Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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International Buyer Program Select Recruits Buyers and Supports U.S. Exhibitors at the National RV Trade Show

December 28, 2016

ITA’s International Buyer Program SELECT once again supported the National RV Trade Show in Louisville, KY, Nov. 28 – Dec. 1, 2016. The Program helps promote the show to target markets in an effort to draw pre-screened foreign buyers to meet with U.S. exhibitors at the event.  The National RV Show is an industry- only event, organized by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), which features approximately 900 motorhomes and travel trailers by 50 manufacturers and over 200 supplier exhibits.  This year, the show drew over 7,600 attendees, including RV dealers, manufacturers and suppliers.  Through the IBP Select Program, ITA promoted the show internationally and recruited 73 international buyers to meet with U.S. exhibitors.

As an International Buyer Program (IBP) Select event, the National RV Trade Show also was a platform for promoting U.S. exports bringing international buyers from China (32), Korea (23), Italy (3), and the United Kingdom (6) for business-to-business matchmaking with U.S. firms exhibiting at the show.  Buyer delegations also came from Peru (6) and Colombia (3).  Delegates met with U.S. exhibitors and purchased RV models displayed on the show floor.

During the show, staff from ITA and the U.S. Export-Import (EXIM) Bank gave presentations on “Why Exporting Matters to the RV Industry” and “Creative Ways to Finance Your RV Exports.”  The seminar included presentations by Industry & Analysis’ Charlie Rast (Office of Consumer Goods) on RV industry top global markets, Jessica Son (Commercial Service – Seoul, Korea) on the RV market in Korea, Jessica Tan (Commercial Service – Beijing, China) on the RV market in China, Mark Cooper (Commercial Service – Indianapolis, IN) on export strategic planning, and Mark Klein (EXIM Bank) on export financing.

The U.S. RV industry  is currently experiencing record growth, as RV sales have been their strongest in nearly four decades.  According to RVIA, RV shipments, which include motorhomes and travel trailers, are expected to total 419,500 in 2016. This represents an increase of more than 12 percent over the previous year, and 438,100 in 2017.  U.S. companies are the largest manufacturers of RVs globally, producing more than twice as many RVs annually compared to the rest of the world combined.  The RV industry is a significant sector within the recreational transportation industry and was profiled in ITA’s 2016 Top Markets report. 

The International Trade Administration is now accepting applications for the International Buyer Program (IBP) and IBP SELECT service for trade events taking place between January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2018. Click here for details regarding the application, eligibility, participation requirements, and selection process. 

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Largest Annual U.S. Government Trade Mission Heads to Southeast Europe

December 21, 2016

Leslie Drake is the Director of the U.S. Commercial Service Team in West Virginia, and is Project Director for the Trade Winds-Southeast Europe Forum and Trade Mission.

After ten years of creating business success for hundreds of U.S. companies in promising markets around the world, I’m proud to announce that the Trade Winds forum and trade mission will head to Southeast Europe in October 2017.

Our Commercial Service team will lead U.S. companies from across business sectors to meet with prospective business partners, government decision-makers, regional press outlets, and European market experts. Trade Winds-Southeast Europe will be an excellent opportunity for companies to find insight and access to markets that are heavily investing in growth and are receptive to U.S. partners and products.

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Trade Winds will feature a business forum in Romania, with networking events with government leaders, plenary sessions with U.S. companies already finding success in the region, and one-to-one business counseling with market experts on the ground in Europe.

Optional mission stops in Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, and Serbia will connect U.S. companies to qualified, pre-screened potential partners that can help your business hit the ground running in new markets.

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1-on-1 counseling with Lain America market experts at Trade Winds.

We chose these markets because of their projected growth and their strategic location as potential footholds in a larger European export strategy. The region features strategic ports and bustling overland trade routes to established markets, and these individual markets are all heavily investing in infrastructure growth and market development.

Companies that look to Southeast Europe now will be in on what we see as a promising trend for global business.

Our Commercial Service teams in the United States and Europe are excited to welcome what we know will be a strong U.S. delegation for Trade Winds, and to see these U.S. companies succeed in what we know is a promising region. If your company or organization is ready to find new customers in Europe, please join us at Trade Winds-Southeast Europe.

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How Manufacturers Can Energize Their Trade Show Cycle in 2017

December 19, 2016

Pamela Plagens is a Senior International Trade Specialist at the International Trade Administration

Manufacturers are always looking for synergies within their operations: when two things work together to deliver a result that’s greater than their individual impact.

Now, allow us at ITA help your company realize the synergy of participating in two very important events in 2017 to grow your international sales: Discover Global Markets: Advanced Manufacturing and HANNOVER MESSE.

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Just like manufacturers look to maximize efficiencies in their operations, using both Discover Global Markets: Advanced Manufacturing and HANNOVER MESSE can provide synergies to your export business in 2017.

Here’s how you can parlay both events to take your export business to the next level:

Discover Global Markets: Advanced Manufacturing, Feb. 16 – 17, Scottsdale, Arizona

The Discover Global Markets series offers a way for U.S. companies to gain specialized market intelligence from around the world at an unbelievable value. You can meet one-on-one with U.S. commercial diplomats from over 20 countries to gain customized market intelligence for your firm. Why travel to 20 different international markets when the markets can come to you?

An executive at Pampered Perch, a Texas-based manufacturer of products for nail and hair solons, had this to say after attending a previous Discover Global Markets event:

“This conference was extraordinarily well done…I got all the contacts I will need to pursue export opportunities in Canada, Singapore, and France.  Thank you for your excellent, efficient and informative conference.”

Discover Global Markets: Advanced Manufacturing will also feature industry experts who will share export opportunities in Latin America, Asia, and Europe in engaging formats.

Now is the time to sign up! The cost is only $425 – a bargain considering the value you’ll bring back to your company.

Attending the Discover Global Markets event in sunny Scottsdale (in February, no less) is one of the most cost-effective ways to gain global market intelligence to your firm. Taking that market intelligence and finding willing buyers is the next step, which is where the HANNOVER MESSE fair comes in.

HANNOVER MESSE, April 24 – 28, Hannover, Germany

HANNOVER MESSE is the world’s largest industrial technology trade fair, featuring seven leading trade shows and an investment summit all in one. More than 200,000 attendees from more than 70 countries come to Hannover for the event – it’s a “who’s who” for both the manufacturing and technology industries where U.S. companies have had great success finding business partners.

As one example, Insequence, a Tennessee-based small business that makes software for the manufacturing and logistics industries, attended HANNOVER MESSE for the first time last year. They were looking for a way to promote their expansion into Europe, and as a result of attending HANNOVER MESSE the company was able to make sales in Europe and North America. Here’s what their marketing manager had to say after attending HANNOVER MESSE:

“We came into contact with potential end-user companies that we would have never met due to their geographical location. HANNOVER MESSE and the Commercial Service have provided us with substantial publicity, branding and public relations opportunity.”

HANNOVER MESSE is the place to put your market intelligence into action, it’s where you can show off your products, meet with prospective buyers, and move your new contacts towards that all-important purchasing decision. Booths in the U.S. pavilion at HANNOVER MESSE start at $7,200.

Finally, there’s a common thread that weaves itself between these two events that will delivery maximum value for your firm: the U.S. Commercial Service. The trade experts at the U.S. Commercial Service will support any and all of the attendees at Discover Global Markets: Advanced Manufacturing, as well as those U.S. companies who make the trip to HANNOVER MESSE. They will help you formulate your export strategy, identify the most promising international markets, help schedule meetings with buyers, and ensure you’re making the most of both events.

So as your 2017 calendar comes together with trade shows and events, I strongly encourage you to talk with the U.S. Commercial Service about how these two events can “work together” to save you thousands of dollars and take your export business to the next level.

 

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Three Reasons to Apply to the U.S. Maritime Technology Export Initiative

December 14, 2016

Derrick Small is a Communications Specialist for the Pacific South Network for the U.S. Commercial Service

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

Recently, the U.S. Commercial Service of the International Trade Administration (ITA) along with The Maritime Alliance (TMA) announced the first Maritime Technology Initiative to support U.S. Blue Tech companies with global expansion.

The press conference included TMA executives, Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-CA); Supervisor Greg Cox (First District) and Holly Vineyard, principal deputy assistant secretary for the U.S. Commercial Service.

“This is the first time that funding has been awarded to focus on maritime technologies, which we see as a growth opportunity for U.S exports given the increasing global demand of ocean technologies,” said Vineyard.

Three Reasons to Apply:

Financial Support to Increase Exports

The U.S. Maritime Technology Export Initiative aims to increase exports among U.S. maritime technology companies. The initiative received $297,000 in federal funding from ITA’s Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP).

“Our goal is to position the United States to get ahead of that curve and support marine tech companies who have developed innovative ocean technologies to meet that growing demand,” said Victoria Yue, oil and gas trade specialist with ITA’s Office of Energy and Environmental Industries. “To do this, collaboration with organizations like The Maritime Alliance is essential.”

The Maritime Alliance will match the MDCP award with a $948,570 investment. Each MDCP award winner pledges at least two-thirds of the project costs and to sustain its project after the initial MDCP award period ends.

“The U.S. Maritime Technology Export Initiative will increase exports by assisting small companies to attend ocean technology related trade shows and trade missions over the next three years,” said Greg Murphy, executive director of The Maritime Alliance.

Aron Davidson, senior international trade specialist with the U.S. Commercial Service, adds that the MDCP gives additional resources for TMA members to take advantage of USCS services which may serve as a multiplier effect for export promotion.

“The MDCP has raised the profile of the marine technology sector which is a large and important industry throughout the US but particularly here in the San Diego region which plays host to 200+ marine technology-oriented businesses,” said Davidson.

Develop International Partnerships

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) estimates that the value of the Ocean Economy is expected to reach $3 trillion annually by 2030 up from $1.5 trillion in 2010.

The U.S. Commercial Service’s Maritime Technology Industry Primer states that ITA anticipates that countries and communities will invest heavily in maritime, ocean and port infrastructure over the next decade. In particular, several strong trends in the marine technology industry offer opportunities for U.S. companies in maritime defense and security, shipbuilding, ocean observation and data management, offshore oil and gas and port infrastructure and services.

“The marine technology sector, made up in significant part of small and medium businesses, is inherently export oriented,” adds Davidson. “Many of the world’s nations touch the oceans and as such have a need for marine technology. This means that there is a tremendous market for US-made marine technology across the globe that will only increase over time.”

Open to all Small U.S. Maritime Technology Companies

According to Yue, any small maritime technology company from the United States may apply to join the initiative regardless of membership status with TMA.

“The MDCP specifically targets SMEs and intends to support companies that are first-time trade show participants,” said Yue. “Over the next three years, we anticipate that the U.S. Maritime Technology Export Initiative will fund up to 90 small and medium sized companies to participate in trade shows and trade missions, starting with Oceanology International North America, which is being launched at the San Diego Convention Center February 14-16, 2017.”

Other events include the Ocean Business trade show April 4-6, 2017 in Southampton, UK, Oceanology International, March 13-15, 2018 in London and Blue Tech Trade Mission to Europe in April 2017.

Applications will be available mid-November 2016, and due December 23rd, 2016 for consideration by a national advisory panel.  For more information, visit www.bluetechexports.org or contact TMA Executive Director Greg Murphy at grmurphy@themaritimealliance.org.

The U.S. Commercial Service is the trade promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration. U.S. Commercial Service trade professionals in over 100 U.S. cities and in more than 75 countries help U.S. companies get started in exporting or increase sales to global markets. For information on the U.S. Commercial Service contact your local trade specialist.

Oceans span the globe – does your Marine Technology business? Keep your company growing by devising or expanding your international export strategy. The U.S. Commercial Service’s Marine Technology team can help your company take advantage of worldwide sales opportunities. Locate Marine Technology Specialist.

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First Meeting of Trade Finance Advisory Council Seeks Increased Access to Finance for U.S. Exporters

December 12, 2016

Ericka Ukrow is a Senior International Trade Specialist in the Office of Finance and Insurance Industries

The Department of Commerce has responded to the needs of its clients and partners – it is stepping up efforts to expand private sector trade finance with the inaugural meeting of the Trade Finance Advisory Council (TFAC).

The Council is comprised of 20 private-sector leaders representing banks, financial technology companies, other trade finance organizations, exporters, and a research institution charged with advising the U.S. Commerce Secretary on policies and programs that can help expand access to private sector trade finance for U.S. exporters, especially small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), and educate them about the resources available.

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TFAC members sharing their perspective on key priorities for the TFAC with Commerce officials.

In her remarks last month to the Council, Secretary Penny Pritzker underscored the importance that trade finance plays in supporting trade. “Nearly all global merchandise trade, worth in excess of $18 trillion annually, is supported by some sort of finance or credit insurance. Put simply: without trade finance, there is no trade,” she said.

More of Secretary Pritzker’s tweets can be found here:

https://twitter.com/PennyPritzker/status/799655952257466368

https://twitter.com/PennyPritzker/status/799652779472076800

Acknowledging that the federal government is a critical source of American exporters’ financing needs, Secretary Pritzker reminded all participants that ultimately, it is the private sector that finances approximately 98 percent of U.S. export transactions. Accordingly, she affirmed the Department’s commitment to working collaboratively with the private sector in supporting efforts that will enhance the financing environment of our exporters and their foreign buyers.

Deputy Secretary Andrews shared Commerce’s priorities and vision for the TFAC. “Without adequate levels of trade finance,” he said, “companies considering whether to expand overseas might never do so; and companies already engaged in exporting may not expand to new markets. This limits the potential for a key element of our country’s economic growth strategy – ultimately costing us jobs that otherwise would have been created. That is why access to finance has been an important part of the Administration’s export agenda.We need industry to help us find solutions to the systemic barriers that impact this sector,” he added.

Council’s Key Priorities

Under direction of the Advisory Council Chair Chris Bozek, a seasoned banker and now Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s North America Head of Trade and Global Product Executive, Council members deliberated and established four initial areas of focus:

  • Innovation and Financial Technology
  • Collaboration and Partnerships
  • Education and Outreach
  • Market Information

These key areas align with the Secretary’s shared vision.

Other Speakers

Recognizing the important role of federal export financing agencies and regulators in the dialogue, Commerce invited representatives from the Export-Import Bank, Small Business Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Department of The Treasury to brief members on their perspectives in this area.

Council members also had the opportunity to learn about existing Commerce resources that support U.S. exporters such as the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee (TPCC), the Strategic Partnership Program, guides to exporting and trade finance, market intelligence reports, and trade missions. They also learned about financing programs and services that the Minority Business Development Agency offers to its client companies.

In his closing remarks, Acting Assistant Secretary for Industry and Analysis, Ted Dean, assured members that “in collaboration with the broader U.S. government, Commerce stands ready to work with Council members to ensure they have the support they need to provide important insights on opportunities to enhance the trade finance environment for our exporters.”

It was an inspiring environment, underscoring that achieving an enhanced financing environment for American exporters is not a task that government can do alone. It must be built on a commitment of collaborative work between the government, private sector and academia. This meeting marked a key step to embracing this path.

The Council is scheduled to hold its second meeting in early spring of 2017.

To learn more about the Department of Commerce Trade Finance Advisory Council, please visit www.trade.gov/tfac or contact us at TFAC@trade.gov.

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U.S.-China Tourism Year 2016

December 1, 2016

Kelly Craighead is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Travel and Tourism and Executive Director for the National Travel and Tourism Office. 

Not only an important trading partner, China is a critically important travel and tourism market for the United States. It plays an enormous role in our ability to reach the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Travel and Tourism Strategy’s goal of welcoming 100 million international visitors annually to the United States by 2021.

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Secretary Penny Pritzker

Travel from China to the United States continues to show double-digit growth, with 2.6 million Chinese travelers visiting the United States in 2015 – an 18 percent growth over the previous year.  Last year, these visitors spent a record $30.1 billion experiencing the United States, positioning China as the United States’ top spending market abroad in terms of travel and tourism exports.

According to the October 2016 National Travel and Tourism Office Forecast for International Travelers, more than 5 million Chinese travelers are expected to visit the United States by 2021 – which would make China the top overseas visitation market.

Recognizing the importance of travel and tourism between the two nations, President Obama and President Xi proclaimed 2016 as the U.S.-China Tourism Year (Tourism Year). The Tourism Year was initiated as an opportunity for both countries to review policies, processes and product offerings to ensure that Chinese visitors to the United States are met with an enjoyable travel experience.

Last week, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker gave remarks at the U.S.-China Tourism Year closing event. “The Tourism Year was initiated as an opportunity for our countries to take a look at our policies, processes and product offerings to ensure that we can provide Chinese visitors with an enjoyable travel experience,” Pritzker explained

To make the United States a more welcoming destination for Chinese visitors, U.S. Travel and Tourism industry leaders used the Tourism Year to encourage the industry to become “prepared for China.”.

The Department of Commerce had three overarching goals for the Tourism Year:

  • To provide outreach to the entire nation about the importance of being prepared for Chinese visitors in order to be a competitive destination;
  • To successfully execute a small number of “signature events;” and
  • To work closely with industry and across the federal government to encourage efforts to create an enjoyable experience for Chinese visitors from beginning to end.

Signature events completed during the year included the February opening event hosted by Brand USA in Beijing; the 1,000 U.S. visitors to the Great Wall event in March; the China-U.S. Tourism Leadership Summit in September, held in Ningxia; and the closing event held in Washington, D.C. in November.

Here are just a couple of the achievements during this year:

  • Federal agencies developed new travel itineraries for destinations and activities that speak directly to Chinese interests, including thematic itineraries such as national parks and the great outdoors.
  • Commercial Service produced a China Travel Resource Guide for use by the U.S. travel and tourism industry interested in Chinese visitation.
  • The National Park Service is ensuring that Chinese visitors have access to in-language materials and web information at the most visited National Parks.
  • The State Department maintained progress on visa processing and kept wait times down to less than five days, despite the more than 50 percent increase in applications since the extension of visa validity.

Commerce will continue to work with industry to determine how the government can assist with market access issues in China, and we will continue to push for policy issues to be resolved, including: 1) ensuring there are ample air services to cater to the increasing demand for Chinese travel to the United States; 2) working to open the sale of outbound travel in China to U.S. companies; and 3) ensuring the ability of foreign global distribution services platforms to operate in China.

As our two populations more clearly understand the ties that bind our nations, this will create a multiplier effect for governmental and business ties, and maximize the potential of the most consequential relationship in the world. Deepening those people-to-people ties fundamentally requires travel and tourism, which is why the Tourism Year was so critical.

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Plan Your Market Entry Strategy with New Video Series Real World Advice from an International Trade Specialist

November 16, 2016

Debbie Dirr is an International Trade Specialist for the U.S. Commercial Service

It’s just before 9:00 am on a Monday morning when I settle in for another day’s work as an International Trade Specialist with the U.S. Commercial Service Cincinnati. I manage Cincinnati’s satellite office at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, serving as a consultant to U.S. businesses in order to help them plan strategies for export growth. I receive about 30 calls or emails a week from companies in my territory, which encompasses 24 counties in Southern Ohio. When it comes to export assistance, each business that I help has unique needs. There’s no ‘one size fits all.

Recently, the U.S. Commercial Service—with more than 100 offices across the United States and in U.S. embassies and consulates in more than 75 countries—further enhanced its customized outreach to businesses through the launching of a six-themed, How to Export video series. The series, which runs from November 2016 through early 2017, started with Get Ready to Export. The release of the second video topic, Plan your Market Entry Strategy, is an opportune time for me to share some insights into two key elements of export planning: Selecting International Markets and Researching International Markets.

Researching Markets

Download this video (19MB)

Regarding international market research, the most important element is having someone on the ground in a foreign market who can tell you what is going on and verify data and international market research.

For example, companies usually have an idea of where they want to export, but it may not always be the best market for a particular product. That’s where research can make all the difference. I once had a client who wanted to sell capital equipment to Chile for the mining industry. The company was sure that Chile would be a good market. Through a phone discussion with colleagues in the U.S. Embassy-Santiago who knew the industry, we determined that local projects relied on low-cost labor with little or no demand for that equipment. Instead, we turned to other markets. So a ‘negative’ finding can be just as valuable in saving U.S. companies time and resources.

U.S. businesses can obtain market information through many channels, such as agents, distributors, news articles or industry associations. The U.S. Commercial Service’s worldwide ‘boots-on-the-ground’ trade professionals also author Country Commercial Guides that provide the latest market intelligence for more than 140 countries. The agency also offers customized market research.

I would also offer the following advice: If you receive multiple inquiries from specific regions, think about locating a distributor who can introduce your products into markets more efficiently. This, in turn, may lower your shipping costs because of volume, which translates into giving your customers a better price and quicker delivery. Look at your competitors’ websites to see where their international distributors are located. This is another sign that can point your company in the right direction. Take advantage of country and industry trade data found on export.gov and consider the 20 Free Trade Agreement (FTA) countries where trade barriers have been reduced or eliminated for U.S. businesses.

Selecting International Markets

Download this video (21MB)

In selecting markets, businesses need to be aware that some markets will be more challenging than others. Exporting to Canada is a great first market for a company, rather than targeting a distant and complex market such as China. It’s important for a company to evaluate the costs, expenses and difficulties of going into a given market prior to selling there.

In addition, here are some questions that you should address:

  • What are your firm’s internal capabilities for exporting?
  • What standards or regulations might apply to your products or services?
  • Is compliance with foreign requirements worthwhile or even cost-prohibitive?
  • What are the competitive factors in a market (both domestic and foreign)?

Many problems arise because management may fail to coordinate communication among sales, accounting, operations, or other departments. If overlooked, this can cause problems with customs clearance, shipping decisions, and even getting paid. By communicating and planning ahead, your company will be better prepared to handle exporting to new markets.

For example, if a U.S. company is exporting to Saudi Arabia, there are many requirements for the commercial invoice alone. Some of these include a statement that the products being shipped are of U.S. origin, any foreign components must be listed with country of origin and percentages, and the invoice has to be certified/notarized by the U.S. exporter’s local chamber of commerce or sent to a Saudi Arabian consulate for certification.

Finally, it’s important to think regionally. For example, by selling to a country like Singapore, a gateway to Southeast Asia, your firm will have easier access to many other Southeast Asian countries.

There are many other elements of planning your export strategy as well. Later this month, I will post a blog on export counseling. Now, it’s time to meet another client.