Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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How to Ensure Fast, Reliable Payments on International Transactions

August 31, 2017

By Linda Abbruzzese, Senior International Trade Specialist, Office of Digital Initiatives, U.S. Commercial Service and Patrick Morris, Intern, Office of Strategic Partnerships, Industry and Analysis

U.S. exporters face many challenges when meeting a foreign buyer who is interested in acquiring their product.  Knowing how to agree to a sale with a foreign buyer, and understanding how to handle the payment transactions can be challenging and frustrating to the exporter, especially when customers are located thousands of miles away.  Frequently, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) do not know how to correctly receive payment for their exports, or fear that once their shipment has left the United States, they will not get paid.  It is important for U.S. SMEs to protect themselves and their business transactions by learning the ins and outs of processing international payments, and ensuring that they get paid in the safest and quickest manner possible to protect their sales, products, business, and customers.

The International Trade Administration’s Office of Digital Initiatives has collaborated with Trade Technologies to offer a webinar series on international payments.  International payments are made between countries, whether a trade debt, unilateral transfer of funds, capital investment, or another purpose. These payments are vital to businesses, as well as economists and national governments, because international debts can impact accumulated balances of foreign currency, claims on foreign currency, loans from creditor to the debtor, drawings on the International Monetary Fund, or movement of gold. International payments are not only important to SMEs, but they are also pertinent for a country balancing its international accounts for its balance of payments.

Trade Technologies, an International Trade Administration (ITA) Strategic Partner since 2013, is the largest global provider of trade document services and software. Spurred by a mutual interest to help SMEs process international transactions quickly and reliably with fewer errors and lower costs, ITA and Trade Technologies is presenting this webinar series that concludes in October 2017.  Richard “Chip” Thomas, an international banker and founder of The American Export Training Institute leads the webinars. The sessions explore transaction methods that enable U.S. SMEs to get paid in the most efficient way while maintaining their competitive advantage in the market. Specific topics of consideration include letters of credit, INCOTERMS 2010, documentation discrepancies in the letters of credit, and payment terms.

For more information about the webinar series, please contact Linda.Abbruzzese@trade.gov or click here to register.

 

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You Should Export

May 11, 2017

Tony Pu is an International Trade Specialist at the U.S. Commercial Service Office in Philadelphia

What’s next for your business? Maybe you’ve learned that demand in your industry sector is growing in another country, but aren’t sure how to take your domestic business global. In today’s fast-moving economy, it can be challenging to research and develop a plan for your company’s international growth.

As many successful exporters have already found out, it’s worth investing time and effort to cultivate foreign sales. If your business is already established in the United States, one of the worlds’s most open and competitive markets, that’s a good indicator for international success.  Moreover, with more than 95 percent of the world’s consumers beyond U.S. borders, why miss out on the opportunities?  In fact, 98 percent of all U.S. exporters are small and medium-sized businesses – just like yours.

So where do you begin? I have worked with many successful U.S. exporters, and they all started out by learning what actually goes into selling products or services across borders. Sure, there are many facets to understand, but we make it easy on export.gov.

As the lead trade promotion agency of the U.S. government, the International Trade Administration’s U.S. Commercial Service provides impartial, accurate and valuable knowledge and insights.  Each year, thousands of U.S. companies turn to us to leverage our global network in more than 100 U.S. cities and 75 markets. Our trade professionals have the contacts and in-country expertise you need; whether it’s evaluating market conditions, finding foreign buyers, working through export documentation, or handling the logistical, financial, and legal aspects of exporting.

Start by watching our new Export Basics video series. It covers these topics:

  • Get Ready to Export – Learn about evaluating your company’s readiness and creating a plan.
  • Plan Your Market Entry Strategy – Find out how to choose the best markets and position your company for success.
  • Find Foreign Buyers – Understand the different ways you can find buyers.
  • Get Paid and Finance Your Export Transaction – Avoid payment problems by learning about financing options.
  • Make the Export Sale – Discover how to manage the paperwork and preparing your product for shipment.
  • Intellectual Property Rights and International Business Culture – Enhance your understanding of how to protect your product and put your best foot forward.

The videos are short, so you can watch an entire series within a 5-10 minute block of time. When you are ready to learn more, explore export.gov.  You will find export how-to guides and webinars, international market intelligence and trade data, access to trade events, and services our trade staff can provide.

Watch the first video. Let us help you get started today.

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AIMing for a Stronger Economic Partnership between the United States and the UAE

April 27, 2017

Micah Escobedo is a Communication Specialist at SelectUSA, a Program within the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration.

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

Earlier this month, SelectUSA and the U.S. Commercial Service hosted the inaugural SelectUSA Investment Pavilion at one of the largest investment events in the world – the Annual Investment Mission (AIM) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

AIM is an increasingly important investment platform in one of the most rapidly developing regions on the planet. Hosted by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum – the Vice President of the UAE and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai – AIM attracts investors from around the Persian Gulf.

On April 2-4, the UAE-based SelectUSA team was joined by economic developers from the states of Missouri and Virginia, and the cities of Columbus, Ohio, Los Angeles, St. Louis, and Kansas City, Mo..

The days went by quickly in Hall 5 of the Dubai World Trade Centre. Hundreds of business investors stopped by the pavilion to see what the United States has to offer. In fact, the SelectUSA in the UAE secured more than 30 meetings between U.S. economic developers and international investors (and there are already several strong leads for follow up). Additionally, U.S. Consul General Paul Malik hosted a networking reception at his residence for the U.S. delegates and nearly 20 investors from across the Gulf region.

Whether the SelectUSA team is talking with Emirati business executives or representatives from an SME from another part of the world, promoting the United States as the place to grow a business isn’t difficult. The United States is widely known as the world’s most attractive consumer market, offering unmatched diversity, a thriving culture of innovation, and one of the most productive and skilled workforces. With a GDP of more than $18 trillion, the United States is the largest single market in the world, and we are consistently ranked as the world’s top business investment destination.

FDI is a key pillar in the U.S.-UAE economic relationship. Between 2012 and 2014, U.S. FDI in the UAE skyrocketed by more than 76 percent to $15 billion. At the same time, UAE FDI in the United States jumped nearly 34 percent to $27.6 billion. This mutually beneficial partnership creates jobs, spurs innovation, and leads to more diversified markets in both countries. In 2014 alone, almost 13,000 Americans were employed by majority-Emirati owned firms.

The United States welcomes investors from the UAE and around the world, and we are glad we could be a part of AIM in 2017.

Another event we are excited about is the SelectUSA Investment Summit, the premier FDI event in the country, which will bring the diversity of the United States together under one roof – enabling any business to find the people, the resources, and the market it needs to be successful. This year’s Summit is just a couple months away – June 18-20. For more information, please visit www.selectusasummit.us.

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Grow With Us: Top 5 Reasons to Attend the 2017 #SelectUSASummit

April 20, 2017

Elena Volkava is an Intern with SelectUSA, a Program within the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration. She is a Graduate Student Studying International Development at Georgetown University.

With a total foreign direct investment (FDI) stock of $3.1 trillion, the United States is the world’s top destination for business investment. In less than 60 days, the nation’s top FDI event comes back to the Washington, D.C., area, offering insight on the United States’ innovative business climate and featuring investment opportunities from every corner of the country.

The SelectUSA Investment Summit will be held on June 18-20. Have you registered yet?
The Summit brings the diversity of the United States together with serious business investors from around the globe. While there is no shortage of reasons to attend, here are just five:

1. Learn about the U.S. business and investment climate from senior government leaders.

As the nation’s premier FDI event, the Summit provides a platform to hear directly from policymakers at both the state and federal levels and engage with working level officials.

2. Meet face to face with hundreds of economic development organizations and thousands of potential investors in one place.

By bringing global business and the geographic diversity of the United States together in one place and offering ample booth space and individual meeting rooms, the Summit enables participants to complete weeks of work in a matter of a few days.

3. Connect efficiently: Online and on-site matchmaking make it easy to meet the right people and get the most out of your visit.

Through online matchmaking, longer exhibition hall hours, a meeting room booking system, and a robust collateral events calendar, Summit participants have numerous opportunities to connect and engage.

4. Learn about resources and tools to invest in the United States.

In the U.S. Government Pavilion, participants can directly engage with representatives from SelectUSA and other agencies and learn about federal programs and services – from official economic and demographic statistics to visa and customs procedures, workforce development, supply chain, and research and development programs.

5. Gain new perspectives from top-level executives and industry leaders.

Attracting global visionaries and local experts willing to share their paths to success, participants gain direct insight on how to move forward with a smart investment in the United States.

The Summit is more than a networking opportunity: It’s the must-attend FDI event of the year. We invite you to Grow With US this June.

For more information and to register, please visit the http://www.selectusasummit.us. Join the conversation on Twitter with

#SelectUSASummit and #GrowWithUS17.
If you aren’t able to attend the SelectUSA Investment Summit, we are standing by to assist all year. Please visit http://www.SelectUSA.gov or contact us to learn how we can help investors and U.S. economic development organizations with business investments in the United States.

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Wisconsin Economic Innovation Flows Through International Collaboration

March 31, 2017

Katy Sinnott is Vice President of International Business Development for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), the state’s lead economic development agency. Foreign direct investment (FDI) is a significant driver of Wisconsin’s economy, directly supporting 90,000 jobs across multiple industries. WEDC is dedicated to increasing FDI in Wisconsin by nourishing international connections and identifying new opportunities collaboration.

This post is part of SelectUSA’s EDO Spotlight series, highlighting the work of EDOs around the country recruiting foreign direct investment, how that work supports jobs and economic growth across the United States, and how SelectUSA partners with EDOs to support economic development.

Mindful of the boost that FDI provides to Wisconsin’s overall economic growth—more than 1,500 foreign-owned establishments have created nearly 15,000 new full-time jobs since 2003—WEDC is working to grow those numbers even further.

One major thrust of our strategy is strengthening ties for Wisconsin’s key industries to their counterparts overseas. When we work at connecting a whole industry, there is a multiplier effect compared to working company by company to build connections. This approach helps support economic growth and also promotes innovation in Wisconsin, as our companies get a chance to cross-pollinate ideas with their industry colleagues from other countries, sharing and comparing their different approaches to solving common problems.

Signing

At WEFTEC 2016, The Water Council and the German Water Partnership signed a memorandum of understanding paving the way for future Wisconsin-Germany collaboration.

Bringing Wisconsin to the World, and the World to Wisconsin

To see how these international industry connections can bear fruit, we need look no further than Wisconsin’s water technology sector, which has been actively cultivating these connections for several years under the leadership of The Water Council, a key strategic partner of WEDC.

Connections made on a global trade venture to Germany in 2015 led to the signing of a memorandum of understanding between The Water Council and the German Water Partnership a year later. The Water Council also has agreements with two water-related consortia in France and the Netherlands.

At the same time, the Water Council’s Business. Research. Entrepreneurship. In Wisconsin accelerator (BREW) for water technology companies in Milwaukee has also played a key role in attracting companies from all over the world. At the end of their year-long accelerator experience, many choose to stay at Milwaukee’s Global Water Center (where The BREW resides) permanently.

To strengthen another nascent connection, representatives of The Water Council visited Israel in November 2016 to explore opportunities for collaboration among Israeli water technology startups, Israeli universities and Wisconsin’s water technology cluster. The Water Council offered to provide a “soft landing” for Israeli companies wishing to enter the U.S. market, helping them make connections, get the lay of the land and even find office space in the Global Water Center if desired.

It’s not only the water technology sector that is focused on making international connections. Both the Mid-west Energy Research Consortium (M-WERC) and The Water Council are exploring opportunities in India in hopes that Wisconsin companies can play a part in India’s Smart Cities initiative, a $1.2 trillion plan to develop and redevelop 100 cities, with technology integrated into areas including energy, transportation, public safety and infrastructure. In the years to come, we expect many opportunities to arise in markets such as China and India, where population growth combined with economic growth means they are improving older infrastructure and adding new at a rapid pace to improve living conditions for their population, and we will be working to help Wisconsin companies connect to these opportunities. Already, FaB Wisconsin is making connections in India to see how Wisconsin food and beverage companies can help with the “cold chain” for distribution of products that must stay refrigerated, for example.

SelectUSA: A Valued Partner

SelectUSA has been a key partner in these efforts. Following the 2016 SelectUSA Investment Summit, WEDC partnered with SelectUSA to host a business roundtable and networking reception for companies in Mexico City—which included promising meetings with Mexican industry associations—with particular focus on food processing and manufacturing. In addition, WEDC and SelectUSA partnered to host a similar roundtable in India, with a focus on the manufacturing and pharmaceutical industries.

We are grateful to have benefited from SelectUSA’s connections in these markets, since it can be challenging to identify foreign companies with real projects they seek to deploy in the U.S.

WEDC is dedicated to continuing to nurture these connections between Wisconsin’s industry clusters and their counterparts abroad. We are grateful for the support SelectUSA has provided in these efforts, which are crucial to increasing FDI in Wisconsin and helping those industry clusters reach their full potential.

To stay connected to economic development news in Wisconsin, please visit InWisconsin.com and follow us on Twitter.

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A Middle Class Market of 350 Million People

January 10, 2017

Curt Cultice is a Senior Communications Specialist in ITA’s U.S. Commercial Service

Country Commercial Guides Put Africa into Focus

With so many global opportunities, what are some expert suggestions as to which markets U.S. companies should include in their initial research?  In a recent blog, Jack Leslie, Chairman of Weber Shandwick and the U.S. African Development Foundation as well as a member of the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa, offers some valuable insight:

“The integration of the African continent in the global economy is one of the most significant — and, to me, energizing — trends of our time. Companies looking for the next great business market to invest in or sell goods and services are flocking to Africa — and for good reason. Africa’s middle class has expanded to 350 million people. Between now and 2025, Africans are expected to spend an estimated $4 trillion — equal to the size of Japan’s economy today.”CCG

Expanded U.S. Commercial Service Footprint

As part of President Obama’s Doing Business in Africa initiative (DBIA), the U.S. Commercial Service recently expanded its footprint throughout sub-Saharan Africa. In addition to its offices in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and South Africa, the U.S. Commercial Service has increased its presence from four countries to eight by opening new offices in Angola, Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Tanzania. The U.S. Commercial Service also partners with the State Department in 23 U.S. embassies throughout Africa which also provide export promotion services.

For many current and potential U.S. exporters and investors, the growing opportunities in Africa make the new Country Commercial Guides (CCGs) even timelier. Why? Because now there’s even more Africa market research available through updated and expanded CCG global coverage. In 2016, the Africa portfolio has been upped to 32 countries, with the addition of new CCGs from the Sub-Saharan Africa countries of Chad, Sao Tome and Principe, Uganda, and Zimbabwe—bringing the total CCG coverage to more than 140 countries worldwide.

Each CCG features “boots-on-the-ground” market intelligence compiled by U.S. commercial and economic officers based at U.S. embassies and consulates abroad. The CCGs include market-by-market economic overviews, selling techniques, investment climate considerations, trade financing options, and business travel advice and resources.

In addition, the CCG portfolio also includes a World Bank Group Commercial Guide that provides insights into how World Bank-funded projects work, and how American firms, from prime contractors to subcontractors and suppliers, can identify and access opportunities, including those in Africa.

A Growing Regional Business Environment

According to the International Monetary Fund, Africa has three of the world’s top-ten growing economies in terms of projected percentage real GDP growth for 2016: Côte d’Ivoire is the 3rd fastest growing economy at 8.0%, Tanzania is 6th at 7.2%, and Senegal is 9th at 6.6%. The World Bank’s Doing Business Report recently ranked Sub-Saharan African economies among the world’s top improvers of business climate.

Along with citing Africa’s sustainable growth, rising incomes, and economic diversity, Leslie points to another major trend of interest: while Africa’s GDP and labor force are today highly dependent on agriculture, the manufacturing sector is also growing and is expected to double from $500 billion in economic output today to $930 billion by 2025.

“Africa has the advantage of a young population and will soon have the world’s fastest rate of urbanization,” Leslie says. “Africa’s young workers are highly entrepreneurial and increasingly skilled and educated. Within two decades, Africa’s workforce will be larger than either that of China or India.”

Need further incentive to explore the African market? Read on to what Leslie has to say:

“In my capacity as Chairman of the U.S. African Development Foundation, I have seen first-hand the power of African entrepreneurship, and the eagerness of the continent’s young workforce to partner with investors from the U.S. and around the world. Africa is the continent of the future. I would encourage U.S. companies to update their global business strategies today to ensure they are positioned to take advantage of Africa’s rising.”

Is your company ready to get started? Do your research now by visiting the U.S. Country Commercial Guides at www.export.gov. On the site, you can also find out more about U.S. Commercial Service export assistance through our global network of 108 U.S. Commercial Service offices across the United States and in U.S. embassies and consulates in more than 75 countries, including our offices in Africa.

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Get Ready for Hannover Messe 2017!

January 9, 2017

Jana Dorband is Senior Investment Specialist at the U.S. Embassy Berlin

Hannover Messe – the world’s leading industrial technology trade show – will take place on April 24 – 28 2017. SelectUSA will again lead a robust delegation to the event, and host the U.S. Investment Pavilion in Hall 3. 

Hannover Messe 2017 – the world’s leading trade fair for industrial technology – is just around the corner.  Once again, the United States Investment Pavilion will provide a platform for U.S. economic development organizations to showcase their regions to thousands of potential investors. More information, including pricing and registration information, can be found on our flyer.

The official lead theme in 2017 will be “Integrated Industry – Creating Value”, drawing attention to the long-term impact of the fourth industrial revolution on issues beyond mere production technologies.  Key questions on the agenda will include:

  • What are the long-term benefits we gain from digitalization?
  • How will companies adapt to the new technologies?
  • What are the implications for the workforce, for training and for education?
  • What partnerships do we need to forge – across industry sectors, between businesses and government and between countries – to further advance technological change?

Last April, President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel joined the stage to officially open Hannover Messe 2016.  Many of us sat in the audience that night and witnessed what was truly a historic moment.  For the first time in the fair’s 69-year history, the United States served as the official Partner Country.  President Obama was the first sitting U.S. president to attend the show.

The U.S. delegation was the largest it has ever been – over 350 U.S. companies and research institutions, including 200+ small and medium-sized companies, and 90+ U.S. economic development organizations (EDOs).  Partner Country status afforded U.S. pavilions maximum exposure to over 200,000 visitors, 6,000 EDOs and industrial exhibitors, and thousands of journalists and bloggers across 27 exhibit halls.

Our SelectUSA team coordinated the Investment Pavilion, which was the heart of the U.S. presence at the show and provided EDOs with a unique platform to meet and engage with international investors and our own team of investment specialists from around the world.

“This fair gave us a very good opportunity to develop FDI leads with companies we never would have identified with other methods.”Appalachian Partnership for Econ

At Hannover Messe 2016, we witnessed first-hand how the digital age has revolutionized manufacturing, turning traditional production sites into “smart factories.”  This year’s focus on creating value underlines once again that Hannover Messe is more than just a trade show.  It has convening power for decision makers around topics that will shape the future of our economies and our global competitiveness. As Secretary Penny Pritzker pointed out at the event’s 2016 Economic Forum: “[I]n a globalized economy, the separate pursuit of our visions is insufficient. Advanced manufacturing relies on highly integrated processes and supply chains that transcend international borders.” There is no better place to forge these alliances than Hannover Messe.  Whether you are a company or an EDO – if you want to participate in the new age of manufacturing, you can’t afford to miss this opportunity.

Show the world what you have to offer and join the 2017 U.S. delegation to Hannover!  Please contact the SelectUSA team or Ethan Carter with Hannover Fairs USA with any questions or for more information.   We look forward to working with you.