Archive for the ‘Service Industries’ Category


Global Trends Put U.S. Building Product Exports on Solid Footing

July 11, 2016

Joanne Littlefair is a Senior International Trade Specialist at the International Trade Administration

Increasing urbanization worldwide is a megatrend driving global export opportunity for U.S. building product manufacturers, according to a new report, 2016 Top Markets Building Products and Sustainable Construction, from the International Trade Administration (ITA).  With more than half the world population now living in urban areas and more would-be residents flooding into cities daily, cities are challenged to create built environments in which increasingly dense populations can thrive.

This megatrend fuels ITA’s projection that in 2018 some $39.4 billion in global export opportunities will await U.S. exporters of seven categories of building products.  U.S. manufacturers of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) products, lighting, plumbing products, wood products, insulation, windows and doors and glass for construction are globally competitive and well positioned to respond to six key trends driven by the urbanization megatrend.

The ITA Top Markets study ranks 75 international markets in terms of 2018 sector export prospects, supported by 10 country case studies.  The study elaborates six focal areas capturing policy and commercial attention as global markets seek increased building performance.

  1. Resilience

In the face of natural and man-made risks, the ability to circumvent, withstand, and recover from impacts is essential to economic and social vitality.  Resilience is a concept receiving considerable attention from governments, investors, international organizations and private sector construction stakeholders.  Buildings have a clear role to play in this sphere.

  1. Energy efficiency

Fully one third of world energy use is estimated to occur inside buildings, so improving building energy efficiency can have huge impacts on energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions.  Improving energy efficiency can be expected to be a continuing core focus throughout buildings.

  1. Water efficiency

Water shortages and drought conditions experienced around the globe underscore the importance of buildings in achieving more sustainable environments.  Estimated to account for 20 percent of global water use, buildings have much to contribute to increasing water efficiency.  The nexus of water efficiency and energy efficiency also is increasingly recognized.

  1. Net-zero energy buildings (NZEB)

The NZEB concept has captured considerable attention globally.  Government policies and private initiatives can be seen being geared to designing, building and operating structures in which the total amount of energy used by the building on an annual basis is roughly equal to the amount of renewable energy generated on site.

  1. Healthy buildings

Notably among institutional and commercial buildings, and increasingly across all building types, there is a focus on increasing building value through a healthy building approach.  This emphasizes indoor air quality, use of low-toxicity materials, occupant thermal comfort and access to natural light, among other factors.

  1. Smart buildings

A smart building is generally understood as one reflecting a holistic approach to a building’s design, construction and operation to maximize efficiencies, occupant comfort and other functional priorities. The building is a system of systems that communicate within the building and externally to optimize performance.  Smart buildings create immediate opportunity for design services and information and communication technologies. They also create demand for high-quality building products with inherent efficiency and interoperable functionality compatible with smart building design.

For additional information on these export opportunity drivers, and how they manifest across the 10 case study markets, download the full report, 2016 Top Markets Building Products and Sustainable Construction.

ITA trade specialists around the globe stand ready to assist U.S. entities with their international market development objectives.  U.S. building products are globally competitive and opportunity exists for companies of all sizes.



Commerce Department’s U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board Seeks Membership Applicants

April 18, 2016

Kelly Craighead is the Executive Director of the National Travel and Tourism Office.

Li Zhou is the Deputy Director of the Office of Advisory Committees & Industry Outreach and the Executive Secretariat for the Travel and Tourism Board.

The Department of Commerce is excited to announce that we are actively seeking candidates to serve on the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board (Board).  The Board, established in 2003, serves as the advisory body to the Secretary of Commerce on matters relating to the travel and tourism industry in the United States.  The Board provides recommendations to the Secretary of Commerce and agencies that are part of the Tourism Policy Council, including the Departments of State, Homeland Security, Transportation, Interior, and others to ensure that the United States remains the preeminent destination for international inbound travel and tourism.

During the upcoming 2016-2018 term of the Board, members will provide valuable recommendations on implementation of the National Travel and Tourism Strategy, as well as to help shape the next National Travel and Tourism Strategy following the 2017 conclusion of the current program of work.

Previous Boards have presented Secretaries of Commerce with important advice on a wide range of policies and issues facing the travel and tourism including ways to reach the National Travel and Tourism Strategy’s goal of attracting 100 million international visitors to the United States by the end of 2021, travel facilitation, visa policy, infrastructure, aviation security, research, energy policy, and economic sustainability.

Commerce is accepting applications for the new two-year term of the Board through May 6, 2016.  The Board will be comprised of up to thirty-two members appointed by the Secretary of Commerce.  Board members shall represent companies and organizations in the travel and tourism sector from a broad range of products and services, company sizes, and geographic locations and shall be drawn from large, medium, and small travel and tourism companies, private-sector organizations involved in the export of travel and tourism-related products and services, and other tourism-related entities.

To learn more about the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, please visit For full membership criteria and application details, please review the Federal Register notice announcing the opportunity to apply.  If you have questions or comments, please email



Secretary Pritzker Discusses the Obama Administration’s National Travel and Tourism Strategy at the 2016 World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit

April 8, 2016

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

On April 6, Secretary Pritzker traveled to Dallas to speak at the 2016 World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit. She discussed the Obama Administration’s National Travel and Tourism Strategy and the Commerce Department’s role in making progress toward national travel and tourism goals.

When President Obama entered office in 2009, the global economy was in crisis. People around the world were canceling vacations and business trips in favor of staying home. Nearly 40 million fewer people globally visited another country that year compared to 2008. The United States experienced a five percent decrease in international visitors from 2008 to 2009.

Secretary Pritzker

Secretary Pritzker speaks at the World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit

The United States was also suffering from a global image problem – wait times for visa interviews could be more than 100 days, processing international visitors could take up to four hours at busy airports – and there was no coordinated national travel and tourism branding effort to combat this reality. President Obama saw travel and tourism as a vital sector and a tremendous growth opportunity, and he made it a priority to ensure the United States remained the world leader in travel and tourism receipts.

In 2012, the Obama Administration developed the National Travel and Tourism Strategy to set real benchmarks to gauge its progress.

As part of this Strategy, the Administration’ set an ambitious goal of welcoming 100 million international visitors to the United States by the end of 2021. It was the first time ever that the United States government had developed a thoughtful, comprehensive approach to attracting more visitors to the country. Four years later, the Administration’s efforts are paying huge dividends.

Secretary Pritzker announced at the Summit that the Administration is on track to meet the Strategy’s goal of welcoming 100 million international visitors to the U.S. by the end of 2021. The Department estimates that 75.3 million people visited the United States in 2015, up from 55 million in 2009, a 37 percent increase. These visitors spent a record $217 billion on goods and services, supporting 1.1 million U.S. jobs and making travel and tourism the United States’ number one services export.

The Administration has stepped up its efforts to support the Strategy by growing trusted traveler programs like Global Entry, NEXUS, and SENTRI that now boast more than 4.5 million travelers; expanding the Visa Waiver Program to 11 additional countries; extending visa validity with China to 10 years; and reducing visa waiver interview wait times in key markets.

One of the reasons this Strategy is working is that the Administration has solicited private sector input from the very beginning and made sure that private sector feedback was incorporated every step of the way.  The Commerce Department created the Travel and Tourism Advisory Board in 2013 to solicit private sector input on travel and tourism matters, such as how the Administration can achieve its National Goal of the “best-in-class” international arrivals experience.

In the early days of his administration, President Obama signed the Travel Promotion Act into law and created Brand USA – the nation’s first-ever destination marketing organization. Brand USA, which partners with the Commerce Department and other federal agencies, uses innovative marketing approaches to show the world all the United States offers as a travel destination.

Travel builds bridges and creates deeper ties between nations. It can even make the country more secure, if smart policies are enacted and adapt to the constantly changing world.

This transformative impact on both lives and economies is why the travel and tourism industry has been a top priority for this administration from the beginning. Working together with the private sector, the Obama Administration will continue to make sure the world knows that America is open for visitors and open for business


Exports in Higher Education–Finding Qualified Students in Central Europe

November 23, 2015

Jennifer Moll is a Senior International Trade Specialist at the International Trade Administration’s Detroit Export Assistance Center.

If you work in higher education, your institution may be actively recruiting international students. Successful international recruiting involves finding students abroad; venues to conduct effective outreach; forming international partnerships; ensuring international students meet the school’s qualifications; and connecting with scholarship and financial aid options domestically and internationally. In the spring, we’ll host an event designed to help your institution explore all of these important elements in the growing higher education market of Central Europe.

The U.S. Commercial Service at the U.S. Embassies in the Czech Republic, Poland, and Hungary, is partnering with EducationUSA and the Fulbright Commission, to organize education fairs in their respective countries from April 18-22, 2016.

The fairs are much more than shaking hands with foreign diplomats. In each market, event participants will have access to:

  • Briefings from the U.S. embassy in each country about the education environment and market factors;
  • One-on-one appointments with potential partners;
  • A student fair; and
  • Networking events in the respective country (Prague, Warsaw, or Budapest).

Central Europe has experienced amazing development in the last 20 years, including growth in the field of higher education. Across the region there is a strong tradition and interest in quality education that U.S. institutions can tap into. Prague, Warsaw, and Budapest each have unique characteristics that make them suitable targets for overseas recruitment efforts:

  • The Czech Republic has great recruitment potential. High-quality educational programs, coupled with English as the standard second language, produce a large pool of highly qualified candidates for both undergraduate and graduate studies in the United States. Also, an increase in study abroad programs and institutional cooperation has given rise to several new private foundations that have the potential to be sources for student scholarships.
  • Poland is unquestionably a prime target for U.S. educational institutions to successfully recruit undergraduate and graduate students. This market not only represents the sixth largest country in the European Union in terms of population, but it also has a population heavily skewed toward young students interested in higher education.
  • In Hungary, studying abroad is seen as an absolute must for many students, with one-third of students having the goal of study overseas. Summer camps, as well as special English language and mentoring programs all contribute to a large, highly-qualified pool of applicants that will be of great interest to U.S. colleges and universities.

To expand your institution’s international reach to these growing markets, visit the event page to learn more. Be sure to sign up for our related webinar, ‘Best Practices and Opportunities for Student Recruitment in the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary’, on December 2nd at 11 a.m. EST.

There’s never been a better time to explore the higher education market in Central Europe. Our team would love to help your institution succeed!

*For more information or questions, email Jennifer at



Aerospace: a sector that can elevate our collective international interests

October 27, 2015

Stefan M. Selig is the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade.

Today, I attended the first industry specific all-of-government effort to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) into the United States, the National Aerospace FDI Expo in California. The event reminded me of the evolution of this industry and the abundant potential in the global aerospace market.

Stefan Selig

Under Secretary Stefan Selig talks about the future of the Aerospace industry.

Aerospace has historically been the keystone of American leadership in the 20th century, leading into the 21st – from the defense technology that helped create the strongest military in history, to the space technology we pioneered, to the resulting services and products that have improved people’s lives here and around the world.

While witnessing hundreds of businesses connecting with each other and with local Economic Development Organizations (EDOs), I thought about the innovative and productive workforce that supports this industry. It truly is a testament to the power that the aerospace sector represents. The U.S. aerospace sector produces our country’s largest manufacturing surplus. It has registered an increase in exports during the past five years of more than 50 percent, and directly employs 500,000 American workers. Utility patents in the aerospace sector are twice those of the biopharmaceuticals sector, and the operational profit per employee is consistently higher than the global average.

As the leader of the International Trade Administration, I know that the aerospace industry in the United States can serve as an engine for growth and profits for international manufacturers through foreign direct investment. FDI stock into U.S. aerospace products and parts companies totaled just under $22.5 billion in 2014, growing since 2008 at a compound annual growth rate of nearly 6.3 percent. FDI growth in the aerospace sector outpaced all other industries during that same period. The development and ascendance of the industry; in conjunction with the global explosion of growth, development, and innovation has catalyzed the very industry we see today. Throughout the entire supply chain, this industry sector is more international than we have ever seen before.

That is why work of turning growth opportunities into business realities will continue after this week’s event. The SelectUSA team at ITA is continuously working to cultivate FDI opportunities. We help companies navigate the federal government by coordinating the resources and services of more than 20 federal agencies to address investors’ concerns, including those that relate to federal regulatory issues.

This is also why ITA has an entire Aerospace Team, within our Industry & Analysis unit, dedicated to supporting the industry by creating top-rate commercial intelligence, developing strategies and technical assistance to assist the sector, and connecting companies directly with business partners. Export resources such as the Aerospace Resource Guide have helped many companies learn the basics of exporting within the industry.

And as we look towards the future of Aerospace, a finalized Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP will offer an unprecedented opportunity to liberalize access for investment by ensuring fair and non-discriminatory treatment of investors. TPP will also strengthen and deepen aerospace supply chains. Aerospace manufacturers will have greater access to inputs gathered from all 12 TPP markets because those inputs will be considered originating and receive equal treatment as a domestically made input or product. We want to help U.S. companies tap into that potential and utilize these new benefits.

ITA is the industry’s primary export resource and should be your first point of contact when looking to sell internationally. Our team of domestic and international trade specialists, located at our Export Assistance Centers in the United States and at U.S. Embassies overseas, is prepared to assist in increasing your export sales.


Back-to-School Means More International Trade in Education

September 10, 2015

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog

Student in University Classroom

Student in University Classroom

Guest blog post by John Siegmund, International Trade Specialist, International Trade Administration

As the summer comes to an end, millions of students are returning to campuses all over the country.  A good portion of these students are coming from abroad. Did you know that the tuition and living expenses of foreign students make up an important services export?  In 2013 the total came to $27 billion in U.S. exports, roughly twice the amount of a decade ago.  The total number of international students has also grown steadily.

The Department of Commerce recently released the Top Markets Report on Education.  The report highlights market dynamics, trends and key challenges to studying in the United States.

About 886,000 foreign students were studying at colleges and universities in the United States in 2013/14. The top five sending countries that year were; China (274,000 students), India (101,000 students), South Korea (68,000 students), Saudi Arabia (54,000 students), and Canada (28,000 students).

The report also projects future export opportunities based on research and trends. The eight markets that offer potentially the best opportunities to increase foreign enrollments in the years ahead are Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Vietnam.  Selection of these key markets, described in the report’s methodology, is based on the number of students from a given country studying in the United States, the total number studying abroad, and historical growth rates of students studying in the United States.

Enrollment of international students is important to U.S. institutions, but they face competitive challenges, notably (1) growing competition from other English-language countries primarily the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia; (2) competition from English-language programs in countries where English is not the language of the country; and (3) the perception of difficulties and delays in getting U.S. student visas.

The report also offers reasons that students choose to study abroad.  Demographics, economics, secondary school completion rates, tuition costs, household income, and employer needs all play a role.  The most popular fields of study include business and management, and the STEM fields.

Although the United States is the largest destination country for international students, the U.S. percentage share of international students has eroded over the past decade. The number of international students worldwide has increased faster than has the number of international students coming to the United States. I would encourage you to take a look at the Top Markets Report on Education to learn more about this surprising industry!


Cloud Computing Exports Drive Growth at Home and Abroad

August 27, 2015

Brian Larkin is a Senior Policy Advisor in ITA’s Office of Digital Services Industries.

Cloud computing, which allows companies of all sizes to easily and inexpensively access computing resources, has become a key enabling tool for firms in many global markets. It should therefore come as no surprise that corporate cloud spending may reach $191 billion by 2020, more than triple the 2013 total, according to Forester Research. U.S. providers have leveraged technological expertise, innovative approaches, first-mover advantages, and other strengths to earn leading international positions in the delivery of cloud services. While they are sure to benefit from growing demand, these trendsetting firms still face challenges in some critical markets.

The 2015 Top Markets Report on Cloud Computing explores this global landscape. International Trade Administration (ITA) policy experts and embassy staff contributed to the report, which features profiles of countries in Europe, Asia, and Latin America, as well as an overall ranking.

All but a few of the world’s top enterprise cloud providers are based in the United States. These firms may specialize in bits and bytes instead of the physical shipments that trade discussions often evoke, but they are major contributors to our nation’s exports. In fact, digitally-deliverable services, a category that includes cloud computing, have accounted for over 60 percent of U.S. service exports in recent years and been an area in which the United States enjoys a substantial trade surplus.

The U.S. economy is far from the only one benefiting from the popularity of cloud services, however. These make it easy for companies, particularly small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to quickly access advanced computing resources without having to invest in and manage costly technical infrastructures. They unlock technologies and platforms that could otherwise be out of reach, enabling firms in all industries to enhance business processes, lower expenses, and raise productivity – a key contributor to broader economic growth. And for those digital startups looking to launch the next must-have app, they provide a host of useful tools. It’s thus little wonder that foreign technology groups like Rovio, Spotify, and Shazam chose U.S. cloud providers to help them achieve global success.

Despite the clear benefits of cloud adoption, some countries are considering or have enacted policies that would limit their domestic companies’ access to these services. These include rules preventing data from moving freely across national borders, such as from an SME in one country to a cloud provider with servers in another, such as the United States. Data flow restrictions undercut economies of scale and make it extremely difficult for cloud firms to offer affordable, reliable access to productivity-boosting resources.

Among other justifications, policymakers may believe that by requiring data to be stored locally, they can stimulate the growth of their domestic technology sector. However, these mandates are far more likely to make it impractical for cloud providers to continue supplying local firms, potentially cutting off a wide array of enterprises from the most sophisticated services available. Accordingly, the European Center for International Political Economy has found that recently proposed or implemented data localization rules in several countries would cause GDP losses.

ITA is a leading voice in the U.S. Government’s global engagement on regulatory issues affecting U.S. cloud providers, such as data localization. Every day, ITA engages with foreign leaders and policymakers, analyzes fast-changing market dynamics, and works with inter-agency colleagues to help ensure that U.S. firms receive equitable market access overseas.

We also strive to provide useful information to U.S. cloud providers big and small as they seek specific export opportunities. We believe that this year’s Top Markets Report on Cloud Computing does just that, and we look forward to hearing your thoughts on it.