h1

New Memorandum of Understanding with Côte d’Ivoire Slated to Strengthen the United States’ Ties to Africa

December 17, 2018

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce Blog.

 Janel Edens is the West & Central Africa Desk Officer in ITA”s Office of Africa 

On December 7th, 2018, the U.S.-Côte d’Ivoire Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between U.S.Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross on behalf of the government of the United States and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marcel Amon-Tanoh on behalf of the Government of Côte d’Ivoire.

Signing of MOU

Secretary Wilbur Ross and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marcel Amon-Tanoh sign MOU

“We are fundamentally changing the business narrative between our two great nations,” noted Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross during the signing.

The MOU seeks to build awareness among the American business community of commercial opportunities and participation in strategic agriculture, industry, transportation, energy, and other priority projects in Côte d’Ivoire. In fact, these sectors have been prioritized in Côte d’Ivoire’s National Development Plan (NDP) for 2016-2020.

The projects implemented under this MOU will accelerate business growth, increase agricultural output, boost infrastructure and energy development, industrialize the economy, as well as improve the standard of living for Ivorians, while providing new opportunities for U.S. firms.

The Department of Commerce will take the lead in organizing a comprehensive approach that coordinates Federal government programs for providing financing and other assistance to U.S. companies. In addition, under the MOU, the Federal government will work directly with the Côte d’Ivoire Government on removing trade barriers that could prevent American businesses from finding success in Côte d’Ivoire.

The MOU signing was the culmination of an extensive effort that began some time ago. Under Secretary Kaplan himself and business leaders from the United States visited Côte d’Ivoire to conduct high-level discussions during the Presidential Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa Members’ fact-finding trip to the continent several months ago.

Côte d’Ivoire is a country primed for growth. The nation is already one of the top ten export markets for U.S. goods in Sub-Saharan Africa and considered a strong regional partner for the United States.

The signing of the U.S.-Côte d’Ivoire MOU marked another defining moment in the U.S.-Côte d’Ivoire bilateral relationship and reaffirmed that both countries seek to enhance commercial ties for years to come.

h1

U.S. Companies Can Grow Their Business in Southeast Asia Thanks to New Agreements with Singapore

December 7, 2018

Margaret Hanson-Muse is the Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs for Singapore and ASEAN.

The Commercial Service team in Singapore has developed several new agreements with Singapore leaders that will help U.S. companies grow their business in the Indo-Pacific, particularly in the region known as ASEAN—the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. With a combined population of 647 million people, a burgeoning middle class, and a young and growing population, the ASEAN region presents tremendous commercial opportunities for U.S. companies.

On September 13, Under Secretary for International Trade Gil Kaplan signed Statements of Intent on behalf of the International Trade Administration (ITA) with the Singapore Business Federation, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the Singapore Manufacturing Federation to forge closer ties between U.S. and Singaporean companies and to facilitate ASEAN regional outreach in key areas such as energy, smart cities, aerospace, fintech, and standards.

Meeting in Singapore

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Southeast Asia Executive Director John Goyer, Singapore Business Federation President Ho Meng Kit, and Under Secretary for International Trade Gil Kaplan celebrate the signing of an industry statement of intent on September 13 in Singapore.

On November 16, Vice President Pence and Singapore Prime Minister Lee met in Singapore and announced a two-year government-to-government (G2G) commercial collaboration framework led by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Singapore Ministry of Trade and Industry. The G2G framework reinforces commitments made in September by U.S. and Singaporean industry leaders and encourages U.S. and Singaporean companies to explore cooperative opportunities in Southeast Asia and other relevant third-country markets. The framework prioritizes collaboration on infrastructure, energy, standards, smart cities, fintech, e-commerce, and deep technology.

A major goal of the framework is to foster links between U.S. and Singaporean companies, including in rapidly developing fields such as additive manufacturing (also known as 3D printing), blockchain, and driverless cars. The benefits of the framework are expected to extend beyond Singapore to include U.S. business partners and consumers in the broader ASEAN and Indo-Pacific regions, including through U.S. support for the newly established ASEAN Smart Cities Network.

Vice President Pence with Singapore Prime Minister Lee during his November 2018 visit to Singapore for the ASEAN and East Asia Summits where they jointly announced a commercial collaboration memorandum of understanding.

Vice President Pence with Singapore Prime Minister Lee during his November 2018 visit to Singapore for the ASEAN and East Asia Summits where they jointly announced a commercial collaboration memorandum of understanding.

Our team is busy implementing the new agreements with Singapore, including through support for these recent and upcoming activities:

  • A September 2018 best practices business roundtable on medical technology standards and certification processes led by the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) and the Singapore Manufacturing Federation;
  • ASTM International’s October 2018 announcement that Singapore’s National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC) will join ASTM’s Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence as a strategic partner;
  • An October 2018 memorandum of understanding on additive manufacturing standards between NAMIC and the Ivaldi Group (San Leandro, California), building on previous Access Asia outreach in California;
  • A strategic partnership launched in October 2018 between ITA and the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO), a global codes, standards, and conformity assessment organization, which will support the development of smart city-related standards throughout Southeast Asia;
  • Participation by ITA Deputy Assistant Secretary for Services James Sullivan in the November 12-16 Singapore FinTech Festival, where he met with U.S. companies displaying their products and services at ITA’s U.S. Pavilion and spoke on a panel on Blockchain Opportunities and Threats;

    Deputy Assistant Secretary for Services James Sullivan (fourth from left) is joined by U.S. Commercial Service staff at the November 2018 FinTech Festival in Singapore.

    Deputy Assistant Secretary for Services James Sullivan (fourth from left) is joined by U.S. Commercial Service staff at the November 2018 FinTech Festival in Singapore.

  • A U.S. Country Showcase in Singapore featured November 12-15 at the ASEAN and East Asia Summit Meetings, highlighting innovative technology, service, and standards solutions from U.S. firms;
  • Plans to support 45 U.S. companies participating in the November 27-29 OSEA Show in Singapore, which is the largest and most significant buying event in Asia for the oil and gas sectors; and
  • Plans to develop a U.S.-ASEAN Smart Cities Network Partnership event in 2019 in close coordination with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the U.S. Department of State, and other interagency partners.

Please Share Your Feedback! Welcoming Industry and Stakeholder Ideas to Maximize the Value of the New Agreements

While these steps are a good start, I welcome your ideas on how to maximize the value of these new agreements with government and industry leaders—including through trade events, best practices workshops, business-to-business matchmaking, educational webinars, and other activities that help identify and advance commercial deals. I encourage you to contact me at Margaret.Hanson-Muse@trade.gov or (65) 6476-9037 to share your ideas and to continue the conversation.

Click here for details about the December 10-12, 2018 Discover Global Markets aerospace and defense show in Salt Lake City, Utah. Click here for details about the May 6-13, 2019 Indo-Pacific Trade Winds event in New Delhi, India with optional stops in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Participating companies can get country-specific business counseling from Asia-based commercial officers.

h1

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

November 15, 2018

Market Diversification Tool Logo

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

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

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

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

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

Example: Producer ready to find its next market

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

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

Export Destination Ranking

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

Example:  Search When Market Conditions Change

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

Market Diversification Tool

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

Example: Regional focus

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

Next steps:

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

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

Try out our new tool today!

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

h1

Why Unleashing Veterans’ Entrepreneurial and Leadership Skills in Global Commerce Helps Strengthen America’s Economic and National Security

November 9, 2018

Murat Muftari is a Senior International Trade Specialist in the International Trade Administration’s U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service and founder of the Vets Go Global initiative and a former U.S. Special Forces soldier.

On Veterans Day, November 11, 2018, let us take a moment to honor America’s veterans for their sacrifice and willingness to serve for the common good of a grateful nation. For many veterans, their service continues well beyond the battlefield and into the commercial and private sector where transitioning veterans continue to evolve their mission from military boots to executive suits. Whether we look at veteran-owned or veteran-led businesses, it comes as no surprise that veterans thrive as leaders. Their business leadership skills are particularly well suited for international business, where their understanding of the geopolitical environment and how economic factors play a prominent role in U.S. national security allows them to help unleash American ingenuity and expand economic influence around the world.american flag

This economic influence helps provide economic security, defined as the ability to protect or advance U.S. economic interests in the face of events, developments, or actions that may threaten or block these interests. And this economic security translates to protecting U.S. national security. That is why the International Trade Administration and the Vets Go Global initiative works to better empower veteran-owned and veteran-led businesses to continue their mission of protecting our nation, from the frontlines of war to the frontlines of international commercial activity. The economic well-being of the United States depends on the smooth conduct of national and international commerce, so the U.S. can continue to play a prominent role in shaping the international economic environment.

There are a multitude of tools and resources that the International Trade Administration provides to assist American businesses, all a form of economic means to help achieve national security ends. These tools include offering U.S. Commercial Service export promotion services to help increase American exports and the relative size of the U.S. economy; direct U.S. government support of U.S. companies competing for foreign government contracts through programs like the International Trade Administration’s Advocacy Center; increasing foreign investment in the United States through programs like SelectUSA; maintaining access to foreign markets and reducing trade barriers through U.S. Commercial Service commercial diplomacy efforts; and promoting market-oriented economic policies and free and fair trade agreements that help U.S. companies to compete and win in international markets. Continuing to build an American economy that is more dynamic and more robust than economies elsewhere cannot be taken for granted. That is why we must continue to support veteran businesses and all U.S. businesses with the resources and tools they need to survive and thrive in international markets.

The Vets Go Global initiative will continue to collaborate with private and public organizations that offer resources to veterans by presenting additional avenues of economic opportunity to veteran-owned and veteran-led businesses and helping them survive and thrive in global markets.

I call on the veteran-owned and veteran-led business community to continue to rise to the occasion when opportunity knocks and seek to grow your business in international markets. To get started, and learn more about existing export opportunities and resources, contact the Vets Go Global team at vets@trade.gov or your nearest Export Assistance Center.

Again, I would like to personally thank the brave Americans who have served – as well as their families – and those who continue to serve our country as members of the Armed Forces.

 

h1

Facilitating Business Investment to Deliver for the American Economy

November 1, 2018

Wilbur Ross is the U.S. Secretary of Commerce.

Today, registration is open for the 2019 SelectUSA Investment Summit, and I am looking forward to another successful event connecting global business investors with growth opportunities in the United States. Next year’s Investment Summit will take place from June 10-12, 2019 in Washington, D.C. at the Washington Hilton.

Throughout its existence, the Investment Summit has been a key contributor to advancing the Department of Commerce’s mission to support U.S. economic growth and create opportunities for hardworking Americans. Past Investment Summit participants have announced $98 billion in new investment projects which have been responsible for creating more than 150,000 American jobs.

susa 2018 summit attendees

The 2018 SelectUSA Investment Summit attracted more than 3,000 participants, including more than 1,000 business representatives from 66 markets.

Those participants include companies like Formosa Plastics, which attended the Investment Summit to find economic development connections in the United States before ultimately announcing a $9.4 billion investment in Louisiana. Grupo Bocar, a tier one automotive parts supplier, attended before deciding to invest $115 million in a facility in Alabama that will support 300 American jobs.

The SelectUSA Investment Summit is where business potential meets business opportunity. Our global Commerce Department team recruits and engages with businesses from around the world that have the desire to invest and the ability to succeed in the United States. Economic development organizations (EDO) representing states and cities from around the country come to the Summit to showcase everything that makes the United States the world’s top destination for business investment.

From decades of experience in the private sector, I’ve come to learn that you need the right people in the room to get deals done. The Investment Summit fosters and provides that environment.

I invite any business that is looking to grow on a global scale to join me at the 2019 SelectUSA Investment Summit. I believe that the time you spend with our team, making connections at networking sessions, talking about opportunities in our matchmaking area, and learning about business trends in our Summit Academy, will pay dividends for years to come.

 

h1

Meet the Contacts You Need to Succeed in 15+ Indo-Pacific Markets Without Leaving the U.S.

October 18, 2018

Susan Crawford is a Communications Specialist with the U.S. Commercial Service’s Integrated Strategic Communications Team. The U.S. Commercial Service is the trade promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration.

DGM Salt Lake City Utah

Did you know that the United States exported more than $480 billion in goods to Asia last year, and the potential for selling U.S. products in the region is still largely untapped? The Indo-Pacific region is considered the world’s aviation growth engine with several nations planning to expand existing airport facilities and launch new airport development projects. Governments in the region are also budgeting for major defense and security-related acquisitions.

These new developments in the Indo-Pacific region can translate into significant sales opportunities for U.S. suppliers, if you know where to start. If you’re wondering about how to identify promising markets for your products or services, find potential international buyers or avoid costly missteps, the U.S. Commercial Service can help.

The U.S. Commercial Service’s upcoming flagship Discover Global Markets conference will focus on aerospace, defense and cybersecurity opportunities in the Indo-Pacific region. The Discover Global Markets: Indo-Pacific conference will convene U.S. Commercial Diplomats from 15+ markets, foreign buyers from the region, U.S. industry leaders, U.S. OEMs and American exporters in Salt Lake City, Utah on December 10 – 12, 2018 to help U.S. firms export to the region.

The unique format of the Discover Global Markets: Indo-Pacific conference enables attendees to create a customized experience, targeted to their firm’s needs, that may include:

  • Pre-scheduled one-on-one meetings with our 15+ U.S. Commercial Diplomats who will come prepared with preliminary business assessments specific to your company in the markets of interest to you. They can discuss a variety of topics including industry trends, devising the right market entry strategy and refining cross-cultural communication and negotiation techniques.
  • U.S. Commercial Diplomats from the following markets will be available to meet with U.S. companies at the conference: Australia, Bangladesh, Burma, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
  • Meetings with foreign procurement executives from several Indo-Pacific markets including India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam, who are in search of U.S. suppliers and partners to support their aerospace and defense supply chain.
  • Meetings with U.S. OEMs who are seeking U.S. suppliers for their large Indo-Pacific aerospace and defense projects.
  • Roundtable discussions to learn from and network with expert presenters on topics related to Sales Channels & Project Pipeline, Supply Chain Optimization and Tools for Exporters.

This will be our 18th Discover Global Market Conference and 98 percent of previous attendees said they would recommend the conference to a friend or colleague. Paul Smith, of Astec Aggregate & Mining Group, attended a recent Discover Global Markets conference and said, “This seemed like a perfect opportunity for me to come down and interact and network with people from different countries that we’d like to target. I’ve gotten great feedback from the one-on-one meetings about new strategies that I can try. I’m getting a lot of great information here that I can go back and digest and incorporate into my strategies for the year.”

For more information and to register for Discover Global Markets: Indo-Pacific please visit the conference website, or contact Ms. Shelby Daiek at Shelby.Daiek@trade.gov , 801-524-3091, or Ms. Judy Kornfeld at Judy.Kornfeld@trade.gov, 202-482-1239.

We look forward to seeing you in Salt Lake City and helping your firm discover new opportunities in the Indo-Pacific region.

 

 

 

 

h1

Building Relationships: The Key to Making Illinois a Top Location for FDI

October 10, 2018

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.

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

Mark Peterson is President & CEO of Intersect Illinois

Foreign direct investment (FDI) is key to the economic renaissance underway in Illinois. With more than 1,800 foreign owned companies already calling Illinois home and contributing more than $100 billion to the state’s GDP, the potential for growth is tremendous.

Relationship building on an international scale is crucial to Illinois’ foreign investment strategy. Over the past year, Intersect Illinois has built strong international relationships while promoting the state’s assets. Intersect has taken part in jobs missions to China, Japan, Germany, Poland, and Italy and hosted multiple delegations from these countries that have directly resulted in investment in Illinois.

The Intersect Illinois booth at the 2018 SelectUSA Investment Summit, June 18-20, 2018.

The Intersect Illinois booth at the 2018 SelectUSA Investment Summit, June 18-20, 2018.

A recent example of the results is Faber-Castell Cosmetics’ announcement of its first North American manufacturing facility in Illinois. The German company’s state-of-the-art $9 million manufacturing plant in Elgin will create 50 full-time jobs. The decision to locate in Illinois came after Intersect Illinois led a trip to Germany, where the delegation (including the governor) met with Faber-Castell’s leaders.

Intersect Illinois also coordinated a visit to China and Japan, that included meetings with companies such as Aisin Seiki (employs 843 people in Illinois), Sakae Riken Kogyo Co., Ltd. (which employs more than 400 in Illinois), and Toyota Boshoku, which has a plant in Lawrenceville. The team also met Caterpillar China, toured Wanxiang Group, and met with more than 60 businesses.

Following the visit, Intersect Illinois welcomed the newly appointed Japanese Ambassador to Illinois on a visit that focused on advancing the state’s business partnerships with Japan. This was part of the consul-general of Japan in Chicago’s Grassroots Caravan program to highlight the contributions of Japanese companies to local economies.

The group toured local Schaumburg companies to see the latest manufacturing innovations and learn more about Illinois’ workforce. The visit reinforced the benefits of foreign direct investment, while showcasing Illinois as a premier location for Japanese companies to grow.

Additionally, Intersect Illinois attended a SelectUSA event in three cities in Italy, meeting with several Italian companies interested in opening operations in the United States. Following the trip, Intersect hosted site tours for Cembre S.p.A, a company from Verona, Italy that attended the SelectUSA event. In August, Cembre opened a sales office in Schaumburg, with plans to distribute its imported products. Intersect also recently hosted site tours for another Italian manufacturer it met in Italy, which is looking to launch its first U.S.-based manufacturing operation.

Through proactive outreach, Intersect Illinois’ project pipeline has nearly quadrupled over the past year; the team is currently working on nearly 100 business attraction projects, more than 50 percent of which are FDI projects. That number is expected to grow as Intersect Illinois continues to market the state’s rich assets around the globe.

With the world’s 17th largest economy, Illinois is a proven global player and an excellent destination for international business. For more details on Intersect Illinois’ comprehensive FDI strategy, or how Illinois supports global companies, visit www.IntersectIllinois.org.