Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


Complying with Sanctions and Export Controls in Russia and Belarus

August 3, 2022

Agnes Pawelkowska is an International Trade Specialist at the International Trade Administration’s Office of Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia.

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

This blog is part of an ongoing series designed to provide U.S. exporters with information and resources on developments pertaining to U.S. sanctions and export controls in response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Regulations and market conditions can change with little notice. Companies are encouraged to reach out to the Points of Contact listed at the end of this article for latest information.

Page of paper with words Due Diligence and glasses.

As discussed in our previous blog, Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine and the subsequent Western sanctions and export controls imposed have forced U.S. exporters to rethink the way they perceive the Russian market and conduct business in the country. It has also prompted all of us at the International Trade Administration (ITA) to consider how best we can support U.S. exporters as they seek to ensure their businesses are in compliance with the relevant laws and regulations. As such, ITA’s Office of Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia has compiled and centralized a series of resources that may be of assistance to U.S. exporters. Please see the complete document on the ITA Russia web page for additional details and read on for a high-level overview of the resources that the document contains.

U.S. Government Information & Resources

  • While the United States government has imposed significant sanctions and export controls on Russia in response to its unlawful aggression against Ukraine, some U.S. companies can still do business in Russia.
  • In addition to sanctions and export controls on Russia, the U.S. government has also imposed stringent restrictions on Belarus, including new export controls, in response to its substantial enabling of Russia’s attack on Ukraine.
  • The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is the lead agency for implementing and enforcing sanctions. The Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) and its Export Administration Regulations (EAR) are the lead agents for implementing and enforcing export controls.

Export Controls

  • Humanitarian aid, agricultural commodities, medicine, medical devices, and telecommunication devices which support the free flow of information are generally exempt from export controls.
  • Apart from the above, to see if your transaction is affected, check out end users on the Consolidated Screening List (CSL) on ITA’s website. A search tool and a downloadable list are available.
  • Make sure your product is properly classified and does not require a BIS license due to expanded export controls against Russia and Belarus. To find out more, call an export counselor at (202) 482-4811 (Washington D.C. outreach office), or at (949) 660-0144 (Western regional office), or e-mail


  • To see lists of sanctioned persons and sanctions programs, check out the OFAC website.
  • Check with your financial institution before contracting for payment from Russia. More than 80% of Russia’s financial sector is currently sanctioned by the United States.

General Recommendations for U.S. Exporters Considering Russia or Belarus

  • Sign up for automatic e-mail notifications from OFAC.
  • Check the Federal Register for BIS, OFAC, and other USG actions and set up an account that will allow you to receive automatic e-mail notification of U.S. government actions regarding Russia.

ITA Points of Contact


Turn Export Opportunities into Sales: New Online Trade Finance Guide Makes it Easier than Ever

July 27, 2022

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

Yuki Fujiyama is a trade finance specialist in the Office of Finance and Insurance Industries and the author of the Trade Finance Guide: A Quick Reference for U.S. Exporters.

Many U.S. small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) struggle to find ways to expand their sales, unaware of the economic potential that lies in diverse global markets. And, with 95% of the world’s consumers residing outside of the United States, it can be daunting to consider how to reach them and navigate global trade.

Front cover image of ITA's Trade Finance Guide, A Quick Reference for U.S. Exporters

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA) is dedicated to helping U.S. businesses reach success through exports. One of the ways we do this is through ITA’s free online resource, our Trade Finance Guide: A Quick Reference for U.S. Exporters.

This concise, easy-to-understand and use tool was first published in 2007 and specifically developed as a how-to guide for U.S. SMEs seeking to enter and expand their businesses in global markets, while also overcoming common challenges to leverage export opportunities into actual sales. Whether you’ve been in business for years or are just starting out in the export market, we have the information and resources you need to make well-informed decisions and get your business on the map.

Let me walk you through our guide.

What is the Trade Finance Guide?

The Trade Finance Guide covers the most commonly used trade finance techniques and U.S. government export finance programs written in plain, easy-to-understand language. The Guide is:

  • A “60-minute” self-learning tool for America’s new-to-export SMEs that wish to learn about their financing options and how to ensure getting paid from export sales.
  • A user-friendly counseling tool for international credit, banking, and trade finance professionals and export counselors for client assistance and business development.
  • A flexible educational tool for academic institutions teaching international business subjects.

Our guide uses a no-nonsense approach to make it easier for new-to-export SMEs to learn the basics of trade finance and to understand how to mitigate the risk of non-payment while winning new cross-border sales opportunities and assuring the delivery of goods and services to importers.

What’s New 2022?

The Guide is now an online-based publication! ITA will continuously update the new online edition of the Guide, including making available a downloadable version with revisions annually.

The modernizedGuide has been refined to provide better clarity, and adds two new chapters targeting SMEs in their recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and to explore financial innovation through digitalization:

  • Chapter 1:   Access to Capital for Startups in Global Markets
  • Chapter 16: Emerging Trends: The Digitalization of Trade Finance

Finally, the Trade Finance Guide website will post short resource videos in the following chapters:

We hope that you’ll use this information to think globally when planning business strategy. Remember that ITA has dedicated staff to assist you, regardless of what step in the process you’re in.

The 2022 online edition of the Trade Finance Guide was developed in collaboration with the following private-sector organizations and U.S. government export finance agencies.

Private Sector Organizations:

  • BAFT:  Bankers Association for Finance and Trade
  • FCIB:  Finance, Credit, and International Business Association
  • ICTF:  Association of International Credit & Trade Finance Professionals
  • IFA:  International Factoring Association
  • ITFA:  International Trade and Forfaiting Association – Americas Regional Chapter
  • NASBITE:  NASBITE International
  • Thunderbird: Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University

U.S. Government Export Finance Agencies:

For more information about the Trade Finance Guide, contact Yuki Fujiyama, the author and project manager of the Guide, in ITA’s Office of Finance and Insurance Industries via email at .


Exporting across the Globe: Spotlight on the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

July 18, 2022

Janelle Santerre Weyek is a senior commercial officer in the Foreign Commercial Service at the International Trade Administration.

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

Plants grow from soil with a light bulb at the right end, with an upward trending graph line above the plants and lightbulb.

You have probably heard of the World Bank and the IMF (also known as the International Monetary Fund). You also may have heard of some others, e.g., the Inter-American Development Bank, the African Development Bank, or the Asian Development Bank. These institutions are also known as multilateral development banks (MDBs). Although you may not have heard of is the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), now is a great time to learn.

Put simply, MDBs provide financial and technical support to developing countries seeking to strengthen their economic management and reduce poverty. Across the globe every year, these banks lend billions of dollars to countries seeking to improve their economies and the lives of their citizens. They also offer numerous business opportunities for U.S. companies to expand their international footprint while simultaneously supporting global economic development.

For the past 3 years, I have served as the International Trade Administration’s liaison to the EBRD in London. Established in 1991, the EBRD has invested over 160 billion euros in more than 6,000 projects. In particular, the EBRD is a leader in climate finance and has launched extensive programming that dovetails with the Biden-Harris Administration’s Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment and clean technology priorities, making EBRD an ideal partner for ITA in collaborating on targeted outreach to U.S. industry.

During my time at the EBRD, I deepened the relationship between ITA and the EBRD to better support U.S. business interests and expand opportunities for U.S. companies interested in competing for tenders issued by the EBRD. This May, my EBRD colleagues and I finalized an unprecedented memorandum of understanding through the ITA Strategic Partnership Program. This memorandum will help us to better support U.S. businesses interested in working with the EBRD in specific priority sectors, namely the digital economy, the green economy and clean tech.

This first-of-its-kind memorandum of understanding mean for ITA and U.S companies advances three key objectives:

  1. The memorandum will facilitate engagement between EBRD borrowers and U.S. industry decision-makers. That is, it will facilitate engagements that will put U.S. businesses in the room with clients of the EBRD, this will help to inform U.S. industry of the bank’s goals and objectives, as well as opportunities to get involved.
  2. The memorandum can provide immense opportunities for U.S. small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs). This is because the memorandum focuses specifically on increasing engagement on the EBRD’s Green Cities Program, which is a strong match for U.S. industry and U.S. small, medium-sized, women-owned, and minority-owned businesses, as the program has municipal-level opportunities of the appropriate size and scale for diverse enterprises looking for new business.
  3. Enhanced public engagement and counseling with U.S. businesses that target projects with international development financing. As a result of this memorandum, ITA is organizing a series of best practices roundtables and webinars that will involve ITA and EBRD clients, EBRD decision-makers and program leads that will take place over the next several months and throughout the fall of 2022.

While we’re just getting started on this partnership, I am very excited about the increased programming and support to boost U.S. businesses access and exposure to opportunities through this new partnership between ITA and the EBRD.

Please visit to learn more about ITA’s work with multilateral development banks or check out ITA’s Guide to Doing Business with the Multilateral Development Banks.


Russia-Ukraine War: Perspectives U.S. Exporters Need to Know

June 22, 2022

Evan Johnson and Agnes Pawelkowska are international trade specialists at the International Trade Administration’s Office of Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia.

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

Russia’s latest unprovoked attack on Ukraine, and the Western sanctions that have followed, have had profound impacts on the global economy and forced businesses operating in Russia to re-think their way forward. Although numerous U.S. companies have successfully operated in Russia for many years, many are deciding to either withdraw from the market or suspend their operations in Russia, regardless of the significant economic losses incurred.

In a series of market intelligence pieces, we’ll try to address some of the pressing questions, offer insights, and share updates on how the International Trade Administration and its U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service are working to support U.S. exporters as they navigate these complex considerations.

What is the current economic situation and is it sustainable to do business in Russia since its invasion of Ukraine?

The United States first levied sanctions after Russia first invaded Ukraine in 2014, seizing Crimea and supporting separatists in Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk and Donetsk regions.  During the 2014-2021 period, most businesses outside of a few targeted sectors were able to adjust over time. However, the new international sanctions adopted beginning in February 2022 have been much more swift, severe, and comprehensive, forcing companies to reconsider their business operations in the Russian market. Payment transactions, letters-of-credit, insurance, foreign exchange operations, profit repatriation, new investment, international travel and staffing, and logistics all have become much more complicated. In light of these developments, U.S. companies with regional headquarters in Moscow have had to consider alternative arrangements to sustain their presence in the broader Eurasia region. Although some companies have chosen to stay in Russia while temporarily suspending operations, others have found that the already challenging business environment in Russia has become increasingly unstable and unpredictable virtually overnight. Complicating matters further, Russia has threatened Western companies with retaliatory measures, including proposals to seize the assets of Western companies that decide to leave Russia.

Close up of Central Asia on a colorful world map.

What are U.S. companies doing?

As it becomes increasingly difficult to conduct and plan business in Russia, there are a number of relocation alternatives and alternative markets to consider for companies who would like to sustain their presence in the Eurasia region. Some Russian citizens and businesses have already started to move to Central Asia and the Caucasus. Multilateral development banking institutions have shown renewed interest in supporting regional renewable energy, infrastructure, and agricultural projects.

U.S. companies rethinking investment positions in Russia may want to consider industries ripe for growth in Central Asia. Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are currently courting U.S. companies in the extractive industries, and firms able to supply the engineering, mining, oil and gas, construction, and infrastructure sectors have good opportunities to expand their presence in the region. These nations not only possess an abundance of natural resources, but both countries are touting their political and economic reforms as selling points that could appeal to U.S. companies looking to shore up footholds in a region made difficult by the sanctions and export controls imposed against Russia.

Opportunities are also ripe for U.S. exporters in agriculture/agribusiness, environmental technology and healthcare sectors.

How is the U.S. government able to help?

Whether U.S. companies are looking to understand the complexities of sanctions and export controls or considering reorienting their regional sales plans or operational footprints, the U.S. government has resources to assist companies conduct due diligence and to consult directly with the agencies responsible for developing and implementing these actions.

For example, the Treasury Department’s Office of Financial Asset Control (OFAC) offers consultations on specific sanctions questions. Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) export counselors can also consult on specific questions regarding a business’ products and the export control lists that BIS administers. Furthermore, the Commerce Department’s Consolidated Screening List search tool is the most comprehensive due diligence tool for checking entities and individuals against the U.S. government’s sanctions and export control lists.

An upcoming segment will take a look at the current business environment in Ukraine. The U.S. government continues to coordinate humanitarian and other relief to Ukraine. To learn more or get involved, visit our Ukraine: Support and Engagement page.


Indo-Pacific in the News: Tremendous Opportunity Awaits Exporters

June 17, 2022

Pamela Phan is ITA’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asia

Families who immigrate to America sometimes do so under the most dire of circumstances. I would consider my family’s journey to achieve the American Dream to fall into that category. More than 40 years ago, my family witnessed the ravages of war and had to make the difficult decision to leave behind a country that was in tatters, forced to rebuild from the ground up. I was very young – a mere child refugee fleeing Vietnam – when this happened, but my family’s heart-wrenching journey has inspired my career in international relations, and ultimately, to public service to help countries like Vietnam set sights on a brighter future.

Last week, I had the opportunity to return to Vietnam – this time, as head of a U.S. government-led trade mission aimed at building bridges between the U.S. and Vietnamese governments and businesses in the area of clean energy. Like many other countries in the Indo-Pacific region, Vietnam is looking ahead and embracing bold new initiatives to ready itself for the global economy of the future. Nowhere is this more apparent than in its plans for a clean energy transition and for smart, sustainable development.

ITA Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asia Pamela Phan sits at a conference tables alongside participants of the U.S. Clean EDGE Asia Trade Mission. On the table is a placard with her name, and she is speaking with members of the People's Committee of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Pamela Phan, ITA’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asia, speaks with the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, about collaboration opportunities with the U.S. public and private sector.

Southeast Asia’s energy challenges and ITA’s mission to help

Within the Indo-Pacific region, Southeast Asia is home to some of the fastest growth in the world, which drives increasing energy demands from active customers, as well as from 65 million people who are waiting for access to electricity. Over the next five years, electricity demand is expected to grow more than five percent annually. By 2040, the International Energy Agency estimates more than $2.7 trillion will be required for cumulative energy investment in Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states.

These are the drivers that led ITA to organize a trade mission under the banner of Clean EDGE Asia, a whole-of-government effort to advance U.S. clean energy interests in the Indo-Pacific region. Through Clean EDGE Asia, the U.S. government seeks to mobilize private sector investment in clean energy, accelerate regional decarbonization efforts, and support energy security and access through the adoption of clean energy solutions. This trade mission focused on three countries: Vietnam, one of Asia’s fastest growing energy markets; Indonesia, where plans are underway for the green, smart, and sustainable new capital city of Nusantara; and the Philippines, where an increasing population (currently 110 million), an infrastructure boom, and some of the highest electricity costs in Southeast Asia have all converged to present formidable energy challenges.

ITA brings U.S. companies to the table

Because of climate change, all three countries struggle with rising sea levels, soil salinization, and extreme weather, which profoundly affect their communities. To build the infrastructure necessary to maintain growth and assist with energy transition, while accounting for the costs of climate change mitigation and adaptation, all three countries urgently need additional support and investment. Our trade mission was there at the right time, in all the right places, to offer cutting-edge U.S. solutions from 11 industry-leading organizations in the sectors of renewable energy and fuels, energy storage, hydrogen, smart grid, nuclear energy, and liquefied natural gas.

The companies that joined us on this trade mission met with foreign buyers, distributors, investors, industry organizations, and government leaders in the four booming cities of Jakarta, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Manila. Industry and market specialists from ITA and our U.S. Foreign and Commercial Service arranged for customized business-to-business matchmaking meetings, individualized country briefings, market data presentations, and important dialogues with influential foreign government and policy leaders.

Skyline of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, was the third city visited on the Clean EDGE Asia Business Development Mission.

More trade missions to come

This trade mission was the U.S. Government’s first to the region since last month’s launch of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF). IPEF is designed to tackle 21st century economic challenges that include managing energy transition and investing in quality, modern infrastructure. Through IPEF, the United States is partnering with 13 economies that represent around 40 percent of world GDP, span two oceans from India to Fiji, and include advanced democracies, developing nations, and a diversity of history, culture, and opportunity — all with the shared goals of creating good-paying jobs, competing in the global economy, and being good stewards to our environment.

If you have a business invested or interested in trade with the Indo-Pacific region, now is an exciting and important time to follow the progress we are making through IPEF and our other regional initiatives. In September, we’ll be returning to the region for a Healthcare Sector Business Development Mission to Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia. This will be followed one month later by our Advanced Manufacturing Trade Mission to Indonesia and Singapore, with an optional stop in Japan. Finally, please mark your calendars for March 2023 for Trade Winds ASEAN in Bangkok, Thailand, which is the U.S. government’s largest trade mission and business development forum. Businesses of all shapes and sizes in the United States and Asia will convene at Trade Winds ASEAN to explore new markets, build international networks, and achieve success while supporting businesses, communities, and nations.

There is much to look forward to in the months ahead, for communities and businesses on both sides the Pacific. We hope that your company’s journey with us will begin now.


Trade Mission 101: Why Your Business Should Go

May 12, 2022

Gemal Brangman is the Director of the International Trade Administration’s Trade Events Task Force

In a given year, the U.S. government leads or facilitates around 14 trade missions throughout the world—bringing U.S. businesses (quite literally) to the table with foreign governments and companies potentially interested in their products and solutions. Trade isn’t simply about exports and imports: transactions can’t happen without trust, and trade missions are an important conduit to build and facilitate relationships between individuals. But what exactly does a trade mission entail, who is involved, and where do they happen? The short answer: It varies, so let us break it down for you.

An image of business people engaged in a conversation
Participants of a trade mission consult with ITA’s commercial diplomats to gain insights and identify market opportunities.

Put simply, a trade mission is an opportunity for a company to join a group of other companies for a series of tailored on-the-ground meetings in foreign markets with prospective clients, buyers, distributors, foreign officials, and other significant organizations, all with the support of the U.S. Government. Through the International Trade Administration’s (ITA)’s Industry and Analysis business unit and the U.S. Commercial Service, we research markets and industries around the world to inform U.S. businesses of all sizes of potential export opportunities. Based on this information, we then begin the large logistical undertaking of planning out opportunities for U.S. companies to travel alongside our experts so companies can see with their own eyes what our market intelligence data reveals and so that actors in foreign markets can see what U.S. companies have to offer.

Relationships are the backbone of trade, and trade missions are among the best ways to help build them. Just last month, we concluded the second in-person trade mission that ITA has led since the onset of the pandemic. The Cybersecurity Trade Mission to South America brought 10 U.S. companies to Argentina, Chile, Peru and Uruguay to introduce them to key players in rapidly expanding cybersecurity markets in those countries. Through the work of U.S. Commercial Service staff at U.S. embassies in the four countries, over 240 business-to-business matchmaking meetings took place, and now several companies are pursuing new trade leads thanks to their participation in the mission.

For example, ISG of Raleigh, North Carolina, is a minority-owned cyber solutions services provider that participated in the mission. On the value of the experience, ISG Company President and CEO Tony Marshall said, “Our meetings were all pre-arranged and we only met with companies that understand what we did, and know what we have to offer. We even found connections with some of the other businesses that were traveling with us.”

The Cybersecurity Trade Mission to South America was not the first trade mission that ITA led, nor will it be the last. Over the next two months, we will also lead our first Minority-Business Focused Trade Mission, a second trade mission to South America led by Deputy Secretary Don Graves, and the CleanEDGE Trade Mission to Southeast Asia. But you don’t have to travel internationally to start your export journey. Our U.S. Commercial Service has more than 100 offices across the 50 states and locations in more than 75 international markets to help you get started or expand into new territory.

While these missions are designed for U.S. companies exploring global markets, there are also opportunities for international companies looking to invest and create jobs in the United States through the SelectUSA Investment Summit, to be held June 26-29 just outside of Washington, DC at the National Harbor in Maryland. The Investment Summit is the highest-profile event in the United States dedicated to promoting foreign direct investment into the United States.

As such, whether you’re a U.S. company looking to expand or an international company seeking U.S. suppliers for your supply chain, the U.S. Commercial Service at the International Trade Administration is ready to help. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to your nearest U.S. Commercial Service office if you’d like to learn more!


World Intellectual Property Day: Spotlight on Young Entrepreneurs

April 26, 2022

Michelle Sara King is ITA’s Intellectual Property Team Lead and Jessica Pomper is an International Trade Specialist.

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

On April 26, inventors, creators, innovators, entrepreneurs, and intellectual property (IP) experts alike come together to celebrate World Intellectual Property Day. Each year, the World Intellectual Property Organization pursues a unique theme to celebrate and increase education, awareness and outreach about intellectual property. This year’s theme is “IP and Youth: Innovating for a Better Future,” focusing on our youngest inventors, entrepreneurs and innovators.

Graphic that states "IP and Youth: Innovating for a Better Future: World Intellectual Property Day: April 26." The graphic includes a collage featuring a young man and woman surrounded by various items to represent objects or environments, such as wind turbines, water droplets, flowers, food, laptop, bicycle, small robot, house, and birds. Image courtesy of the World Intellectual Property Organization.

As youth utilize their curiosity to solve problems around them, they should also learn about intellectual property to protect their work. Intellectual property is an ever-changing field and here at ITA, our Office of Standards and Intellectual Property manages the STOPfakes program which provides resources for entrepreneurs of all ages. The STOPfakes team hears from inventors from all walks of life about what to do next with their invention. Our response is similar for adults and kids alike: it depends on what you want to do with your invention!

For example, if you want to bring your product to market, it’s time to think about intellectual property (IP) protection in every country the product may be shared or sold in. IP protection is integral to the success of an inventor because it helps protect the work and attributes it back to its creator. Securing IP rights can help protect inventions, just as it can also protect literary and artistic works, ideas, designs, sound recordings, software, symbols, names, and images. IP rights often differ by market and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) website offers more information about both the patent and trademark process including how to secure patent and trademark protection.

When IP is protected by law in the United States, with a patent, copyright, or trademark, creators can earn recognition and perhaps even financially benefit from using their invention/creation. Additionally, protecting IP by law means that it cannot be used to benefit unauthorized users.

The STOPfakes website and Twitter account are great places for all generations of inventors to start their research into IP. STOPfakes helps users find the resources they may need from ITA and other U.S. Government agencies. Additionally, you can explore copyright protection in the United States by visiting U.S. Copyright Office’s website.

When in doubt, we encourage innovators to come to STOPfakes, where we’re happy to point innovators of all ages in the right direction! Happy World Intellectual Property Day!


Advanced Manufacturing: What It Is and Why It’s Worth Investing In

April 5, 2022

By International Trade Specialists Diana Hajali, Office of Standards & Intellectual Property, and Jaron Bass and Amanda Lawrence, Office of Transportation and Machinery

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

When you think of manufacturing, you may think of city block-sized warehouses or labor-intensive assembly lines. In reality, many of today’s factory floors in the U.S. are state of the art, high-tech spaces where workers employ all sorts of advanced technologies to build parts and products quickly and efficiently. In fact, our manufacturing industry is undergoing a digital revolution, fueled by advanced manufacturing systems.

What is Advanced Manufacturing?

Image of a worker’s hands using augmented reality on a control panel to monitor industrial robot arms welding.

Advanced manufacturing integrates machinery with digital and cloud-based technologies like artificial intelligence,  the internet of things, and augmented reality that allow workers to quickly adapt production to changing supply needs. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the benefits of advanced manufacturing systems became exponentially more apparent, enabling manufacturers to change their processes to make new products and fill in supply chain gaps. For example: companies that normally produced alcohol began making hand sanitizer; car manufacturers started producing medical respirators; and some non-medical manufacturers were even able to design and create 3D-printed face masks.

Advanced manufacturing systems – also referred to as “Smart Manufacturing” – are essential in keeping manufacturing on the cutting edge. They not only support supply chain transparency and resiliency, but they also allow manufacturers to create products with a greener climate footprint. For instance, sensors can now collect and analyze all sorts of data to help producers use less energy and create less waste.

Helping U.S. Manufacturers Go Global

Innovation is key to the future of U.S. manufacturing and requires investing in the workforce and creating strategies to help American producers compete at home and abroad.  The International Trade Administration (ITA) has partnered with the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) to do just that.

Through funding and support from ITA’s Market Development Cooperator Program (MCDP), NEMA researched four markets that that have untapped potential for U.S. exporters: Mexico, India, Turkey, and Indonesia. Together, our organizations are finding ways to connect U.S. producers of advanced manufacturing systems with vetted potential partners in these countries that will employ these newer, more efficient technologies. In February, NEMA hosted an Advanced Manufacturing Summit, where ITA experts in these four markets gave presentations to U.S. producers looking to expand to new markets or break into global operations.

The Summit also highlighted the importance of industry standards to a fair and competitive trading system. NEMA and ITA are working together to increase the use of advanced manufacturing standards to ensure that equipment and machinery work together and that data transfers safely and securely across devices, protecting both workers and machinery. To help guide this process, NEMA is developing a standards roadmap that will identify gaps in current standards and prioritize areas for standards adoption. Once finished, NEMA and ITA will promote this roadmap to trading partners and encourage them to adopt the same standards that are used in America. To learn more about how standards level the playing field for U.S. exporters, click here.

Coming This Fall: Advanced Manufacturing Trade Mission

ITA and NEMA are also organizing a multi-country business development mission to key markets in Asia, which includes Indonesia, Singapore and Japan, on October 17 – 21, 2022.  U.S. firms will be able to join U.S. government officials to meet directly with advanced manufacturing business partners in this region to explore potential opportunities for exporting products and services. Stops include cities like Jakarta, where in-person events will introduce U.S. firms to Indonesia’s advanced manufacturing initiatives, and Batam, where firms will tour the Batam Industrial Estate, an important industrial park. The next stop in Singapore will feature the Industrial Transformation Asia-Pacific, one of the largest manufacturing trade shows in Asia. An optional stop in Japan will include business matchmaking events—including those through ITA’s Gold Key Service, which provides highly customized meetings with prospective buyers. To learn more about the mission, including application instructions for interested companies, click here.


A New Collaboration to Empower Women in Trade

March 14, 2022

Julie Anne Hennessy directs our U.S. Commercial Service office in Los Angeles (West) and Joan Morgan is a Senior International Trade Specialist for the Commercial Service’s U.S. Field.

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

The United States is undergoing a historic economic recovery, and one that is transformative and should continue to drive the economy. Women and women-owned businesses in the United States are an enormous economic contributor. In fact, according to the Census Bureau, these firms in 2018 alone reported nearly $1.8 trillion in sales, shipments, receipts, or revenue and employed over 10.1 million workers with an annual payroll of $388.1 billion. For reasons like this, ITA has partnered with WEConnect International to help women entrepreneurs get into the business of exporting and tapping into markets that are ripe for new products and services.

WEConnect International is a global non-profit that identifies, educates, registers, and certifies women’s business enterprises that are at least 51 percent owned, managed, and controlled by one or more women, and then connects them with large member buyers. The WEConnect International WECommunity supports and promotes women-owned businesses based in over 130 countries, including local support and certification in almost 50 countries across the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. The organization also helps to develop the capacity of large buyers to source more products and services from underutilized suppliers, including women-owned businesses globally.

Working together, ITA and WEConnect International are helping create greater opportunities for women-owned businesses by collaborating on international trade promotion activities in support of women’s economic empowerment; cooperating and coordinating on trade and business investment promotion activities; providing greater awareness of ITA’s events, resources and initiatives; and supporting the development of strong and quality business connections among women-owned and women-led U.S. companies.

For example, InSync Training, a WEConnect International certified woman-owned business headquartered in Portsmouth, NH, was recently connected with ITA’s U.S. Commercial Service New Hampshire office to explore new exporting opportunities. InSync has a 20-year history of providing virtual training facilitation and production services and has begun expanding into Europe and Asia. As part of its strategy to expand globally, InSync joined WeConnect International’s virtual conferences and matchmaking sessions. Through this newly established partnership, women-owned businesses like InSync will now be more aware of the resources of ITA’s U.S. Commercial Service to further support their export growth.

Trade shows, conferences, trade missions, and matchmaking are also ITA’s bread and butter, so naturally, this collaboration between WEConnect International and ITA makes sense to leverage the best of what each of our organizations has to offer women in business.

While this is just one example among many, partnerships like this expand the businesses that ITA is able to support, particularly as we seek to increase our engagement with women-owned and other historically underserved businesses. Learn more and get involved about ITA’s Women’s Global Trade Empowerment program, a resource for women entrepreneurs who wish to grow their business into new markets.


Cups and Conversations: How a Coffee Chat Built a Global Networking Powerhouse for Women in Trade

March 7, 2022

Camille Richardson is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Middle East and Africa

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How did a chat over coffee between a Kenyan businesswoman and women business owners in the United States become an initiative helping hundreds of women-owned U.S. companies export abroad?

Headshot of Camille Richardson, ITA's Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Middle East and Africa.
Camille Richardson, Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Middle East and Africa

Last year, my team and I met with a Kenyan businesswoman who built a thriving cosmetics business using products imported from the United States. Listening to her speak, I realized that she had much to share with other women business owners, and knew that real stories, told by an entrepreneur herself, could be valuable to other women navigating similar challenges. As such, I worked with my team to invite several businesswomen across the United States to listen in on the conversation, and it was a great success. Little did we know, this informal virtual “coffee chat” would become the model that launched Women Empowered Leave Legacies through Trade and Investment, or WELLTI, for short. Since then, the WELLTI program has hosted coffee chats across nine countries in the Middle East and North Africa. Each event boasts over a hundred participants and the attendance of CEOs and executives.

One of the keys to business success is a strong network. WELLTI connects women from around the world with one another, inspiring U.S.-based women entrepreneurs to explore trade opportunities in the Middle East and Africa. Helping women grow resilient businesses is vitally important to creating equitable economic opportunity; globally, women are more likely to face disadvantages starting businesses and are less likely to be entrepreneurs or corporate leaders. Since companies that trade are more resilient, grow faster, and have better bottom lines, encouraging women to trade helps women succeed economically.

Today and tomorrow, Commerce will host our inaugural WELLTI Summit in partnership with OWIT, WeConnect International, and a host of bureaus within the Department.  This year’s Summit is particularly special as it is in conjunction with the Trade Winds 2022 Business Forum in Dubai, UAE and features ITA’s first woman Under Secretary, Marisa Lago, to help us kick off the festivities and celebrate International Women’s Day! Tune into the livestream and see how Commerce is putting resources to work for women and businesses in underserved communities. Programming includes hearing from the Commercial Law Development Program, the Business Council of International Understanding, and Women-In-Tech on topics ranging from commercial rights of a company to women’s role in the digital transformation, to the importance of technology in business.

Illustration of text that reads: "Women Empowered Leave Legacies Through Trade & Investment (WELLTI) @ Trade Winds Middle East and Africa, Dubai, UAE, March 2022. Learn more: #TradeWinds2022 #WELLTI [social media hashtags]. Background illustration is of the Dubai skyline.

We are confident that WELLTI will continue to serve our organization well as it expands its reach globally with WELLTI 2.0 spreading to new regions around the world and with a new focus: capacity building for businesswomen across the spectrum. Women business owners who participate in WELLTI programs are ready and eager to trade. ITA will deliver capacity building, facilitate access to networks and capital, and provide market intelligence to empower women to grow their businesses on a global scale. To learn about upcoming programs, visit