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Where were you on Manufacturing Day?

October 27, 2016

As we close out Manufacturing Month, SelectUSA is featuring a two-part guest blog from members of the Federal Interagency Investment Working Group (IIWG).  The IIWG is responsible for coordinating activities across federal agencies that promote investment.

Mark Schmit is National Accounts Manager for the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership. 

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker was in Portland, Oregon at a Makers Gone Pro Event. Secretary Pritzker spoke to recent high school graduates pursuing technical careers and joined 100 students at the Lam Research Facility, the world’s second-largest semiconductor equipment manufacturer, emphasizing that by 2024, America’s economy will need to fill 2.2 million openings for production workers; half a million openings for engineers; and an untold number of openings for jobs in new, emerging occupations

I was fortunate to be invited to attend How Manufacturing Drives the Economy, an event hosted by the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International (FMA) in Rockford, Illinois. Expert panelists highlighted the significant role manufacturing plays in bolstering America’s economy and the critical need to ensure that the sector remains a positive force.

Each panelist asserted that Manufacturing Day (MFG Day) – the 5th iteration was held on October 7th – exemplifies the importance of manufacturing.  Thousands of manufacturers hosted students, teachers, parents, job seekers and community leaders at open houses, plant tours and educational sessions to showcase modern manufacturing technology and the attractive jobs that are available. It was (and still is) a chance for students to see innovative, impactful, durable and diverse career options. MFG Day can also help current students understand how to apply their studies in math and science to those careers. It dispels old, negative myths and stereotypes about manufacturing through highlighting the shift from a labor-intense environment to one of high-tech robotics and computers.

Stephen Gold, President and CEO of the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation, explained that the manufacturing value chain is far bigger than we think, since official government statistics only measure the value of the upstream supply chain and only include goods sold to final demand.  But the downstream chain, from sales to transport to aftermarket services – significantly multiplies this impact.

Kenneth Voytek, Chief Economist for the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership program (MEP), shined a spotlight on the metalworking cluster in the upper Midwest. Via the U.S. Cluster Mapping tool, Voytek demonstrated that approximately 70% of the metalworking cluster is agglomerated in the Great Lakes region – no more than a day’s drive from Rockford, where the event took place. Citing MEP data, Voytek noted that workforce development will be the metalworking industry’s greatest challenges for the next three years – from recruitment to growth and continuous improvement. These were more acute challenges for firms this sector when compared to all other MEP clients – but clustering is expected to play a key role in attracting a wider pool of talent.

Scott Mayer, Chairman and CEO of QPS Employment Group, noted that baby boomers are retiring at a high rate, and a new generation of manufacturing workers is needed. However, filling this gap continues to be a challenge, due in part to the fact that there is not enough recognition that the sector supports many good, well-paid, middle-class jobs. Mayer pointed to a need for more “grassroots” efforts involving parents and educators alike to make sure high school students know they have choices beyond traditional four-year degrees. Indeed, many young people may be better suited to skilled trades.

Dr. Chris Kuehl, managing partner at Armada Corporate Intelligence and FMA economic analyst, looked at the significance of U.S. manufacturing from a global perspective. “The manufacturing sector is the dominant player in U.S. exports, particularly with heavy machinery and other capital goods,” he said, “and the U.S. is more export dependent than people realize; it accounts for 14 percent of GDP, almost matching export-driven Japan at its 14.7 percent of GDP. What most people don’t recognize is that the U.S. accounts for 30 percent of all global manufacturing by value. China accounts for only 10 percent.”

The event was, for me, eye-opening and inspirational.  On the return trip to O’Hare International Airport I had time to reflect on all that I heard and how it all fits together.  Resting my head against the window as we rolled east on I-90, I saw the many of the metal working companies that Kenneth Voytek talked about earlier. Many of those companies had an American flag outside their facilities, but it was also obvious that some of those companies represented vital international investment in our country: Amada in Schaumburg, IL is a Japanese company; Bystronic in Elgin, IL is Swiss-owned company; Mazak also in Elgin, IL is Japanese; and Trumpf in Hoffman Estates, IL, is German.

The metal cluster along I-90 in Illinois is grand on an international scale, and manufacturing companies from all over the world want to establish a presence there. They want to be part of the local manufacturing ecosystem and do business in the United States.  Which all begs the question . . .

Where were you on Manufacturing Day 2016?  And even more importantly – where will you be next year?

Follow SelectUSA and MEP on Twitter and join the conversation at #MFGmonth.

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ITA Supports Industry in Advancing Standards and Codes for Sustainable Construction

October 26, 2016

Joanne Littlefair is a Senior International Trade Specialist in Industry and Analysis’s Office of Materials Industries. She serves as Team Lead for the MDCP with ASTM International and International Code Council.

International markets supported more than $86 billion in exports for U.S. building product manufacturers in 2015. In fact, construction is expected to remain a growth sector globally looking forward, and a trend toward more sustainable “green” construction has swept world markets. ITA makes its mark on reducing and preventing technical barriers to trade in building products and services through its Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP) with ASTM International. Focusing on the dynamic Gulf Cooperation Council states in the Middle East , the MDCP advances knowledge and solutions in a key element of trade facilitation: international standards.

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ASTM International booth, with ASTM, ITA, and ICC staff at a Doha, Qatar trade event in May 2015

International standards, along with building codes and technical regulations that reference such standards, play an important role in facilitating global trade by creating the certainty in which buyers and sellers thrive. High-quality, widely accepted international standards create a common language and common technical understanding, providing authoritative requirements for materials and products, procedures, and testing. A recent ITA study showed technical regulations potentially linked to 92 percent of U.S. goods exports in 2015.

In 2014, ITA launched its MDCP with ASTM International and code partner International Code Council (ICC) to share existing solutions and approaches with Gulf partners tackling complex sustainable construction challenges. The multi-year program includes workshops in the Gulf to learn about leaders’ priorities and initiatives, Gulf official delegation visits to the U.S. to engage in standards development and building code development activities, and a variety of hands-on and virtual training in green building topics.

Full details about the ITA MDCP, along with all presentations, webinar videos and other materials are publicly available and can be found at the ASTM program website. The most recent MDCP event was the October 20th ASTM-ICC-ITA Standards and Codes for Sustainable Construction workshop in Dubai with government and industry leaders. This workshop built on multiple events during Discover America week in Dubai, in which ASTM International’s senior leaders discussed the importance of standards to a wide variety of growing industries.

ITA projects $4 billion in new export opportunities in 2018 for just a subset of industries that benefit from the growth of green building: HVAC, lighting, plumbing, wood products, insulation, doors and windows, and glass.

Finally, ITA provides an excellent resource guide in its new and fascinating export market report 2016 Top Markets: Building Products and Sustainable Construction. This report projects which international markets will hold greatest value for these U.S. building products exporters in 2018 and provides detailed country case studies of leading markets.

Stay Informed and Engage in International Standards Development

Sign up for Notify U.S.to review and comment on proposed regulations around the world. Notify U.S. is a free, web-based information service designed to disseminate World Trade Organization Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (WTO TBT) notifications. It features e-mail notifications of changes to domestic and foreign technical regulations for industrial products (including product packaging, marking and labeling) and offers complete texts of proposed regulations for review and comment.

Sign up for ITA Standards Alert to learn about opportunities to participate in standards development in organizations such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). Standards Alert is an ITA service in cooperation with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the private sector coordinator of the U.S. Standards system. U.S. company participation is key to making sure that standards do not become trade barriers.

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Connecting Economies for Growth: Secretary Pritzker on Why the TPP Matters

October 26, 2016

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

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This week, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker sat down with Motorola Solutions CEO Greg Brown in Chicago to discuss the benefits of the Trans-Pacific Partnership’s (TPP) for U.S. businesses of all sizes. Their discussion was the focal point of a Motorola town hall in which employees had the opportunity to hear first-hand about the trade agreement. TPP is the most ambitious, high-standard trade agreement ever negotiated by the United States. Economic benefits of the agreement include the elimination of more than 18,000 tariffs and the elimination of discriminatory trade barriers that prevent U.S. companies from doing business in the Asia-Pacific region.

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U.S. Secretary Commerce Penny Pritzker and Motorola Solutions CEO Greg Brown at an armchair discussion in Chicago.

Secretary Pritzker and Mr. Brown discussed why TPP’s approval is important for U.S. employers and workers. In 2015, 4.1 million American jobs were supported by goods and services exports to the 11 TPP countries. With the agreement in place, there is an opportunity to create more jobs by reducing barriers to American exports of goods and services.

TPP also benefits employers and workers by allowing the U.S. to shape the rules of the global economy. For example, TPP contains the toughest labor protections of any U.S. trade agreement in history by requiring strong, enforceable standards in each partner country. In addition, TPP is the first Free Trade Agreement to require criminal penalties for trade secret theft, including by means of a computer system.

Small and medium-sized businesses will also benefit from TPP. For the first time in any trade agreement, there is a dedicated chapter on small and medium-sized businesses that focuses on how these firms can benefit from trade. TPP will address trade barriers that pose disproportionate challenges to small businesses, such as high tariffs, overly complex trade paperwork, corruption, customs “red tape,” restrictions on Internet data flows, weak logistics services that raise costs, and slow delivery of small shipments.

Secretary Pritzker underscored that TPP will promote American leadership and values internationally. Many TPP partners continue to not only welcome, but rely on a strong U.S. presence for everything from keeping the seas open for trade to protecting their territorial integrity. TPP will make the U.S. stronger abroad, bringing the U.S. closer together with allies and enhancing security and stability across the entire Asia-Pacific.

As Secretary Pritzker took questions from Mr. Brown and Motorola employees, she stressed that there will be consequences for American workers, and American businesses if TPP is not approved by Congress this year. She noted failure to approve TPP could cost the U.S. economy $94 billion each year in lost economic opportunities. The Secretary also emphasized the strategic consequences of inaction, affirming that countries like New Zealand, Vietnam, and Malaysia already have trade agreements with China, thus American exporters today have to pay the full tariff rates that their Chinese competitors do not. She stressed that the U.S. cannot afford to miss this opportunity to secure influence in the Asia-Pacific and ensure American businesses can compete.

To hear more about TPP from Greg Brown and Secretary Pritzker listen to their radio interview with WBEZ Chicago’s Worldview.

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Discover Global Markets: Healthcare Connections Provides Expert Resources to Help U.S. Firms Expand Healthcare Exports

October 25, 2016

This post is co-authored by U.S. Commercial Service Seattle Director Diane Mooney and Global Healthcare Team Leader Tembi Secrist who shared the lead in organizing the recent Discover Global Markets: Healthcare Connections business forum.

Hundreds of healthcare sector exporters from 33 states convened in Seattle, Washington recently for the U.S. Commercial Service’s Discover Global Markets: Healthcare Connections business forum to access the expert resources needed to identify and capitalize on new international market opportunities.

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U.S. Commercial Service International Trade Specialist Young Oh counsels a U.S. firm on export strategies during the Discover Global Markets: Healhcare Connections business forum in Seattle, Washington.

The forum highlighted the importance of exports on the U.S. economy.  “SMEs are an engine of economic growth,” said CS Deputy Director General Judy Reinke in remarks to conference attendees. “What you do in the global market affects the health of billions of people.” Reinke presented the below three firms with Export Achievement Certificates to recognize their international successes and the associated positive impacts on their local communities:

  • Pleasanton, California-based Theradome Inc. recently exported a device for treating hair loss to the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Singapore, and anticipates export sales of $1 million to these markets over the coming year.
  • San Jose, California-based BrighTex Bio-Photonics provides diagnostic technology to the medical imaging industry and recently exported products worth $100 thousand to Chile.
  • Kirkland, Washington-based Precision Image Analysis, Inc. processes diagnostic healthcare images and obtains 60 percent of total sales revenue from exports.

“It was a unique forum which brought together high-level intelligence from international markets, one-on-one meetings with U.S. Commercial Service industry specialists from around the world, and meetings with potential buyers and partners,” said attendee Francis Parnell, M.D., chairman and CEO of Parnell Pharmaceuticals.  “The U.S. Commercial Service stands out as a government agency that truly supports the private sector.   As a small U.S. company founder and CEO, I know they’re on my side and want to help me succeed.”

During the three-day conference, attendees heard from more than 50 healthcare speakers including industry leaders from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Intellectual Ventures, Microsoft, and GE Healthcare Clinical Business Solutions. Participants also joined interactive panel sessions addressing market opportunities in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and South America; as well as sessions focused on the impact of big data on global health, trends in medical travel, and regional regulatory and policy issues.

U.S. firms obtained up-to-the-minute market intelligence and export advice from U.S. Commercial Service (CS) specialists from 22 countries. In fact, 491 one-on-one counseling sessions were conducted with exporters during the 2 ½ day conference.

Additionally, U.S. exporters had the chance to meet with 17 foreign buyers from 10 countries who were interested in sourcing U.S. healthcare goods and services including health IT systems, medical devices, hospital HVAC systems and pharmaceuticals. The CS arranged nearly 270 meetings between 84 U.S. exporters and the buyers, resulting in at least 10 deals made during the conference.  More sales are expected based upon feedback from U.S. firms and buyers.

The chance to network was another valuable component of the forum.  In fact, Joel Rydbeck of Infor, who attended the Discover Global Markets: Healthcare Connections forum, said, “It was truly one of the more valuable events I’ve attended this year and I want to thank you for the helpful networking connections I was able to make.”

As Acting Under Secretary of International Trade Ken Hyatt said during his opening remarks, ITA provides a wide range of data and services to help small businesses identify market opportunities.  For those who were not able to attend the Discover Global Markets: Healthcare Connections event or would like additional information on international healthcare sector opportunities, please visit the CS Global Healthcare Team website and review the market reports listed below.

Health Technologies Resource Guide 

Top Markets Series Reports:

Health IT 

Medical Devices

Pharmaceuticals

The next event in the Discover Global Markets series focuses on building smart cities and will be held in Chicago on Nov. 1-3. More information about the event can be found here.

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Getting Ahead with GetGlobal

October 24, 2016

Kenneth Hyatt is Acting Under Secretary, International Trade Administration (ITA)

Last week, I had the honor of addressing the GetGlobal Conference which took place October 20 – 21 in Los Angeles. The GetGlobal organization provides insights into the opportunities and challenges that companies face in many of the world’s most exciting markets, and assists companies in navigating these markets.

The conference itself created a space for companies to connect to a wide range of resources. It featured panels and workshops that offered insights on both tactics and strategies for successfully navigating new markets and provided opportunities to connect with industry leaders, field experts, CEOs, and current and former high-level officials, including former Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez. The International Trade Administration’s U.S. Commercial Service works closely with GetGlobal, coordinating services and products tailored to U.S. businesses who export around the world.

My overarching message to the attendees was that trade is the tool that allows our workers and companies to be part of the global nature of business.

For instance, while the share of middle-class consumers in North America and Europe is projected to fall over the next two decades, it is set to rise in many other areas of the world – including more than doubling in the Asia-Pacific region. Additionally, a critical shift in goods productions comes in light of the digitization of manufacturing. The potential for using data, in areas like 3D printing and e-commerce, means that goods production is on the edge of incredible innovation in the digital space. And with the majority of trade now comprised of intermediate goods and services, as well as capital goods, we must also remember that utilizing global supply chains is a critical part of being involved in global markets.

So what does that mean? The success of U.S. companies will depend on their ability to meet global demand, compete on a global playing field, and reap the benefits of the digital economy. And this, in turn, will create high-quality American jobs.

It also means that it is critical that we ensure trade facilitation and open international markets to the benefit of U.S. companies and consumers. That is why working with our international counterparts to secure the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement is a key goal of ITA, as it will reduce trade costs by as much as 14%. And it is also why we are working very hard to make the Trans-Pacific Partnership a reality. TPP, an historic trade agreement, will remove trade barriers in 11 Pacific Rim markets, while protecting the cross-border data flows that drive the digital economy.

ITA remains committed to supporting our exporters as they navigate the exciting trade opportunities around the world, to drive economic growth, increase wages, and create jobs across the U.S.

About GetGlobal

GetGlobal was created to address the knowledge vacuum that exists for U.S. businesses seeking to expand to foreign markets. An interactive and dynamic forum for ideas and information, GetGlobal was designed to unite innovative, forward thinking U.S. companies who would like to expand to other countries with the experts who can help make that a reality. With the knowledge gained at GetGlobal, U.S. companies will begin to possess the power to help them make smart and confident decisions about growing their businesses in foreign markets.

About the U.S. Commercial Service

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 international markets help U.S. companies to either start exporting or to increase their sales to new global markets.

About the International Trade Administration

The International Trade Administration (ITA) is the premier resource for American companies competing in the global marketplace. ITA has more than 2,200 employees assisting U.S. exporters in more than 100 U.S. cities and 75 markets worldwide. For more information on ITA visit www.trade.gov.

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Building new relationships through Trade Winds Mission – Latin America

October 18, 2016

Davis Wolf is the Manager of International Business Development at HD Supply Waterworks Company

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

As an international business development professional, the decision to attend the 2016 Trade Winds Mission was an easy one for me. Having already had an excellent experience with the International Trade Administration (ITA) and U.S. Department of Commerce, as well as with numerous commercial advisors stationed in our embassies throughout the Caribbean Basin and Central America, I greatly looked forward to participating in this event.

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Davis Wolf, HD Supply Waterworks, left, with Nayib Joussef, International Marketing Manager LA & TC, McElroy Manufacturing, and Isabel M. Valenzuela, Commercial Advisor, U. S. Embassy Chile

HD Supply Waterworks, the company I work for, seeks to systematically identify and develop viable international markets. Having the opportunity to pursue the Gold Key program in Chile was a way to ensure that our commercial requirements could be met, but also to confirm that the market would be receptive to our participation.

While the credibility of HD Supply Waterworks within the North American market is well-established, successfully translating our credibility on a local level was where having the Department of Commerce and our commercial advisor alongside us was very effective. The commercial advisor’s approach cultivated a clear understanding of our objectives, and resulted in the setting of appointments with the leading agencies throughout the local waterworks segment. At each appointment, we were sincerely welcomed, and exchanged in-depth information. The earnest invitations to participate and partner with the agencies were truly outstanding. Our meeting dates were in September, and I’m happy to say that our communication with the agencies we met has remained on track.

Perhaps the most important thing that came out of our participation was the value that HD Supply Waterworks received for the dollars invested. The credibility to set the appointments with the facilitators and decision makers – that the commercial advisor was able to confirm on relatively short notice – was much needed in order to have meaningful participation with the local agencies. I would estimate that no fewer than eight to ten highly targeted trips to Santiago would have otherwise been required to do so. The savings recognized through our participation in the Trade Winds Mission was exceptional.

I offer my sincerest thanks to the members of the Trade Winds team and the incredible experience they provided for us.

Learn more about ITA’s Trade Missions. 

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Celebrating Manufacturing Day in Pella, Iowa

October 12, 2016
Jason Andringa, President & CEO at Vermeer Corporation

Jason Andringa, President & CEO at Vermeer Corporation

Guest blog post by Jason Andringa, President & CEO at Vermeer Corporation

Throughout the year nearly 3,000 Vermeer team members work diligently to build impressive equipment that serves ten different markets. Our engineering team works hard to concept and design equipment; our manufacturing team machines, welds, paints and assembles the tough equipment we sell. Our support teams procure parts, integrate technology solutions, market the equipment and build relationships with customers and dealers on six continents. In order to experience ongoing success as a growing global company, we must continue to recruit, develop and build teams that can keep pace with our customer needs.

Numbers prove that a STEM-skilled workforce is essential to the future of manufacturing and our world. Every dollar spent in manufacturing adds $1.37 to the US economy, and every 100 jobs in a manufacturing facility create an additional 250 jobs in other sectors. Yet 80 percent of manufacturers report difficulty in finding skilled workers. Manufacturing clearly has an impact on the nation’s economy. So the skills gap we are facing in our industry has to be addressed in order to achieve a healthy workforce, and is sure to be reflective of the significant need throughout the nation.

Our annual Manufacturing Day event at the Vermeer headquarters in Pella, Iowa has proven to have some of the most positive, immediate results in shifting the manufacturing perception. We invite local middle and high school students inside our doors and break down the myth that manufacturing means a dirty job.

Through hands-on activities and plant tours, students get to dig into all the facets of manufacturing. Paint and weld simulators offer an opportunity to try it out. 3D printing, digital assembly and robotics activities show students manufacturing isn’t an outdated assembly line, but rather a smartly progressive field maximizing science and technology. Finance and marketing activities have students calculate exchange rates and see that manufacturing isn’t limited to a factory, but instead is connected around the globe.

We’re once again preparing to give students an up-close look at what manufacturing is all about. Why? Students, and their influencers, want it. An Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council survey shows that 94 percent of Iowans think STEM education should be a priority in their local school districts. Our Manufacturing Day experience reflects that. Attendance jumped from 100 students to 700+ in just three years.

We also make it a point to survey the students before and after their visit, and are very motivated by the results: The percentage of students who felt they understood what manufacturing is, jumped from 57 percent before Manufacturing Day to 97 percent after, and those who want to work in manufacturing someday jumped from 34 percent to 69 percent. With the majority of students saying that personal experience directs them down a particular career path, we want Manufacturing Day to be one experience that launches them on a STEM journey toward manufacturing!

The future is bright for Vermeer, and when we open on our doors on October 14 for Manufacturing Day, we stand with pride to be a manufacturer and future employer to some of these students who will leave inspired to pursue a career in manufacturing.