Archive for the ‘Trade Policy’ Category

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Economic Growth in the Western Hemishpere Will Be Focus of Fifth Americas Competitiveness Forum

September 9, 2011

by Peter Bowman, an international trade specialist in The International Trade Administration’s Market Access and Compliance unit.

The fifth Americas Competitiveness Forum (ACF), the preeminent economic and commercial event in the Western Hemisphere, will take place October 5–7, 2011, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The ACF grew out of a commitment made by the United States in November 2005 at the Summit of the Americas held at Mar del Plata, Argentina, to cooperate to advance common prosperity, combat inequality, and achieve sustainable economic growth throughout the hemisphere. The first gathering was held in Atlanta, Georgia, in June 2007.

U.S. and Mexican representatives meet in Atlanta, Georgia, November 2010 during the fourth Americas Competitiveness Forum (ACF). Representatives from more than 34 countries are expected to attend the fifth ACF, which will be held October 5–7, 2011 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. (U.S. Department of Commerce photo)

U.S. and Mexican representatives meet in Atlanta, Georgia, November 2010 during the fourth Americas Competitiveness Forum (ACF). Representatives from more than 34 countries are expected to attend the fifth ACF, which will be held October 5–7, 2011 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. (U.S. Department of Commerce photo)

Since then, the ACF has worked to inspire programs, policies, and partnerships that will improve the economic prosperity at the local, national, and regional levels and, thereby, ensure a brighter future for all people in the region.

This year, the fifth ACF is expected to bring together more than 1,000 public- and private-sector participants from throughout the Western Hemisphere. Representatives from more than 34 countries will attend, including heads of state; ministers of economy, industry, and finance; academic leaders; and members of civil society and business.

The ACF distinguishes itself from other international gatherings by presenting a unique blend of public–private policy dialogue on best practices in competitiveness and by offering many services for participating businesses. Services include export counseling sessions, market opportunity sessions, and business-to-business (and business-to-government) meetings.

Each ACF program is built around key themes that represent the drivers of competitiveness. The core themes of this year’s ACF are education, renewable energy, trade facilitation, business climate, and innovation in services.

This year, the ACF will also host a meeting of the Inter-American Competitiveness Network, which was launched at the 2009 ACF in Santiago, Chile, with support from the participating governments and the Organization of American States (OAS). In addition, Pathways to Prosperity in the Americas, an initiative that promotes inclusive growth, prosperity, and social justice, will host a working group meeting with the Inter-American Development Bank, the OAS, and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean as strategic partners.

For more information on the fifth Americas Competitiveness Forum, as well as registration instructions, visit the forum’s Web site at www.competitivenessforum.com. For additional information, contact Peter Bowman in the International Trade Administration’s Market Access and Compliance unit, tel.: (202) 482-8356; e-mail: peter.bowman@trade.gov.

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The President’s Export Council Visits Capitol Hill

July 20, 2011

Dominique Griffith is an intern for the International Trade Administrations’ Office of Advisory Committees. He is a rising senior at American University, studying International Relations.

Last week, staff representatives of the President’s Export Council (PEC) along with administrative officials held staff briefings on Captiol Hill on the role of the PEC and its recent work. The PEC is the principal advisory committee on international trade to the executive branch. These briefings, which were done separately for the House of Representatives and the Senate, addressed the PEC’s background (the administration, the private sector, and the congressional role), trade policy, export assistance, small business and workforce assistance, and success measuring for U.S. businesses.

Our staff representative for Xerox pointed out that when, the CEO of Xerox, Ursula Burns, was asked to be the Vice Chair of the PEC she wanted make sure this particular PEC focuses on “measurement and accountability.” In other words, she did not want the PEC to only discuss ideas on how to help U.S. exporters, she wanted to see action. She also wanted to have this action recorded and measured. The PEC has requested this measuring trend so that the Administration can truly see action and progress on policies for which businesses have been advocating.

As an intern for ITA’s Office of Advisory Committees, I assist staff members with tasks such as writing briefing papers and industry research. That being said, one of the most rewarding projects I’ve had a chance to work on has been the “balanced score card” for the PEC’s recommendations. The score card included the PEC’s recommendations, polices that have been implemented thus far, and what actions the Administration will be taking to be responsive to the recommendations. Some of the recommendations included advocating for the passage of the pending Free Trade Agreements, visa reform, enhancement of our transportation infrastructure, and better coordinated export assistances for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The PEC’s recommendation on transportation infrastructure was particularly interesting to me because it outlined how reliable transportation and infrastructure can help the flow of exports which are essential to our economy. For example, the Department of Transportation’s second round of TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grants focused on financing infrastructure projects that would enhance exports. Another recommendation that is being implemented is on Export Control Reform. Just yesterday, White House Chief of Staff Daley discussed how critical these reforms are so I’m looking forward to see how the PECSEA (the PEC subcommittee that focuses on export controls) moves forward on it’s ideas to strengthen national security through reforming the U.S export control system.

After reading through the recommendations and seeing how the Administration has responded, I soon began to realize how implementing the PEC recommendations will lead to an increase in exports and get our economy back to where it needs to be. Last week’s Hill briefings were a success and although I am only an intern, I know that the work we do with the PEC is vital to the Administration and especially to businesses across the country.

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Informal Commercial Exchange, Trade Talks with Norway

June 9, 2011

Juan Verde is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Europe in the International Trade Administration’s Market Access and Compliance Unit. In this capacity, he leads the Department of Commerce’s efforts to help solve trade policy and market access issues facing U.S. firms seeking to grow their business operations in Europe and Eurasia.

Today I had the pleasure of welcoming Norwegian State Secretary for Trade and Industry Rikke Lind along with her esteemed delegation for the U.S. –Norway Informal Commercial Exchange (ICE) talks. These talks highlight our commitment to dialogue on issues that could benefit our industries’ participation in each others’ market –and spur innovation.

The agenda items ranged from increasing market access for certain environmentally friendly U.S. vehicles to increased protection for intellectual property rights for pharmaceuticals and digital content. We also discussed U.S. anti-dumping/countervailing duty measures on Norwegian salmon, science exchanges, Norway’s search and rescue helicopter procurement, and bottling taxes. I believe the Norwegian Government received informative briefings from various U.S. agencies on legislative and regulatory issues of concern, particularly in the area of trade security and shipping.

Several follow-up meetings will be held as part of our ongoing dialogue and work plan. I very much value Norway as a trading partner and I am grateful for the commitment of the State Secretary to working through and clarifying trade barriers.

Our merchandise exports to Norway increased by 11 percent in 2010, from 2009. Imports from Norway increased 22 percent in 2010 from 2009. U.S.-Norway trade in services has grown rapidly. U.S. exports of services to Norway rose from $1.4 billion in 2003 to $2.8 billion in 2009. U.S. imports of services from Norway rose from $1.4 billion in 2003 to $1.5 billion in 2009. I am confident those numbers will continue to rise and that our routine dialogue on trade issues plays a constructive role.

The ICE talks aim to reduce barriers to trade and increase market access.  The issues were brought to us by members of industry interested in achieving greater market access.  MAC has many bilateral dialogues to raise various trade issues in support of U.S. exports.  If you are encountering a trade barrier contact us at our Trade Compliance Center

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Trade Roots and ITA Partner to Bring Green Products to Brazil

June 6, 2011

Cora Dickson is a Senior International Trade Specialist at the International Trade Administration(ITA) in the Office of Energy and Environmental Industries. She is also the coordinator for the Export Green: Brazil project under the Market Development Cooperator Program.

You may recall when I reported here in November on the launch of “Export Green: Brazil” at the Americas Competitiveness Forum. Now, the two-year project under ITA’s Market Development Cooperator Program is getting into full swing with its first trade mission to São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro August 28-September 2.

In partnership with the Brazil-U.S. Business Council and Trade Roots, two entities within the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, ITA already provides technical assistance for activities under Export Green. Today, Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Services Nicole Lamb-Hale raised the profile of their Certified Trade Missioneven further by announcing her participation in key events of the mission to highlight U.S. companies’ ability and desire to fulfill Brazil’s green technologies needs.

Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Services Nicole Y. Lamb Hale during the "Opportunities for Colorado Green Companies in Brazil" event in Denver

Approximately 15-20 green tech companies will participate in the trade mission, which is focused on green building solutions and will coincide with the “Brazil Green Build Conference and Expo” in São Paulo. Participating companies will also benefit from ITA’s matchmaking services by having a day of meetings in São Paulo with potential business prospects. In Rio de Janeiro, the delegation will take part in a conference organized by Export Green and also take a tour of the Porto Maravilha, a district revitalization project with a focus on LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.

As part of outreach for the mission, last month Assistant Secretary Lamb-Hale and I travelled to Denver for Export Green’s forum, Opportunities for Colorado Green Companies in Brazil. In her keynote speech, she expressed ITA’s enthusiasm: “We stand ready to help U.S. companies that want to export clean technologies, and we are ready to leverage our bilateral ties with Brazil. We have full confidence that the Brazil-U.S. Business Council and Trade Roots can open doors on this trade mission.”

When it hosts the upcoming World Cup (2014) and Olympics (2016), Brazil is hoping to showcase green infrastructure and architecture. Even small U.S. companies with innovative technologies can take advantage of subcontracting opportunities. Best prospects in the Brazilian green building sector include energy efficient lighting, smart systems for energy automation and management, water treatment, onsite renewable energy, and the use of recycled materials in design and construction.

To demonstrate the market potential for green technology products in Brazil, we recently hosted a webinar to talk about opportunities and strategies. My colleagues from ITA’s Brazil country desk and the Commercial Service in São Paulo gave their perspectives, in addition to my own sectoral analysis, and we had presentations from the Brazil-U.S. Business Council as well, including an overview of the trade mission itself. You can download the webinar presentations here. You can also watch a recorded version, found here – for access, use the conference number PW7277144 and the passcode 3706981. But this replay is only available until June 18, so be sure to check it out soon. The deadline for applications is June 29. For more information, see the Export Green website.

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Talking About APEC and Big Trade in Big Sky

May 15, 2011

Mrs Brenda J Fisher is the Senior APEC Affairs Coordinator and has been working in the International Trade Administration’s Market Access and Compliance unit for 28 years, of which the last 12 years have been focused on coordinating the US Dept of Commerce’s engagement in APEC

This weekend I am writing to you from the beautiful venue of Big Sky, Montana where the second Senior Officials Meeting for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, or APEC is taking place. Additionally, the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Ministerial Meetings are being held her as well.

What is APEC?

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum was established in 1989 to take advantage of the growing interdependence among Asia-Pacific economies, to facilitate economic growth for all participants, and to enhance a sense of community.  It aims to improve regional trade and economic performance and linkages for the prosperity of the people in the region.  APEC aims to create greater prosperity for the people of the region by facilitating balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure economic growth and by accelerating regional economic integration.

APEC has grown to become one of the world’s most important regional groupings.  Its 21 member economies are home to more than 2.7 billion people and represent approximately 54 percent of world real GDP and 44 percent of world trade.  APEC is the most economically dynamic region in the world.  Since APEC’s inception, members have experienced average annual GDP growth of 3.6 percent, versus 2.9 percent growth in non-APEC economies (on a purchasing power parity basis).

APEC is a unique forum, operating on the basis of open dialogue and respect for the views of all participants. In APEC, all economies have an equal say and decision-making is reached by consensus. There are no binding commitments, compliance is achieved through discussion, and mutual support in the form of economic and technical cooperation.

APEC has helped to reduce tariffs and other barriers to trade across the Asia-Pacific region.  Business transaction costs were reduced by 10 percent between 2002 and 2010.  APEC has worked to create an environment to ensure the safe and efficient movement of goods, services and people across borders through policy decisions and capacity building.  During this period, APEC member economies have grown, and developing economies in particular have experienced substantial increases in GDP and standards of living.

The forum constantly adapts to allow members to deal with important new challenges to the region’s economic well-being.  This includes combating corruption, planning for pandemics and natural disasters, countering terrorism, addressing climate change and implementing structural policy reform.

Priorities for APEC USA 2011

In 2007, the United States volunteered to host the four major sets of APEC meetings in 2011:  in March in Washington, DC, in May in Big Sky, Montana, in September in San Francisco, and in November in Honolulu.   In Montana, APEC’s Trade Ministers and APEC’s Small and Medium Enterprise Ministers will meet separately (on May 19-20 and May 21, respectively) and also come together for the first time in a joint session on May 20.  A “Women in the Economy” Summit and joint Energy and Transportation Ministers meeting will be held in September.  APEC Trade Ministers will meet again in November, as will APEC’s Finance Ministers, immediately prior to the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Honolulu.

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Winning The Future – Together

March 31, 2011

Mike Masserman is the director of the Office of Advisory Committees and oversees the President’s Export Council, the Manufacturing Council and 18 other advisory committees.

Greetings from the Local 597 pipefitters training facility outside of Chicago where I’m joined by leaders from labor, academia, business and government to talk about trade, jobs and the 21st century American workforce.  Specifically, we’re here for a President’s Export Council (PEC) Workforce Readiness summit hosted by William Hite, General President of the United Association of Plumbers, Pipefitters, Sprinklerfitters and HVAC/R Service Technicians.  The purpose of this session is to discuss how America’s workforce can increasingly become an enabling factor in meeting the President’s goal of the National Export Initiative to double our nation’s exports over the next few years supporting millions of jobs.  We’ll be looking at initiatives that can be scaled up nationally and will focus on a number of areas including apprenticeship programs, the crucial role of community colleges and reaching underserviced parts of the workforce.  Other advisory committees, like the Manufacturing Council are working on similar issues so please be on the lookout for future updates on their recommendations.  We look forward to more opportunities where the public and private sector come together to figure out new and innovative ways to create the jobs of tomorrow and further strengthen the American economy.

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Border Export Strategy Impact in El Paso

March 24, 2011

Francisco J. Sánchez is the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade

Today I was in El Paso, Texas with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Alan Bersin, Commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to highlight the importance of trade, border security, and the Border Export Strategy.

The International Trade Administration recently launched the Border Export Strategy (BES), which is a priority component of the National Export Initiative, which seeks to double exports from the U.S. by 2015 to support several million jobs.

The City of El Paso is an important gateway between the United States and Mexico, and total merchandise trade that passed through the El Paso district in 2010 amounted to $71.1 billion. More than 80 percent of this trade passed through the port of El Paso.

This strategy is designed to increase the export potential and opportunities for U.S. companies doing business along the shared Canadian and Mexican borders.

We are striving to enhance local public-private trade collaboration and support efforts to reduce trade barriers limiting secure and efficient commerce across our borders.

Despite security challenges in the border region, NAFTA trade statistics show a 29 percent increase in total trade between the U.S. and Mexico from 2009-2010. In addition to close collaboration on security and infrastructure issues in the interagency process, the Departments of Commerce and Homeland Security are working together to identify other potential areas for collaboration on U.S. exports. Potential areas include issues related to the Foreign Trade Zones, a review of the targeting efforts for goods and travelers, and technical assistance to other countries in the world, where customs operations are problematic for exporters and need to be modernized.

The City of El Paso sponsors a foreign-trade zone (FTZ) that is currently used by 19 different companies. In 2010, the El Paso FTZ handled $7.3 billion in merchandise – including $1.7 billion in exports – with more than 900 workers employed by the companies using the FTZ. The Foreign Trade Zone program is just one of the ways in which we can boost employment, manufacturing, and exports from the United States.

As we move forward with the implementation of the BES, I look forward to close collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security and the City of El Paso.

The U.S.-Mexico border is not a border economy. It is a vital part of the national economy of both nations, and I, for my part, will do what it takes to preserve, protect it and grow it.

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Seeking CEOs to Participate in the Next U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum

March 24, 2011

 

 

 

As part of President Obama’s official delegation to Brasilia, Brazil March 18-19, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke co-chaired the sixth meeting of the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum.  Key issues discussed at this meeting included furthering bilateral and economic ties at the completion of a U.S.-Brazil Bilateral Tax Treaty, clean energy cooperation and renewable technologies, investment in education, and sustainable infrastructure. In addition, the Forum was pleased to announce successful action on prior recommendations including the completion of a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, signing of an Open Skies MOU and extension of business and tourist visas from five to ten years.

Secretary Locke (far right) shares a laugh with other senior government officials attending the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum

Secretary Locke (far right) shares a laugh with other senior government officials attending the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum

We are now accepting applications for the 2011-2013 term of the Forum. The 10 U.S. CEOs serve two-year terms, and are selected from respondents to a joint Commerce-White House Federal Register notice for applicants to the U.S. section of the Forum. Companies interested in participating in the Forum should view the Federal Register notice at http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2011/2011-5073.htm for information on how to apply.

The Forum, made up of 20 CEOs from the United States and Brazil, meets twice a year to make recommendations to the two governments on ways to strengthen the U.S.-Brazil economic relationship.  Since its inception in 2007, the Forum’s recommendations have advanced discussions between the United States and Brazilian governments on important issues such as visa reform, customs procedures, education, energy, trade facilitation, and infrastructure.

With a potential market of 195 million consumers, and per capita incomes forecasted to grow at an average rate of six percent during the next several years, Brazil offers tremendous opportunities to U.S. exporters of goods and services.

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Trading Across our Borders

March 3, 2011

Francisco Sánchez, Under Secretary for International Trade

When people think about exporting in the United States, they commonly think of destinations such as China and Europe.

Canada and Mexico, however, are also two of the strongest markets for American goods and services.

In fact, each day, the United States conducts $2.5 billion in trade with our neighbors.  This, in turn, translates to $1.7 million a minute.

Last year, U.S. exports to Mexico grew more than 25 percent to more than $160 billion. In addition, the U.S. exported over $240 billion to Canada which is an increase of $45 billion over the previous year.

As you can imagine, the trade along our borders is an important priority to both the International Trade Administration and President Obama.

It is for that reason, that I spent this past Tuesday rolling out our new Border Export Strategy with colleagues in both San Diego and Tijuana.

The Border Export Strategy (BES) is a key component of President Obama’s National Export Initiative which aims to double U.S. exports by 2015. The BES will spur job creation and aid to our nation’s economic recovery.

ITA’s Border Export Strategy will increase export opportunities for U.S. companies along our shared borders by reducing trade barriers that impact the flow of secure, effective and legitimate commerce. The San Diego and Imperial Valley region was the perfect place for me to begin rolling out this strategy and I look forward to the weeks and months ahead.

My staff and I look forward to working with businesses and government officials to advance ITA’s Border Export Strategy and to achieve President Obama’s goals for the National Export Initiative.

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Do You Want To Increase Your Sales And Expand Your Business?

January 5, 2011

 

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

 

Vidya Desai is a Senior International Trade Specialist with the U.S. Commercial Service International Buyer Program.

The International Buyer Program (IBP) is a joint government-industry effort designed to increase U.S. export sales by promoting international attendance at major U.S. industry exhibitions. The IBP provides practical, hands-on assistance to U.S. exhibitors interested in exporting and making contacts with prospective overseas trade partners. This assistance includes export counseling, marketing analysis, and matchmaking services.  The IBP is an important part of our implementation of the Obama Administration’s National Export Initiative which aims to double the value of U.S. exports over the next five years.

If you’re a U.S. company, your chances of finding the right international business partner greatly increases at a trade show that’s part of the IBP. You’ll not only meet more international buyers, representatives and distributors, but your products and services can be listed in the Export Interest Directory distributed to all international visitors to the show.   You will also have access to an on-site International Business Center, where your company can meet privately with prospective international buyers, sales representatives, and business partners and obtain assistance from our experienced U.S. Commercial Service staff.

Currently, there are 40 U.S. trade shows participating in the International Buyer Program in 2011, including the current Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2011 in Las Vegas, NV where hundreds of international buyers are looking to buy U.S. products and services.  Contact your local U.S. Export Assistance Center to find out more information about the export assistance you can receive prior to, during, and following an IBP selected trade show.  Now that you know about the benefits and opportunities that can emerge from participating in a U.S. trade show participating in the IBP, we hope that you will include some of these events in your marketing strategies for 2011!