Posts Tagged ‘Strategic Partnerships’


Partnering to Go Global: ITA & Baruch College

May 27, 2016

Jamie Merriman is the Acting Director of ITA’s Office of Strategic Partnerships

Baruch College, an ITA Strategic Partner, is empowering its students and solving real-world business problems through an innovative program with ITA’s U.S. Export Assistance Center (USEAC) in New York City.  Students in Professor Rajeev Sawant’s capstone class in the undergraduate international business major have an opportunity to assist local businesses that are clients of the USEAC with their strategy for entering international markets.

One of the Baruch international business capstone teams at World Trade Week NYC 2015

One of the Baruch international business capstone teams at World Trade Week NYC 2015

As part of their capstone class, the students work on a real-life case applying their theoretical learning to help a local company go global. This ‘live case’ method of teaching has provided practical help to real companies in NYC.

One company, Beauty Solutions, asked the students to identify the most promising new export markets for its lipstick brand.  The students researched various markets, analyzing the level of interest in U.S. products, the stability of the local currency, and the percentage of shopping done via television, as well as other factors.  The students developed a methodology to rank the researched markets and presented their findings to Jerry Rauchwerger, the President of Beauty Solutions and a Baruch alum, at the conclusion of the course.  Beauty Solutions found tremendous value in the students’ advice, and is utilizing their recommendations in planning its international marketing strategy.

The capstone program has provided actionable market insights to other businesses in the NYC area – and even generated employment opportunities for some enterprising students!  The students also supported ITA and Baruch last week during World Trade Week NYC.

ITA Strategic Partners like Baruch College provide critical linkages between ITA and U.S. businesses, helping us to reach more exporters and arm them with the information they need to succeed in today’s globally competitive marketplace.  ITA’s mission to strengthen the competitiveness of U.S. industry and promote trade and investment strengthens the U.S. economy, supports U.S. jobs, and fosters long-term, sustainable growth.


How Are Escrow Services Used In International Trade Transactions?

September 25, 2013

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Andrew K. Sokol is General Manager of Emerging Markets at, an International Trade Administration Strategic Partner.

The Trade Finance Guide is a helpful guide for U.S. companies that want to learn the basics of trade finance.

The Trade Finance Guide is a helpful guide about the basics of trade finance.

About a year ago, Professor David Wyld, Robert Maurin Professor of Management at Southeastern Louisiana University, wrote an article titled, “Securing the Transaction: The Advantages of Using Online Escrow Services Versus Letters of Credit in International Trade.” In that article, Professor Wyld predicts that with the use of escrow services, “we will see a growth in exporting (and importing) activities around the globe.”

The question is…what is an escrow service and how is it used in international trade transactions?

The International Trade Administration’s Trade Finance Guide (TFG) says an escrow service is a cash-in-advance option available to exporters and importers that reduces the potential risk of fraud. It acts as a trusted third party that collects, holds and disburses funds according to exporter and importer instructions.

Here’s how it works: the importer sends the agreed purchase amount to the escrow service. After payment is verified, the exporter is instructed to ship the goods. Upon delivery, the importer has a pre-determined amount of time to inspect and accept the goods. Once accepted, the funds are released by the escrow service to the exporter. The escrow fee can either be paid in full by one party or split evenly between the exporter and the importer.

The TFG also points out that, as an exporter, any sale is a gift until payment is received. And, because getting paid in full and on time is the ultimate goal for the seller in each sale, an appropriate payment method must be chosen carefully to minimize the payment risk while also accommodating the needs of the buyer.

But, as illustrated in the TFG, different payment types present different risks to exporters than to importers. And for a variety of reasons, not all of the identified methods of payment are available, or desirable, to either exporters or importers. Here’s how the risk levels are illustrated in the TFG:

For exporters, the most secure payment method is cash in advance, followed by letters of credit, documentary collections, open account and consignment. For importers, the list is reversed in a measure of security. More information is available in the Trade Finance Guide.

The Trade Finance Guide shows how some payment methods are more secure than others, depending on whether you are an importer or an exporter.

For the first time, however, the new 2012 edition of the TFG includes escrow services for “transactions with importers who demand assurance that the goods will be sent in exchange for advance payment” and states that “escrow in international trade is a service that allows both exporter and importer to protect a transaction by placing the funds in the hands of a trusted third party until a specified set of conditions are met.”

In other words, escrow services can offer a mutually beneficial cash-in-advance method for both parties. Plus, offering escrow services as a method of payment can actually add potential importers to U.S. exporters. In many cases, deals just don’t happen due to a payment related “issue” – and one example might be that you, as the exporter, require payment in full and up-front but the importer is reluctant to send the money until they receive the goods. In this case, by offering escrow services, both parties can be satisfied, the payment issue is resolved, and the deal closes. Cross-border escrow services are offered by international banks and firms that specialize in escrow and other deposit and custody services.

Like with any new business opportunity, if you are considering the use of escrow services, do your due diligence and make sure the one you choose is licensed and accredited. You can also verify the service you choose to do business with via:

(Editor’s Note: This post focuses on one of several possible methods for receiving payments for exports. It is not intended to be an endorsement of escrow services or any organization that provides escrow services. More information is available in the Trade Finance Guide.)


What Happens in Vegas… Is Good for the Economy

June 11, 2013

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Calynn Jenkins is an intern in the International Trade Administration’s Office of Public Affairs. She is studying political science at American University. 

Clark County Commissioner Tom Collins, Acting Deputy Under Secretary for International Trade Ken Hyatt, and LVCVA President/CEO Rossi Ralenkotter sign a Memorandum of Agreement between ITA and LVCVA.

Clark County Commissioner Tom Collins, Acting Deputy Under Secretary for International Trade Ken Hyatt, and Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority President/CEO Rossi Ralenkotter sign a Memorandum of Agreement to support Nevada’s tourism industry.

The United States’ growth in travel and tourism exports is the result of more than just a roll of the dice. Export success in this industry requires partnerships. Partnerships among government agencies as part of President Obama’s National Travel and Tourism Strategy have helped, and government leaders took another step earlier today.

Tuesday morning, Acting Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Kenneth Hyatt signed a Trade Promotion Partner Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA). This agreement between the International Trade Administration (ITA) and LVCVA creates a strategic partnership in order to strengthen Nevada’s tourism sector.

“LVCVA and ITA share a common mission to increase travel and tourism in the United States in order to boost our economy and create jobs,” said Hyatt. “I am pleased to commemorate our new partnership that will be instrumental in helping the Southern Nevada region increase the number of international visitors it attracts.”

Signing this agreement with Las Vegas makes sense; Las Vegas is a key destination for international travelers, with 39.7 million visitors in 2012. LVCVA has a goal of increasing the percentage of international visitors to Nevada from 17 to 30 percent.

“We will leverage the strength of the Las Vegas brand and the Las Vegas Convention Center’s World Trade Center designation to further position Las Vegas as a global business destination,” said LVCVA President/CEO Rossi Ralenkotter.

“Tourism drives the economic vitality of Las Vegas and supports nearly half of all the jobs in Southern Nevada,” said Clark County Commissioner Tom Collins. “The business community understands the importance of the industry.”

Not only will this agreement help the state of Nevada’s tourism sector and economy, but it supports nationwide growth in the industry. Travel and tourism supported 7.5 million jobs for American workers in 2012.

The International Trade Administration is committed to the continued growth of the U.S. travel and tourism sector. To learn more about our efforts visit the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries and for detailed information on international travel and tourism visit the 2012-2018 forecast.


Going Global With a Little Help From Our Friends

May 24, 2013

Bob McEntire and Barbara Banas are International Trade Specialists in the International Trade Administration’s Office of Strategic Partnerships.

A record number of American businesses are International Trade Administration emblemnow exporting, but there are so many others that could be selling their products and services overseas. Many that are currently exporting could be exporting to even more markets.

Here at the International Trade Administration, we work directly with businesses all over the country to help them start exporting or increase exports. One key tool in our mission to help U.S. companies compete abroad is our Strategic Partnerships Program.

This Program is a public/private partnership through which we work with some of America’s leading companies to promote exports. These companies help ITA get the word out about our services, and our partners get some extra subject matter expertise in the field of exporting.

It’s a win-win for all the organizations involved, and it helps support the President’s National Export Initiative goal to double U.S. exports by the end of 2014.

These partnerships are especially important during World Trade Month, when we take the opportunity to recognize the success that comes from them. All of our partners are helping support the U.S. economy and we appreciate the success stories they’re sharing, like this one from UPS.

In the near future, we’ll bring you more news from our partners as we all cooperate to increase American exports and help shape America’s economy of the future – one in which even more of our businesses are tapping markets overseas and supporting jobs here at home.

We are always looking for more strategic partners. Please let us know if your business would like to work with us.


U.S. India Importers’ Council Joins ITA’s Global Buyers Initiative

October 2, 2012

Matt Kennedy is the director of the Strategic Partnership Program

Under Secretary Sanchez and 3 DHL CEOs make ITA and DHL’s new partnership official at an MOU signing ceremony in New York City.

Under Secretary Sanchez and 3 DHL CEOs make ITA and DHL’s new partnership official at an MOU signing ceremony in New York City.

Yesterday, the U.S. India Importers’ Council (USIIC) joined the ITA’s Global Buyers Initiative. At the signing ceremony, Acting Assistant Secretary for Trade Promotion and Director General of the U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service Chuck Ford said, “Extending the global buyers initiative to India emphasizes the importance of trade for our two nations and brings our business communities one step closer together.”

As part of the Initiative, USIIC  will refer Indian companies in search of new technologies or alternative sources of supply to the USFCS who will then connect India’s company directly to US businesses who can meet their needs.

India is a key trading partner and US businesses – especially in aerospace, healthcare and medical devices, education, construction services, energy and environment, information and communication technology, textiles, defense and security and export facilitation services should consider expanding to the region. And our work with the USIIC is just one example of how our partners are helping US businesses grow their exports.

As part of the National Export Initiative, the International Trade Administration has focused on utilizing the expertise of the private sector, trade associations and state and local organizations to increase our effectiveness and reach more small businesses.

Each organization plays an important role to increase US exports and create jobs here in America. Over the last year, our partnership program here at ITA has grown from 15 to more than 122. Together our partners, large multinational companies like UPS, FedEx and DHL, to trade associations like the National Association of Manufactures and National Marine Manufacturers’ Association, to state and local organizations like the Pasco Economic Development Council, have helped us reach tens of thousands of small business owners and connect some directly to business opportunities.

If your organization would like to work the ITA please send us an email.


New Partnership with DHL Express will Help Small and Mid-Size Businesses Export

May 10, 2012

Bob McEntire is a Senior Strategic Partnership Manager within the Office of Strategic Partnerships at the U.S Commercial Service.

On May 9, 2012, the Commerce Department and DHL Express announced they have partnered to help small and mid-size businesses harness new international sales opportunities in the global marketplace. The partnership combines the Department of Commerce’s global reach and staff’s extensive knowledge of foreign trade with DHL’s proven international expertise and expansive U.S. customer base. This joint effort will provide U.S. companies easier access to comprehensive export assistance and will help stimulate job growth in the small and mid-size business sector.

The partnership is a key component of the ITA’s leadership in implementing President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI), which aims to double U.S. exports by the end of 2014 in support of U.S. jobs.

Under Secretary Sánchez (bottom right), Stephen Fenwick, CEO of DHL Express Americas, Jerry Hsu, CEO of DHL Express, Asia Pacific, and Ian Clough, CEO of DHL Express (USA), make ITA and DHL’s new partnership official at an MOU signing ceremony in New York City. (Photo Zack Seckler Photography)

Under Secretary Sánchez (bottom right), Stephen Fenwick, CEO of DHL Express Americas, Jerry Hsu, CEO of DHL Express, Asia Pacific, and Ian Clough, CEO of DHL Express (USA), make ITA and DHL’s new partnership official at an MOU signing ceremony in New York City. (Photo Zack Seckler Photography)

“Our partnership with DHL showcases the company’s commitment to provide the best international expertise and resources to its customers while also supporting the U.S. economy and American jobs,” said Commerce Under Secretary for International Trade Francisco Sánchez. “This partnership will open new doors for DHL’s current and potential customers while increasing economic opportunities on a local level. We are excited to team up with DHL to expand America’s export potential, create jobs, and help DHL shipping customers grow their bottom line.”

Strategic Partnership Program Director Matt Kennedy is pleased to have DHL join as a partner “DHL Express adds an impressive international network to the program and we look forward to utilizing their expertise to help U.S. exporters.”

The Strategic Partnership Program is actively pursuing additional partnerships with US companies and associations.  If interested in learning more about becoming a partner of the Commercial Service please visit the Strategic Partnership page.


The Department of Commerce and FedEx Partner on the Global Buyers Initiative

November 22, 2011

Matt Kennedy is the Director of Strategic Partnerships in the U.S. Commercial Service, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce

This past week at the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting, I had the honor of being  present as Secretary Bryson and COO and President, International of FedEx Express, Mr. Michael Ducker partnered in marking the commencement of the Global Buyers Initiative – a new program that aims to help expand U.S. exports abroad and create jobs here at home.

An expansion of our ever-valuable partnership with FedEx, the program will work to identify foreign importers who, while already adept in importation, may not be sourcing from U.S. companies and could benefit from doing so.  With the help of our domestic and international teams, we will reach out to these companies, work to connect them with U.S. suppliers, and extend to them the broad resources of the Commercial Service.

To advance the goals of the President’s National Export Initiative, we in the Commercial Service have been working to develop innovative, effective, and efficient ways to help U.S. companies expand their exports abroad.  With a current program, the New Market Exporter Initiative, we are focusing on supply.  With partners FedEx, the National Association of Manufacturers, the United States Postal Service, and UPS, we are working to identify U.S. companies that export their goods and services abroad, but to only one or two countries.  With much of the know-how already there, these companies—with the guidance and resources of the Commercial Service—are entering new markets and expanding their business.  The Global Buyers Initiative represents a ramping up of these efforts and an expansion of the strategy to the demand side: the international companies that are potential importers.

And while the strategy may be new, the goal is the same: expand exports, create jobs.  We are especially excited about the power of our new program to impact small businesses here at home.  By connecting with importers abroad, the Global Buyers Initiative will expand small firms’ reach into these key foreign markets and, in doing so, help grow this vital sector of our economy.   

We are excited to roll out the program this year in Canada, France, and Korea, focusing on NEI-priority markets, and have plans to expand it to Australia, Colombia, Japan, Mexico, Panama, and Singapore in the near future.  We are confident that with the help of this new initiative and the continuing hard work of our domestic and international teams and partners, American exports will be increased and American jobs will be created.

If you’re in the market for American-made products and want to participate in the Global Buyers Initiative you can reach us at

(The email address in the final paragraph of this post was updated on November 7, 2012.)


ITA’s Strategic Partnership Program

May 9, 2011

Adam S. Wilczewski is the Chief of Staff for the International Trade Administration and the former Director of the Strategic Partnership Program in the U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service

It is with great pride that I serve as Chief of Staff for the International Trade Administration (ITA).  I would like to thank Under Secretary Sanchez for this opportunity and his continued leadership at ITA.  It was an honor to serve as the Director of Strategic Partnerships for nearly two years and I am very much looking forward to the challenges ahead.

With that said, I would also like to thank the current and former members of the Strategic Partnership Program team:  Robert McEntire (Sr. Program Manager and Acting Deputy Director), Stephanie Smedile (Program Manager), James Golsen (Commercial Officer), Janice Corbett (Commercial Officer), Rebecca Balogh (Commercial Officer), Brandon Woods (former Presidential Management fellow), and our bevy of interns including Rob Maxim, Olivia Woods, Alicia Israel, Joey Hanna, Aaron Hernandez, Meghan LePage, and Jesse Pham.

During my tenure as Director, the team achieved some great accomplishments in broadening and deepening the U.S. exporter base.  The marketing efforts of the corporate and association partners provided a true value add to the American public, and I cannot thank them enough.

Strategic Partnership Program

September 2009 – April 2011

The Strategic Partnership Program coordinates public/private partnerships between leading U.S. companies and associations with the U.S. Commercial Service.  The primary focus of the partnership is to maximize the subject matter expertise and marketing savvy of the partners, and along with the Commercial Service to educate and proactively encourage firms to export or expand the number of countries to which they currently export.

From September 2009 through May 2011, the Strategic Partnership Program – with our partners – made approximately 20 million touches to U.S. businesses, trade associations, and executives through various marketing efforts, such as messaging placement in partner publications, internal newsletters, and multi-media outreach efforts.  In addition, the program established the TradeAlerts newsletter, which is sent to more than 700 associations bi-monthly.

The focus of the partnership program has evolved from primarily supporting export educational programs and events, to a strategic effort to support the National Export Initiative (NEI) through the innovative New Market Exporter Initiative (NMEI).  The NMEI collaborated with partners FedEx, UPS, the U.S. Postal Service and the National Association of Manufacturers, helping to train more than 3,500 of their international account executives on the NEI and federal trade programs of the International Trade Administration plus other agencies.  These strategic marketing partners reached out to more than 25,000 of their client companies.  Plans have been created in conjunction with the partners to touch thousands of additional companies in FY11.  As a result of these efforts, over 1,000 companies have registered on requesting CS assistance in entering a new market.

Strategic Partnership Program partners include:  17 companies and 2 trade associations

  • AON Corporation*
  • Baker & McKenzie
  • City National Bank
  • Comerica Incorporated
  • Federal Express Corporation
  • FITA Online
  • Lufthansa
  • Manufacturers and Traders Trust Company
  • PNC Bank*
  • REED Exhibitions
  • TD Bank
  • ThinkGlobal Inc.
  • Trade Center Management Associates
  • TÜVRheinland
  • United Parcel Service, Inc.
  • United States Postal Service
  • Zions First National Bank
  • National Association of Manufacturers
  • United States Council for International Business

*No longer a partner of the Commercial Service, but was during a portion of the time covered by this report.

Thank you, once again, to the Strategic Partnership Program team members, the talented U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service international trade specialists and commercial officers who helped execute our programming, and our corporate and association partners for their support and commitment.


Visit to Memphis

October 15, 2010

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James Golson is a Commercial Officer in the U.S. Foreign and Commercial Service‘s Strategic Partnership Office.

Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and U.S Trade Representative Ambassador Ron Kirk were warmly welcomed by the Memphis business community during their visit here this past week.

The Secretary and Ambassador started their trip with a late night visit to FedEx’s global hub to see firsthand the millions of packages that make Memphis the world’s busiest cargo airport and an important center for U.S. exports.

Early the next day, the group traveled to Memphis based Smith & Nephew, a high tech manufacturer of orthopedic equipment.  Smith & Nephew export half of what they produce in Memphis and employ hundreds of people in the Memphis area to support those exports.  This venue provided an excellent backdrop for the Secretary and Ambassador to address a town hall meeting of nearly 50 Memphis based exporting companies.  The meeting focused on the President’s National Export Initiative and how the Department of Commerce, USTR and business can work together to achieve the President’s goal of doubling exports in five years.  The business community was energized by the speech and many in the audience were able to ask questions about the NEI and how they could take advantage of the program.  The Secretary highlighted that the U.S. Commercial Service has partnered with Memphis based FedEx through the New Market Exporter Initiative to identify SMEs that currently export to one market, and that by working together we would assist these companies to find additional markets overseas.

Following the town hall meeting, local Commerce Department staff, including myself, were approached by many of the attendees asking for assistance.  The event was definitely a success and my calendar is booked for the next few weeks meeting with companies that want to expand their exports.

The Secretary and Ambassador concluded their time in Memphis at a roundtable discussion with Memphis based exporters that currently export to Asia.  They discussed the Trans Pacific Partnership and what it means for Memphis.  Many of the executives spoke positively about their interaction with the U.S. Commercial Service.  For example, Chris Schnee of Christie Medical Holdings, noted that his company had not exported two years ago, now they are in 40 countries after conducting over 35 Gold Key matchmaking services with the Commercial Service.  He attributed their export success directly to the assistance provided by the local Memphis office of the Commercial Service.

The Secretary and Ambassador left Memphis later that day but as we engage with more companies in the coming weeks to help them expand into additional markets, the legacy of their trip will live on.


Secretary Locke and U.S. Postmaster General Potter Sign Agreement to Boost Exports

July 12, 2010

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Adam Wilczewski is the Director of Strategic Partnerships in the International Trade Administration’s U.S. Commercial Service.  Stephanie Smedile is the Strategic Partnership Manager overseeing the U.S. Postal Service relationship.

The National Export Initiative is already driving broad government coordination – just take a look at to see what’s happening – but now the private sector is engaging in new ways, too.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and U.S. Postmaster General John Potter shake hands after signing agreement.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and U.S. Postmaster General John Potter shake hands after signing agreement to boost Exports in a ceremony on July 12, 2010.

Today Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and the U.S. Postal Service’s Postmaster General & CEO, John Potter, announced the launch of a new effort, the New Market Exporter Initiative (NMEI), to help boost U.S. exporters.  The NMEI will identify current U.S. Postal Service customers who are exporting their goods and services abroad, and working with ITA, help them expand their reach to additional international markets.  This initiative builds on an already successful relationship between the U.S. Postal Service and the U.S. Commercial Service’s Strategic Partnership Program.

With less than one percent of America’s 30 million companies exporting, and of those companies exporting, only 58 percent selling to one international market, we know there is potential for American companies to expand export sales.  The NMEI’s goal is to educate U.S. exporters, particularly small and medium-sized companies, about the benefits of expanding their exports to additional markets.  In addition, we want to inform them of the public and private sector resources to assist them.  To reach our goal, we are engaging partners like the U.S. Postal Service, FedEx, and UPS to provide assistance to targeted exporting customers.

The buzz is already starting – take a look at Bloomberg’s Businessweek or PR Newswire to learn more about today’s event.