Archive for the ‘Strategic Partners’ Category

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SEDC: Taking a Regional Approach to Promoting FDI

December 27, 2016

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

Guest blog post by Gene Stinson, President, Southern Economic Development Council

As the membership association for more than 1,000 economic development professionals across 17 southern states, the Southern Economic Development Council (SEDC) enthusiastically aids its members seeking foreign direct investment (FDI) in their communities. SEDC members include statewide, city, town and county economic development organizations (EDOs) and agencies, representing the vast diversity in geography, transportation infrastructure, workforce assets, municipal incentives and public-private partnerships available in the southern United States.

Building awareness of FDI is central to SEDC’s mission to provide members with the information and resources that help them increase economic development in their communities. However, while many members have succeeded in attracting FDI, others have not had access to the tools and information needed to draw investment. This year, we worked hard on changing that – here’s how.

In April, SEDC launched AmericanSouth.net, an initiative to highlight the many benefits of the region to international investors. The program has a twofold objective: to demonstrate “best FDI attraction practices” to all SEDC members; and to offer direct opportunities for members to develop leads that can bring FDI to their areas.

Today, in concert with our regular newsletter, SEDC News, we provide articles, directions to resources, and other information through AmericanSouth.net. We also plan to take advantage of our location in Atlanta – where several international chambers of commerce and foreign consulates have offices – by hosting an International Site Location Advisors Summit to help members build relationships with these organizations and increase contacts with FDI site location influencers.

Moving forward, we will continue building out the capability of AmericanSouth.net not only to position the region as a top destination for FDI but also to provide an additional way for international companies get in touch with our member EDOs. To help advance the initiative, SEDC is forming an advisory board of international investment specialists from EDOs, SelectUSA, the Organization for International Investment (OFII), site location consulting firms, and more. The board will guide SEDC’s FDI programing and develop educational content for its members.

Throughout our development, SelectUSA has been a valuable partner, particularly in helping us prepare for our first venture to Hannover Messe 2016, the world’s largest industrial technology trade show. Conference calls, connections to international investors, and follow-up personal calls – organized by SelectUSA – maximized our exposure in the Investment Pavilion. AmericanSouth.net made its debut at the pavilion and drew several hundred international business and industry representatives to our booth.   Next year, SEDC will again participate in the SelectUSA Investment Summit in June and join the U.S. delegation to Hannover Messe in April. We are also exploring new opportunities, including the possibility of organizing an AmericanSouth road show with SelectUSA.

SEDC’s development of AmericanSouth.net and our exciting ambitions for 2017 mark a new high point in our association’s efforts on behalf of its members. FDI is an under-explored frontier for many communities and a resource many others can expand upon. We are excited about continuing to position the American South as the global destination of choice for business.

 To learn more about SEDC, please visit www.sedc.org and follow @SEDCouncil on Twitter.  

 

 

 

 

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Putting the “Global” in Global Delaware

December 15, 2016

Emma Pautler is Marketing Director of Global Delaware 

For Global Delaware, 2016 has been an exciting and busy year. We have long known of the critical role foreign direct investment (FDI) plays in our state economy; indeed, FDI in Delaware directly supports more than 28,000 jobs. But sometimes it is just as important to pause and reflect on how it all comes about. 

The First State is known for its business friendly corporate law – and part of our work at Global Delaware is focused on showcasing this – not to mention the economic infrastructure that provides for quick and easy access to markets, our approachable local government. . . (OK, we will spare you the full pitch).

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Delegates from the Embassy of Spain meet with representatives of Global Delaware and SelectUSA Deputy Investment Services Director David Campbell at SevOne Inc.’s Newark, Delaware campus.

Since January, we’ve hosted delegations from China, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, and Turkey. In April, we joined the largest-ever U.S. delegation in the USA Pavilion at Hannover Messe 2016; President Barack Obama even stopped by our booth and posed for a picture with a cardboard cutout of a well-known Delawarean – Vice President Joe Biden. In June, the largest startup campus in Europe, Factory Berlin, opened its first U.S. location in Wilmington.  We also attended the 2016 SelectUSA Investment Summit, which led to several new leads – and we’ve been busy hosting, following up and assisting the many business owners we met there. There’s no way we are missing the 2017 Investment Summit next June!

Many people from different sectors and organizations pulled together in order to make this all happen.  Indeed, some of these successes would not have been possible without help from our friends at SelectUSA and the Department of Commerce. Deputy Investment Services Director David Campbell traveled to Delaware to help us welcome delegates from the Spanish Embassy. Investment Specialist Nathan Regan helped us with market research to lock in a French IT company, slated to open their operations in January 2017. The U.S. Consul General in Munich Jennifer Gavito, together with our friend Jana Dorband, kindly supported our many trips to Berlin to finalize details for Factory Berlin’s launch.

A growing challenge (though not necessarily a bad one) for our team has been how not to become victims of our own success.  Delaware IS welcoming and business friendly – but we are also so much more than corporations.  This is why, beyond meeting with delegations and international business owners, we’ve spent a great deal of time developing innovative strategies that create value for international investors looking to bring their business to Delaware.

The most exciting endeavor in this field was the launch of the Delaware Blockchain Initiative. Governor Jack Markell announced the project in May, generating interest around the world. This technology efficiently records financial transactions between parties on a network without the costs and delays associated with intermediaries. We are already working hard with entrepreneurs around the world to develop practical applications.

In short, over the past year, we have forged international partnerships and implemented new strategies that show the world that the First State is open for investment like never before. Given the incredible successes we saw this year, we are excited to see what 2017 holds. Stay tuned by visiting our website and following us on Twitter.

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North American Integration and Partnership

December 2, 2016

Stephen Sullivan is an International Trade Specialist in the Office of North America. Gina Bento is a Commerical Specialist in the Office of North America

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

In a climate where many believe that companies are leaving the U.S. to produce goods where labor is less expensive, one Canadian company has shown how much it values U.S. labor and its critical North American supply chain.  Gildan Activewear Inc. is a manufacturer of T-shirts, fleece, sports shirts, socks, and underwear that invested and continues to invest in production based in the United States.

Founded in 1984, Gildan is headquartered in Montreal, Canada. With a number of different acquisitions over the past few years, Gildan has invested hundreds of millions of dollars into U.S.-based facilities as it pursues a decentralized manufacturing strategy, taking advantage of supply chains that allow a smoother flow of goods between suppliers, producers, and retailers.

Many fashion and apparel companies moved production to China upon its accession to the World Trade Organization in 2001. Instead of following the trend, Gildan utilized the strength of high-standard bilateral and regional trade agreements closer to home. Since Gildan’s largest market is the U.S., having factories close to and within the U.S. means that orders can be fulfilled quicker than those companies that have to ship products from locations like China.

Since 2000, Gildan has invested more than $400 million in yarn spinning facilities in North Carolina and Georgia. Currently, Gildan has 2,600 full-time employees in the U.S., who earn an average of $32,270 (plus benefits) annually. By being savvy about import and export tariffs, and investments, Gildan is able to compete with T-shirts made in China, even though Gildan is paying more for labor costs.

This year, Gildan is acquiring American Apparel as it files for bankruptcy. The acquisition will save U.S. jobs and create revenue growth opportunities by leveraging Gildan’s extensive distribution networks to increase the brand’s penetration in the growing fashion basics segments of global markets. A dominant supporter of U.S. cotton production, Gildan purchases 25 percent of U.S. cotton.  With the imminent procurement of American Apparel, it will soon be possible for Gildan to manufacture a cotton product that is made entirely within the United States.

By choosing to invest in facilities within the North American supply chain, Gildan has saved jobs that would have been lost to company bankruptcy, and added more U.S. jobs by opening new factories. Upon completion of this new acquisition, Gildan will gain licenses to manufacture Under Armour®, Mossy Oak®, and New Balance® brands; all of which are American companies, increasing job opportunities for Americans.

Talk to your local specialist and receive in-depth advice on exporting, international sales, logistics, finance, and trade dispute resolutions.

 

 

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The APEC Cross-Border Privacy Rules: Advancing Privacy and Digital Trade in Asia

November 29, 2016

By Andrew Flavin, Policy Advisor, Office of Digital Services Industries
Over the last year, just about everyone in the trade community heard about Privacy Shield, a mechanism for transferring personal information between the United States and Europe. But you might ask, “what about the rest of the world?”

Part of the answer lies in the APEC Cross-Border Privacy Rules system (CBPRs), a mechanism to raise standards for the protection of personal information while ensuring that data can flow freely between the 21 members of APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation), which together represent 54 percent of the world economy.

Increasing the number of countries and companies that participate in the system has been a top priority for Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Industry & Analysis Ted Dean. “The APEC Cross-Border Privacy Rules system builds consumer, business and regulator trust in the data flows that businesses in the United States and across the Asia-Pacific region rely on by providing voluntary but enforceable standards for privacy protection,” said Assistant Secretary Dean.

The CBPRs are based on a set of principles that certified companies in the APEC region apply when they collect, process and transfer personal data such as birthdates and Social Security Numbers. Participation in the CBPR system is voluntary, but once an organization joins and certifies that it is following the APEC principles, its commitments are legally enforceable. Consumers and businesses in participating countries doing business with certified companies can be assured that these organizations are handling their data in compliance with the Rules’ high standards for privacy and security. For example, all CBPR-certified companies agree to notify consumers when their personal information is being collected and how it is being used, and of the choices consumers have to limit the use and sharing of that information.

In 2016, industry support for CBPRs has grown as companies look for ways to build global compliance systems and meet increasing demands for high-standard privacy protections from consumers and business partners. A recent joint statement from eight major business and information technology associations in the United States, Japan, and Latin America highlighted the importance of the system for businesses:

“By creating a certification system that bridges the privacy regimes of each participating economy in a cost effective and scalable way, the CBPRs allow participating companies to focus their time and resources on innovating, serving customers, and pursuing their business objectives.”

Since APEC Leaders first endorsed CBPRs in 2011, Canada, Mexico, the United States, and Japan have joined the system, representing over 460 million Internet users. Further signaling confidence in the system as a tool to promote consumer privacy while ensuring that the digital economy can continue to flourish, Japan’s Personal Information Protection Commission announced that CBPR-certified companies will be able to transfer data in and out of Japan under new regulations expected to enter into force next year.

Support for CBPRs continued to build in November, when Chinese Taipei announced that it intends to conclude an internal review process to join the system in 2017. At the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting in Lima on November 20, the Leaders of all 21 member countries recognized the importance of the CBPR system in the APEC Leaders Declaration, and in his press conference, President Obama highlighted this important accomplishment, saying, “With regard to the digital economy, we endorsed rules to protect the privacy of personal information as it crosses borders.”

Shannon Coe, Chair of the APEC Electronic Commerce Steering Group, which oversees CBPRs, committed to building on this year’s accomplishments in 2017 and beyond. “We are encouraged by the advances the system has made in 2016 and will continue to work with our APEC partners to build on this progress in the future by raising awareness of the system’s benefits for countries, businesses and consumers.”

To learn more about the system, please visit http://www.cbprs.org.

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Fueling the Future: Taking the U.S. – Japan Relationship to the Troposphere and Beyond

November 23, 2016

By Keida Ackerman, Senior Investment Specialist, SelectUSA

I recently had the honor and great pleasure of participating in the Washington, D.C. portion of the Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (OCCI) Hydrogen Fuel Cell (HFC) Mission – part of a week-long effort to inspire an HFC conversation around ideas that not only have a positive economic impact, but also hold broader implications for our communities and our planet.

This mission – another milestone in a vibrant commercial relationship – was the result of more than a year’s work between Japan and the United States.  Thanks to the combined efforts of the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and OCCI, the delegation joined a robust, multi-city program during the week of November 14, 2016.

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Representatives from the Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry; the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry; and Nikken Lath Industrial try out the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle.

In Washington, D.C., participants toured the DOE-funded Brentwood HFC Fueling Station – the first of its kind in the region.  The group also joined briefings and discussions with the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, the DOC’s SelectUSA program, and attended informational meetings with DOE’s Loan Programs Office, and Clean Energy Investment Center. The Osaka Prefectural Government shared its “H2 Vision” as part of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s national 2050 Hydrogen Society Plan, while participating Japanese companies introduced cutting-edge technologies and discussed ways to share and enhance these products with their American counterparts.  What was most striking, however, is that the events was not merely an informational seminar – but a meaningful conversation to build momentum in diversifying Japanese investment beyond traditional industries to include new growth sectors like renewable energy.

Both Japan and the United States share a strong commitment to developing and commercializing clean energy technologies.  HFC technology offers a broad range of benefits for the environment, our nation’s energy security, and both the U.S. and Japanese economies.   This challenge – and opportunity – is also inspiring initiatives for knowledge sharing, collaboration, and joint investment in innovative solutions to capture and convert the power of hydrogen as a source of clean, abundant, reliable, and affordable energy.

Take Japanese auto manufacturers Toyota and Honda, both of which have significant investments in the United States, and already offer fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs).  Sales of these cars have grown exponentially over the last four years, and the U.S. and Japan are closely partnering on technology and safety data sharing.  This has significant potential for mutual commercial benefits in the next wave of future clean energy generation – and it can be no coincidence that Toyota’s FCEV model – the Mirai – is named after he Japanese word for “future.”

Today, Japan is a vital investment and trading partner of the United States.  As the second-largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI), Japan supports over 840,000 jobs in the United States.  Japanese-owned firms operating in the United States export nearly 80 billion dollars’ worth of goods from our shores, and contribute billions of dollars to innovative research and development.

As the group departed for the West Coast, their next stop, I could not help reflecting on the fact that we had done so much to make this mission a reality.  And this was just one of a wide range of collaborative endeavors between the United States and Japan in the areas of trade, investment and innovation.  We are all eager to see what the future – the mirai – of HFC technology holds.

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A growing partnership: Michigan Aerospace Manufacturing Association

November 21, 2016

Jason Lindesmith is a Communications Specialist for the U.S. Commercial Service’s Great Lakes Network

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

Earlier this month, the Acting Director of ITA’s Office of Strategic Partnerships shared how partnerships at ITA ultimately help American businesses while broadening the base of exporters around the country. I would like to offer one example of a budding partnership the U.S. Commercial Service has within in the aerospace industry – our work with the Michigan Aerospace Manufacturing Association (MAMA).

The aerospace industry has been a cornerstone of the U.S. economy for decades. In 2015, the U.S. aerospace industry contributed $144.1 billion in export sales to the U.S. economy. When companies up and down the aerospace supply chain are involved in exporting, it creates well-paying jobs all across the country.

ITA recently entered the second consecutive year as a strategic partner with MAMA. As with any productive partnership, working closely with MAMA allows our organizations to accomplish our shared goals while focusing on each other’s core strengths.

Finding shared value

When MAMA presents resources, tools, and synergies that help its members, they are likely to stay within the association’s fold. On the other side of the coin, the U.S. Commercial Service exists to help American firms, like MAMA members, export their products to ultimately strengthen the U.S. economy. As more U.S. companies find out about the U.S. Commercial Service, more firms can take advantage of our services to help them grow overseas.

We’ve accomplished these shared goals through a few key initiatives:

  • Infusing export education into MAMA events – By collaborating with MAMA on their upcoming events schedule, we are able to ensure exporting remains top of mind for their members. We make our trade specialists available to speak, meet with MAMA members, or attend their events so the agency has an ongoing presence.
  • Tapping into MAMA’s industry expertise – MAMA’s access to in-depth knowledge about the aerospace industry helps the U.S. Commercial Service, too. MAMA leadership or members now present at export-related events they may not have traditionally attended before our strategic partnership. This not only provides MAMA with increased visibility, but also allows a broader spectrum of Michigan companies to learn from the exporting experience of MAMA members.
  • Connecting our initiatives to increase exports – The partnership with MAMA is presenting new ways to connect aerospace companies with exporting resources. We are collaborating on an ExporTech program in 2017 that will be tailored specifically for aerospace companies. ExporTech helps companies enter or expand in global markets, where participants report an average increase in their international sales of $500,000–$700,000 after completing the program.As one final example, when organizers from the Singapore Air Show came to the Detroit area, we helped organize a roundtable for MAMA members to meet with them. Now, MAMA is planning to take a delegation to the Singapore show so its members can better understand the market there. At the Paris Air Show coming up, we’re encouraging MAMA members to take part by joining the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s space for 15 companies. Attending international shows is what often leads companies to first-hand knowledge of an international market, new sales channels, and ultimately export growth opportunities.

Our partnership with MAMA, or other industry associations around the country, helps the U.S. Commercial Service further our mission of broadening and deepening the U.S. exporter base.  It is just one example the many non-governmental partners we work with around the world. I look forward to sharing more results with MAMA in the future as we build on this positive momentum.

For more about MAMA, visit michman.org. For more about export opportunities within the aerospace industry, check out our latest export resources guide.

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Connecting America’s Veterans to Meaningful Civilian Employment – A Win-Win Proposition

November 10, 2016

This month, SelectUSA is pleased to feature a new multi-part guest blog focusing on workforce opportunities. These posts are authored by members of the Federal Interagency Investment Working Group (IIWG), which is responsible for coordinating activities across federal agencies that promote investment. Read the first entry here.

By the Veterans Benefits Administration’s Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program

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

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) – which provides a variety of benefits and services to Service members, veterans, and their families – is dedicated to helping veterans attain personal and economic success by building on their unique attributes.

While veterans can invariably face challenges transitioning back to civilian life, the successful integration of our nation’s heroes into the work force makes both families and communities at-large stronger and more stable.

Moreover, companies can benefit immensely from hiring veterans – a unique pool of experienced, dedicated workers with valuable leadership, teamwork, and cross-functional job skills.

This is why connecting America’s veterans to meaningful civilian employment is one of the Administration’s highest priorities.

The Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) program provides a wide range of vocational and employment services to assist eligible veterans with service-connected disabilities and an employment handicap prepare for, obtain, and maintain suitable employment.  Services are designed to help them receive the skills required to pursue career goals aligned with their rehabilitation plan. These services include:

  • Interest, aptitude and ability assessments
  • Occupational exploration, and career counseling
  • Job training, resume development, and job seeking skills coaching
  • Employment placement services, employment accommodations, and post-employment follow-up

Through the VR&E Service’s Employment Coordinators (ECs) the VBA establishes relationships with employers and partnerships with other organizations to advocate for placement of Veterans.  VR&E’s ECs partner with employers in order to:

  • Address their workforce needs, and education and skills required for placement
  • Promote greater awareness of employment opportunities for veterans with service-connected disabilities
  • Continue communication for the purpose of developing working relationships
  • Ensure the Veteran and the Employer are a match
  • Promote the use of special hiring programs such as the Non-Paid Work Experience, Special Employers Incentives, On-the-Job Training and Apprenticeship to increase Veterans opportunities for placement into meaningful careers
  • Establish Memorandum of Understandings to encourage partnership opportunities between the employer’s local offices and VA’s regional offices, if needed

VR&E’s  Employment Coordinators can assist employers through the following programs:

  • VR&E on the Job Training Program (OJT)

Through the on-the-job training program, VR&E subsidizes Veterans’ salaries so that employers pay an apprentice-level wage while training Veterans. As the Veteran progresses, the employer pays a larger portion of the Veteran’s salary, until the training program is completed and the employer is paying the full salary.  Please review our Understanding On-The-Job Training & Apprenticeship Approval Guide for employers and sponsors.

  • VR&E Special Employer Incentive Program (SEI)

Through the Special Employer Incentive program, employers may receive an incentive to hire Veterans facing barriers to employment, which includes reimbursement of as much as 50 percent of the Veteran’s salary for up to six months. benefits.va.gov/vow/docs/SEIFlyer.

  • VR&E Non-Paid Work Experience Program (NPWE)

The Non-Paid Work Experience program allows local, state, and federal government offices to temporarily employ a Veteran without having the position count against the agency’s full-time equivalent allocation. VR&E pays the Veteran a monthly subsistence allowance while he or she learns valuable work-related skills and experience. Though the office is under no obligation to hire the Veteran, the goal of this program is for the Veteran to obtain full-time, permanent employment in the office where he/she is placed or a similar office. Please see VA’s Non-Paid Work Experience video to learn more about this program.

  • Work Opportunity Tax Credit

The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is a Federal tax credit available to employers for hiring individuals from certain target groups who have consistently faced significant barriers to employment.  WOTC joins other workforce programs that incentivize workplace diversity and facilitate access to good jobs for American workers. To learn more please see benefits.va.gov/vocrehab/docs/WorkOpportunityTaxCreditFactSheet.

As a member of the IIWG, the VBA gives international firms the chance to invest in one of America’s greatest assets: its people. To learn more about how your company can participate in these programs, please visit VR&E at http://www.benefits.va.gov/vorehab/index.asp.