindra has grown to a $19 billion company that employs 200,000 people in more than 100 countries. When the company was looking to establish a new international auto facility, it had many options including Korea, Japan, Germany, and the United Kingdom.  However, the same rugged, hardworking ethic that has fueled Mahindra for more than 70 years is what drew us to Detroit – still the auto capitol of the world.  The recession hit Detroit and its automotive sector hard, but you can’t keep its hardworking and talented people down long, and I’m proud to be a part of the city’s economic resurgence.

Mahindra established an automotive design technical center just north of Detroit in Troy, Michigan, in 2013, and our work continued to grow – and grow we did! Fueled by the remarkable talent available in the Detroit area, we have tripled our workforce in the last 18 months. The technical center has outgrown our first building and we now have three facilities—in Auburn Hills, Pontiac, and Troy— and have established MANA.  We are currently working with the U.S. Postal Service to develop the Next Generation Delivery Vehicle, we will introduce an off-road utility vehicle (UTV) in the first quarter of 2018, and will add another 400 jobs in the Detroit area by 2020.

At Mahindra, we believe the time is now to succeed in America. We are increasing investment in the United States and we expect to grow our American operations significantly in the coming years. We’ve accomplished this with the help of federal, state, and local leaders, including SelectUSA, all of whom have been terrific partners in our growth. Programs like SelectUSA serve as the catalyst to accelerate companies’ investment initiatives in the United States and provide that win-win partnership that can turbocharge job growth in many towns across this nation.

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Celebrating Manufacturing Day with a Focus on FDI

October 23, 2017

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

By Mark Schmit, National Accounts Manager, Manufacturing Extension Partnership, National Institude of Standard and Technology (NIST) 

An employee of UK-based manufacturing company Domtar provides high school students with a tour of the company’s facility in Rock Hill, S.C. on Oct. 6.

An employee of UK-based manufacturing company Domtar provides high school students with a tour of the company’s facility in Rock Hill, S.C. on Oct. 6.

Although I believe Manufacturing Day is an everyday affair, the official 2017 Manufacturing Day has come and gone. On October 6, modern-day manufacturing was showcased to students, teachers, parents, prospective employees, elected officials, and more at over 2,800 separate events across the country.

It is neither a stretch nor an exaggeration to believe that Manufacturing Day 2017 accomplished what it set out to do—celebrate modern manufacturing and inspire the next generation of manufacturers in this country. Manufacturers build the things that power, move, and shape America. On October 6, manufacturers across the country opened their doors to show their community what manufacturing is all about.

South Carolina manufacturers have been a mainstay of Manufacturing Day participation since the beginning. Year after year, they have opened their doors to educate visitors. This year, 19 events were held statewide, six of which the South Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership Center (SCMEP), was a hosting partner. I want to highlight three of those partnership-led events that celebrated not only partnerships, manufacturing and American jobs, but also FDI, an important part of modern manufacturing in America:

  • Swiss Krono hosted a presentation and plant tour in Barnwell, S.C., for 10 attendees. Swiss Krono LLC, a division of Swiss Krono Group, began distribution in the United States in 2000, and opened its current Barnwell manufacturing facility in 2005. In Barnwell, Swiss Krono LLC creates virtually any style, shape, finish, texture, scrape, bevel, locking system, thickness, size and attached pad of laminate flooring planks sold through distributors, dealers and chains nationwide.
  • Located in Newberry, S.C., Komatsu hosted a presentation and plant tour in honor of Manufacturing Day for 74 attendees. Komatsu America Corporation is a U.S. subsidiary of Japan-based Komatsu Ltd., the world’s second largest manufacturer and supplier of earth-moving equipment, consisting of construction, mining, and compact construction equipment.
  • SCMEP partnered with UK-based Domtar in Rock Hill, S.C., to host a presentation and plant tour for 25 attendees, including students from the Floyd Johnson Technology Center. The event was so successful that it was covered by both local and state level media. Domtar is a leading provider of a wide variety of fiber-based products including communication, specialty packaging papers, market pulp and absorbent hygiene products.

These are just a few examples of the events coordinated by the MEP National Network across the country for the 2017 Manufacturing Day festivities.

More success stories and information on how to get involved are available here, and remember to mark your calendars for next year’s Manufacturing Day: October 5, 2018!

A member of the Federal Interagency Investment Working Group, NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership works with SelectUSA, the sole federal program dedicated to promoting and facilitating foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States. Together, these entities partner to encourage international companies to invest in the U.S. manufacturing industry.

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#FDIintheUSA: Nearly 7 Million American Jobs

September 7, 2017

By Elizabeth Schaefer, Director of Investment Analysis, SelectUSA

As Director of Investment Analysis, I am responsible for leading SelectUSA’s data evaluation efforts related to foreign direct investment (FDI) promotion in the United States. So, it was with great interest (and I’ll admit excitement) that I reviewed the newly released preliminary 2015 and revised 2014 FDI activity data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), which follows the July release of 2016 FDI Inward Stock data.

You may be asking, “What does this mean?” Here’s the breakdown…

The updated data provides a picture of the inward flow of FDI into the United States, as well as the economic activity of U.S. affiliates of foreign-owned firms, from employment figures to research and development (R&D) spending. Overall, the numbers reflect continued, steady FDI growth in America.

But as always, it makes the most sense to start at the beginning.

FDI Definition and Parameters 

FDI, as defined by BEA, generally captures a long-term relationship with the management of a foreign enterprise, which is usually linked with the real output of the country in which it operates. In other words, FDI refers to businesses based in other countries and markets.

At the end of 2016, FDI stock (the total amount) reached $3.7 trillion, a 12.8 percent increase from the revised $3.3 trillion 2015 end-of-year figure. This year, on-year growth outpaces the trend in FDI stock growth over time. On average, during the last five years, FDI stock has grown nearly 9 percent each year.

Sources of Inward FDI Stock 

Sources of Inward FDI Stock

The latest available 2016 data show continued strong investment relationships with the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, and Germany, all of which are historically large sources of investment into the United States. In fact, these top four sources of direct investment alone account for nearly half of all FDI in the United States. However, compared to the previous year of available data, this concentration has slightly dissipated, with economies like Ireland and Switzerland gaining overall shares of U.S. FDI.

The top four fastest-growing sources of FDI in the United States, calculated by looking at annual growth rates since 2011, are Thailand, Argentina, China, and Singapore. In contrast to the largest sources of investment, these top four relatively new sources of investment make up less than 4 percent of total FDI stock in the United States.

It is important to note that these figures attribute FDI ownership to the market at the top of each investment’s ownership chain – the ultimate beneficial owner or “parent company” – rather than capturing investment passed through intermediate markets via subsidiaries.

Industry Destinations of Inward FDI Stock 

Industry Destinations of Inward FDI Stock

The latest available data continue to show enduring ties between FDI and the manufacturing sector. Manufacturing industries attracted an incredible 41 percent of the FDI pie at the end of 2016. Diving a bit deeper, the chemicals, transportation equipment, food, and machinery manufacturing industries captured 64 percent of manufacturing FDI. Looking at year-on-year changes, the professional, scientific, and technical services sectors experienced dramatic growth, increasing in value by more than 28 percent. The diverse mix of industry and sector destinations for FDI in the United States continues to demonstrate that the United States is an important destination and market for globally competitive companies.

Jobs 

Direct Employment by Majority Foreign-Owned Firms in the United States

In 2015, FDI from majority foreign-owned firms was responsible for 6.8 million direct jobs in the United States, an increase of 1.5 million since the end of the 2009 recession. These are high-impact jobs, too; the average annual compensation per direct worker in 2015 was $79,040, almost a quarter higher than the national average.

Other Related Activities

R&D

FDI continues to enhance U.S. global competitiveness by bolstering R&D spending in the United States. The U.S.-based affiliates of majority foreign-owned firms spent nearly $57 billion on R&D activities in the United States in 2015.

Exports

Linkages between trade and investment also remain clear. Exports of goods shipped by majority foreign-owned affiliates declined nearly 20 percent in 2015 compared to 2014. Despite this dip, the $353 billion in goods exports accounted for 23 percent of all U.S. goods exports.

What’s Next?

You can explore this data and more with SelectUSA’s data visualization tool and updated fact sheets at SelectUSA.gov. Additionally, I encourage you to check out #FDIintheUSA on Twitter, our annual campaign that highlights the economic benefits of FDI at the state/territory and national levels through infographics and interactive conversations.

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Helping the American Worker Succeed in a Global Marketplace

September 1, 2017

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog

labor day graphic

Helping the American Worker Succeed in a Global Marketplace

As we celebrate Labor Day, the U.S. Department of Commerce is proud to express our appreciation for American workers and reiterate our commitment to helping Americans succeed in a global marketplace.  We firmly believe that given a level playing field, American workers can help grow the economy and build a better future for all Americans.

Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA) is the premier resource for Americans competing in the global marketplace. ITA strengthens the global competitiveness of U.S. industry, promotes trade and investment, analyzes trade trends and opportunities that help businesses make better decisions and ensures fair trade through the rigorous enforcement of U.S. trade laws and agreements.

ITA offers the expertise needed to connect U.S. businesses with trade opportunities that strengthen their bottom lines and grow jobs here at home. In 2016 alone, we enabled $59 billion in exports and facilitated $5.3 billion in foreign investment into the United States.

From January 20, 2017, through August 29, 2017, Commerce has initiated 58 antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) investigations, a 27 percent increase from the previous year, and currently maintains 407 AD and CVD duty orders which provide relief to American companies and industries impacted by unfair trade.

Since President Trump has come into office, ITA has been working hard to fulfill the President’s mission to increase opportunities for American workers. This includes:

  • Fighting for American ManufacturingITA is a leading advocate and ombudsman for advancing the competitive position of U.S manufacturing industries in the global market.  We are ramping up efforts to combat unfair trade practices, intellectual property theft and unfair trade barriers affecting U.S. manufacturing exporters. We provide the data and tools that industry and local government partners need to help companies increase exports, investment and jobs. We also support the negotiation of strong provisions in U.S. trade agreements in key areas, including government procurement, customs and trade facilitation, standards and technical regulations, import licensing, investment, state-owned enterprise behavior, anti-corruption, labor, environment, dumping, subsidies and safeguards. ITA will use its expertise and enhanced data analysis programs to put forth recommendations that will make U.S. companies more competitive and will allow them to support more high-paying jobs here in the United States.

 

  • Empowering American ExportersWith offices in 108 locations across the U.S. and 78 markets worldwide, ITA is uniquely positioned to help American companies overcome the challenges of exporting and capitalize on the opportunities to sell American goods and services around the world. Our team works daily to address the market challenges that U.S. companies – especially small and medium-sized businesses – face when pursuing opportunities in the global marketplace. We provide companies with actionable market intelligence, including practical transactional know-how on the mechanics of exporting, guidance on how to manage and overcome barriers to trade and information on trade financing options.  ITA also provides dedicated advocacy support to American companies competing for foreign civilian and defense government procurements.
  • Fighting Unfair Imports: ITA has a record of accomplishment in delivering timely and responsive relief to American manufacturers and workers from unfair trade and ensuring that U.S. national security interests affected by international trade and investment are vigorously evaluated and addressed. We administer and enforce the U.S. antidumping (AD) and countervailing (CVD) duty laws to defend U.S. manufacturers, ranchers, farmers and workers against injuriously dumped and unfairly subsidized imports. We are steadfast in our work at leveling the playing field through the conduct of these investigations and other proceedings. ITA also provides recommendations and analysis for the Trump Administration of U.S. trade safeguards that protect American industry and jobs. To further strengthen the Department’s abilities to enforce U.S. trade laws, ITA is building capacity to self-initiate trade remedy actions when appropriate.

At home and abroad, ITA works every day to help American workers.  It is our mission and our promise.  Happy Labor Day to everyone!

 

 

 

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Congressional Office Commends e-Commerce Firm During ‘Made in America’ Week for Facilitating Medical Exports

August 1, 2017

Susan Crawford is a Communications Specialist for the U.S. Commercial Service Pacific North Network. The U.S. Commercial Service is the export promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration.

VIA Global Health receives U.S. Commercial Service Export Certificate

VIA Global Health receives the U.S. Commercial Service Export Certificate for their achievements. Pictured from left to right: U.S. Commercial Service Seattle Director Diane Mooney, Rep. Jayapal’s District Director Rachel Berkson, International Trade Specialist Bob Deane, VIA Global Health President Noah Perin, Global Healthcare Team Director Tembi Secrist and Office of Health and Information Technologies Senior International Trade Specialist Gerry Zapiain.

VIA Global Health is filling a gap in the worldwide healthcare market with its innovative e-commerce healthcare technologies distribution platform. Through this platform, the Seattle-based company is addressing the needs of nearly six billion people in emerging markets around the globe.

The firm has worked with its local U.S. Export Assistance Center to more than double its distribution network to cover 21 African and South Asian nations. It recently received a U.S. Commercial Service Export Achievement Certificate in recognition of its success. District Director Rachel Berkson from U.S. Representative for Washington’s 7th District Pramila Jayapal’s local office participated in the presentation.

“Medical professionals in developing countries did not have access to innovative products, and innovators were struggling to sell their devices in these markets,” says VIA Global Health President Noah Perin. “We decided to offer a solution, a global platform that would function like the Amazon of the medical supply world.”

VIA Global Health has more than 160 distribution partners spread across 21 countries in Africa, and also in India and Bangladesh. The e-commerce platform offers medical devices, medical supplies, lab supplies and consumables.

“Exporters supported 375,000 jobs in Washington in 2015 and I commend Via Global Health for creating a platform that enables medical technology manufacturers in Washington and the United States to sell their products in the international marketplace,” Berkson said.

Perin contacted the U.S. Commercial Service offices in Seattle and Africa for help. Perin obtained intelligence on demand for medical technologies in Africa, met with potential distributors in Africa and was introduced to the Washington State Department of Commerce which provided funding for Perin’s participation in two African health expos.

“We’re here to take the guess-work out of selling to foreign markets,” said U.S. Commercial Service Seattle Director Diane Mooney. “We counsel local companies on all facets of exporting, help them determine the best export markets for their goods or services, identify and arrange meetings with potential foreign partners or distributors and assist with removing trade barriers.”

Exporters can access healthcare sector resources from the U.S. Commercial Service Global Healthcare Team and e-commerce best practices from the E-Commerce Export Resource Center. To learn more about exporting, please contact your local U.S. Commercial Service office.

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ITA Illuminates the Path for U.S. Lighting Manufacturers at the Guangzhou International Lighting Expo (GILE) U.S. Pavilion

July 31, 2017

Gary Stanley is Director of ITA’s Office of Materials Industries, Industry & Analysis

Attendees tour the USA Pavilion at the Guangzhou International Lighting Expo (GILE) trade show, where there was record high attendance at this ITA Trade Fair Certified event.

Attendees tour the USA Pavilion at the Guangzhou International Lighting Expo (GILE) trade show, where there was record high attendance at this ITA Trade Fair Certified event.

Chinese customers and U.S. lighting product and service providers flooded the U.S. Pavilion at this year’s Guangzhou International Lighting Expo (GILE) trade show, reflecting the record high attendance at this ITA Trade Fair Certified event. For the U.S. lighting companies exhibiting at GILE, the U.S. Pavilion provided a critical nexus for networking, business-to-business meetings, lighting industry expert presentations on growth segments in China’s lighting market, and ITA export counseling.

U.S. lighting products, known for their quality and performance, are strongly competitive in China. While China’s overall imports of lighting declined at an annualized rate of -5.7 percent during 2011-2016, its imports of lighting from the United States grew at a healthy 2.9 percent annualized rate during this period. The U.S. share of China’s lighting import market has grown from 5.1 percent in 2011 to 7.8 percent in 2016. China reported lighting imports from the world of $2.1 billion in 2016, down from $2.8 billion five years earlier.

The total U.S. lighting export portfolio to the world was $3.1 billion in 2016.  China is the third largest market for U.S. lighting product exporters, behind Canada and Mexico. While China receives only 3.5 percent of overall U.S. lighting product exports, it is a growth market for U.S. exporters.  U.S. exports to China have grown at an annualized rate of just under 4 percent over the last five years. This growth far outstrips the 1.6 percent annualized growth of the $3.1 billion overall U.S. lighting product export portfolio during the same period.

The United States imported more than $11.3 billion in lighting products from the world in 2016, including $6.2 billion from China. China is by far the largest source of lighting product imports with a 55.2 percent U.S. import market share. This market share has remained fairly consistent since 2011, when China held 55.8 percent of a smaller U.S. lighting import market of $7.7 billion. The United States has a trade deficit in lighting products with the world that grew at an annualized rate of 11 percent between 2011 and 2016, standing at $8.3 billion at the end of that period. The U.S. trade deficit with China in lighting products likewise has grown from $4.2 billion in 2011 to $6.1 billion in 2016, reflecting a 7.8 percent annualized growth rate during that period.

Exhibitors presenting in the U.S. Pavilion, including McWong, Luminit and Alpha Assembly Solutions, emphasized Chinese lighting market demand trends that suggest continued strong competitiveness for U.S. products that enable interconnectivity, interoperability, and sophisticated control technologies. American companies can further improve their competitiveness by improving lighting efficiency and power through the use of high-purity materials and precision-engineered materials substrates, both hallmarks of U.S. products.

Additional information on China’s lighting market, other top U.S. lighting export markets and U.S. Government resources available to U.S. exporters is available in ITA’s Top Markets Building Products and Sustainable Construction study.

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Trade Fair Certification program is a cooperative partnership arrangement between private sector show organizers and the U.S. government to increase U.S. exports and to expand U.S. participation in overseas trade shows.