Posts Tagged ‘Export Achievement Certificate’


Supporting Innovation and Exports in the Bay Area

July 24, 2012

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Francisco Sánchez is the Under Secretary for International Trade

I was excited to travel to San Francisco and the Bay Area on Monday. As the Under Secretary of International Trade, this area has special importance because it is home to some key industries for America’s economy, especially knowledge-based and clean-technology (cleantech) industries.

The Bay Area is also on the forefront of American innovation. The region produces more patents than any other area of the United States and attracts 36 percent of the nation’s total venture capital investment. In addition, the Bay Area boasts more Ph.D. scientists and engineers than any other metropolitan area in the U.S.

Innovation leads to new ways to use technology and capital that make American workers more productive, leading to new job opportunities. It also helps U.S. companies stay competitive abroad, allowing them to deliver better quality products for less. Innovation is good for the economy and for American workers.

Under Secretary Francisco Sánchez presents Nikolas Weinstein of Nikolas Weinstein Studios an Export Achievement Certificate at his studio in San Francisco (Photo Commerce)

Under Secretary Francisco Sánchez presents Nikolas Weinstein of Nikolas Weinstein Studios an Export Achievement Certificate at his studio in San Francisco (Photo Commerce)

The Bay Area is a good example of how innovation can help create jobs. According to the Progressive Policy Institute, there are an estimated 311,000 people employed making applications, games and other tools for smartphones and devices and for social networking sites like Facebook.

The Department of Commerce has long recognized this and recently we have undertaken several new initiatives to help encourage innovation. Most recently, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced they would open four new branch offices in Detroit, Denver, Dallas and one right here in San Jose. The new branch offices will help speed up the patent and trademark process, allowing local entrepreneurs to innovate faster.

As part of the effort, Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank was just in the Bay Area two weeks ago to promote the office and detail Commerce initiatives to help spur innovation.

While in the Bay Area, I hosted an insourcing roundtable with five local companies who are making insourcing a reality. Insourcing is a growing trend in the U.S. where U.S. companies are bringing manufacturing jobs – once outsourced- back to American soil. More and more businesses are realizing the best place to grow their capacity is right here in America. To help encourage the process, the Department of Commerce has started new initiatives such as SelectUSA to attract business investment back to the United States.

Insourcing represents many new opportunities to create good-paying manufacturing jobs, and we’ve created a fact sheet to let you know how we’re supporting American manufacturers.

After our insourcing roundtable, I met with executives from Cureline Inc. and toured their facilities. Cureline is a biomedical research group that works with medical centers in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

We consider biotech an emerging industry at ITA, and because of that they have unique needs to succeed abroad. Cureline participated in a Commerce sponsored health IT trade mission to Mexico in May and with the help of the U.S. Export Assistance Center in San Francisco has successfully found clients in Europe in Japan. Cureline also plans to open a new research facility in South San Francisco within a year, which means more local jobs. This is an exciting new industry that shows great promise for the future.

While I was in San Francisco, I also had the pleasure of meeting Nikolas Weinstein, founder of Nikolas Weinstein Studios and presenting him with an Export Achievement Award for all the work he’s done abroad. Nicholas Weinstein Studios creates unique architectural glass installations in the Mission District of San Francisco, although over 90 percent of their work is sold abroad. For example, in 2010, the studio designed, manufactured and installed a 300-foot long glass sculpture in the lobby of the Hotel Intercontinental in Shanghai. In 2009, they began working with the U.S. Commercial Service in San Francisco to seek counseling on international markets in Japan, China and Hong Kong.

Nicholas Weinstein Studios is the perfect example of a small business using exports as a way to support good-paying jobs in America. The bottom line is: exports equals jobs. To find out more about how to use the resources we have at ITA to help your business export, I urge everyone to visit


Chicago Today, Russia Tomorrow

June 27, 2012

Francisco Sánchez is the Under Secretary for International Trade

Today I was fortunate enough to speak at the SMC3 conference in Chicago about the progress we’ve made toward achieving the President’s goal of doubling U.S. exports. SMC3 is a supply chain industry association that provides technology to shipping and logistics companies across the country, the very same companies who ensure the efficient transportation of American exports. Each year, the conference brings together representatives from America’s most active manufacturing, trucking, rail, shipping, and logistics firms.

The success of U.S. exporters depends in part on U.S. businesses being able to quickly and efficiently get their products to market. So it was fitting that I gave these remarks in Chicago, home to some of America’s most important freight and transportation corridors. According to the latest data, the Chicago metropolitan area is the 7th largest export market in the U.S. with merchandise shipments totaling nearly $34 billion.

Under Secretary Francisco Sanchez and Chicago U.S. Export Assistance Center Director Julie Carducci present Export Achievement Certificate to BayRu CEO Aaron Block. (Photo Commerce)

Chicago is also home to some of America’s top exporters. I was pleased to honor an innovative company, BayRu, with an Export Achievement Certificate while in Chicago. Their online store,, BayRu is one of the fastest growing e-commerce sites in Russia. On, Russian shoppers can buy a wide range of American consumer goods found in catalogues like E-bay and Amazon and then have those products shipped to more than 160 cities across Russia and other CIS states.

But what makes this company unique is that it’s headquartered right here…in Skokie, Illinois. BayRu has a unique business model of buying American consumer goods here, which are often tough to find in Russia, repackaging them, and then exporting those goods for delivery in Russia.

In January 2011, BayRu partnered with the International Trade Administration’s Commercial Service in Chicago and Moscow to gain market knowledge and insight. Since partnering with ITA, BayRu’s export sales increased by more than $10 million and it plans to create 20 local jobs here in the Chicago area.

BayRu is just another example of an American company being creative, growing their business through exports, and creating good-paying jobs for Americans in the process. But it is also the prime example of a company that would benefit from Russia’s WTO accession and the repeal of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment.

Currently, Russia is set to join the WTO, which will reduce tariffs and increase transparency, making it easier for American companies to access this large and growing export market. However, Russia is still covered by the Jackson-Vanik Amendment, which makes trade conditional with certain economies. If this amendment is not repealed, American businesses would not be able to enjoy the benefits of more open trade with Russia.

That’s why the Obama administration has called on Congress to repeal the amendment and grant Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with Russia as soon as possible. It makes no sense to let American businesses stand on the sideline while our global competitors take advantage of Russia’s WTO accession and gain access to a growing market with new opportunities for innovative American companies, like BayRu.

If Congress establishes PNTR with Russia, it will open the door for American businesses to expand into Russia and create jobs here at home. BayRu will enjoy many real benefits, direct and indirect. Increasing trust and awareness of U.S. brands will help drive their growth even further and help them create more good-paying jobs in Chicago.

This is an important issue for many businesses across the country. To find out more about what Russia WTO accession and the repeal of Jackson-Vanik could mean for business, visit our website where you’ll find detailed reports on potential opportunities for U.S. businesses.


Congresswoman Lofgren Recognizes Silicon Valley Export Achievements

February 21, 2012

Joanne Vliet is the director of the Silicon Valley U.S. Export Assistance Center, in San Jose, California, part of the network of 108 Export Assistance Centers located throughout the United States.

Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren presented the Commerce Department's Export Achievement Certificate to the City of San Jose. San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed accepted the award.

Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren presented the Commerce Department’s Export Achievement Certificate to the City of San Jose. San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed accepted the award.

Over the past few months, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren has been busy recognizing companies and organizations in her Silicon Valley district for their significant achievements in exporting. Four Silicon Valley technology firms and community organizations have been awarded the Commerce’s Department’s prestigious Export Achievement Certificate, which were presented by Representative Lofgren.

Silicon Valley is recognized worldwide as the epicenter of innovation and entrepreneurship, but also is an exporting powerhouse.  The San Francisco Bay Area is the fourth largest exporting region in the U.S., with nearly $50 billion in exports annually – more than half of which come from Silicon Valley. The Valley has also been a bright spot for employment in recent years.  Silicon Valley leads the region with the greatest percentage increase in jobs in 2011 — and those jobs are tied to exports.  Indeed, San Jose has the largest percentage of jobs created by exports in the entire United States, which is both an impressive statistic and significant benefit to the region, as exports typically support higher paying jobs.

In recognition of these organizations’ accomplishments in exporting, Lofgren presented U.S. Department of Commerce Export Achievement Certificates to Echelon Corporation, SolFocus, San Jose State University, and the City of San Jose.  All have worked with the Commerce Department’s local Silicon Valley U.S. Export Assistance Center to expand into overseas markets.

Echelon Corp. of San Jose has long been a leader in energy control networking systems to improve the efficiency of energy distribution in buildings and industrial environments. In 2010, Echelon generated more than 70% of its revenue from outside the U.S. Acknowledging the support provided to his company by the U.S. Commercial Service, Echelon CEO Ron Sege stated, “We are proud of what we’ve accomplished worldwide with our proven, open standard, multi-application solutions, and we could not have done it without the hard work and dedication of our employees and the support of the U.S. Department of Commerce and particularly the staff of the Silicon Valley office of the U.S. Commercial Service.”

Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren presents Ron Sege, CEO of Echelon Corporation with the U.S. Commerce Department’s Export Achievement Certificate.

Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren presents Ron Sege, CEO of Echelon Corporation with the U.S. Commerce Department’s Export Achievement Certificate.

SolFocus, a producer of concentrated photovoltaics, also headquartered in San Jose, deployed business development staff to Australia in 2009 to meet with a dozen business prospects. Through the Commerce Department’s Gold Key Service, SolFocus was introduced to local development partners for a $2.3 million project at the Alice Springs Airport. As a result, 28 SolFocus arrays began generating power for the airport’s internal grid in the summer of 2010.

The fast-growing clean tech sector depends on outstanding business managers and engineers, and in Silicon Valley, many of those highly skilled workers attended San Jose State University.  Higher education is one of the top ten U.S. service exports and San Jose State is one of the 200 top research universities in the nation.  With more than 30,000 students enrolled, San Jose State University also has become a leader in attracting foreign students.  Through its Office of International and Extended Studies, San Jose State has engaged with the U.S. Commercial Service for the last 15 years to expand their international student population and international partnerships around the world. Since that time, the U.S. Commercial Service’s global network of trade professionals and programs has supported San Jose State’s efforts through trade counseling, business matchmaking, and the recruitment of academic delegations and partnering activities with educational organizations in countries such as China, India, Russia, Japan, Taiwan, among a number of other markets.

Businesses in Silicon Valley depend heavily on a number of organizations and networks to be successful.  A critical component of the Valley’s ecosystem is its vast array of business organizations, which are vital to the commercial infrastructure.  The City of San Jose has long been an active supporter of exporting through a variety of programs, services and resources. Congresswoman Lofgren and the City of San Jose have long understood the crucial role exporting plays in the economy – both were deeply involved in rallying community support for the opening of the U.S. Export Assistance Center in San Jose in 1996. Since its opening, the Silicon Valley U.S. Export Assistance Center has collaborated with the City to highlight the importance of trade to the region and collaborated on seminars, trade missions, visiting delegations, and VIP visits.  When accepting the award, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed observed, “When the Presidentsaid he wanted to double exports in five years, I knew this would be great for the San Jose economy.  I want to thank the U.S. Department of Commerce for supporting our businesses who want to do business overseas.”

As Representative Lofgren noted, “Exports constitute an important element of the growth of San Jose’s economy. We have the highest percentage of jobs created by exports, which attests to the benefits of international trade for our companies and for our City.”  The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Silicon Valley U.S. Export Assistance Center plays a key role in Silicon Valley’s trade promotion infrastructure by helping grow and foster export activities in the community.  Through awards such as the Export Achievement Certificate, the U.S. Commercial Service recognizes the contributions that companies such as Echelon and SolFocus, as well as organizations such San Jose State University and the City of San Jose, make to the success of the Silicon Valley economy.


Senator Casey Presents EAC to Pennsylvania Exporter

April 14, 2010

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Tony Ceballos is the Director of the Philadelphia U.S. Export Assistance Center of the U.S. Commercial Service.

Last Friday, I had the pleasure of heading a collaborative event between the U.S. Commercial Service and Senator Bob Casey.  We gathered at the headquarters of ABEC Inc., and for good reason.  ABEC Inc. is a biotechnology company that has grown their business with the help of the Commercial Service and expanded into several new markets through a handful of well orchestrated export campaigns. Most recently, ABEC has been preparing to sell their cutting edge bioreactors in China, the Philippines, and the United Arab Emirates.   Senator Casey made the journey to Hanover, PA to recognize and commend the great accomplishments of ABEC Inc. in their continuing success in the field of export.  As an acknowledgment of ABEC Inc.’s success they were honored with the Export Achievement Award, a rare honor which has only been presented to five companies in Pennsylvania this year. Moreover, this recognition identifies ABEC Inc. as a model for companies seeking opportunities in global markets. The company’s achievements and the Senator’s support of U.S. exports were prominently noted in Lehigh Valley’s  Express-Times article.