Archive for the ‘Trade Data’ Category

h1

Exploring the Global Economic Recovery from COVID-19

June 15, 2021

Brooke Tenison is an International Economist in the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Trade Policy and Analysis; and Susan Xu is an International Economist in the Office of Trade and Economic Policy

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

A heatmap of global GDP growth rates for 2021. Relatively few countries are projected to continue to suffer negative growth rates over the next year. Many countries, especially across Africa and the Middle East, are predicted to see modest growth up to 3 percent. Advanced economies are projected to see mainly between 3 and 5 percent, while a very select few, including China, are projected to show more than 8% growth.
Data Source: IMF World Economic Outlook

Since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared in March 2020, the world economy has weathered stop-go rhythms with shutdowns and reopenings, and markets of all shapes and sizes incurring tremendous losses. However, with the arrival of multiple effective vaccines, the world is looking toward recovery, both from an economic and public health perspective.

According to the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook released in April 2021, the global economy is projected to recover in 2021 and 2022 with anticipated GDP growth of 6% and 4.4% respectively. This growth, however, is not projected to be shared equally across countries or industries.

As trade economists, we’d like to offer perspectives about how the economic recovery is progressing.

Economic recovery so far is based on three main factors:

  • First and foremost is uneven access to vaccines—each economy’s growth hinges on vaccine availability and efficacy.
  • Second, domestic policies, which vary across countries, significantly impact the pace of economic recovery.
  • Third, the pace of recovery will also depend on country-specific structural factors, particularly reliance on high-contact sectors, such as tourism.

Furthermore, advanced economies and developing countries vary in their capacities to execute short- and long-term recovery strategies. This has a direct impact on their abilities to recover:

  • Advanced economies are projected to recover faster than emerging market and developing economies. Advanced economies had the fiscal space at the beginning of the crisis to implement effective stimulus measures, and many now can quickly roll out vaccines. This bloc tends to have larger work-from-home flexibility in conducting business as they generally have higher technology intensity in the production process and digital infrastructure.
  • Conversely, developing countries historically do not have as much room in their budgets to stimulate their economies, and have not been able to vaccinate their populations as quickly as advanced economies. Lacking access to vaccines effectively places a ceiling on growth, and some estimates project that developing economies will not have widespread access to vaccines for several years. Businesses in developing economies tend to depend more on face-to-face interactions and have fewer work-from-home jobs. In the meantime, developing economies will likely suffer from economic scarring, or long-term effects.

 Recoveries also vary largely by country according to the data in May. In particular:

  • The United States is projected to surpass pre-COVID levels of GDP in 2021 thanks to a rapid vaccine rollout and three rounds of stimulus checks that have kept American consumers spending through the pandemic.
  • The European Union (EU) is expected to recover to pre-COVID GDP levels a bit later, in mid-2022, due to a slow vaccine rollout and dependency on sectors that rely on human contact and interaction, such as tourism, cultural and creative industries. The EU has struggled with a third wave of COVID-19 infections and new lockdowns.
  • In contrast, the United Kingdom (UK) is expected to recover faster than the rest of Europe despite having longer lockdowns than many European countries, one of the deadliest outbreaks in 2020, and complications from Brexit. Its early procurement of vaccines and rapid vaccination drive to deliver the first shot to as many people as possible are key to a quicker recovery. Also important is the UK’s quick fiscal policy response; it was the first major economy to set plans to repair the damage to public finances caused by the pandemic.
  • China has surprised many with the speed of its recovery. The world’s second-largest economy grew 2.3% in 2020—the only major economy to avoid a contraction last year. This growth has continued in 2021 as a rebound in foreign demand has encouraged higher export growth. Partially hit by global chip shortages and international logistics jams, the economy’s strong pandemic bounce-back presents a two-speed track, with strong industrial output and export demand but lagging consumer spending.

Focus on Trade:

As of spring 2021, overall global trade volumes have numerically returned to pre-pandemic levels, but their composition looks different. According to the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), global trade began recovering in the third quarter of 2020 and continued through the end of the year. Goods trade led the charge, recovering far more quickly than services. Goods like home office and communications equipment performed remarkably well compared to last year. Services trade, suffering from pandemic-related restrictions as well as consumer hesitation to travel, bottomed out in the second quarter of 2020 and is recovering sluggishly. Travel and tourism is understandably the most impacted services sector (check out NTTO’s dashboard for how this is progressing in the U.S.).

For a U.S. perspective on the recovery in trade, check out ITA’s monthly analysis of U.S. exports, imports, and other vital trade data.

From a global perspective, this crisis will continue to have echo-effects long after the virus is contained. With each passing day we have some more insight into how the virus has affected the global economy. While it is too early to understand the full picture, for now we can see simply that growth has a double ceiling: virus containment and vaccine access. Until the virus is controlled, we will continue on a bumpy, uneven road to recovery.

h1

Promoting Equitable Economic Growth in a Virtual Era

May 24, 2021

Nya Igambi is Regional Director for the U.S. Commercial Service’s Southern Network. The Commercial Service (CS) is the trade promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration.

World Trade Month presents an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the small and medium-sized companies that drive U.S. exports and strengthen our economy. It’s also an opportunity to encourage firms, including minority-owned firms, to begin or expand their export efforts.  

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, in 2019, U.S. exports of goods and services totaled $2.5 trillion and supported 10.7 million U.S. jobs. Of the 288,000 U.S. companies that exported goods in 2019, 97.4% were small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).  

With 96% of the world’s consumers located outside of the U.S., exporting is a crucial growth strategy that business owners should consider – especially minority-owned firms. Minority-owned businesses represented approximately 18.3% (1 million) of all U.S. businesses in 2018, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and statistically are well-positioned to go global. According to the Minority Business Development Agency, they are twice as likely to export, three times as likely to already have international operations, and six times as likely to transact business in a language other than English. 

I have been passionate about increasing the number of minority and women exporters since I joined the U.S. Commercial Service 20 years ago as a global diversity outreach specialist. Now, in 2021, I am energized by the Commerce Department’s economic recovery plan for U.S. businesses and workers, which includes a focus on creating economic prosperity through exports, including minority exporters. The plan will be vital to improving our communities, particularly as they continue their recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Minority-owned businesses often have cultural ties, language skills, and flexibility that can provide unique advantages when exporting. These firms can readily leverage foreign language capabilities, diaspora, and contacts in foreign markets to sell their products and services overseas. Minority-owned companies are creative, innovative and are represented in every industry sector in the United States. Technology and cross-border eCommerce enable firms to go global from inception. 

Houston-based startup, and U.S. Commercial Service client, IPP Global, is one example of a minority-owned firm that found success in overseas markets. With export counseling and assistance from CS Houston, company executives decided to pursue export opportunities as part of their initial business strategy.

“Our focus went global right away because we noticed there’s a major pull from the African continent,” said IPP Global’s president, Peter Agbro. “There’s a major pull for U.S. technology internationally, and it’s an easy entry because there’s a high demand for U.S. technology as compared to within the U.S. itself. Within the U.S. the technology is abundantly available, and the competition is steep, but outside of the U.S. …competition is less, and there is a high demand for it. We started to plan for export almost immediately.”  

Despite these many advantages, historically, minority-owned SMEs, and other SMEs in underserved communities, continue to face steep challenges growing their business and adding jobs through new export sales. There are many reasons why—SMEs in underserved communities often lack knowledge about export opportunities, lack access to financing, and face difficulties in identifying and vetting overseas customers. Additionally, they often struggle to connect with appropriate service providers and resources that could help to facilitate an export transaction.

While the pandemic has increased complications for exporters, it has also ushered in developments that will help organizations like the International Trade Administration and the U.S. Commercial Service to be more inclusive and connect with more potential clients, including minority-owned businesses, as the U.S. economy recovers from the pandemic. More specifically, using digital tools and virtual services, we can assist more clients and provide more resources to help businesses to recognize their competitive advantages and seize opportunities.

  • For example, this past year, we have advised companies to utilize the Single Company Promotion (SCP) as an out-of-the-box marketing option. The SCP provides a U.S. firm with a promotional event such as a technical presentation to help increase awareness of their existing/new products/services in a specific market. The U.S. Commercial Service organizes the event logistics; conducts a targeted direct mail or e-mail campaign; manages the promotional campaign and event-related logistics; and provides a post-event debriefing to discuss next steps.
  • Additionally, through its eCommerce Innovation Lab and trained trade professionals, the U.S. Commercial Service offers valuable tools to help companies grow their brand for global sales. The Website Globalization Review Gap Analysis is the first step and provides technical and strategic assessment of a company’s eCommerce sales channel efforts and is aimed at helping companies acquire more international consumers online. 

These are just a few examples of the digital tools and resources that the U.S. Commercial Service has developed to support a more equitable, export-led, economic recovery. If you are a U.S. business interested in developing an export strategy, reach out to your local U.S. Export Assistance Center today.

h1

COVID-19 Economic Recovery: An Important Moment Arrives for U.S. Exporters

May 19, 2021

Eak Gautam and Ian Saccomanno are International Economists in the Office of Trade and Economic Analysis

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

Across the globe, businesses of every shape and size are reopening doors and welcoming back customers. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted economies and industries everywhere, but this unique moment of economic recovery offers U.S. companies an exciting opportunity to explore new international markets for exporting American products.

If you’re unsure how essential exporting is to our economy, consider the facts:

  • Businesses that export are less likely to go out of business, record higher revenues, create more jobs, and pay higher wages than those that don’t.
  • An average of 12% of the U.S. economy has consisted of exports every year for the past decade.
  • The U.S. only accounts for 4% of the world’s population, which means there are plenty of markets and customers to explore.

We previously looked at the unusual export and import trends of 2020 and for 2021 will be issuing monthly updates to help us understand the economy’s performance. 2019 is also an important year for us to study, as it provides a baseline for us to understand the profile of U.S. exporters before the pandemic hit.

What goods & services does the U.S. export?

From mattresses to ice cream to financial services, the U.S. exports a huge variety of goods and services from every sector.

Tree map comparing the values of different U.S. goods and services exports, with capital goods and industrial supplies holding the largest portions.
Figure 1: Sources: U.S. Census Bureau and Bureau of Economic Analysis. The small boxes at the bottom right are construction services and net exports under merchanting.

The United States. is globally competitive in many manufactured products. Aircraft, cars and parts, and semiconductors are our largest manufactured goods exports. Other key exports are agricultural products, with 20-25% of all food grown in the U.S. exported, and oil. Just as impressive are U.S. service exports like travel, business services, research, and intellectual property. We are the single largest exporter of services in the world; 14% of all global services exports originate here. Prior to the pandemic, U.S. travel and tourism averaged roughly $200 billion per year, and product R&D and intellectual property licensing combined averaged $144 billion per year.

What countries receive the most U.S. exports?

The largest destination for U.S. goods and services exports are Mexico and Canada, our neighbors and free trade partners in the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA). China, the United Kingdom and Japan also account for large shares of U.S. exports. Combined, these trade partners accounted for 43% of U.S. exports in 2019.

Where are U.S. exporters?

Exporters come from every pocket and community in the United States. Each state exports a variety of goods and greatly contributes to the diversity of American exports. For example:

  • Texas is a center of oil and chemical production.
  • California’s tech industry and orchards are world leaders.
  • New York is a global hub for precious metals.
  • Washington is a center of aircraft manufacturing.
A heat map of the U.S. showing the relative amount of good exports from each state with Texas and California being the largest.
Figure 2: Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Exports by Origin of Movement (origin state-based)

Exporting is not just a game for the biggest states, though. Per person, South Carolina, Delaware, and Puerto Rico each export more goods than California.

What about U.S. small business exports?

Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the U.S. economy: they create two-thirds of net new jobs and account for more than 40% of the U.S. economy. 97.4% of all goods exporters are SMEs. By export value, large exporters make up two-thirds of goods exports ($996 billion), while SMEs make up the remaining third ($460 billion).

Bar charts showing SMEs and large exporters by company type. Their values in 2019 were $288,063 and the exporters exported $1,455 billion.
Figure 3: Source: U.S. Census Bureau

What jobs are supported by exports?

U.S. exporters directly support U.S. jobs. According to ITA’s research, goods and services exports supported about 10.7 million jobs in 2019. Each $1 billion of exports supports about 5,095 jobs. Additionally, export-intensive industries pay more, on average, than those that sell mostly domestically. Workers employed in manufacturing industries that export earn 19% more  than their peers who work in manufacturing industries that don’t export. 

Trade with Mexico and Canada (through USMCA) and Asia support the most goods-related jobs, and trade with Europe supports the most services jobs. More manufacturing jobs are supported by the U.S.-Mexico-Canada free trade zone than by any other region.

Bar graph with jobs supported by goods and services divided by region in 2019. USMCA supported the highest number of goods-producing jobs where as exports to Europe supported the highest number of services jobs.
Figure 4: Source: Office of Trade and Economic Analysis, International Trade Administration

The International Trade Administration regularly monitors U.S. trade patterns. If you’re interested in learning more, all this data, including interactive visualizations, can be found at https://www.trade.gov/trade-data-analysis.

h1

A Year Like No Other: Overview of U.S. Trade in 2020

March 22, 2021

Gulbin Yildirim and Ian Saccomanno are International Economists in the Office of Trade and Economic Analysis

Overshadowed by a global pandemic, 2020 was a challenging year for U.S. trade as unprecedented social restrictions, changing work patterns, and supply-chain disruptions caused a worldwide recession and hampered trade flows. U.S. exports of goods and services fell 15.9 percent to $2.1 trillion and imports declined 9.5 percent to $2.8 trillion in 2020. The drop in exports was the largest on record while imports saw their largest decline since 2009. Because exports decreased more than imports, the U.S. trade deficit increased 18.2 percent to $681.7 billion, the highest level in the last 12 years (Figure 1). A record-breaking goods deficit and shrinking services surplus were equally responsible for the increase in the overall deficit.

Graph showing changes in exports, imports ,and trade deficit from 2008 to 2020. Graph shows drops in exports and imports to 2.8 trillion U.S. dollars and 2.1 trillion U.S. dollars in 2020, respectively. Trade deficit grew to 681.7 billion U.S. dollars in 2020
Figure 1: Sources: U.S. Census Bureau and Bureau of Economic Analysis.

While declines in both exports and imports were largely expected because of the recession, the deterioration in trade balance was unusual. In the past recessions, U.S. trade deficits shrank as the fall in domestic consumption led imports to drop more than exports. For instance, during the Great Recession, the U.S. trade deficit contracted by almost 45 percent (Figure 1).

The unique nature of the COVID-19 recession, the first global recession solely triggered by a pandemic, was behind this key difference. The efforts to fight the virus increased the demand for imported medical products which helped imports bounce back quickly. Lingering social and economic effects of the pandemic, on the other hand, hindered recovery in key U.S. export categories.

Declining Exports Led the Increase in the U.S. Goods Trade Deficit

The U.S. experienced a record-high goods trade deficit ($905.2 billion) with exports decreasing at more than double the rate of the decline in imports (-12.9 percent vs. -6.4 percent).

A significant share of PPE such as face masks are classified under Textiles.
Figure 2: Sources: U.S. Census Bureau and Bureau of Economic Analysis. Data non-seasonally adjusted on a Census basis. Categories shown are the top 5 increases and decreases.

The sharp drop in exports was led by the largest U.S. export sectors, including aircraft & spacecraft, vehicles, petroleum products, and machinery (Figure 2). These four sectors accounted for 41 percent of total goods exports in 2019 but were responsible for more than 70 percent of the overall export decline in 2020. The pandemic hit these sectors particularly hard as reduced domestic and international travel, uncertainty over consumers’ incomes, and plant closures caused both supply and demand to plunge at the same time.

On the other side of the scale, higher imports of gold and medical products, including pharmaceuticals and personal protective equipment (PPE), partially offset the decreases in other categories such as petroleum products. According to ITA’s analysis, PPE imports increased by more than 240 percent, the bulk of which came from China (72 percent). Similarly, imports of gold soared nearly 260 percent in value as the uncertainty from the pandemic curbed risk-appetite in markets and turned investors to safe haven assets. Switzerland was the largest supplier of gold to the U.S., boosting U.S. goods imports from Switzerland to their highest level on record.

Decreased Travel Exports Led the Drop in the U.S. Services Surplus

Although 2020 saw a record-high deficit in goods, a shrinking surplus in services equally contributed to the increase in the overall trade deficit. U.S. exports and imports of services fell 21.0 percent and 22.1 percent, respectively, in 2020 and the overall surplus in services decreased 18.6 percent to $233.9 billion, the lowest level since 2012. By comparison, the decline in the services surplus at the peak of the Great Recession was only 4.3 percent.

Graphs showing the change in U.S. exports from 2019-2020 across various services.
Figure 3: Sources: U.S. Census Bureau and Bureau of Economic Analysis. Data seasonally adjusted on a Census basis.

Travel and transport services led the decline for both exports and imports of services as each fell more than 50 percent from 2019. Other services categories, however, proved more resilient to the pandemic (Figure 3).

Automotive, Oil and Aircraft Sectors Dominated Declines in Goods Trade with Top Partners

Goods trade with top partners was also shaped by COVID-19’s severe impact on the largest export and import sectors of the United States (Figure 4). Trade with Canada and Mexico fell significantly in both directions, led by declines in automobiles and auto parts and petroleum products. The decline in trade with our two neighbors accounted for nearly 40 percent of the decline in total goods exports and over 50 percent of the drop in total goods imports.

The decrease in exports to the European Union (EU) was largely driven by fewer aircraft sales. Aircraft parts and passenger cars were the categories where imports from the EU fell the most.

Graphs showing changes in goods imports and exports by trade partner. Partners are ranked by 2020 exports/imports from greatest to least.
Figure 4: Sources: U.S. Census Bureau and Bureau of Economic Analysis.

One positive development for American exporters was the increase in soybeans and crude oil shipments to China which led goods exports to that country to grow 17.1 percent.

Imports from China fell 3.6 percent with declines in telecommunication equipment, apparel, and footwear.

In contrast, imports from several South Asian countries such as Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, and Taiwan reached their highest levels on record.  Higher demand for electronics, machinery, furniture, and apparel played an important role in increased imports from these countries.

More data on national and subnational trade, including interactive visualizations, can be found at https://www.trade.gov/trade-stats-express.

h1

Traveling on Your Mind? The U.S. Travel and Tourism Industry is Eager to Welcome You to the United States

March 11, 2021

Isabel Hill serves as the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Travel and Tourism for ITA’s National Travel and Tourism Office 

A hiker takes in the breathtaking view at Horseshoe Bend in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Arizona (Source: BrandUSA)

We miss traveling too. Whether you are seeking beaches, mountains, big city towers, or national parks, America offers many exciting destinations for tourists. And let’s face it: Bucket lists have only grown during quarantine. In 2020 we estimate international visitation to the United States declined 76% while the share of global travelers planning a vacation fell to a record low. 

Fortunately, brighter days seem to be ahead for the U.S. travel and tourism industry as COVID-19 vaccination rates are on the rise. Many U.S. destinations have worked for months to implement health and safety measures and are starting to launch marketing and promotion campaigns to attract new and returning visitors after such a hard year.

To help U.S. businesses and communities who rely on tourism plan ahead, the International Trade Administration last week launched the COVID-19 Travel Industry Monitor–a user-friendly web platform that brings key health, economic and travel data all together in one place. The Monitor tracks a number of indicators important for the performance of the travel and tourism sector in the United States in the wake of the pandemic, including: COVID-19 Cases, International Visitation, Travel Indicators, Travel in Trade, Business and Consumer Sentiment, and Key Economic Indicators.   

The data displayed in the Monitor is derived from existing data sources from federal, state and local agencies, as well as private sector entities. The Monitor is updated weekly, though many data sets are dependent on monthly data that takes a few weeks to process. Data on the dashboard today dates from January 2021. 

I would like to thank the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board and the other industry stakeholders and data partners who provided tremendous input for this Monitor. To access the Monitor, click: https://www.trade.gov/data-visualization/covid-19-travel-industry-monitor 

h1

New Interactive Market Diversification Tool Identifies Top Potential Markets for U.S. Businesses

November 15, 2018

Market Diversification Tool Logo

Jean Janicke is Director of ITA’s Office of Trade Negotiations & Analysis

U.S. companies produce some of the most innovative and high-quality products in the world.  But how does a company figure out where in the world to go next to sell its product?  What if the market conditions change for your current exports and you need to find a new market? The Market Diversification Tool is here to help answer that question.

In the past, a manufacturer might have relied on one data point or market research indicator to figure out its next step, but was unlikely to be able to go to one place to mine multiple data sources.  It could get overwhelming.  Now with the Market Diversification Tool, there is one place to start the market research journey that brings together product-specific and market-level data points across 11 indicators to give you a ranked list of choices.  We field-tested the tool with our Commerce colleagues all over the country to make sure the results match what they would expect from experience and to ensure that the tool is easy to use.

Here’s how it works.  A U.S. producer exporting to at least one market answers two simple questions: what is your product, and where are you exporting now?  A team in Commerce’s Industry and Analysis Unit has figured out an algorithm and collected all the data needed to help you find your next potential market.  The tool applies weights to 11 different indicators, runs calculations based on your input, and gives you a ranked list of recommended markets with scores for each country.

And it is not a black box. The results display all the data the algorithm uses so you can better interpret them. The data can also be exported.  Want to only look at markets in Europe and get help locally once your search is done? The tool allows you to narrow your search to select regions or markets and provides information on your local U.S. Commercial Service Export Assistance Center as well as links to other resources such as Country Commercial Guides.

Example: Producer ready to find its next market

Since there are many small and medium sized cosmetics producers in the United States, let’s take the example of a lipstick producer that currently exports to Mexico.  Here are the results:

The search results show high scores for Canada and the U.K. with a bunch of markets ranked in the 40s.

Export Destination Ranking

In these results we can see that Singapore, with average imports from the United States of $9,283,075, ranked higher than Germany and South Korea, both with higher U.S. export figures.  The results illustrate that the tool does more than just a straight ranking by trade or a listing of FTA partners; it combines multiple factors by weight to generate top export destinations.

Example:  Search When Market Conditions Change

Now let’s take an example of changing market conditions.  A U.S. motorboat producer exports to Belgium, but now the producer faces foreign retaliation in Europe, Canada, and Mexico.

Market Diversification Tool

The search brings up Canada and Mexico and some EU markets, but it also shows opportunities for diversification beyond markets that are retaliating against motorboats.  From this search, a company responding to market changes could start exploring Asia-Pacific options like Australia and Singapore, for example, or consider prospects in Israel.

Example: Regional focus

There are more ways to customize the tool results.  Let’s say a company has limited international travel funds and is visiting a current customer overseas.  The company could use the tool to find the top potential markets in the region. Or if a company is participating in a big regional trade mission like Tradewinds, it could use the tool with a regional selection to focus its travel and meeting choices.  This customization option helps companies make the most of limited resources.

Next steps:

Need help with next steps?  By entering your zip code, you’ll get connected to a Commerce trade office in your area.  For example, the motorboat producer could use the results to explore market research and other programs for Hong Kong and Singapore with a local U.S. Export Assistance Center.

Armed with the ranked list, you are ready to start more in-depth research and find partners in new markets.

Try out our new tool today!

Disclaimer: Consistent with its mission, the International Trade Administration (ITA) provides the information on this website for informational purposes, to assist U.S. exporters seeking to identify potential new export markets. The market rankings provided by the tool do not have official or legal status and should not be taken as a business recommendation or as business counseling. The information in this tool does not constitute legal advice. ITA has taken every effort to ensure that the information presented is accurate and that the algorithm provides useful results; however, ITA assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions. ITA advises users to independently verify any information contained in this tool prior to relying on it. Users are further advised to conduct their own due diligence and seek the advice of legal counsel before entering into business ventures or other commercial arrangements in these markets. ITA assumes no responsibility or liability for the actions users may take based on the information provided.

h1

Are you Export Savvy? Get the Edge on Exporting with New Export.gov Resources

April 19, 2018

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

By Curt Cultice, Senior Communications Specialist, and Jennifer Stone Marshall, Senior International Trade Specialist, U.S. Commercial Service

Logo for Export.gov's new email service, Export Today.Setting your compass in international trade can be rewarding, but challenging. Are you wondering “What is my firm’s potential for international sales?” or “How do I find greater success abroad?” We have two new online tools that can help you chart a course: export.gov’s exporter (self) assessments and export business tip emails.

Exporter Assessments Point the Way Forward

The U.S. Commercial Service’s exporter assessments can help improve your export planning while pointing to helpful resources. With expert input from our global network of trade professionals, the quick and easy-to-use assessments are customized to different levels of experience: new-to-export companies, exporters expanding into new markets, or experienced exporters in more challenging markets.

There are many questions to consider. Here is a brief overview of questions that are answered in the assessments:

  • Does your firm have sufficient production capacity that can be committed to the export market?
  • Does your company have capabilities to modify ingredients and product packaging to meet foreign import regulations, cultural preferences, and survive competition?
  • Will financing be required for any expansion?
  • Has your business considered pursuing U.S. free trade agreement countries as part of a broader export strategy?
  • Is your company familiar with U.S. Department of Commerce resources to help resolve trade issues and problems?

Moreover, each assessment provides important links to additional information, including the informative Exporting Basics videos series.

New “Export Today” Emails Give You Tips for Success

To continue developing your exporting competency, subscribe to our new email tip service, Export Today. You will receive biweekly emails from the U.S. Commercial Service, and get pointers on exporting issues relevant to your company’s experience level. Whether it’s shipping issues, trade finance assistance, researching the market, or a separate issue, Export Today will provide you with insights and connect you with the best content on export.gov. Sign up today.

Get Started Today on Export.gov

With our decades of experience in helping U.S. companies sell abroad, we bring you the most useful information and tools on export.gov. Companies that take the time to think through an export plan tend to have greater international success. The effort can make the difference between generating a few international sales and achieving real business growth. Get export savvy and on the path to new export sales by taking your own exporter assessment and signing up for Export Today email tips.

h1

Ready to Grow Your International Business? Find the Right Market with Video Series

February 27, 2018

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

By Curt Cultice, Senior Communications Specialist, and Jennifer Stone Marshall, Senior International Trade Specialist, U.S. Commercial Service.

Has your company sold to customers in one or two countries? Congratulations, this is a great foundation for tapping into the international marketplace like many small and medium-sized U.S. businesses. The U.S. Commercial Service (CS) can help you grow and find even greater success.

Many U.S. companies are making limited export sales when they could be pursuing new market opportunities. In fact, U.S. Department of Commerce statistics show that 59 percent of all U.S. exporters sell to only one market. Many businesses perceive exporting as being too burdensome or lack a proactive export plan for entering new markets. The result is missed opportunity.

You already have some knowledge and experience with the marketing and logistics skills involved in exporting, and likely a track record of proven demand and sales. The potential for success in a new market grows exponentially with an export plan built around carefully chosen markets. Let us help you.

Download this video.

How to Find New Foreign Export Markets

A new CS video series can help you identify markets for your business’s growing export strategy. Each year, thousands of U.S. companies find new customers and trade partners abroad with help from CS global trade professionals.

Among the series of Export Destination video shorts covering 20 high-profile market destinations, there is a sub-group of 10 markets for you to consider. These markets may be less crowded with foreign competitors, while still offering high-growth opportunities.

In Latin America, Chile is a good platform for American companies to reach other Latin American markets. A major benefit is that 100 percent of American-made products enter Chile duty-free. Colombia is a strategic hub for entering Latin America, and the only South American country with two oceans. The country is investing in key infrastructure such as railroads, airport, transportation, and roads. Peru is one of the fastest-growing economies in Latin America, averaging an annual growth rate of about six percent during the last decade.

In Asia, Indonesia is located on one of the world’s major trade routes, and is Southeast Asia’s largest economy with more than 250 million people. Japan is the fourth-largest importer of U.S. products, with fast-growing sectors that include advanced manufacturing, cyber security, and eCommerce. Malaysia is a robust eCommerce market, with 50 percent of Malaysians now making purchases online, and 47 percent of mobile phone users buying products with their devices. Vietnam has transformed into one of the most vibrant markets for U.S. exporters. Since the economic reforms of the 1980s, Vietnam’s annual growth rate of more than five percent has been second only to China in Asia. South Korea is a top U.S. trade partner in the Asian region. American sellers often compete well against Korean suppliers, especially when selling via eCommerce in this high-wired market.

In the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) features world-class infrastructure and is the largest U.S. export market in the Middle East. The UAE has $270 billion worth of opportunities per its 2015-2020 plan for infrastructure investments.

In Africa, South Africa is the most mature and advanced country in Africa with opportunities in power, telecom, healthcare, and more. As Africa’s second-largest economy, the country’s solid infrastructure serves as a base for selling throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

Watch a brief overview of the trade opportunities in a foreign country today, or see the entire market destination video series on export.gov. After watching the video, learn more about doing business in the country with our Country Commercial Guides. The guides are authored by CS trade experts at U.S. embassies and consulates in more than 140 countries, and provide economic overviews and insights into industry opportunity, selling techniques, trade financing, business travel and more.

h1

U.S. Exporters Poised to Capitalize on Global Demand for Smart Grid Products and Services

June 29, 2017

By Vickie Gunderson, Smart Grid Analyst

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

The average number of Internet-connected devices per household is expected to increase five-fold by 2022, leading to potentially over 50 billion connected devices by 2025.  As more devices are connected to the Internet– in our homes, offices, and manufacturing facilities – it is becoming increasing more critical that people have access to reliable, secure, affordable, and clean electricity to power them.  And U.S. firms that provide the products and services to meet these grid modernization needs are seeing increased global interest.

Earlier this year, we released an Update to the 2016 Smart Grid Top Markets Report. These articles offer detailed analysis of the near-term growth potential for U.S. exporters of smart grid products and services overall and for three sub-sectors:  transmission and distribution (T&D) equipment, smart grid information communications technologies (ICT), and energy storage.  The Update expanded the number of ranked international markets for U.S. exporters from 34 to 50 markets and ranks them according to opportunities.

Across the suite of sub-sectors, U.S. exporters remain global leaders. Deployment of these advanced technologies across the United States to modernize our grid is serving as a global test bed for these disruptive technologies. Nowhere is this more apparent than for energy storage systems.

Today, the United States is one of the global leaders in deployment of energy storage with more than 200 battery projects totally over 400 MW added to the system and remains the world leader for testing innovative policy, regulatory, and business models. However, projects are being deployed across the globe with global deployment of energy storage expected to increase seven fold over the next five years.  This presents a key export opportunity for U.S. manufacturers and service providers.

Over the last eight years, the costs of grid-scale battery energy storage has decreased ten fold. These types of cost reductions are driving the deployment of a wide range of energy storage systems in the United States and around the globe and enabling electric utilities to store electrons (electricity) to provide power when it is needed and help steady the 24/7 need to balance the generation and the demand for electricity.

As a result, the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (TPCC-REEE), and the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Energy are leading an interagency effort to enhance services and programs to support U.S. competiveness in a range of sub-sectors across this diverse industry – including for energy storage.

In the  2016 Smart Grid Top Markets report, the Department of Commerce included dedicated analysis on energy storage to increase market intelligence for U.S. exporters, and our January 2017 Update included the first sub-sector rankings for energy storage exporters. Additionally, at DistribuTECH 2017, under the International Buyer Program, the Department of Commerce led delegations totaling more than 400 foreign buyers to facilitate meetings with U.S. energy storage and smart grid companies, as well as interact with U.S. utilities who have successfully deployed these products domestically.

Further recognizing the link between technology deployment and regulatory barriers, we have engaged in a series of market-specific activities. At the third U.S.-India Smart Grid Workshop in New Delhi,I participated in public-private discussions on the challenges to smart grid technology deployment in India. We also held discussions on communications networks for electric utilities in Brazil under our partnership with the Utilities Technologies Council through our Market Development Cooperator Program, and later this year (October 31-November 2), we will be leading a delegation of U.S. firms to Toronto and Calgary for the Renewable Energy Integration Trade Mission.

And this is just the beginning! Stay tuned for upcoming events related to global smart grid opportunities, and a full update to the Smart Grid Top Market Report later this fall. Sign up for our Global Energy Team newsletter to stay in the know!

h1

Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Reaching New Markets

May 1, 2017

Natalie Soroka is an Economist in the Office of Trade and Economic Analysis

Top SME Exporter Markets, 2015. Mexico $75.7 billion, Canada $52.9 billion, China $33.8 billion, Japan $20.3 billion, United Kingdom $19.8 billion.As we kick off Small Business Week, the Census Bureau released its “Profile of U.S. Importing and Exporting Companies, 2014-2015.” A joint project of the Census Bureau and International Trade Administration, this series details the characteristics of U.S. companies that imported or exported goods in 2014 and 2015, including information on company size, industry, geographic composition, and trading partners. When we look at the trade data, small and medium sized enterprises play a huge role in economic growth and job creation.

In 2015, nearly 408,000 companies in the United States traded goods internationally, with nearly 295,000 companies exporting goods and almost 197,000 companies importing goods from abroad. The majority of these companies were “small and medium-sized enterprises,” or SMEs, with fewer than 500 employees. In 2015, SMEs accounted for 98 percent of goods exporters and 97 percent of goods importers. However, in terms of known dollar value, large companies account for a larger share of trade, with SMEs only accounting for about a third of U.S. goods trade.

In 2015, the value of “known” U.S. goods exports (export transactions that can be linked to a specific exporter) fell by 7.7 percent from the prior year, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that the number of goods exporters in 2015 was also lower than 2014, falling by 3.4 percent. This drop is attributed to fewer small company exporters with fewer than 100 employees, as the number of medium-sized (250-499 employees) and large exporters increased slightly.

With regard to markets, the number of exporters selling goods to Canada decreased the most, with most of those losses being very small companies with fewer than 20 employees. However, large firms accounted for most of the decrease in known export value to Canada. SME exports increased to several of the top 25 U.S. markets: Belgium, Switzerland, India, and Chile. While overall exports to most of these partners fell, higher exports from SMEs to India offset lower exports from large companies to result in an overall increase in U.S. known goods exports to India in 2015. The value of exports from large companies rose to the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Germany.

While many companies solely export or solely import, about a fifth of these companies engage in both directions of trade, exporting and importing merchandise. These companies are also responsible for the majority of the known trade value, accounting for 85 percent of known goods exports and 93 percent of known goods imports in 2015.

Similarly, while most companies only engage with one trading partner, those companies selling to partners in multiple countries account for most of exports, by value. For example, the 7 percent of SMEs who exported to 10 or more countries in 2015, accounted for more than half of total SME export value. This is even truer for large companies, where the 44 percent of large companies that exported to 10 or more countries accounted for 96 percent of the overall value of exports from large firms.

The data in this report show that many small and medium-sized companies could expand their export sales to additional markets. The International Trade Administration offers many services to help U.S. companies begin exporting or increase their sales. Businesses of any size can contact their nearest Export Assistance Center to find out more about our programs and resources.

For more information regarding U.S. importers and exporters in 2015, see ITA’s fact sheet or read the full Profile.

Join us in the conversation on social media using #SmallBusinessWeek. Tag us on Twitter using @TradeGov and share the success of your small business.