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

December 14, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

Three Reasons to Apply:

Financial Support to Increase Exports

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

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

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

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

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

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

Develop International Partnerships

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

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

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

Open to all Small U.S. Maritime Technology Companies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

December 12, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Council’s Key Priorities

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

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

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

Other Speakers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Foreign Investment Breathes New Life Into Ohio City

December 8, 2016

Guest blog post by Kristi Tanner, Automotive Senior Managing Director, JobsOhio

On October 7, Fuyao Glass America, a subsidiary of China-based Fuyao Group, celebrated the grand opening of its auto glass manufacturing facility in Moraine, a small industrial city just south of Dayton, Ohio. The company invested nearly $600 million to convert a shuttered General Motors assembly plant into the world’s largest auto glass fabrication facility – the largest capital investment east of the Mississippi by a Chinese company.

Many of us involved with the Fuyao project had the good fortune to tour the facility at its various stages of life. I recall seeing the plant before it closed when GM employed nearly 2,000 people producing the Chevrolet Trailblazer and GMC Envoy. Its transition from a behemoth building sitting empty during the recession to the world’s largest auto glass fabrication facility employing more than 2,000 workers today is how we know a long-term vision and collaborative approach are must-haves in any economic development strategy.

A coordinated effort and long-term vision to attract foreign direct investment is a must-have in any economic development strategy. Had local leadership not fought to keep the building from being demolished in the early days of the GM closure, we would never have been able to find a strong industrial developer willing to take a risk on the facility. Similarly, without the strong partnership and collaboration between SelectUSA, JobsOhio, the Dayton Development Coalition, Montgomery County and the city of Moraine, among others, we might never have been about to attract this company that is now giving hope to a city hit hard by job losses during the Great Recession.

The story behind Fuyao’s decision to redevelop the shuttered facility in Ohio is a textbook case illustrating how local, regional, state and national economic development organizations can work together to successfully attract foreign direct investment in the United States. Here’s how the story began.

Fuyao had expressed a desire to build a manufacturing plant in the U.S. to put the company’s automotive glass production closer to its North American customers. This led JobsOhio, the state’s private, non-profit economic development corporation, to attend the grand opening of Fuyao’s plant in Russia in September 2013. At the event, I presented Fuyao Group’s Chairman Cao Dewang with a personalized letter from Governor John Kasich inviting him to visit Ohio. The exchange led to an invitation to visit Fuyao’s corporate headquarters in Fuzhou, China, where I spent a day touring the operations and meeting with Chairman Cao other company leaders.

At around the same time, Cao was invited to attend the annual SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington, D.C. He decided he would travel to the U.S. for the event to meet with – and ultimately visit – the finalist sites for Fuyao’s planned U.S. manufacturing facility. He liked what he saw in Moraine – a skilled and available workforce, an existing plant near a rail line and an interstate highway, and easy access to both suppliers and customers. He also recognized Ohio’s genuine desire to support Fuyao’s long-term success in the U.S.

Fuyao’s investment has breathed new life into the plant and the city of Moraine. Hundreds of people who had been out of work now have jobs, including some that worked in the plant for GM. Income tax revenue from the new plant already is allowing the city to make much-needed road improvements. The plant is stimulating additional growth in Dayton’s automotive industry. Local economic development leaders are eager to see if Fuyao attracts additional Chinese investment in the region.

This is how today, combined with a globally connected economy and a coordinated effort among economic development leaders at every level, a Chinese company is now helping make the American Dream come true. The proof is history-making results for communities, states and companies alike.

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El Paso plastic molding company grows international sales by $8 million, exports 85 percent of product

December 8, 2016

After years of working with the U.S. Commercial Service, a plastics molding company here has expanded its profit margin by more than $8 million and created more than 100 jobs through cross-border sales into Mexico.

Plastic Molding Technology, Inc., a manufacturer of injection-molded plastic components that produces more than 150 million parts per year, has worked with the U.S. Commercial Service in El Paso and New Mexico since 2011. During that time, Robert Queen, Director of U.S. Commercial Service-El Paso, worked with PMT to lock in several new customers across the border in Ciudad Juarez.

People

Congressman Beto O’Rourke (center, left) and PMT owner and CEO Charles A. Sholtis joins PMT employees honor of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Export Achievement Award.

This is something PMT CEO Charles A. Sholtis said directly attributed to their company’s success today.

“PMT regards Robert Queen and the El Paso Commercial Service as excellent partners for our company, as well as strong advocates for American manufacturing,” said Sholtis. “The organization is professional and supportive of our needs as a plastic components manufacturer on the US-Mexico border. From helping us link with new opportunities, to connecting us in B2B meetings, to recognizing our achievements as an exporter, we value our partnership and appreciate the support.”

Together with its El Paso operations, the U.S. Commercial Service is a federal agency under the U.S. Department of Commerce dedicated to helping small and medium-sized businesses successfully enter global markets.

Through the assistance provided by CS El Paso, Robert Queen said PMT has had its visibility enhanced within the borderplex community. Additionally, the U.S. Commercial Service’s relationships and resources provided for important connections through business-to-business matchmaking and trades shows as well as up-to-date market intelligence, trade analysis data and industry reports that lead to a number of trade leads.

“The work we have done with PMT has been much more than just finding them opportunities overseas for export,” Queen said. “We’ve also helped to strengthen their position locally through networking, consulting, and talking about projects taking place both in El Paso and Cuidad Juarez.”

The increased demand for PMT’s products has also had an effect on their workforce. With the increased need for plastic molding injection with businesses on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, PMT has increased their workforce to 100 employees. These employees are broken down into four shifts that keep the plant running 24 hours, seven days a week.

“For companies like PMT, it’s more than just exporting; companies along the U.S.-Mexico border are taking part in product sharing, which requires more back-and-forth coordination and consulting,” Queen said. “This can take multiple years to complete. Because we are very much engaged in the local manufacturing environment due to its exports across the border, it’s easy for the U.S. Commercial Service to stay on the cusp of the manufacturing supply chain locally.”

According to their website, for five decades, PMT has serviced a wide array of industries Including automotive, appliance, electrical, medical, agricultural, marine, and consumer products. Strategically located in El Paso, Queen said PMT is well-positioned to serve the maquiladora plants in Mexico, and continue to seek out other opportunities in the United States’ southern neighbor.

Interested in connecting with the U.S. Commercial Service? Visit us on the web to find an office near you.

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Put Your Company at the Export Starting Gate

December 5, 2016

Country Commercial Guides Cover 97 Percent of World Economy Outside of the United States

By Curt Cultic, Senior Communications Specialist, U.S. Commercial Service, International Trade Administration

So what’s new on the export horizon for your company? Perhaps it’s narrowing down your choice of a new market in which to export, finding the latest market intelligence, or looking for the best way to pursue market entry strategies. Whatever your needs, when conducting research on foreign markets, do what thousands of U.S. businesses do each year: start by checking out the International Trade Administration’s U.S. Country Commercial Guides (CCGs). Altogether, the CCGs cover markets representing 97 percent of global GDP outside of the United States.CCG

Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Director General of the U.S. Commercial Service, Arun Kumar today unveiled an expanded portfolio of U.S. Country Commercial Guides, designed to help U.S. companies doing business overseas. This year, 16 new countries, and a World Bank Commercial Guide have been added to the current CCG portfolio. Altogether, the more than 140 countries covered by the CCGs now represent 97 percent of global GDP outside of the United States.

“Made in America has a worldwide reputation,” said Kumar. “Greater access to cutting edge market intelligence is key to helping more U.S. exporters leverage new and emerging international opportunities.”

With the recent addition of 16 new countries, the CCGs now serve as a window into more than 140 foreign markets. Businesses will be able to gain insight into the latest intelligence on high-demand industry sectors – and also receive market-by-market economic overviews, selling techniques, investment climate considerations, trade financing options, and business travel advice and resources.

Since the CCGs are written by “boots-on-the-ground” U.S. Commercial Service trade professionals and U.S. State Department economic officers—all living and working in the country—you can be confident on getting accurate and up-to-date information on your market of interest.

Among the new country additions are the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Ecuador, Fiji, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Oman, Namibia, Qatar, Suriname, and Sri Lanka; as well as a number of sub-Saharan Africa countries: Chad, Sao Tome and Principe, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. In addition, the new CCG portfolio also includes a World Bank Group Commercial Guide that provides insights into how World Bank-funded projects work, and how American firms, from prime contractors to subcontractors and suppliers, can identify and access opportunities in them.

By doing your homework first, you can avoid costly mistakes that could set your company back and cost valuable time and money. That’s critical in today’s competitive global economy where more than 95 percent of world consumers reside outside of U.S. borders.

On the website, businesses can also find out more about the global U.S. Commercial Service export assistance network of 108 offices across the United States, and in U.S. embassies and consulates in more than 75 countries.

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North American Integration and Partnership

December 2, 2016

Stephen Sullivan is an International Trade Specialist in the Office of North America. Gina Bento is a Commerical Specialist in the Office of North America

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

In a climate where many believe that companies are leaving the U.S. to produce goods where labor is less expensive, one Canadian company has shown how much it values U.S. labor and its critical North American supply chain.  Gildan Activewear Inc. is a manufacturer of T-shirts, fleece, sports shirts, socks, and underwear that invested and continues to invest in production based in the United States.

Founded in 1984, Gildan is headquartered in Montreal, Canada. With a number of different acquisitions over the past few years, Gildan has invested hundreds of millions of dollars into U.S.-based facilities as it pursues a decentralized manufacturing strategy, taking advantage of supply chains that allow a smoother flow of goods between suppliers, producers, and retailers.

Many fashion and apparel companies moved production to China upon its accession to the World Trade Organization in 2001. Instead of following the trend, Gildan utilized the strength of high-standard bilateral and regional trade agreements closer to home. Since Gildan’s largest market is the U.S., having factories close to and within the U.S. means that orders can be fulfilled quicker than those companies that have to ship products from locations like China.

Since 2000, Gildan has invested more than $400 million in yarn spinning facilities in North Carolina and Georgia. Currently, Gildan has 2,600 full-time employees in the U.S., who earn an average of $32,270 (plus benefits) annually. By being savvy about import and export tariffs, and investments, Gildan is able to compete with T-shirts made in China, even though Gildan is paying more for labor costs.

This year, Gildan is acquiring American Apparel as it files for bankruptcy. The acquisition will save U.S. jobs and create revenue growth opportunities by leveraging Gildan’s extensive distribution networks to increase the brand’s penetration in the growing fashion basics segments of global markets. A dominant supporter of U.S. cotton production, Gildan purchases 25 percent of U.S. cotton.  With the imminent procurement of American Apparel, it will soon be possible for Gildan to manufacture a cotton product that is made entirely within the United States.

By choosing to invest in facilities within the North American supply chain, Gildan has saved jobs that would have been lost to company bankruptcy, and added more U.S. jobs by opening new factories. Upon completion of this new acquisition, Gildan will gain licenses to manufacture Under Armour®, Mossy Oak®, and New Balance® brands; all of which are American companies, increasing job opportunities for Americans.

Talk to your local specialist and receive in-depth advice on exporting, international sales, logistics, finance, and trade dispute resolutions.

 

 

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U.S.-China Tourism Year 2016

December 1, 2016

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

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

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Secretary Penny Pritzker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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