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Travel and Tourism Means Big Business for the United States, Including Manufacturers

May 6, 2019

Phil Lovas is Deputy Assistant Secretary for Travel and Tourism, Industry & Analysis for the International Trade Administration at the U.S. Department of Commerce

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May is World Trade Month, a time when we celebrate the importance of international trade to the economy and creating jobs.  I find it fitting that we also celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week in May, as International visitor spending in the United States represents 32 percent of U.S. services exports and 11 percent of all U.S. exports, goods and services combined.  In 2017, the United States welcomed nearly 77 million international visitors who spent more than $251 billion exploring the diverse cities, states, and regions of our nation.  Travel and tourism means big business for the United States, including manufacturers. While travel and tourism is a significant part of the U.S. services sector, the International Trade Administration’s National Travel and Tourism Office thought it would be an excellent opportunity to highlight travel and tourism’s impact on foreign direct investment into U.S. manufacturing.  You may be asking yourself, are there connections between manufacturing, foreign direct investment, and travel and tourism?  The answer is a resounding YES!  Not only do international visitors spend money while they are here, but they get to know our people, our places, and discover that the United States is a great place to do business and invest.

There are hundreds of manufacturing sites and factories throughout the United States that you can tour to watch U.S.-manufactured goods taking shape right before your eyes. Click here to find one near you. What better way to encourage foreign direct investment than to allow potential investors to see the production of made-in-America products?

To encourage more business investment in the United States, the U.S. Department of Commerce will host the next SelectUSA Investment Summit on June 10-12 in Washington, DC. The SelectUSA Investment Summit promotes the United States as the world’s premier investment destination and connects qualified foreign firms with U.S. economic development organizations to facilitate business investment and job creation.

In conjunction with the Investment Summit, SelectUSA is partnering with economic development organizations across the U.S. to plan and promote spinoff events. These events provide potential investors the opportunity to see first-hand the American communities in which their businesses can grow and thrive. Check out the lineup of spinoff events to see how U.S. localities are attracting job-creating business investment.

A healthy travel and tourism industry can be one of the most significant contributors to economic development, attracting potential new businesses to destinations throughout the United States.

In support of travel and tourism and the benefits it brings to U.S. manufacturing, the U.S. Department of Commerce has teamed up with the state and territorial tourism offices across the United States to highlight manufacturing and factory tour opportunities.  Visitors can witness the production of made-in-America agriculture products, baseball bats, honey, kazoos, tractors, cookies, automobiles, bourbon, goat cheese, golf clubs, furniture, and canoes.

Whether you are interested in expanding your business footprint in the United States, investing in U.S. goods or simply planning your family’s summer holiday, please visit us on the web to find a tour in your next travel destination!

Follow ITA on Twitter as we highlight the importance of travel and tourism to economic development in the United States.

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Looking to Increase Sales? “Go Global” World Trade Month Webinars Can Help Get You Started

May 2, 2019

David M. Glaccum is SBA’s Associate Administrator for International Trade and Pat Kirwan is the Director of the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee Secretariat

In celebration of World Trade Month, federal trade promotion agencies will host our annual “Go Global” webinar series throughout May. U.S. businesses will learn about strategies and resources to increase global sales. The webinars address issues confronting companies and offer participants the chance to ask questions directly of the experts. Mark your calendar for this FREE four-part series on Thursdays in May. Here’s what you’ll learn about:World Trade Month Webinar Series

How do I find new buyers, finance sales and get paid? (May 9 at 2 p.m. EDT)

Learn how SBA and EXIM finance and credit insurance tools, along with market entry services from the U.S. Commercial Service, can help you unlock business potential in foreign markets. Access to finance and finding buyers are two of the most common challenges to small business exporting. Hear from a small business exporter who has used these programs to grow their business beyond the United States.Get expert advice, register now for the May 9 webinar.

How do I manage challenges in the global marketplace? (May 16 at 2 p.m. EDT)

Whether it’s protecting intellectual property rights, competing for foreign government procurement, or addressing trade barriers, learn about U.S. Department of Commerce programs that can help.  Once a small business starts selling to global customers, there will inevitably be a few bumps in the road. Knowing how to avoid challenges, or if they occur, where to turn for support can save time and money.

What tools can help me find new markets? (May 23 at 2 p.m. EDT)

Discover the power of data for finding foreign market opportunities. Get a hands-on tutorial of data tools that can help businesses that are ready to increase international sales. USA Trade Online, the Global Market Finder Tool, and the ITA Market Diversification Tool are available for anyone to use to identify new markets, evaluate existing markets, and perform other market research.

How can I identify trade opportunities in international development? (May 30 at 2 p.m. EDT)

Small business exporters can truly make the world a better place by doing good. In our final webinar of the series, gain insights into the work of U.S. development agencies. You’ll also hear about trade opportunities that can grow your business while solving the world’s most pressing problems.

Your Next Step in Global Sales Growth: Join the Webinar Series Thursdays in May

Whether you are a new exporter or an experienced international business, you will get valuable insight from this year’s “Go Global” webinar series.  Federal agencies are here to support your business’s success abroad. Click here to for details on the webinar series.

The federal agencies presenting this series are the U.S. Small Business Administration, U.S. Export-Import Bank, the U.S. Department of Commerce (International Trade Administration and U.S. Census Bureau), the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.

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The International Trade Administration Celebrates World Trade Month

May 1, 2019

Gilbert Kaplan is the Under Secretary of Commerce for the International Trade Administration 

During World Trade Month, the International Trade Administration (ITA) will celebrate our commitment to preserving free, fair, and reciprocal trade that enhances American prosperity. Our nation is among the most innovative and open economies in the world, and for decades the United States has led the international trading system that has enabled American businesses and workers to succeed.

Gilbert Kaplan

 Under Secretary of Commerce for the International Trade Administration, Gilbert Kaplan

ITA has paved the way in enforcing the principles of free, fair, and reciprocal trade in addition to igniting America’s entrepreneurial spirit in areas of the world like the Indo-Pacific. The Department of Commerce will host our largest annual trade mission, Trade Winds, from May 6-13 in India. The Trade Winds Indo-Pacific Forum and Mission will provide U.S. exporters with the opportunity to further pursue business ventures throughout the Indo-Pacific. In 2018, U.S. exports of goods and services to the region were more than $476 billion. We see 2019 creating even greater potential for the future of U.S. exports to the region.

World Trade Month also brings ITA an additional opportunity to focus on small and medium-sized enterprises, or SMEs. Nearly 285,000 U.S. companies exported goods in 2017, more than 97 percent of which were small or medium-sized businesses with fewer than 500 employees. ITA has encouraged market driven solutions to financing, where SMEs have greater access to the resources available and higher rates of success participating in the global marketplace. Furthermore, in line with this Administration’s emphasis on America being “open for business,” we have prioritized attracting inward investment and helping existing U.S. manufacturers increase their exports, which allows them to expand their current domestic operations and create opportunities for American workers.

During World Trade Week, May 19-25, Secretary Wilbur Ross will welcome U.S. companies to the Department of Commerce to present the President’s “E” Award. The award was created in 1961 by Executive Order of the President in recognition of a firm or organization that has made significant contributions to the increase of American exports. This year, there will be more than 40 companies receiving the award for export growth, demonstrating how American private enterprise can not only survive, but thrive, in the international market.

The work performed by ITA personnel located domestically and abroad is a critical contribution to the pro-growth agenda of the Trump Administration. We continue to produce remarkable results through promoting U.S. exports, attracting inward investment, and leveling the playing field for U.S. companies. In the last two years, ITA has assisted over 50,000 U.S. companies supporting $182 billion in U.S. exports. We also facilitated more than $22 billion in foreign investment into the United States; initiated 158 antidumping and countervailing duty cases; and successfully removed, reduced, or prevented 138 foreign trade barriers.

In the month ahead, ITA looks forward to highlighting the importance of international trade and its pivotal role in providing American workers and businesses with the chance to compete in a world economy in which competitive fairness rewards hard work and innovation. I encourage you to follow ITA on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn as we share coverage from a series of events throughout the month.

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Teaming Up for Tech at the 2019 SelectUSA Investment Summit

April 30, 2019

David Steel is the Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Samsung Electronics America, which is an official sponsor of the SelectUSA Investment Summit.

Samsung marked its 40th year in the United States in 2018, an investment that has been nothing short of essential to our company’s success. Not only was it an accomplishment worth celebrating, but it was also the perfect time to reflect on the importance of the U.S. market and the strong ties we have forged with American industry and consumers over the course of four decades.

Since 1978, Samsung’s U.S. family has grown to 20,000 employees across 46 states. Whether investing in manufacturing facilities in South Carolina, cuttingedge startups in California,or expanding our massive semiconductor operation in Texas, Samsung also realizes that in order to tap the true potential of the U.S. market, we must continue to engage on the ground.

That’s why Samsung is excited to be involved in the inaugural SelectUSA Tech program at the SelectUSA Investment Summit, an initiative that aligns with our vision for high-tech manufacturing to propel the U.S. economy and provide high-quality careers for decades to come. The SelectUSA Techprogram connects our global firm with both American consumers and the innovators working to shape the trends and develop the technology that will spur global demand for our products.

To date, Samsung has invested billions of dollars in the U.S. through advanced manufacturing, R&D, and emerging technologies:

  • Over the last 23 years, Samsung has invested $17 billion in manufacturing and R&D at Samsung Austin Semiconductor (SAS) – one of the largest-ever foreign direct investments in the United States.
  • In 2017, Samsung announced a $380 million investment in a new, state-of-the-art home appliance manufacturing facility in Newberry County, SC.
  • Samsung has invested more than $6.6 billion in U.S.-based companies and start-ups across 30 industry sectors, including IoT, AI, VR/AR, smart machines, digital health, security, cloud, and more.

At the center of Samsung’s investment opportunities is thevision for a connected world and the importance of selecting America as a partner to make this happen–recognizing our cultural ties founded upon partnership and innovation. For instance, the growing need to fill STEM-related jobs with qualified professionals pushes us to constantly invest inprograms that will train and inspire the next generation of tech talent and industry leadership. We constantly work to provide the essential tools and access to our technology to encourage, inspire, and support the people and communities we serve.

Our commitment to investment and growth in the U.S. is stronger than ever. Through partnerships with programs like SelectUSA, we are eager to continue doing our part to drive technology leadership and economic growth in the United States, further strengthening the thriving tech industry.

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U.S. Commercial Service Supports Genesis Water Technologies in Pursuing Project on Sustainable Practices in Ecuador

April 17, 2019

Mindi Hertzog is Senior International Trade Specialist at ITA’s Orlando U.S. Export Assistance Center

On Tuesday, April 9, 2019, thanks in part to the export promotion assistance provided by the U.S. Commercial Service, Genesis Water Technologies (GWT) and construction partner, Hormac Civil Engineering, met with government officials from Portoviejo, Ecuador, to solidify a contract for the building and refurbishment of the Portoviejo Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plant. The plant serves a population of over 300,000 citizens and through the innovative solutions offered by of GWT, Portoviejo will meet its wastewater quality needs with integrated sustainable practices in place for their future.logo

Genesis Water Technologies is based in Maitland, Florida and has additional offices located throughout the U.S., Philippines, Uganda, and Chile. GWT serves industries and communities across the world in meeting their water quality challenges through advanced treatment solutions and services. They are committed to developing and implementing sustainable business practices that meet clients needs without compromising the welfare of future generations, and this is exactly what GWT is doing in Ecuador.

GWT first started working with the U.S. Commercial Service, a unit within the U.S. Department of Commerce, in 2008. International Trade Specialists in the USCS Orlando office advised the company on doing business in various markets across the world, including Ecuador. “The U.S. Commercial Service has brought tremendous value and insight to our business over the years by supporting our projects and helping us secure transactions abroad” said Nick Nicholas, Technical Director for Genesis Water Technologies, Inc.

The estimated cost for this project is $80 million USD with the potential for follow on contracts for the ongoing maintenance of the treatment plant. The Genesis Water Technologies design for this plant location includes an advanced sustainable wastewater treatment design, integrating soil fertilizer additive and wastewater reuse for irrigation and agricultural land around Portoviejo.

For more information on the U.S. Commercial Service or to find an office near you, click here.

 

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Mentoring International Success: A Mid-Size Midwestern Municipality’s Mission

February 27, 2019

Kevin D. Malecek is the Director of Economic Development and International Trade for the City of Mentor, Ohio

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.

Mentor, Ohio Means Business logoRecognizing the unique approach of a smaller municipality to engage in global trade and investment conversation, the City of Mentor has successfully conducted several trade-oriented seminars to inform area companies on the benefits of overseas business opportunities, pursued potential partners interested in FDI through annual trade missions to Germany and the United Kingdom, and marketed incentive programs essential to the success of those that would examine opportunities in Mentor. City officials regularly converse with companies, organizations, chambers of commerce, and overseas governments to explore mutually beneficial partnerships.

In particular, the conversations and visits to the United Kingdom resulted in the negotiation and signing of a partnership memorandum with Medilink Midlands, a trade organization supporting more than 300 life sciences companies in the Midlands region of the UK. The Midlands region shares many similarities with Northeast Ohio: the development of a strong life sciences cluster among them, with companies in Mentor like STERIS and SourceOne and medical facilities nearby like the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, and LakeHealth.

The growing “special relationship” between Mentor and Medilink Midlands brought an inbound delegation of Medilink members and their Chairman, Keith Widdowson, to Mentor in October where potential FDI projects were considered. The City of Mentor arranged presentations by the Cleveland Clinic, STERIS, and other essential regional partners to tout the benefits of doing business in Mentor.  As a component of the ongoing relationship, a delegation from Mentor will return to the UK to Medilink’s Med-Tech Expo in May to advance discussions and negotiations. City officials continue to converse with local partners to find linkages with Medilink’s members and encourage local businesses to accompany the City on its trade mission so those companies can find new markets in the UK.

In Mentor’s case, it shows that the population size does not matter – with the right approach, personnel, resources, and initiative, a mid-sized municipality in the Midwest with a mighty economic engine can pursue FDI opportunities anywhere.

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International Trade Administration: Helping to Win the Fight Against Trade Barriers

February 14, 2019

Steven Presing is the Executive Director for Trade Agreements, Policy and Negotiations at the International Trade Administration (ITA)

Here at the ITA, one of our strategic objectives is to enforce the nation’s trade laws and ensure compliance with our trade agreements. This allows U.S. businesses to compete both domestically and internationally on a level playing field. ITA established its 2018 agency priority goal to reduce, remove, or prevent trade barriers.  Accordingly, two of Commerce’s strategic goals set for 2018 were focused on addressing foreign trade barriers.  I am happy to report that the ITA not only met but exceeded these goals in 2018! This is a huge success for ITA and thousands of American businesses.   ITA logo

In close coordination with U.S. manufacturers and exporters, ITA identified and initiated approximately 18 percent more compliance cases and successfully closed roughly 20 percent more cases than in the previous year.  Between the 39 agreements compliance successes and 99 market access problems resolved, ITA has ensured more than $6 billion in U.S. exports were granted continued access to overseas markets. This work is not only helping U.S. businesses to continue to export billions of dollars in goods and services worldwide, but also providing support for the U.S. economy and helping advance American job growth.

Check out some of our 2018 success stories below to see how ITA is helping to win the fight against trade barriers.

ITA agreements compliance efforts mean changes to Brazil’s medical device regulations
In 2009, the Advanced Medical Technology Association reported to ITA that Brazil required Brazilian regulator inspection of all medical device manufacturing plants before companies could register devices for sale in Brazil. This meant inspections and registrations were backlogged, sometimes for years, resulting in costly delays for U.S. medical device exports valued at $1 billion annually.  This cumbersome registration process raised concerns regarding compliance with WTO Technical Barriers to Trade obligations, which stipulate that technical regulations not be more trade-restrictive than necessary.  For more than six years, the U.S. government engaged Brazil through targeted meetings with both trade officials at the World Trade Organization and regulators in the International Medical Device Regulator Forum (IMDRF) with the goal of streamlining the registration process.  As a result, Brazil recognized the IMDRF Medical Device Single Audit Program (MDSAP) and now accepts certifications from U.S. certification bodies as an alternative means to register devices.  U.S. medical device manufacturers are no longer subject to delays, and U.S. government agencies continue to work with Brazil to identify potential improvements to the MDSAP, which will further increase U.S. export opportunities.

ITA leverages the U.S.-Colombia FTA to expedite flow of U.S.-built SUVs into Colombia

For several years, BMW North America was not receiving proper duty reimbursement for its U.S.-made vehicles imported into Colombia.  Under the Colombia FTA, firms who elect to pay duties up front to keep their exports moving are entitled to a refund once their U.S. origin (i.e. duty-free status) is established and found to be eligible for duty-free treatment. The refunds were taking years and Colombia did not provide BMW NA with a timeline for reimbursement.  Following outreach with Colombia’s Trade Attaché and pressing the Colombian Government about the significant delays in the reimbursements, noting its FTA obligations, the company received more than $3 million in refunds. Colombia also was put on notice that the United States expects all U.S. exports to receive the full benefits of our bilateral agreement.

ITA ensures fairness for Cisco Systems in a Bahrain telecommunications equipment procurement

Cisco Systems contacted ITA’s officers in the Middle East with concerns about a potentially unfair government tender process in Bahrain. The Ministry of Transportation appeared to be changing procurement technical requirements to push the prime contractor for the modernization of Bahrain’s international airport to select wireless telecommunications systems provided by a Chinese company rather than use Cisco’s solutions. The U.S.– Bahrain FTA’s Government Procurement chapter requires that governments do not use such technical specifications in a manner that would create unnecessary obstacles to trade. As the deadline to finalize the purchase of a wireless telecommunications system loomed, ITA (operating regionally in the Middle East) teamed up with the State Department (operating in Bahrain) to jointly press the Ministry of Transportation, including engaging the U.S. Ambassador and using ITA’s analysis, that Cisco be treated fairly and that Bahrain uphold its obligations under the FTA. After sustained ITA advocacy, Cisco finalized a contract with Bahrain this past June to provide its wireless telecommunications equipment as per the original contract award, preserving Cisco’s $1.8 million sales opportunity. Trade compliance means solving trade problems now and locking in fairness for the future. ITA makes U.S. trade agreements work for U.S. industry.

ITA holds a unique position as the U.S. Government‘s full-service trade agency with both the expertise and personnel to open markets and remove foreign trade barriers for U.S. industry and its workers.  This is made possible through our global presence. We have personnel throughout the United States and around the world dedicated to solving business problems; with focused daily commercial engagement with foreign governments, the negotiation of new trade agreements and the monitoring of compliance with existing agreements. This coupled with a deep industry sector and data knowledge allows us to ensure our trading partners fulfill their commitments under our trade agreements.

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Trade Agreements Negotiations and Compliance specializes in working with U.S. businesses to remove unfair foreign government-imposed trade barriers.  If your business is facing such a barrier, please report it, and our team of experts will investigate.