U.S. Companies Explore Opportunities in the Brazilian Healthcare Sector

September 28, 2016

Ken Hyatt is the Acting Under Secretary for the International Trade Administration

Brazil has always represented a major part of my policy portfolio at the Department of Commerce. I am now particularly honored to be here to participate in the Department of Commerce’s third annual Health IT Trade Mission.


Ken Hyatt, Acting Under Secretary for ITA

Eight innovative U.S. health IT companies (including UnitedHealth, 3M, and Oracle), as well as Keck School of Medicine of USC, are participating in this trade mission, which runs from September 26 to 30. They are learning firsthand about opportunities in the Brazilian healthcare sector, while showcasing innovative technologies with Brazilian government policymakers, regulators, and hospital CEO’s and CIO’s, as well as other industry leaders.

The major focus of this trade mission was the Hospital Innovation Show, the preeminent health technology innovation show in Latin America. The show provided an opportunity to share the most advanced health technology solutions and practices, including value-based care, precision medicine, population health management, patient engagement, health data interoperability, analytics, and mobile health. I had the honor of both delivering the keynote address as well as participating in the signature symposium, “Building a 21st Century Healthcare System.”

The trade mission also provided an opportunity to understand and explain why the U.S. and Brazil should deepen its healthcare partnership. One reason is the incredible opportunities in the global healthcare market, driven by the fact that the global middle class will more than double by 2030, which will increase demand for quality healthcare products and services. Another reason is our shared healthcare challenges. Both the U.S. and Brazil will have to contend with a future defined by higher healthcare costs, while dependency ratios will continue to rise in both countries as our populations live longer.

We also have to take on complex global health challenges, namely the Zika virus as the most pressing challenge. Over the past year, the U.S. and Brazil have held high-level discussions to cooperate on the fight against Zika, and recently the U.S. Government announced it would contribute US$3 million to expand Brazil’s vaccine production capability.

All of this means that our public sectors need to create the environment where our health innovator communities can continue to exchange ideas and collaborate; where participants in our integrated supply chains can continue to work effectively and efficiently; and where our healthcare goods and services can continue flow freely in both directions. Because of the work we have achieved under the U.S.-Brazil Commercial Dialogue, we have already taken steps to create that environment.

The United States is committed to a strong and dynamic relationship with Brazil, and I believe we can continue to strengthen this relationship through greater trade and investment. I would encourage all companies that are interested in doing business in Brazil to reach out to the U.S. Commercial Service in Brazil to find out how they can help you capitalize on commercial opportunities in the healthcare space in market. You can find out more information here.


Strengthening the U.S.- Canada Commercial Relationship

September 28, 2016

Shawn M. Ricks is Senior Policy Advisor for Special Projects & Outreach in the Office of North America, Western Hemisphere at the International Trade Administration

Yesterday, Deputy Director General Judy Reinke was in Toronto, Ontario to address a high-level delegation of 50 representatives from 27 countries, as part of the Sixth Americas Competitiveness Exchange on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ACE VI). Reinke underscored the importance of the U.S.– Canada commercial relationship, outlined ITA’s priorities in the Western Hemisphere, and highlighted the benefits of innovation and regional integration to achieving our shared economic objectives.


Deputy Director General Reinke with the Toronto Commercial Service team.

As part of her trip, she toured the University of Toronto, where she witnessed a demonstration of applications for unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) and robots, as well as participated in several panels on the advancement of big data, artificial intelligence, and robotics, and the impact they have on innovation and the economy. She also toured one of Canada’s largest incubators for emerging tech startups at Ryerson University, the top-ranked university incubator in North America, and third in the world.

During her visit to Toronto, she also met with Commercial Service Principal Commercial Officer (PCO) Eric Crowley, Deputy PCO Shakir Farsakh, and their entire team, where she spoke on the importance of the trip to develop bilateral tech industries, and also commended the team on their efforts to assist U.S. small- and medium-sized companies and to strengthen the U.S. trade and investment with Canada.

Ms. Reinke’s trip comes on the heels of Director General Arun Kumar’s visit in April 2016.

For more information on our Commercial Service team in Toronto, visit us on the web.


U.S. Department of Commerce’s Advocacy Center Assists General Electric in Providing World-Class Healthcare Technology to Hospitals in Greece

September 26, 2016

By Bryan Larson, Senior Commercial Officer in Athens, with editorial assistance by Monika Krol, Commercial Officer, Advocacy Center

The International Trade Administration (ITA) works on behalf of U.S. companies both at home and abroad. The ITA’s Advocacy Center, in coordination with the Senior Commercial Officer in Greece, and the Greek Country Desk Officer, were instrumental in securing a win in the healthcare sector in Greece for an American company.

The Greek market has been tough for U.S. companies to compete in due to the country’s seven- year recession, a byzantine bureaucracy, and a public procurement system that historically lacked transparency.  However, GE Healthcare has generated a record of success in the Greek market by working closely with both the ITA and the Greek Government to improve public procurement of some of the world’s best medical technology.        doctors

The case involved exclusive advocacy by Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, who emphasized to the Greek Prime Minister the need for modern and transparent processes in the Public Procurement System, leveling the playing field for not only GE Healthcare, but all U.S. companies selling medical device and diagnostic equipment in Greece.

This advocacy yielded solutions that benefited Greek patients and ensured that Greek hospitals received the best equipment at the best price.

GE Healthcare competed for a large contract to provide medical technology (PET/CT equipment) to Greece’s Agia Sofia Children’s Hospital.  The sale – which is 100 percent U.S. export content and supports American jobs – followed a concerted multi-year effort by the U.S. Commerce Department to work with the Greek Government to reduce discrimination in their public healthcare procurement system against U.S. companies for the benefit of European competitors.  ITA’s team coordinated with the State Department, including the U.S. Ambassador, to ensure that GE Healthcare and the Healthcare Working Group’s agenda remained a top priority for the Greek Government. When the European company that was originally awarded the contract couldn’t deliver the goods, the Greek hospital relied on GE Healthcare to provide the life-saving equipment for its child patients.

This hard-fought advocacy campaign resulted in an agreement to create an authoritative Central Committee of Objections to fairly arbitrate appeals on public tenders.  Additionally, the Greek Government passed and enacted a new Public Procurement Law on August 3, 2016.  In partnering with the private sector, this model of Commercial Diplomacy not only resulted in bottom-line results for U.S. companies, but also led to long-term systemic change that will benefit American businesses, U.S. jobs, and the Greek people for years to come.

To learn more about our Advocacy Center and services to U.S. companies, visit us on the web. To learn more about medical device markets abroad, download our 2016 Top Markets Report.



How Opportunity Impacts Economic Success in Africa

September 21, 2016

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blogGuest blog post by Bloomberg Philanthropies

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Meet Asterie Mukangango. A couple of years ago, she was one of the many women farming small plots of coffee trees in Rwanda. Even though she was part of the global coffee market, she wasn’t aware of the complex web of relationships and elements that make up the value chain for a commodity as universal as coffee.


Photo of Asterie Mukangango, a Coffee Farmer in Rwanda: Women are the Economic Engine of Africa, Providing about 70% of Labor and 90% of Food Across the Continent.

Today, Asterie is an experienced farmer who deeply understands the process, challenges and barriers of exporting coffee. She’s the president of the Nyampinga women’s coffee cooperative in Southern Rwanda and a trainee of Bloomberg Philanthropies partner, the Relationship Coffee Institute — Sustainable Harvest Rwanda. Not only does Asterie understand the ins and outs of the coffee value chain but she also empowers other women in her community to become independent businesswomen who can provide for their families. Women like her are helping lead Africa towards a stronger economy.

What set Asterie apart? Opportunity. Without the opportunities afforded by programs such as Sustainable Harvest Rwanda, women smallholder farmers like Asterie would be unlikely to cultivate the entrepreneurial and business skills needed to grow their operations in the marketplace.

Opportunity can take many forms, from new partnerships and access to markets to vocational training programs and support for wealth-building. These elements are all important to ensuring that women are at the center of broader economic success in Africa.

That’s why at Bloomberg Philanthropies, we’re constantly working to unlock opportunities that help facilitate growth and progress in Africa, from our Women’s Economic Development program to our Maternal and Reproductive Health initiative.

And that’s why we’re deepening our investment with the Relationship Coffee Institute with a renewed $10 million gift. The Relationship Coffee Institute connects women farmers to resources and global markets so they can meet the international demand for specialty coffee. This new round of funding will allow the institute to reach an additional 20,000 women.

Join the conversation using #USAfricaBizForum and follow our Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to see updates from the U.S.-Africa Business Forum.


U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and East African Leaders Agree to Business Commitments in New York

September 21, 2016

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

On Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker hosted the East African Heads of State roundtable in New York City. Held alongside the United Nations General Assembly meeting and the U.S.-Africa Business Forum, the roundtable brought together East African leaders to discuss business development, investment opportunities, and economic growth in their respective countries. Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of Uganda, Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, and William Ruto, Deputy President of Kenya participated, along with multiple U.S. and African CEOs from companies doing business in the region.


U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum’s East Africa Heads of State Roundtable

The roundtable built on the achievements from the CEO regional integration roundtable Secretary Pritzker co-chaired with President Kagame in January 2016 during her trip to Africa with members of the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa (PAC-DBIA). Secretary Pritzker facilitated yesterday’s discussion aimed at accelerating regional integration through practical and actionable private sector driven proposals in the areas of travel and tourism, agribusiness technology, and infrastructure. The East African leaders agreed to support these proposals, which are critical steps to expanding the bilateral trade and investment relationships between their respective countries and with the United States.

The impact of the travel and tourism sector on the economic and social development of a country can be enormous. Given this, Secretary Pritzker facilitated an agreement among the East African leaders and the U.S. Departments of Commerce and State to launch an annual rotating U.S.-East Africa Travel and Tourism Dialogue to promote East Africa as a top global travel and tourism destination and support the growth of new partnership opportunities for U.S. and East African companies in this sector.

While East African countries are exploring many exciting travel and tourism initiatives, agriculture remains the backbone of many African economies, and the sector has not reached its full potential During today’s roundtable, the East African leaders agreed to launch the pilot in Kenya and scale it across the other East African countries.  At the same time, they recognized that a more holistic approach to agribusiness development is necessary. As a result, Secretary Pritzker tasked the U.S. Department of Commerce to work with partner agencies to develop a comprehensive and data driven approach to address production, productivity and value added challenges.

Similarly, interconnected infrastructure is essential to realizing East Africa’s economic potential, and would significantly improve regional integration and the growth of intra-regional and global trade. East African leaders and Secretary Pritzker agreed to work together to address challenges in building large-scale infrastructure, with the goal of convening an Infrastructure Summit with U.S. investors and companies across the infrastructure value chain focused on specific projects in the critical areas of electricity, transport and water infrastructure.

For more information on the three proposals, please see our fact sheet.


Recommendations from President’s Export Council Stress Passing of TPP

September 19, 2016

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker attended the final meeting of the Obama Administration’s President’s Export Council. Bringing together leaders in government, business, labor, and agriculture, the PEC has served as the principal national advisory committee on international trade and meets regularly to discuss new recommendations for resolving trade-related challenges among the business, industrial, agricultural, labor and government sectors.

Penny Pritzker

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Delivers Opening Remarks at the Final Obama Administration Meeting of the President’s Export Council (PEC) at the White House.

In its final meeting with Secretary Pritzker, the PEC adopted key recommendations that emphasize the immediate need to work with Congress to approve the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement and secure a quorum on the board of the Export-Import Bank.

In a letter to President Obama on behalf of the Council, PEC Chair and Chairman and CEO of Xerox Corporation Ursula Burns stated that the private sector members of the PEC believe that the “single most important step the United States Government can take to promote increased U.S. exports and the continued recovery and growth of the U.S. economy is to secure passage of TPP this year.”

Citing increased market access abroad, comprehensive tariff elimination, enhanced IP protections, and strengthened labor and environmental protections, the PEC noted that TPP represents an important symbol of American commitment and leadership in the Asia Pacific, promoting geopolitical stability and offering positive direction for international relations.

In her remarks to the Council, Secretary Pritzker affirmed the Department of Commerce’s commitment to securing approval of the TPP, noting that it provides an opportunity to secure America’s influence in the Asia-Pacific, the fastest growing region in the world, and ensure U.S. businesses can compete on a level playing field.

In praising PEC members for their vocal support for TPP as it nears the finish line, Secretary Pritzker noted that with their help, the Trans-Pacific Partnership will be the crowning achievement of this Administration’s trade agenda.

Secretary Pritzker closed by thanking Council members for their work to strengthen the American economy and their pivotal role in supporting the Obama administration’s accomplishments in international trade including the passage of Trade Promotion Authority and Trade Adjustment Assistance, creating a more transparent and efficient export control system, finalizing a new trade agreement with Korea, Colombia and Panama, and creating the 2016 National Export Strategy, which is set to publish later this month.


U.S. Businesses in Metro Areas are Tapping into Markets Abroad

September 14, 2016

Ken Hyatt is the Acting Under Secretary for the International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

Now more than ever, U.S. businesses know how important it is to take advantage of export opportunities around the world. From coast to coast, businesses are selling their world-class goods to the more than 95 percent of potential customers who live outside our borders. The 2015 Metropolitan Area Export Overview  is a clear indicator of this movement, as many cities have increased exports or even set records. And along with the nation’s largest metropolitan areas sending out more American goods, many smaller areas have also set trade records.


2015 Metro Exports

Now to the numbers: U.S. metropolitan area goods exports exceeded 1.3 trillion in 2015, and accounted for 89 percent of goods exported from the United States. There were 156 metro areas that exported more than $1 billion of goods to consumers around the world. There were 14 metro areas that exported more than $20 billion of goods in 2015.

Let’s look at a couple examples: Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Washington; and El Paso Texas, both of which set records in 2015, have experienced impressive growth from 2009 to 2015. The Seattle area was ranked in the top five for 2015, while El Paso, Texas ranked in the top 20.

El Paso registered double-digit export growth in 2015, shipping $24 billion in goods abroad. El Paso has made impressive increases since 2009; this year representing a 22 percent increase from 2014, and a 217 percent increase from 2009. The city’s largest export goods categories included computers and electronic products; electrical equipment, appliances; and transportation equipment. Exceptionally, El Paso area sent 93.5 percent of its goods exported to markets where the United States has trade agreements enforced.

The Seattle area sent more than 25 percent of its goods exports to markets where the United States has trade agreements. Their exporting categories ranged from transportation equipment to computer & electronic products to fishing, hunting, and trapping goods.

It’s clear that both Seattle and El Paso, among the nation’s many metro areas, large and small, are making developments towards a more globalized market.

The Department of Commerce and the Obama Administration continue to focus on supporting U.S. jobs and raising wages. This includes efforts to sign high-standard agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Accessibility for U.S. exporters to the largest and most competitive markets has become top priority over the duration of the Administration. In fact, markets with Free Trade Agreements in force accounted for more than half of the total goods exports for 195 metropolitan areas.

For more information on the contributions of metro areas to U.S. exports, download your free copy of fact sheets for the top 50 exporting metro areas.