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Blog Category: International Trade Administration

Acting Deputy Secretary Gallagher Advocates Increased U.S. Exports through Doing Business in Africa Campaign

Acting Deputy Secretary Gallagher Advocates Increased U.S. Exports through Doing Business in Africa Campaign

Today, Acting Deputy U.S. Commerce Secretary Patrick Gallagher delivered remarks at “From DC to Africa: Growing Local, Going Global,” a business forum hosted by the D.C. Office on African Affairs to raise awareness of opportunities for U.S. companies to do business in Africa. D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray also gave remarks at the forum and introduced Dr. Gallagher.

The event also marks the first anniversary of the launch of the Commerce Department’s Doing Business in Africa Campaign (DBIA) by then-Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Last year, President Obama issued the U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa and said the region is poised to be the world’s next greatest economic success story. In fact, sub-Saharan Africa is home to six of the ten fastest-growing economies in the world. U.S. exports to Africa currently top $21 billion a year, and enormous opportunities exist for more U.S. companies to export goods and services there. DBIA works to take advantage of those export and investment opportunities by encouraging more robust commercial engagement in sub-Saharan Africa.

In speaking to an audience of more than 200 local businesses, Acting Deputy Secretary Gallagher emphasized why U.S. companies should see sub-Saharan Africa as an export destination. In the first half of this year, U.S. companies have exported more than $1 billion more in goods exports to the region compared to the same period in 2012. However, U.S. exports to Africa represent only two percent of our total exports.

Dr. Gallagher also highlighted DBIA campaign successes through the work of the Commerce Department and their partner trade agencies in the last year, including holding nationwide outreach sessions with sub-Saharan Africa commercial experts, and bringing hundreds of African companies and buyers to U.S. trade shows in sectors like water, power, oil and gas, and agribusiness. In the second year of the DBIA campaign, the Department of Commerce aims to bring even more potential African partners and buyers to U.S. trade shows, collaborate on the administration’s Power Africa initiative to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa, and address trade barriers in the region.

The DBIA campaign also supports NEI 2.0, an initiative laid out in the Commerce Department’s “Open for Business Agenda,” which aims to revitalize efforts to partner with industry to help businesses become more globally fluent, increase American exports and support the creation of millions of jobs.

SelectUSA Investment Summit Concludes with a Focus on Forging Stronger Global Business Alliances

SelectUSA Investment Summit Concludes with a Focus on Forging Stronger Global Business Alliances

Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker wrapped up the inaugural SelectUSA 2013 Investment Summit this afternoon, following two high-impact days of meetings and discussions among senior government officials, major business executives, global economic experts and U.S. economic development officials about strategies to increase foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States.

Secretary Pritzker also opened the final day of the Summit, where she announced changes to the eligibility requirements for the Manufacturing Council that will allow representatives from U.S. subsidiaries of foreign-owned or controlled firms to become members. The expanded eligibility rules will add new perspectives to the Council, which advises the Commerce Secretary on policies and initiatives to increase FDI in the U.S. manufacturing sector, including SelectUSA.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry delivered remarks focused on deepening U.S. economic alliances around the world. Following his address, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman moderated a panel with Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, BMW North America CEO Ludwig Willisch, and Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman on how global companies can use their U.S. operations as an export platform by taking advantage of free trade agreements and bilateral investment treaties. 

Watch the SelectUSA 2013 Investment Summit (Day Two)

View the archived webcast here.

  • Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Opening Remarks
  • Secretary of State John Kerry Keynote Address
  • Why Select the USA: Using the U.S. as an Export Platform
  • Why Select the USA: Taking Advantage of the U.S. Energy Opportunity
  • Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Closing Remarks

Day One at the SelectUSA 2013 Investment Summit

President Barack Obama delivered keynote remarks at the SelectUSA 2013 Investment Summit.

Guest post by Ambassador Vinai Thummalapally, Director of SelectUSA.

Cross-posted from Tradeology, the official blog of ITA.

“There’s no substitute for those three proud words: ‘Made in America.’”

President Obama has been emphatic that the United States remains the best place in the world to do business. Today at the SelectUSA Investment Summit, he reiterated that message to 1,000 business leaders from nearly 60 countries.

“When you bet on America, that bet pays off,” the president said as he closed his keynote address.

Your country is your product when you’re attracting foreign direct investment. At the Summit today, we showed the world that the United States is the absolute best product on the market.

“America is open for business,” said Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker. “Our market has provided long-term stability and unmatched returns for investors.”

Attendees began making connections as soon as the doors opened. Representatives from 47 states, three territories, and Washington, D.C., showed off investment opportunities around the country.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew highlighted many advantages a company has when it invests in America – including robust infrastructure and low barriers for entrepreneurs. CEOs from major national and international companies echoed those messages throughout the day.

“We have the most resilient capital markets in the world,” said Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock.

Andrew Liveris said that when it comes to investment in research and development, “the U.S. is number one.”

Watch the SelectUSA 2013 Investment Summit (Day One)

View the archived webcasts here.

  • Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker's Welcoming Remarks
  • Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew's view of the U.S. and Global Economy
  • Plenary: Why Select the USA: Perspectives on Investing and Operating in the United States
  • President Barack Obama Keynote Remarks

International Trade Administration Streamlines its Business Divisions to Help Companies More Efficiently and Effectively

International Trade Administration Seal

The International Trade Administration (ITA) for the first time in 30 years has fully implemented its first major organizational change.  The change will better align key functions to support U.S. businesses and their workers more efficiently and effectively. The change reflects ITA’s adaptation to the evolution of global markets, technology, and competition.

ITA’s reorganization consolidates its four business divisions into three more efficient and functionally aligned units.  The new units are Global Markets, Industry and Analysis, and Enforcement and Compliance.

The Global Markets unit combines ITA’s country and regional experts, overseas and domestic field staff, and specific trade promotion programs. The unit, which provides U.S. firms with the full suite of country-specific export promotion services and market access advocacy, also promotes the United States as an investment destination.

The Industry and Analysis (I&A) unit brings together ITA’s industry, trade, and economic experts to advance the competitiveness of U.S. industries through the development and execution of international trade and investment policies and promotion strategies. I&A will leverage ITA’s relationships with manufacturing and services industries to increase U.S. exports.

The Enforcement and Compliance unit enhances ITA’s responsibilities to enforce U.S. trade laws and ensure compliance with trade agreements negotiated on behalf of U.S. industry.

United States Department of Commerce Plan for Orderly Shutdown Due to Lapse of Congressional Appropriations

Annual funding for the government expired on September 30. The Administration strongly believed that a lapse in funding should not occur. The Department is prepared for a lapse in funding that would necessitate a significant reduction in operations. Prior to a potential lapse in funding, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) required the Department to submit a draft plan for agency operations (PDF) in the absence of appropriations (a “shutdown plan”).

The plan may be modified with additional guidance from the Office of Personnel Management and OMB, and may be changed by the Department, as circumstances warrant. This plan (PDF) complies with the guidance provided by the Office of Management and Budget, the Department of Justice and the Department of Commerce. All employees who are Presidentially Appointed, Senate Confirmed will remain on duty.

In compliance with the restrictions of the Anti-Deficiency Act, the Department of Commerce will maintain the following services and activities during a lapse in FY14 appropriations:

• Weather, water, and climate observing, prediction, forecast, warning, and support
• Law enforcement activities for the protection of marine fisheries
• Fisheries management activities including quota monitoring, observer activities, and regulatory actions to prevent overfishing
• Essential natural resource damage assessment activities associated with the Deepwater Horizon incident
• Water level data for ships entering U.S. ports, critical nautical chart updates and accurate position information.
• Patent and trademark application processing
• Operation of the national timing and synchronization infrastructure as well as the National Vulnerability Database
• Maintenance, continuity and protection of certain research property and critical data records
• All services of the National Technical Information Service
• Export enforcement – the ongoing conduct of criminal investigations, and prosecutions, and coordination with other law enforcement and intelligence agencies in furtherance of our national security
• Budget operations required to support excepted activities under a shutdown, such as tracking of obligations and funds control.

The following services and activities will not be available during a lapse in FY14 appropriations:

• Most research activities at NIST and NOAA (excluding real-time regular models on research computers used for Hurricane and FAA flight planning)
• Assistance and support to recipients of grant funding
• Technical oversight of non-mission essential contracts
• Services and activities provided by:
−Bureau of Economic Analysis
−Economic Development Administration
−Economics and Statistics Administration
−Minority Business Development Agency
−Bureau of the Census
• Most services and activities provided by the International Trade Administration

Secretary Pritzker Speaks to Rhode Island Business Owners at Senator Jack Reed’s Rhode Island Business Leaders Day

This afternoon, Secretary Penny Pritzker attended Senator Jack Reed’s Rhode Island Business Leaders Day to affirm that Rhode Island, and America as a whole, are open for business. She noted the role that the Department of the Commerce is playing in helping to fortify the state’s economy by strengthening manufacturing, increasing exports, and making critical infrastructure and economic development investments.

Through the local United States Export Assistance Center, the Department of Commerce is promoting Rhode Island’s exports. Nationwide, U.S. exports hit $2.2 trillion last year, supporting nearly 10 million good-paying jobs. In 2009, Rhode Island exports were just $1.5 billion.  But last year, they hit $2.4 billion – representing a 60% jump. International trade now supports approximately 130,000 jobs in the state.  And exports now support 17% of manufacturing workers in Rhode Island.  Today, Rhode Island has seen growth in export areas like chemicals, machinery, electronics, and textiles, in addition to its biggest export, scrap metal, which often leaves from the Port of Providence.

A recent example is the Warwick-based firm named Astro-Med. They asked the Commerce Department for help entering into new markets in Latin America. They contacted one of our aerospace specialists in our International Trade Administration’s Commercial Service, who helped connect them with Embraer. As a result, just two weeks ago they won a major contract for cockpit equipment from Embraer. This contract means jobs for Rhode Islanders.

Rhode Island Business Leaders Day is an annual event co-hosted by Senator Jack Reed and the Rhode Island Food Dealers Association. Invitees include Rhode Island business owners from the manufacturing, defense, services, and financial sectors, economic development officials, and state politicians. The event consists of speeches and question and answer sessions with members of Congress, cabinet officials and journalists.

Secretary Penny Pritzker Delivers Keynote Remarks at the U.S.-Saudi Business Opportunities Forum

 Secretary Penny Pritzker Delivers Keynote Remarks at the U.S.-Saudi Business Opportunities Forum

Today Secretary Penny Pritzker delivered keynote remarks at the U.S.-Saudi Business Opportunities Forum currently underway in Los Angeles, an event being hosted by the Saudi Committee for International Trade, the U.S.-Saudi Business Council, and the Saudi-U.S. Trade Group. The event brought together approximately 1,200 American and Saudi businesses, government officials, academics and opinion leaders to highlight the U.S.-Saudi commercial and trade relationship and inform participants about business opportunities in Saudi Arabia.

During her remarks, Secretary Pritzker noted that the United States and Saudi Arabia have a strong trade and investment relationship, and last year, trade between our two countries hit all-time record highs. Our bilateral trade is now triple what it was just a decade ago.

Secretary Pritzker also noted that the Commerce Department, over the past four years, has helped more than 450 U.S. companies export to Saudi Arabia for the first time. More such partnerships are expected as Saudi Arabia’s plans for infrastructure growth allow U.S. companies opportunities to team up to build strong and vibrant Saudi communities, she said.

Secretary Pritzker also met with staff from the Los Angeles U.S. Export Assistance Center, which is part of the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA). Her visit with USEAC employees was an opportunity to thank them for their work and part of her ongoing efforts to meet with Department of Commerce employees all over the country.

Secretary Pritzker Tells Employees in the Northwest their Efforts are Key to American Innovation

Secretary Pritzker today in Seattle kicked-off her first visit to the Northwest as Commerce Secretary by visiting with EDA employees and employees from U.S. Export Assistance Center (USEAC), part of the International Trade Administration (ITA), U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) and Office of Inspector General (OIG). The secretary's visit is part of her latest stop on a nationwide listening tour and was an opportunity to thank the employees for their work for the Department of Commerce. 

At the meeting, the Secretary told employees gathered at the EDA regional office that the common thread in the bureaus throughout the department is working together to protect, promote, anticipate and inform what America needs to be competitive and innovative in the 21st century. This is the mission of the Commerce Department.

Secretary Pritzker praised the agencies in attendance for the great work they are doing in the region.

  • U.S. PTO patent examiners were spotlighted for helping Americans turn ideas into businesses quickly, even as PTO has had several straight years of 5 to 7 percent increases in patent applications.
  • The Seattle U.S. Export Assistance Center was praised by the Secretary for their work in industries like aerospace and defense which has proven to be crucial in growing exports and reaching record breaking numbers in the first half of this year. Recent Commerce data show that exports support nearly 40% of all manufacturing workers in Washington.
  • EDA’s regional office was acknowledged for their efforts in serving 8 states and a number of territories. EDA funds helped build a Pipeline Training Center in Alaska, expand a fiber optic network in California and launched several of new Jobs Accelerators. 
  • And, the Inspector General’s office was recognized for the crucial role they play. From reviewing NOAA’s fisheries enforcement efforts, climate monitoring systems, and other NOAA programs, their work ensures the Department is doing the best possible job.

Secretary Pritzker concluded her visit by encouraging the employees to continue their great work. She believes America is more competitive than ever before. Over the past 41 months, 7.3 million jobs were created. She said the Commerce Department’s goal is to accelerate that momentum through the great work of Commerce employees in the Northwest region, throughout the country, and across the world.

Confirming the Partnership Between the United States and Asia

Industry representatives from nations within the Asia-Pacific region attend a business ethics workshop with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Academy in August 2013.

The Department of Commerce has taken advantage of several opportunities to support its commitment to Asia, an important region with some of the world’s fastest growing economies.

Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez visited Brunei this month for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Business and Investment Summit. His message to the Summit was that ASEAN remains an important partner to the United States and a key player in the global marketplace.

As ASEAN looks to form an integrated economic community, the United States wants to make sure every nation in the region understands America’s commitment to ASEAN and the broader Asia-Pacific region. The United States and ASEAN are working within the Expanded Economic Engagement framework, designed to expand trade and investment ties and create new business opportunities and jobs in all eleven countries.

The United States and the Commerce Department support the important initiatives ASEAN is taking on to support the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). All governments in the region are actively working to put greater emphasis on protecting intellectual property and enforcing intellectual property rights. This encourages innovation, as it ensures that SMEs will be able to profit from their ideas without worry of them being compromised.

Secretary Pritzker Meets With Commerce Employees in Houston

Secretary Penny Pritzker meets with Houston-area Commerce Employees.

While in Houston, Texas today, Secretary Pritzker visited a U.S. Export Assistance Center (USEAC), part of the International Trade Administration (ITA), and met with USEAC employees and employees from the Bureau of Industry and Security’s (BIS) Houston field office. The secretary's visit was part of her latest stop on a nationwide listening tour and was an opportunity to thank the employees for their work for the Department of Commerce. 

USEACs are the domestic arm of ITA’s U.S. Commercial Service, which is comprised of an extensive network of trade specialists located in more than 100 U.S. cities and 80 countries worldwide. The specialists help American companies start exporting or expand their international business presence. Specific services include: world class market research; trade events that promote companies’ product or service to qualified buyers; introductions to buyers and distributors; and counseling and advocacy through every step of the export process.The Houston USEAC in particular has been working with companies in the energy, information technology and transportation sectors to support and increase U.S. exports.

The secretary also met with representatives from BIS’ Houston field office. The Houston office’s mission is to protect U.S. national and domestic security, foreign policy and economic interests. BIS operates a law enforcement program focused on sensitive exports to hostile entities or those that engage in onward proliferation, prohibited foreign boycotts and related public safety laws. The office accomplishes its mission through preventative and investigative enforcement activities and then pursuing appropriate criminal and administrative sanctions against export violators.

Secretary Pritzker Visits Universal Studios Orlando and Speaks with Leading Executives of Travel and Tourism Companies

Secretary Penny Pritzker at Universal Studios Wizarding World of Harry Potter with COO Bill Davis (left) and John Sprouls, Executive VP (right)

Today, as part of her nationwide listening tour, Secretary Penny Pritzker toured Universal Studios Orlando with Bill Davis, President & COO, Universal Orlando and John McReynolds, SVP External Affairs, Universal Parks and Resorts and held a roundtable with Presidents and CEOs of local travel and tourism companies. Orlando is home to a vibrant travel and tourism industry that doesn’t contribute just to the state of Florida’s economy, but to the nation’s economy as a whole. In fact, international travel is the country’s largest service export with the travel and tourism industry accounting for nearly $1.4 trillion to the U.S. GDP and providing more than 7.5 million jobs for American workers, according to the Department of Commerce.

According to the Orlando Tourism Bureau, in 2011, Orlando benefited from $31.7 billion in visitor spending. Orlando was the fifth most visited U.S. city in 2011 with 2.8 million international visitors and Florida ranked third among states in 2011 with 5.7 million international visitors.

During the roundtable, Secretary Pritzker not only discussed the value of the travel and tourism industry to the overall American economy, but also the key role the Commerce Department plays in supporting and promoting the United States as the premier destination for international travelers. In fact, the Department’s NOAA manages the nation’s marine sanctuaries – a great destination for marine life lovers and history buffs.

Investing in Our Economic Future: SelectUSA 2013 Investment Summit

SelectUSA 2013 Investment Summit Logo

Guest post by Mara Lee, Deputy Director of Public Affairs at the International Trade Administration. Cross post from Tradeology.gov, the official blog of the International Trade Administration

You don’t have to look far to find something in your life that is produced by an international company operating in the United States. It might be the dishwasher in your kitchen, the brake pads on your car, or the elevator in your apartment building.

You also won’t have to look far to find jobs supported by foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States. There are more than five million of them throughout the country, covering every state in both rural and urban communities.

Those are five million reasons why FDI is an important ingredient in the recipe for continued economic growth in the United States.

President Obama has made it a priority to attract more FDI to the United States, helping support more jobs and economic growth. A key tool in his efforts is the upcoming SelectUSA Investment Summit.

The Summit will connect global investors with U.S. leaders who are ready to showcase local investment projects. Economic development organizations from 15 states have already confirmed attendance at the event, offering myriad investment opportunities around the country.

Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker also announced an impressive lineup of government and business leaders to share important lessons about the advantages of investing in the United States – advantages ranging from our educated workforce, our relatively low energy costs, and the long history of ingenuity, innovation, and entrepreneurship that is synonymous with the “Made in America” label.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Announces First Business Development Mission to Mexico

Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker recently announced that she will lead her first business development mission to Mexico City and Monterrey, Mexico from November 18-22, 2013. This mission will promote U.S. exports to Mexico by helping export-ready U.S. companies launch or increase their business in a number of key industry sectors, including: advanced manufacturing, information and communications technology, and health IT and medical devices.

In announcing the mission, Secretary Pritzker said, “Exports are an essential component for spurring growth and creating jobs in America. The United States and Mexico have strong business ties and increasing opportunities for trade and collaboration between our two nations will help bolster economic success across our border.” 

Earlier this summer, President Obama and President Peña Nieto met to underscore and discuss the strategic importance of the bilateral relationship between the United States and Mexico. In so doing, they noted the potential for mutual economic gains by strengthening commercial ties between our countries.

Commerce Department Data Show U.S. Travel and Tourism Exports Contributed $87.1 Billion to U.S. Economy in First Six Months of 2013

Report cover: National Travel and Tourism Strategy

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration announced new data today that shows spending by international visitors to the United States in June 2013 totaled $14.6 billion, an increase of 5 percent when compared to June 2012.  International visitors have spent an estimated $87.1 billion on U.S. travel and tourism-related goods and services year-to-date in 2013 (January through June), an increase of 7 percent when compared to the same period last year.

Purchases of travel and tourism-related goods and services by international visitors traveling in the United States totaled $67.0 billion during the first half of 2013. These goods and services include food, lodging, recreation, gifts, entertainment, local transportation in the United States, and other items incidental to foreign travel.  Fares received by U.S. carriers (and U.S. vessel operators) from international visitors totaled $20.1 billion during the first half of 2013. The United States enjoyed a favorable balance of trade for the month of June in the travel and tourism sector, with a surplus of more than $4.3 billion.

The increase in international tourism to the United States is helping to achieve the goals of the National Travel and Tourism Strategy, launched last year by the Commerce Department and the Department of the Interior. The Strategy establishes an overarching goal of increasing American jobs by attracting and welcoming 100 million international visitors annually by the end of 2021, who are estimated to spend $250 billion while traveling in and getting to the United States. Release

Why is Everyone Talking About Africa?

President Obama and Senegal President Sall at press conference. Photo by White House, Pete Souza.

Claudia Easton is an intern in the International Trade Administration’s Office of the National Export Initiative and Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee. She’s studying Economics and Political Science at Amherst College. Cross-posted from Tradeology.

With the President’s recent trip to Senegal, Tanzania and South Africa, as well as the announcement of two new trade initiatives, the spotlight is on Africa – and with good reason.

While speaking at the Business Leaders Forum in Tanzania, President Obama spoke of beginning a new level of economic engagement with Africa. The Doing Business in Africa Campaign (DBIA) is part of the president’s strategy, and the International Trade Administration (ITA) is proud to join other government agencies to support  DBIA initiatives that are helping U.S. businesses compete on the continent.

Trade Africa aims to facilitate expanded trade on the continent. Its initial focus will be on the East African Community (EAC), a market with increasingly stable and pro-business regulations. The plan will support increased U.S.-EAC trade and investment, EAC trade competitiveness, and regional integration. The United States seeks to expand this initiative to other regional economic communities on the continent.

Power Africa is intended to build on Africa’s enormous power potential to expand electricity access to the more than two-thirds of the population that is without power. The President pledged $7 billion in U.S. government support, in addition to $9 billion in private money, over the next five years to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa. Power Africa will help attract investment in Africa’s energy sector, build capacity for reform in the energy sector, and encourage transparent and responsible natural resource management.

Secretary Penny Pritzker Visits APS Technology

Today, U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker visited APS Technology (APS) in Wallingford, Conn., as part of her nationwide listening tour. Secretary Pritzker is traveling across the country meeting with business leaders and entrepreneurs to discuss how the administration and the Department of Commerce can work with the private sector to help strengthen the economy and create jobs.

First, Secretary Pritzker toured APS’ facilities with company executives, including APS President Bill Turner and Senior Vice President Denis Biglin, along with Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy. She was able to see some of the company’s projects, which include a variety of drilling tools that are used by the oil and gas industry.

APS started in 1994 providing contract engineering services and has experienced tremendous growth to become a leading provider of products to the oil and gas drilling industry around the world. APS has grown from 79 employees in 2008 to more than 300 employees, including 265 in the U.S. The company’s exports now account for 85 percent of their business. 

Global Investment is Important to the American Economy

The Department of Commerce is Open for Business

Guest blog post by Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker

Since I was confirmed as Secretary of Commerce, I’ve been meeting with business leaders, entrepreneurs, and foreign leaders to let them know that America is “open for business.” The United States is one of the most desirable places to do business; our $16 trillion economy, with its productive workforce and diverse consumer base, could not do what it does without domestic as well as foreign investment. Yesterday, I participated in the White House Forum (Forum) on Global Investment to highlight the administration’s support for, and benefits of, foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States. 

For the meeting, I was joined by Acting Deputy Secretary of Commerce Pat Gallagher, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez, Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Jose Fernandez, and 21 foreign ambassadors and representatives to highlight the United States’ whole-of-government approach to attracting foreign direct investment.

Part of our discussion focused on the growth of FDI in sectors such as manufacturing, machinery, and scientific and technical services. In fact, FDI in the United States totaled nearly $168 billion last year. And just recently, the consulting firm A.T. Kearney published its annual FDI Confidence Index, with the United States ranked #1 on this list for the first time since 2001.

Readout of U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker’s Visit With Commerce Employees in Denver, Colorado

Secretary Penny Pritzker Meets with Commerce Employees in the Denver Office

While in Denver, Colorado, as part of her nationwide listening tour, Secretary Pritzker met with the heads of the Commerce Department’s local offices, including: International Trade Administration’s U.S. Export Assistance Center (USEAC), the Economic Development Administration (EDA), the National Institute for Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP), the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), the U.S. Census Bureau, the Inspector General (IG), and the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). In addition to these meetings, she also spoke to employees about their work and ways in which their efforts are supporting economic growth and development in Colorado.

Today’s discussion in Denver served as an extension of an employee town hall she held yesterday in Boulder. The secretary emphasized how their work is crucial to creating a better quality of life for Americans and more opportunities for entrepreneurs and businesses. She also asked employees for their input in the department’s ongoing efforts to protect, promote, and inform what America needs to be competitive and innovative in the 21st century.

These employee engagement opportunities are part of the secretary’s overall efforts to serve as a bridge to the business community so that the public and private sectors can work together to create jobs and opportunities for all Americans.

Proposed Cuts Hurt Job Creation, Economy, and the Middle-Class

The President has been clear that Republicans in Congress should work with Democrats to finish a budget that cuts wasteful spending while investing in jobs, the economy, and middle class families. Until Congress reaches a budget agreement, the President will not sign individual appropriations bills that simply attempt to enact the House Republican budget into law. That would hurt our economy and make draconian cuts to middle class priorities.

The House Commerce, Justice, Science appropriations bill demonstrates just how damaging the overall spending limits imposed by House Republican leadership are. The bill would cut $1 billion from the President’s request for the Department of Commerce, requiring a halt to investments in areas designed to help grow the economy, create jobs, and strengthen the middle class. The bill cuts more than $70 million from the International Trade Administration, which prevents placement of Foreign Commercial Service Officers in priority markets to help U.S. companies expand exports. That cut also limits our ability to attract foreign investment.  Instead of building on the momentum of resurgent American manufacturing as the President did in this budget, the bill terminates the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia, which is helping the industry identify long-term manufacturing needs, and it cuts $33 million from the President’s request for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). The MEP program is a federal-state partnership, which consists of centers located across the country that work directly with their local manufacturing communities to strengthen the competitiveness of our nation's domestic manufacturing base.

Top 50 Metropolitan Area Exports Contribute More Than $1 Trillion to U.S. Economy

2012 Merchandise Exports - Top 50 Metro Area Exporters

Great news out of the Department of Commerce today! New data was released on the top 50 metropolitan areas for exports in 2012, which shows a combined contribution of exports from these communities to the U.S. economy of $1.04 trillion dollars.

In fact, America’s metropolitan areas continue to strengthen the U.S. economy each year. Cities committed to increasing their export potential are making it easier for local businesses to sell their goods and services overseas and increasing manufacturing here at home. These exports are helping to support jobs all across the country.

The Houston-Sugarland-Baytown area ranked number one with an impressive total of $110 billion in exports. Combined, the top 50 metropolitan areas for exports around the country totaled $1.04 trillion for the year. Not only did the Houston-Sugarland-Baytown area export the most merchandise, but it also had a record high for 2012, along with 29 other metropolitan areas in the top 50 areas for exports. Between 2011 and 2012, the Houston area had an export growth rate of 5.6 percent. The New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island area ranked second with $102 billion in exports.

Among the top 25 metropolitan areas for exports, the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria area showed the highest growth in exports between 2011 and 2012 with exports growing by 42.7 percent over this period. Other metropolitan areas that showed high growth in exports included the San Antonio-New Braunfels area (up 33.3 percent from 2011) and the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue area (up 22.3 percent from 2011).

These increases in exports, even in challenging economic times, strengthen the U.S. economy and support millions of jobs here at home. Since the President’s National Export Initiative (NEI) was launched in 2010 – which seeks to double U.S. exports and support an additional two million jobs by the end of 2014 – merchandise exports from metropolitan areas have increased nearly 40 percent since 2009; while jobs supported have increased by 60 percent to 1.3 million.

The Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration is committed to helping U.S. businesses increase their exports by finding new markets, reducing trade barriers, and ensuring that U.S. companies compete on a level playing field.

Is your business interested in expanding their product overseas where 95 percent of the world’s potential consumers are? Then contact your nearest Export Assistance Center for support.

Press release

Exporting to Africa: The Success of the DBIA Campaign

President Obama and Senegal President Sall at press conference. Photo by White House, Pete Souza.

President Obama believes sub-Saharan Africa could be the world’s next major economic success story. That is why in June 2012, he issued the U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa (PDF) to escalate the U.S. efforts to stimulate economic growth, trade, and investment in the region. One year later, the President is in Africa to highlight our success under this strategy.

A key component of the President’s strategy is the Doing Business in Africa (DBIA) Campaign, which was launched by the U.S. Department of Commerce in Johannesburg, South Africa last November. Its main objective is to bolster federal trade promotion and financing capabilities in order to help U.S. businesses obtain trade and investment opportunities. With these opportunities, the United States’ commercial relationship with Africa will continue to grow.  

Since its unveiling, Commerce has been working alongside other federal agencies to encourage U.S. companies–with a focus on small- and medium- sized businesses and African Diaspora-owned business–to trade and invest in the region. A little more than six months into the Doing Business in Africa Campaign, we wanted to share some of successes with you.

Spotlight on Commerce: Ronald Lorentzen, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Import Administration, ITA

Photo of Lorentzen at his desk

Ed. note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series highlighting members of the Department of Commerce and their contributions to an Economy Built to Last.

Guest blog post by Ronald Lorentzen, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Import Administration, International Trade Administration

As the career official responsible for the day-to-day management of Import Administration, I perform many roles: making the budgetary ends meet; acting as policy adviser plenipotentiary; being an “executive sponsor” of various projects; and serving frequently as a diplomatic counselor or empathetic ear to our organization’s staff and external stakeholders.

Import Administration’s core mission is to administer our nation’s antidumping and countervailing duty laws, which provide a remedy–typically, via a special import tariff–to help U.S. industries that are injured as a result of unfairly traded imports.  These remedies are determined through quasi-judicial investigations conducted under the close scrutiny of the courts and the World Trade Organization. While the process is sanctioned by international trade rules and receives broad support from the Congress, the outcome of any given investigation can displease the domestic industry, the foreign exporters, the foreign government(s) and–in many cases–all of the above. You have to have a thick skin to do my kind of work. But the work itself can be intellectually fascinating, impinging upon some of the most controversial trade policy issues and of make-or-break importance to the survival of many U.S. businesses and the livelihoods of many Americans.

How did I get here? I was born in northeastern Ohio and grew up in Indiana and Illinois, graduating from Bradley University in Peoria, IL, with a B.A. in French and international relations. I had no clue when I was in high school that one could specialize in such a field, but I think that my sense of being “different” led me to explore that possibility and the options that it might present. That led to a junior year of college at the Sorbonne in Paris, which in turn convinced me that I must continue in this field and find another chance at further study abroad. I was accepted by the Johns Hopkins School of International Studies M.A. program and packed my bags for a year at SAIS’s center in Bologna, Italy, with my second year bringing me to Washington–my home ever since. I can see more clearly now that my scholarly interests spoke to the calling that I had to understand and interact with people of different cultures, but the experience of living abroad was profoundly transformative in liberating me from my own, often self-imposed limitations as a gay man.

International Trade Administration’s Commercial Service Makes Exporting Easier for Small Businesses

U.S. Commercial Service Logo

In early 2011, Vanport Outfitters received its first commercial overseas order from Japan. That is when they started working with the U.S. Commercial Service, which assisted them throughout the export process. Some challenges Vanport faced included building brand awareness and finding quality contacts overseas to do business with. To address these issues, Vanport used U.S. Commercial Service business matchmaking services. “As a small company, few have heard of us, and are already selling competing products from better known firms. We find that we have to work hard to demonstrate that we’re serious about our craft. We really enjoyed working with the U.S. Commercial Service and found that the services provided helped make selling our goods outside the country easy, and we are continuing to build our brand awareness,” said Thomas Craig, Business Manager at Vanport Outfitters.

The company decided to focus on their export potential and actively pursue other markets, and in doing so, relied on assistance provided by the Trade Information Center, including market research, trade counseling, and assistance with export regulations. The result was that Vanport Outfitters has received additional orders from ten different countries, and is planning to export into East Asia, Oceania, Europe, and Canada.

Pre-Registration Opens For SelectUSA 2013 Investment Summit

SelectUSA Summit 2013

Pre-registration is now open for the SelectUSA 2013 Investment Summit! This first-ever event will take place in Washington, DC on October 31 and November 1. 

The two-day SelectUSA 2013 Investment Summit will connect international and domestic investors and firms with economic development organizations (EDOs) from across the country in an effort to promote investment here and support the creation of American jobs.

Through a series of presentations and panel discussions, Summit participants will hear from world-class business leaders, senior Administration officials, and industry and technical experts. The Summit will feature an exhibition area where EDOs can showcase their business opportunities. Participants will also learn what Federal resources are available for investing in the United States. Another key component of the Summit will be matchmaking sessions, with opportunities for extensive networking.

SelectUSA, located within the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce, was established by President Obama in 2011. This Presidential initiative is charged with leading federal government efforts to promote the United Sates as the premier global investment destination and facilitate investment in the nation. SelectUSA provides counseling to the global investment community, serves as an ombudsman for investors, and advocates for U.S. cities, states, and regions competing for global investment.

International Travelers to the United States Post Record Numbers in Visits and Spending

Bryce Canyon National Park

U.S. Under Secretary for International Trade Francisco Sánchez highlighted new data today that show spending by international visitors to the United States in April 2013 totaled nearly $14.5 billion, an increase of more than 5 percent when compared to April 2012. International visitors have spent an estimated $57.9 billion on U.S. travel and tourism-related services year to date in 2013 (January through April), an increase of 8 percent when compared to the same period last year.

Purchases of travel and tourism-related goods and services by international visitors traveling in the United States totaled $11.2 billion during April. These goods and services include food, lodging, recreation, gifts, entertainment, local transportation in the United States, and other items incidental to foreign travel. Fares received by U.S. carriers (and U.S. vessel operators) from international visitors totaled nearly $3.3 billion for the month. The United States enjoyed a favorable balance of trade for the month of April in the travel and tourism sector, with a surplus of nearly $4.2 billion.

In 2012, international travel and tourism spending reached a record $168.1 billion, up 10 percent from 2011. The increase was the result of a surge in international visitors to the United States: in 2012, a record 67.0 million international visitors came to the United States, an increase of 4.3 million from the year before. Highlights of the 2012 arrivals data show that Canadian visitors set a record with 22.7 million visitors, up 6 percent.  Mexico was second with a record 14.5 million arrivals, up 8 percent. The U.K., (-2 percent), Japan (+14 percent), and Germany (+3 percent) rounded out the top five. Countries among the top 20 with the largest increase in 2012 from the previous year were: China (+35 percent), Colombia (+21 percent), Venezuela and Argentina (both up +20 percent), and Brazil (+ 19 percent). All five countries set records for visits to the United States in 2012.

The Department of Commerce Supports U.S.-ASEAN Partnerships

ASEAN Member Nations

It’s no secret that Asia is a source of tremendous economic growth. For more than 35 years, the United States and The Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) member countries have worked to foster economic development through trade and investment.

This week, officials from the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) will join a visiting delegation of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) economic ministers for the ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) Road Show events in Los Angeles and Silicon Valley, California, as well as in Washington, D.C. U.S. government officials from the U.S. Departments of Commerce, USTR, and State. Trade ministers from ASEAN member states (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam) will meet with Members of Congress, local government officials and business leaders to discuss various trade issues, commercial diplomacy, and trade-openness. The U.S. Department of Commerce is specifically committed to economic engagement with ASEAN in support of the White House Expanded Economic Engagement (E3) initiative. ASEAN’s rapid economic development, growing middle class, and combined total trade of over $200 billion in goods and services speak to the tremendous enterprise and potential of the region. 

By 2015, ASEAN seeks to establish a unified economic market. The United States supports the integration efforts by ASEAN to establish an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), which will benefit both ASEAN economies and its U.S. business partners. The AEC would establish free flows of goods, services and foreign direct investment, as well as freer skilled labor and cross-border capital flows.

ASEAN’s progress toward establishing AEC, will have a strong impact on U.S.-ASEAN trade and investment. With a combined population of nearly 600 million people, an integrated ASEAN will lead to greater economies of scale and lower costs – which will help companies, workers and citizens in both the U.S. and ASEAN thrive.

The Commerce Department will continue to play a strong and active role in engaging with ASEAN. Commerce will do its part to foster more public-private relationships and support trade missions to ASEAN countries to help strengthen U.S.-ASEAN economic futures.

Guest blog post: Developing Foreign Business is Easier than You Think

Portrait of Friesen

Guest blog post by Dr. Cody Friesen, founder and president of Fluidic Energy, an associate professor at Arizona State University and a member of the U.S. Manufacturing Council.

As the founder of Fluidic Energy and a member of the Department of Commerce’s Manufacturing Council, I’m always mindful of the state of the economy. It’s impossible not to notice the beneficial impact of trade, and the importance of manufacturing, to the continued growth of U.S. exports.

The Manufacturing Council exists to advise Commerce leadership on the best policies to support manufacturing and U.S. exports.As great as exporting sounds in theory, the barriers to exporting can seem high to many small or medium-sized companies, but that’s really not the case.

I had the privilege of joining Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank and 19 other American companies on a trade mission to Latin America, discussing infrastructure development in the region.

We were able to meet one-on-one with government officials and foreign company executives who will be shaping the growing infrastructure of these growing economies. We made crucial contacts and learned the critical facts in each country that will help us to maximize the opportunities for our company in the region.

The Department of Commerce was instrumental in pulling together the meetings most meaningful to Fluidic. The Gold Key Matching Service and the local International Trade Administration staff, especially the U.S. Commercial Service personnel, in each country made it possible to rapidly assess potential business opportunities.

Digital Government Strategy Brings Big Changes to the Commerce Department

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the Digital Government Strategy, an effort by the Administration to transform public-facing government services in line with 21st century expectations. The Department of Commerce has made some big strides in providing better information to citizens in a timely manner through multiple formats and increasing access to services on mobile devices. The goal is to make citizen services and information available anywhere, anytime, and on any device, and in formats that facilitate additional use by public developers and entrepreneurs.

Technology is changing so rapidly that nearly 50% of American adults own a smart phone today, up from 35% only one year ago. To help keep pace with the rapid deployment of mobile technology, Commerce is working hard to ensure our services and data are available to citizens in whatever format and on whatever device they prefer. For example, earlier this week, NOAA released a mobile app to provide free nautical charts for recreational boaters to ensure safer and easier boating. NOAA is putting the finishing touches on the iOS version of their Shortfin Mako Shark Live Release app for public release next week. The success of these apps builds upon the America’s Economy app from the U.S. Census Bureau that already has more than 90,000 downloads.

We also have released the additional data for public consumption. For example, the International Trade Administration has released an application programming interface (API) for Export Trade Events so that data can be used by other organizations to pull the most relevant events for their members. The Department's Bureau of Industry and Security created the Commerce Control List Order of Review Decision Tool, a new web-based tool to assist exporters in understanding changes being made as part of the Administration's Export Control Reform Initiative. All information available for public use is on Data.gov and also on our new Developer page. The release of this data and APIs is intended to provide developers, researches, entrepreneurs and others with the ability to access government data in ways that make it easier to use and program.

Department of Commerce Helps American Company Secure $42 Million Contract With Colombia

Advocacy Center logo

Contract supports $38 million in U.S. exports

U.S. Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank today announced that L-3 Communications Corporation Warrior Systems Sector (Londonderry, New Hampshire) and its distributor Aviation Specialties Unlimited (Boise, Idaho) recently secured a contract from the Government of Colombia worth $42 million. The announcement comes on the heels of Acting Secretary Blank’s trade mission to Brazil, Colombia and Panama, which wrapped up on May 17. The trade mission included 20 U.S. firms with expertise in a wide variety of infrastructure industry sectors, and was intended to help American companies expand their business opportunities in Brazil, Colombia and Panama and promote U.S. exports.

“L-3’s export success is a concrete example of the Department of Commerce’s continued efforts to help U.S. firms be more competitive in this growing market,” said Acting Secretary Blank. “L-3 benefited from an aggressive, coordinated interagency commercial advocacy campaign spearheaded by our Advocacy Center to win a contract that will increase U.S. exports and support American jobs. With U.S. exports reaching an all-time high of $2.2 trillion in 2012, and supporting nearly 10 million American workers, the work of our Advocacy Center and U.S. embassies across the world is more important than ever. I congratulate L-3 Communications and their distributor Aviation Specialties Unlimited on winning this valuable contract.”

The contract will support $38 million in U.S. exports, as well as nearly 50 American jobs, according to L-3. Through this contract, L-3 will provide fully-assembled night-vision goggles, spare parts, tooling and test equipment to the Colombian government. Full release

57 U.S. Companies and Organizations that Export Goods or Services Honored at the 2013 President’s “E” Awards Ceremony

Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank Honors More Than 50 U.S. Companies for Export Successes While Kenneth E. Hyatt, Acting Deputy Under Secretary for International Trade, Looks On

Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank today honored 57 U.S. companies and organizations that export goods or services at the 2013 President’s “E” Awards ceremony. This year marks the 51st anniversary of the “E” Awards, which recognize significant contributions to increasing American exports. Today’s set of honorees, many of which are small- and medium-sized enterprises, was the largest group in three decades to receive this distinguished award.

Winners of the 2013 “E” Awards represent diverse communities from 22 states across the country. They hail from places like Gilman, Conn., Cleveland, Ohio, Eagan, Minn., Parsons, Kan., Broussard, La. and Vacaville, Calif. Of the honorees recognized at today’s ceremony, 47 are small- or medium-sized enterprises, 33 are manufacturers, and 31 fall into both categories.

There are four categories in which companies can receive an award. This year, 37 companies were honored with the “E” Award for Exports for demonstrating a sustained increase in export sales over several years. Twelve companies that assist and facilitate export activities were honored with the “E” Award for Export Service. Five firms received the “E” Star Award for Exports, which recognizes previous “E” Award winners who have shown four years of additional export growth. Finally, three were awarded the “E” Star Award for Export Service, which recognizes previous “E” Award winners that have shown four years of continued support of exporters since first winning the “E” Award. Two companies are receiving the “E” Star Award for Exports for the second time, a first in the fifty-one year history of the program. Complete list of  “E” Award and "E" Star Award winners.

Acting Secretary Blank Highlights Success of the U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement

De. Blank seated at speakers' table at AmCham Panama

Exports are critical to supporting American jobs and helping U.S. businesses grow.  Increasing international trade is one of the Commerce Department’s top priorities.  U.S. Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank wraps up her week-long Latin American trade mission in Panama this week which highlighted the importance of the bilateral trade relationship between the two countries. In her remarks before the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) Panama today, Acting Secretary Blank marked the success of the U.S. Panama Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA), which went into effect on October 31, 2012 and is a key component to increasing bilateral trade between the two countries.

Panama’s economy has seen double-digit growth over the past two years and continues to be a critical market for U.S. exporters. Between 2011 and 2012, the total volume of trade between the United States and Panama grew by 21 percent, reaching a total of $10.5 billion. With the implementation of the TPA, more than 87 percent of U.S. exports of consumer and industrial exports immediately became duty-free. Prior to the TPA implementation, Panama’s average tariff rate on U.S. industrial goods was higher than seven percent, with some tariffs reaching 81 percent.

Panama Canal Expansion Offers Opportunity for U.S. Companies to Serve as Partners with Panama

Dr. Blank seated at control panel of Panama Canal

As a part of her trade mission to Brazil, Colombia, and Panama this week, Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank met today with Jorge Quijano, Panama Canal Administrator, and Roberto Roy, President of the Panama Canal Board and the Panama City Subway, to discuss the Panama Canal Expansion Project and infrastructure spending related to Panama City’s Metro Rail Project. These meetings aim to strengthen longstanding U.S.-Panama ties by promoting greater cooperation between the two countries on infrastructure development.

Panama is a longstanding friend and ally to the United States, and the country’s strategic location as a major shipping route makes it an important economic partner as well. The Panama Canal currently handles five percent of the world’s trade, and approximately two-thirds of the Canal’s annual transits are bound to or from ports in the United States.

In order to allow greater container capacity, the Panama Canal Authority has decided to invest over $5 billion to expand the Canal. The expanded Canal will accommodate larger vessels that cannot transit now, introducing a new line of business that Panama projects will gradually increase annual profits to $3 billion. 

Autodesk Promotes Increasing Infrastructure Investment and Use of Technology During Latin America Trade Mission

Photo of Amar Hanspal

Autodesk Promotes Increasing Infrastructure Investment and Use of Technology During Latin America Trade Mission

Guest Blog Post by Amar Hanspal, Senior Vice President of Information Modeling products, Autodesk Inc.

Ed note: Autodesk is a $2 billion design and engineering firm with tens of millions of customers around the world. Autodesk’s portfolio of software empowers organizations of all sizes, creative visionaries, students and consumers to conceptualize, analyze, simulate and communicate their ideas and make them real. Autodesk’s software has been used to create the world’s most compelling media and entertainment, including the last 18 Academy-award winning films, and solve the most complex global design, engineering and sustainability challenges.

Autodesk is honored to be a part of this trade mission to Latin America.  As a company, we are committed to helping this region build, or rebuild, its critical infrastructure. This mission affords us an opportunity to meet with government and private sector leaders and develop long-term, strategic relationships with the Embassies and U.S. Foreign Commercial Service representatives. We are proud of the early progress already made in just a couple days of meetings.  Working together we have been able to identify near and long-term opportunities and connect with key leaders and decision makers to drive critical, infrastructure-related discussions forward. 

So, why is Autodesk involved?

Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank Commemorates the Anniversary of the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement

One of the Commerce Department’s top priorities is to strengthen the economic ties between the United States and our trading partners. One year ago today, the ties between the United States and Colombia became much stronger with the implementation of the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement, which Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank marked during her remarks today at a luncheon hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce and the Counsel of American Companies (CEA) in Bogotá, Colombia. 

Prior to the implementation of the Trade Promotion Agreement, also known as the U.S.-Colombia FTA, the average tariff rate on U.S. industrial exports to Colombia was higher than 10 percent. The agreement immediately eliminated tariffs on more than 80 percent of U.S. consumer and industrial exports to Colombia when it took effect last year, with the remaining tariffs being phased out within 10 years. This makes it easier for U.S. firms to export to Colombia. In fact, from June 2012 through March 2013, U.S. goods exported to Colombia have increased 19 percent compared to the same period in the year before. In 2012, U.S. goods exports to Colombia reached $16.4 billion and made up nearly a quarter of all Colombia’s imports of goods. 

Colombian firms have also benefited from the Trade Promotion Agreement, which experts estimate could create hundreds of thousands of Colombian jobs over the next few years. Under this agreement, more than 600 Colombian companies have started exporting to the United States for the first time, and Colombia continues to experience a trade surplus with the United States, its largest trading partner. 

Due in part to the Trade Promotion Agreement, U.S. businesses are increasingly interested in exploring trade with Colombia. The 20 firms accompanying Acting Secretary Blank on her trade mission this week represent just a snapshot of the U.S. business community that is looking for new opportunities to invest in Colombia. 

The U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement is one tool helping the United States work toward the goals of President Obama’s National Export Initiative, a government-wide strategy to promote American exports and support an additional 2 million export-related jobs by the end of 2014. By working together, the United States and Colombia have successfully fostered economic growth and strengthened the relationship between both countries. The Commerce Department is committed to further strengthening this relationship by encouraging increased trade and creating more economic development opportunities for businesses in both countries. 

For more information about the U.S.-Colombia FTA, visit http://www.trade.gov/press/press-releases/2013/colombia-factsheet-051513.pdf

Acting Secretary Blank Meets with Brazilian CEOs, Promotes SelectUSA Investment Summit

Acting Secretary Rebecca Blank is joined by Josué Gomes Da Silva, Chairman and CEO, Coteminas and Marcelo Bahia Odebrecht, President of Construtora Norberto Odebrecht S.A. at a Roundtable with Brazilian CEOs

Yesterday, Acting Secretary Blank met with a group of Brazilian CEOs to hear their priorities for doing business with the U.S. and to propose possible areas for close collaboration with American businesses. One area in which U.S. and Brazilian firms can work together is on infrastructure development, which is one reason why Acting Secretary Blank is currently leading a trade mission of 20 U.S. firms in a wide range of infrastructure industry sectors to Brazil, Colombia and Panama. These companies offer everything from cutting-edge technologies to top-notch services in engineering, management consulting, and more -- and they are well equipped to help Brazil meet its robust goals for infrastructure improvements.

Acting Secretary Blank emphasized the importance of a strong bilateral investment relationship -- many global manufacturers, including some in Brazil, are now looking to return manufacturing operations to the U.S., to expand operations here, or to invest in the U.S. for the first time. That´s because there are a host of factors that make America a very attractive place to do business: low domestic energy costs and a stable supply of energy, high labor productivity, strong research institutions that can serve as partners in developing new products, intellectual property protections, and a stable business investment environment.

International Visitors Spent $14.4 Billion in the United States in March 2013

Firs-quarter U.S. Travel and Tourism exports contribute $43 billion to the U.S. economy

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank highlighted new data today that shows spending by international visitors to the United States in March 2013 totaled more than $14.4 billion, an increase of nearly 3 percent when compared to last year. International visitors spent $43 billion on travel to, and tourism-related activities within, the United States during the first quarter of 2013. The data release coincides with National Travel and Tourism Week, celebrated each year to recognize the positive impact the industry has on our economy.


“International travel and tourism represents our country’s largest services export,” said Deputy Secretary Blank. “So far this year, international visitor spending in the United States has markedly outpaced U.S. spending abroad by more than $13 billion, which continues our momentum from 2012’s record-setting year. Likewise, last week’s jobs report showed continued strong job growth in the leisure and hospitality industry.  Travel and tourism is an important sector of our economy, which is why we are continuing to increase our efforts to attract more international tourists to vacation in the United States.” 

Purchases of travel and tourism-related goods and services by international visitors traveling in the United States totaled $11 billion during March. These goods and services include food, lodging, recreation, gifts, entertainment, local transportation in the United States, and other items incidental to foreign travel. Fares received by U.S. carriers (and U.S. vessel operators) from international visitors also increased by nearly 3 percent to $3.4 billion for the month, an increase of $70 million when compared to March 2012. Overall, the United States enjoyed a favorable balance of trade for the month of March in the travel and tourism sector, with a surplus of $4.2 billion. Full release

Celebrating World Trade Throughout May

Cross post from Tradeology, the official blog of the International Trade Administration

The following blog post was written by Francisco J. Sánchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade

May brings warmer weather, longer days, and, most importantly for us at the Department of Commerce, World Trade Month. For years, this has been a special time to reflect on the importance of trade to our nation’s economic well-being.

Over the past few months, we’ve discussed what an important year 2012 was for exports and our  economy: a record-setting $2.2 trillion in overall exports, 10 percent annual growth in tourism-related exports, and 9.8 million U.S. jobs supported by exports.

World Trade Month is an occasion to recognize the past year’s successes while looking ahead to new ways to expand exports and build a stronger economy. It’s a month for us to recognize what we know all year long: that exports are a key to our long-term economic health.

The month of May will provide many opportunities to do just that. Events and observances to look out for include:

  • National Travel and Tourism Week, a celebration of that industry’s contributions to the U.S. economy, will take place from May 4-12.
  • On May 16, the Small Business Administration and Denver U.S. Export Assistance Center will co-sponsor the 40th Annual World Trade Day.
  • May 19 will bring the start of World Trade Week, a tradition dating back to 1927 and marked by a Presidential proclamation.
  • During that week, the President’s annual “E” Awards will be presented to leading U.S. exporters.

Have a question about getting started in exporting? Twitter chats throughout the month will offer chances to learn about exporting and pose questions to government agencies involved in President Obama’s National Export Initiative.

We invite you to check this post or our World Trade Month category for regular updates on these and other events. You can also visit our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter.

As we kick off World Trade Month 2013, our team looks forward to continuing to support our nation’s exporters as they build things here and sell them everywhere.

Deputy Secretary Blank Announces 20 Companies Joining Infrastructure Business Development Trade Mission to Brazil, Colombia and Panama

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank today announced the 20 companies that will join her on an infrastructure business development trade mission to Sao Paulo, Brazil; Bogota, Colombia; and Panama City, Panama from May 12-18, 2013. The governments of these countries have each outlined ambitious infrastructure development plans for the years ahead, and this trade mission will help U.S. companies in a broad range of infrastructure industry sectors make the connections they need to expand their business opportunities in Brazil, Colombia and Panama.

The trade mission will support President Obama’s National Export Initiative, a government-wide strategy to promote American exports and create 2 million export-supported jobs by the end of 2014. Last year, exports hit another all-time record, reaching $2.2 trillion. And, between 2009 and 2012 exports have supported 1.3 million additional jobs.

The mission will also highlight the successes in the U.S. trade relationships with Colombia and Panama, specifically, since free trade agreements with each country have taken effect. The Deputy Secretary and the business delegation will be in Colombia on the one-year anniversary of the implementation of that Free Trade Agreement (FTA), May 15.

The mission will include export-ready U.S. firms in a broad range of leading U.S. infrastructure and industrial sectors, with an emphasis on project management (including construction, architecture and design), transportation (including road/highways, rail, airports, and intelligent transportation systems), energy (including distribution, transmission, and smart grid), water resources management (including water treatment, distribution and collection), and safety and security. The mission will help U.S. businesses in initiating or expanding exports to Brazil, Colombia and Panama by making business-to-business introductions, providing market access information, and facilitating access to government decision makers.

See the entire list of 20 companies and learn more about the opportunities in each of these three export markets.

2012 Peace Through Commerce Medal Award Recipients Announced

Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez announced the nine individuals and organizations that are recipients of the International Trade Administration’s 2012 Peace through Commerce Medal Award.

The award recognizes an individual, group, or organization, either domestic or abroad, whose actions have significantly promoted and developed U.S. export initiatives, encouraged innovative approaches, and improved overall U.S. trade relations.

The Peace through Commerce Medal dates back to the first Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson, who commissioned the medal in 1790. Jefferson gifted the medal, formerly known as the Diplomatic Medal, to foreign diplomats who aided the Continental Congress during the American Revolution. The medal is most renowned for its inscription, To Peace and Commerce, centered along the top. Read more about the entire list of award winners.

New Data Shows 29 States Hit Record Export Levels In 2012

State Export Data

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank today announced new state export data that shows 29 states set new records for export sales in 2012. In total, 35 states achieved merchandise export growth in 2012, and 20 of those states experienced growth of at least five percent or more.

Total merchandise exports from all 50 states helped contribute to the record-setting value of goods and services exports in 2012, which reached $2.2 trillion. Nationally, jobs supported by exports increased to 9.8 million in 2012, up 1.3 million since 2009. This puts us ahead of schedule to meet the President’s goal of adding two million export-supported jobs by the end of 2014.

More information about individual state contributions to national exports is available through the International Trade Administration’s Office of Trade and Industry Information web page, www.trade.gov/mas/ian/statereports, which includes individual fact sheets for all 50 states. An interactive map with national and state merchandise trade data is available here: http://tse.export.gov/TSE/.

Doing Business in Africa Forum Presents Opportunities for American Businesses in Sub-Saharan Region

Francisco Sánchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade and Minority Business Development Agency National Director David Hinson Address the Doing Business in Africa Forum

Guest blog post by Francisco Sánchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade and David Hinson, National Director, Minority Business Development Agency

Earlier this week, we attended the Doing Business in Africa Forum at the White House. This was the first forum of the Doing Business in Africa campaign that the Commerce Department launched three months ago in Johannesburg, South Africa. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank gave the opening remarks and focused on strengthening commercial ties between the United States and Sub-Saharan Africa. She emphasized that as the continent’s wealth increases, so does the demand for improved infrastructure, energy services, and high-quality consumer and agricultural products – all of which American companies are well positioned to provide. In fact, Sub-Saharan Africa is home to six of the ten fastest-growing countries in the world, which helps explain why over the past decade, U.S. trade to and from Africa has tripled, with U.S. exports now topping $21 billion.  Michael Strautmanis, Deputy Assistant to the President and Counselor for Strategic Engagement, welcomed the group of federal government officials, African-born U.S. business and financial leaders, and African-American entrepreneurs, corporate executives, fund managers and investment advisors. Mr. Strautmanis emphasized the need for a collective approach from federal agencies to provide expanded investment and trade financing support to help U.S businesses become more effective global competitors, particularly in the Sub-Saharan region.

Amplifying that message, both of us, along with representatives from government entities including the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, Export-Import Bank, Small Business Administration, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, U.S. Trade and Development Agency and Millennium Challenge Corporation, described for the assembled group how all of our services are structured under the Doing Business in Africa campaign to help them seize opportunities in the Sub-Saharan Africa region. 

Building Exports in the Bluegrass State

Under Secretary Sánchez (center left) and Senior Trade Specialist Brian Miller (center right)poses for a photo with employees of Universal Woods during a tour of their manufacturing facility

Guest blog post by Francisco Sánchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade

Cross-post from the International Trade Administration's blog, Tradeology

“We should remember that today’s world presents not just dangers, not just threats—it presents opportunity.” This statement from President Obama’s State of the Union speech confirms the belief that free trade and open markets are a benefit in our globalized world.

In Louisville, Ky., this belief is nothing new, as the town has been growing its economy by focusing on exporting to foreign markets.

That is why I joined Mayor Greg Fischer in Louisville to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the International Trade Administration (ITA) and the City of Louisville in a team effort to improve local exports. Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3) also joined us to celebrate this exciting new partnership and highlight what this means for the community.

Our new MOU extends the success we have seen through the Bluegrass Economic Advancement Movement (BEAM), a joint venture between the mayors of Louisville and Lexington, designed to support the growth of high-quality jobs in advanced manufacturing throughout a 22-county region.

BEAM is a particularly exceptional achievement because it is the realization of the National Export Initiative (NEI) localized through the Brookings Institute’s Metropolitan Export Initiative (MEI). It represents a way in which cities and towns can engage in international trade to reap the benefits of increased exports.
Together, these initiatives are all working in concert to increase U.S. exports.

And there is no better place to talk exports than Kentucky.

Spotlight on Commerce: Antwaun Griffin, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Domestic Operations

Antwaun Griffin, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Domestic Operations, International Trade Administration

Ed. note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series highlighting members of the Department of Commerce and their contributions to an Economy Built to Last.

Guest blog post by Antwaun Griffin, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Domestic Operations

As the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Domestic Operations within the International Trade Administration's (ITA) U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service, I help oversee all aspects of the Department of Commerce's trade promotion and export assistance services. This includes the management of 109 U.S. Export Assistance Centers (USEAC’s) around the country as well as oversight of the government’s efforts to recruit U.S.-based exhibitors and foreign buyers to domestic and international trade shows. In addition, my office also oversees the planning and execution of most government-led trade missions.

Often times this work involves critical analysis of our internal business operations to ensure that they are aligned with staff needs and those of our various clients—small businesses, industry associations, state and local governments and other federal agencies involved in trade promotion. Other times, it involves traveling to meet with business owners and groups to encourage them to export—thus creating or retaining more jobs here in the United States.

U.S. Recognizes Another Year of Export Growth

Bar chart: U.S. exports in millions

Guest blog post by Francisco Sánchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade and Mark Doms, Under Secretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs

Last year was another record-setting year for U.S. exporters.

Data released today shows that in 2012, American exports totaled $2.2 trillion, eclipsing the previous record of $2.1 trillion in exports in 2011.

This represents more than just numbers on a spreadsheet; it’s further proof that “Made in the USA” products are in demand all over the world.  It also means that more U.S. businesses are seizing the great opportunities in the global markets, continuing to help pave our nation’s road to economic recovery. 

The increase in U.S. exports in both goods and services continues an upward trend that began in 2009. This trend has contributed to the creation of 6.1 million American private-sector jobs during the last 35 months. It is a direct result of President Obama’s National Export Initiative, part of a government strategy to strengthen our economy, support the creation of American jobs, and ensure long-term growth.

Acting Secretary Blank Launches Doing Business in Africa Campaign

Map of Africa with text "Doing Business in Africa"

Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank today announced the launch of the “Doing Business in Africa” campaign at an event in Johannesburg, South Africa. This campaign is part of a larger U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa, which President Obama issued in June. The “Doing Business in Africa” campaign will promote economic growth, trade and investment in Africa.  In her remarks, the Acting Secretary emphasized the United States’ ongoing commitment to deepening economic ties with these nations. She also shared a message from President Obama (PDF) in support of the campaign.

The United States is pursuing four objectives in Sub-Saharan Africa: strengthening democratic institutions; spurring economic growth, trade and investment; advancing peace and security; and promoting opportunity and development. The new Doing Business in Africa campaign is a key part of this effort. It leverages the federal government’s strengths as assets in trade promotion, financing, and more. Goals of the campaign include helping U.S. businesses identify and seize opportunities in Africa, and helping them overcome any challenges they face to establishing business relationships with Africa.

Also as part of her trip to South Africa, Dr. Blank met with a multi-sector trade mission led by the Department of Commerce’s Under Secretary for International Trade, Francisco Sánchez. This delegation is comprised of representatives from 13 U.S. firms who were traveling to Lusaka, Zambia; and Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa.

Sub-Saharan Africa presents enormous opportunities to the American private sector. According to the World Bank, its GDP totaled approximately $1.25 trillion in 2011, and six of the 10 fastest-growing economies in the world are in Sub-Saharan Africa. U.S. total merchandise exports to Sub-Saharan Africa tripled between 2001 and 2011.

Spotlight on Commerce: Michael C. Camuñez, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Market Access and Compliance

Guest blog post by Michael C. CamuÑez, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Market Access and Compliance, International Trade Administration

Ed. note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series highlighting members of the Department of Commerce and their contributions to an Economy Built to Last.

Guest blog post by Michael C. Camuñez, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Market Access and Compliance, International Trade Administration

As Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Market Access & Compliance, I have the great privilege of working each day to advance the President’s trade policy agenda to grow U.S. exports and help American industry compete in foreign markets under the President’s National Export Initiative. In a world where 95 percent of consumers and 80-90 percent of world GDP growth will exist in coming years outside of the United States, our work to grow U.S. exports has never been more important. I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to work with my talented colleagues at Commerce and throughout the government on efforts to keep the United States globally competitive and to help to increase our access to these dynamic and emerging global markets.

I am a fourth-generation American, born and raised in southern New Mexico, not far from the U.S.-Mexico border. I am the descendant of Mexican farmers and ranchers, who settled in northern Mexico and what is today the States of New Mexico and Texas. My family left New Mexico for sunny California just as I entered high school. I spent my high school years in California’s San Joaquin Valley, one of our nation’s most productive agricultural regions. 

I was the first in my family to attend college and was lucky enough to earn a spot at Harvard College. While at Harvard, I became deeply involved in organizing and running community service programs aimed at working with at-risk populations. That led to an opportunity following college to help advocate for the creation of a nation-wide system of national service—like a domestic Peace Corps.  In fact, my first political job was in the Clinton Administration, where I was an integral part of the team that established the AmeriCorps program. 

How New Legislation will Support Our Textile Industry

Deputy Assistant Secretary Kim Glas and Under Secretary Francisco Sanchez tour Unifi’s sewing thread manufacturing facility in Yadkinville, North Carolina on October 9, 2012.

Ed. note: Cross-posted from ITA's Tradeology blog. Kim Glas is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for textiles and apparel within the International Trade Administration’s Import Administration division.

I am visiting North Carolina today with the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez to see first-hand two state of the art textile companies–Unifi and A&E. Recently, President Obama signed into law an important set of technical fixes to the U.S.-Dominican Republic-Central America (CAFTA-DR) Free Trade Agreement that will have a direct impact on jobs at these two companies and sewing thread manufacturers across this state and country.

When the Agreement with our Central American neighbors was negotiated in 2003, there was a definitional loophole that incentivized the use of non-U.S. sewing thread in the assembly of textile and apparel products. As a result of this loophole, U.S. sewing thread manufacturers have seen their business and employment shrink. The Obama administration immediately set out to address a problem that severely impacted U.S. sewing thread manufacturers.

After years of hard work, President Obama recently signed legislation to close a loophole that has jeopardized businesses and jobs in the U.S. As a result, on Saturday, October 13, these fixes will be implemented and will have a direct impact on many sewing thread manufacturers in North Carolina. We have every expectation that once the legislation is implemented that U.S. sewing thread producers like Unifi and A&Ewill be able to recapture market share in the critical market.

This is a prime example of what can be accomplished when industry, Congress, and the administration work toward a common goal.

ITA Under Secretary Promotes Manufacturing During Three-State Tour

Under Secretary Francisco Sanchez (center) meets with Jet Inc.’s President Ron Swinko (far left) and other staff at their manufacturing facility in Cleveland, OH as part of the “Made in America Manufacturing Tour.” in October 2012.

Ed. note: Cross-posted from ITA's Tradeology blog. Sophia Lu is a Fellow at the International Trade Administration Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs

On October 2Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez commenced a four-city tour of American manufacturing cities to promote the benefits of strengthening America’s manufacturers and expanding U.S. exports to create jobs. This “Made in America Manufacturing Tour” supports President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI), which seeks to double U.S. exports by the end of 2014. Just last year, exports supported 9.7 million American jobs, an increase of 1.2 million American jobs from 2009.

On his first stop in Toledo, Ohio, Under Secretary Sánchez met with company officials and toured the manufacturing facility of Bionix Development Corporation. Bionix was recently honored with the President’s “E” Award, which was created by Executive Order of the President in 1961 to give recognition to person, firms, or organizations who contribute significantly in the effort to increase U.S. exports.

Sánchez then traveled to Cleveland, Ohio and held a forum at the City Club of Cleveland on the “Resurgence of American Manufacturing.” There he also met with the Northeast Ohio District Export Council and the local business community for a roundtable discussion on the role of exporting and manufacturing in the NEI. While in Cleveland, he also toured the manufacturing facilities of Jet, Inc. and Codonics, Inc., both of which are also “E” Award winners.

ITA and EPA Launch Environmental Export Initiative at WEFTEC

Attendees at the 2011 FCIB Annual Global Conference (Photo FCIB)

Ed. note: Cross-posted from ITA's Tradeology blog by Maureen Hinman, Environmental Technology Trade Specialist in ITA’s Office of Energy and Environmental Industries

EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson and Commerce Under Secretary Francisco J. Sánchez launched the Environmental Export Initiative today at the Water Environment Federation Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC), the largest environmental industry event in North America and largest annual water exhibition in the world with more than 900 exhibitors and 18,000 water professionals in attendance.

The Environmental Export Initiative is the result of a renewed partnership between the International Trade Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency that seeks to promote environmental exports by leveraging EPA’s unparalleled expertise in environmental management with ITA’s export promotion and market development skills. The Trade Policy Promotion Coordinating Committee (TPCC) initiative was announced on May 14, 2012 at American University by then Commerce Secretary Bryson, EPA Administrator Jackson, U.S. Trade Representative Kirk, and Secretary of Agriculture Vilsak and signifies a government-wide effort to enhance environmental technology exports. Today’s event gave the leading agencies a chance to formally launch the initiative and outline for environmental companies some of the key deliverables under the initiative that will help facilitate increased environmental technologies exports.

ITA: Metro Exports Driving Economic Growth

Map of U.S. highlighting metro areas

Ed. note: Cross-posted from ITA's Tradeology blog by Michael Masserman and Ashley Zuelke of the Office of  Export Policy, Promotion & Strategy

Here’s a fact:  the 100 largest metro areas in our country make up just 12 percent of land area—but they make up 65 percent of our population and 75 percent of our nation’s GDP. So when it comes to export growth, it should come as no surprise that metro areas are leading the way.

What may surprise you, is that 13 smaller metropolitan areas across the U.S.—from Asheville, N.C., to Green Bay, Wisc., to Yakima, Wash.— for the first time joined the club of metropolitan markets that exported more than $1 billion in merchandise to the world. These metro areas exported U.S. goods such as machinery, transportation equipment, and computer and electronic products which are in great demand all over the world.

The achievement of these thirteen metropolitan areas and recently released national data for 2011 metropolitan exports confirms the historic progress we are making toward reaching the President’s National Export Initiative (NEI) goal of doubling U.S. exports by the end of 2014.

Exports Hit Record Highs in 200 Metro Areas

Map of U.S. highlighting metro areas

Guest post from Natalie Soroka, Economist in the Office of Industry Analysis within the International Trade Administration

2011 was a good year for U.S. Metropolitan Area Exporters. Of the 367 metro areas with available data (due to Federal disclosure regulations), 206 saw record-high merchandise exports in 2011. Overall, exports from all metropolitan areas increased by 16 percent from 2010 to total $1.31 trillion in 2011. New York was the top exporter, accounting for $105.1 billion. 

While export value is concentrated in the top metro areas (like New York, Houston, and Los Angeles), exports are an important economic driver nationwide. In 2011, 150 metro areas exported more than $1 billion of goods, thirteen of which reached this mark for the first time.

Overall, many areas experienced significant export growth in 2011, with exports increasing by more than $1 billion in 36 metro areas. Larger exporters such as Houston and New York showed the highest dollar growth, each growing by more than $20 billion compared to the previous year, but growth was not contained to big cities. Of the top 50 metro exporters in 2011, Corpus Christi showed the fastest growth, nearly doubling its goods exports since 2010. Much of this growth, along with other fast-rising metropolitan areas in Texas and Louisiana, was due to higher exports of petroleum and coal products. Higher commodity prices benefitted many cities in 2011, with major exporters of crops (Minneapolis, New Orleans, Portland), primary metals (Salt Lake City, New York), and petroleum and coal products (Houston, New Orleans, New York, Corpus Christi) showing high growth. In addition to commodities, exporters of manufactured goods such as chemicals (Houston) and transportation equipment (Detroit) showed high growth in 2011.

Largest U.S. Education Services Mission Reaches Thousands of Potential Students in Brazil

Under Secretary for International Trade Francisco J. Sánchez launches the EducationUSA Fair in Brazilia, Brazil on September 1, 2012.

Education fairs in Brasília, São Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro promote higher education in the United States

U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez this week concluded the Commerce Department’s largest education services trade mission in history in Rio de Janeiro. Sánchez and representatives from 66 U.S. colleges and university introduced more than 7,500 Brazilian students and parents to educational programs and opportunities for study in the United States during education fairs and meetings in Brasília, São Paulo and Rio de 

“These distinguished U.S. colleges and universities value the role that international students can play in helping shape the next generation of leaders in government, business, and science,” Sánchez said at the EducationUSA Fair in Rio de Janeiro. “Our efforts during this mission strongly support the extraordinary commitment from President Obama and President Rousseff to increase student exchanges between our two countries.”

Education and training is one of the United States’ leading services exports. The industry annually adds $21 billion to the U.S. economy, and Brazilian students in the United States paid more than $257 million in tuition and fees for the 2010-2011 academic year. Brazil currently ranks 14th among countries sending students to the United States with more than 9,000 students, and the goal of this mission is to help boost that number significantly in the next five years.  Read the full mission wrap-up release

International Traveler Spending On Pace For a Record Setting Year

Happy tourist jumping in Glacier National Park

Guest blog post by Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar

Travel and tourism spending by international visitors is helping to boost the U.S. economy. The U.S. Department of Commerce released data yesterday showing that international visitors have spent an estimated $82.2 billion on U.S. travel and tourism-related goods and services year to date, an increase of 11 percent when compared to the same period last year. Many people do not know that this boosts exports – when foreign citizens travel to America and buy goods and services from American companies, that counts as a U.S. export. The new data indicate that the first half of 2012 set a new record for U.S. travel and tourism exports, and, if these trends continue, international visitors could end up injecting close to $170 billion into the U.S. economy by year-end.

These increases help explain why the Obama administration is working hard to make the United States the top destination for international travelers. The U.S. Departments of Commerce and Interior are implementing the National Travel and Tourism Strategy, which they presented to the President in May. The National Strategy is a blueprint for expanding travel to and within the U.S., setting out the goal of attracting over 100 million international visitors annually by 2021, more than a 50 percent increase over the number expected this year. These international visitors would spend an estimated $250 billion per year, creating jobs and spurring economic growth in communities across the country.

New Export Data Shows 34 States Reached Record Highs for Merchandise Exports in the First Half of 2012

U.S. map showing 34 states passing exports records

U.S. exports support nearly 10 million jobs across the country

Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank announced today that U.S. merchandise exports totaled a record $773.4 billion in the first six months of 2012, up by $50.7 billion from the same period of 2011.

“Comprehensive data from the first half of 2012 demonstrates that exports continue to be a bright spot for America and that we’re making historic progress toward the president’s goal of doubling U.S. exports by the end of 2014,” said Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank. “Despite a challenging global economy, these numbers show continued global demand for American goods. While the nation looks to be on track toward exceeding last year’s goods and services export total of $2.1 trillion, we are also seeing some individual states outpace the national average of seven percent growth in merchandise exports. This is good news for the economy, because we know that increased exports create jobs. The jump in exports since 2009 has helped the private sector create 4.5 million jobs over the past 29 months, and, in 2011, jobs supported by exports increased by 1.2 million over 2009. There’s more work to be done to strengthen the economy and put more Americans back to work, and we need to continue to do all we can to support American workers, exporters and businesses so that they can continue to help us rebuild this economy." Full release

U.S. Businesses Going for the Gold

Gold Key Matching Services Logo

As the 2012 Olympic Games wind to a close, American athletes have racked up nearly 40 gold medals against the best of their international competition. They achieved those victories with hours of practice, dedication, and partnership with coaches and mentors. Like America’s Olympians, American businesses are also competing on the global stage, and the Commerce Department is partnering with them through our Gold Key Matching Service to help them win.

Gold Key Matching Services, run through the International Trade Administration’s U.S. Commercial Service, is a low-cost service for American businesses to expand their global reach by making contacts with foreign firms and potential business partners.

Before business leaders go oversees to meet with prospective trade partners, the Gold Key Matching Service arranges appointments with pre-screened overseas agents, distributors, sales representatives and business partners. This cuts the time and cost to businesses in locating and vetting prospective trade partners.

The Gold Key Matching Services provide a host of other benefits for U.S. companies, including market research, industry briefings with U.S. Commercial Service trade specialists, and assistance with travel, accommodations, and interpreter services. In addition, for business leaders who aren’t able to make a trip overseas, video services are available to meet with potential business partners via videoconferencing.

ITA: Exports Bring Jobs to the Twin Cities Region!

Congressman Keith Ellison (MN-5) and Under Secretary Francisco Sánchez take questions from local companies during a business round table event in Minneapolis.

Guest blog post by Francisco Sánchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade.

Since the 2012 Olympic Games began, Minnesotans have competed in sports ranging from basketball to fencing, proving that athletes from the North Star State can succeed on the global stage. The same can be said for Minnesota’s businesses.

Yesterday, I visited Minneapolis to meet with Congressman Keith Ellison, Mayor R.T. Rybak and business and community leaders. It was a great opportunity to see and hear firsthand how local entrepreneurs are designing and manufacturing quality products that are being exported all over the world.

For instance, I had the pleasure of visiting Accent Signage Systems, a small manufacturing company. A pioneer in innovative sign technology, Accent Signage is experiencing the direct benefits of exporting and has plans to increase its workforce by 25 percent in the near future. This is a gleaming example of a business that is successfully competing abroad, and, in doing so, is making a positive impact here at home.  

Acting Secretary Blank Speaks at White House Business Council Forum on Travel and Tourism

Acting Secretary Rebecca Blank joined business leaders from across the country earlier this week at the White House Business Council American Economic Competitiveness Forum on Travel and Tourism

Acting Secretary Rebecca Blank joined business leaders from across the country earlier this week at the White House Business Council American Economic Competitiveness Forum on Travel and Tourism to discuss the administration’s actions to help grow travel and tourism and support the millions of jobs associated with the industry. Travel and tourism is a bright spot for the American economy, leading the recovery with growth that has outpaced the growth of the overall economy by almost 800 percent and on pace for another year of record high international visitors to the U.S. 

Since even before the passage of the Travel Promotion Act in 2010, the Administration has been focused on the importance of travel and tourism.  The President recognized the importance of developing the travel and tourism industry and issued an Executive Order last January that created a new inter-agency Task Force co-chaired by the Secretaries of Commerce and the Interior and charged them with developing a National Travel and Tourism Strategy to increase both domestic and international travel throughout the United States, with the goal of increasing the United States’ market share of worldwide travel. The Task Force included representatives from every agency and department whose mission intersects with the travel and tourism industry. The Task Force released the National Strategy in May with an ambitious goal of attracting 100 million international visitors ($250 billion in spending) to the U.S. annually by 2021 -- a 60% increase above the 62 million international visitors in 2011.

The National Travel and Tourism Strategy laid out a blueprint for reaching that goal by focusing on five areas:

  • Promoting the United States
  • Enabling and enhancing travel and tourism to and within the United States
  • Providing world-class customer service and visitor experiences
  • Coordinating across government
  • Conducting research and measuring results

International Visitors to the U.S. Spent Record $13.9 billion in May, Helping Support U.S. Jobs

Report cover: National Travel and Tourism Strategy

Guest blog post by Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank
 
Tourism is America’s number one service export, and today we have even more evidence that America is indeed open for business. New data released by the U.S. Commerce Department today shows that international visitors spent nearly $14 billion on travel to, and tourism-related activities within, the United States in May$1 billion more than was spent in May 2011marking 29 straight months of growth.
 
This data also means that the U.S. is on pace for a record-setting year, with international visitors having spent over $68 billion so far – up 12 percent compared to last year.
 
The facts are clear: tourism is a high-growth bright spot in our economy. We must continue to build on this momentum by making sure that America is travel-friendly to international visitors, thereby helping our businesses create even more jobs.
 
Fortunately, there are many dedicated people working to increase travel and tourism. This morning, I had the chance to talk with a few of them at a meeting of the Travel and Tourism Advisory Board in Dearborn, Mich., where I joined federal agency partners, as well as U.S. Representative John Dingell (D-MI), to discuss the Obama administration’s ongoing efforts to increase travel and tourism to the United States. During the board meeting, we discussed implementation of the recently released National Travel and Tourism Strategy (PDF), a blueprint for the federal government to welcome 100 million international visitors each year by the end of 2021. These visitors would spend an estimated $250 billion per year, supporting even more jobs and spurring economic growth in communities across the country.

22 Ways the Department Of Commerce Is Supporting and Fostering American Innovation

RIANO logo

In an increasingly competitive world, the United States must invest in its best scientists, researchers and entrepreneurs so that they innovate here, make things here, and create good paying, high quality jobs for middle class families. The Department of Commerce and its bureaus are supporting and fostering innovation at all stages of product development, from original research through to final manufactured goods.

Commerce’s Economic Development Agency has launched two grant challenges, the i6 Challenge and the Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator, to move ideas from the lab and shop floor to the marketplace at an accelerated rate. Supporting this work is the Regional Innovation Acceleration Network, a web-based tool to help economic development professionals promote entrepreneurship, business development, and technology commercialization in their region.

In April 2010, the Commerce Department launched the Internet Policy Task Force to ensure that the Internet remains open for innovation. In doing so, it has produced the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights, made important steps forward for a National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, started a conversation about privacy concerns within mobile apps, and worked to combat Botnets that threaten internet security. To ensure continued Internet security, Commerce has opened a Cybersecurity Center of Excellence.

Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank Wrapped up Her Visit to Turkey with Concrete Steps to Advance the U.S-Turkish Commercial Relationship

Acting Secretary Blank Co-Chairs the U.S.-Turkey Framework for Strategic Economic and Commercial Cooperation  with U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk,  Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan and Minister of the Economy Zafer Caglayan

Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank wrapped up her visit to Turkey after co-chairing the second meeting of the U.S.-Turkey Framework for Strategic Economic and Commercial Cooperation (FSECC) with U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk in Ankara yesterday. The Turkish delegation was led by Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan and Minister of the Economy Zafer Caglayan.

The FSECC was created following the first meeting between President Obama and Turkish President Gul in April 2009. The two leaders tasked the U.S. and Turkish governments to create a framework to help substantially increase the trade and investment flows between both countries to help strengthen the economic dimension of our partnership. The meeting focused on opportunities for increased bilateral trade and investment relations to create jobs in both countries, and the ministers agreed on several concrete steps to advance the U.S-Turkish commercial relationship. The Acting Secretary promoted increased Foreign Direct Investment, including calling for greater Turkish FDI to the U.S., highlighting Commerce’s SelectUSA initiative. The four principals made a joint statement after the meeting.

During the meeting, Acting Secretary Blank announced that the Commerce Department's International Trade Administration will lead an Aerospace and Defense Industry Trade Mission to Turkey in December 2012. She also applauded the work that has been done so far to increase bilateral trade between the U.S. and Turkey.  She emphasized the work that must be done to continue to advance the U.S.-Turkey trade relationship, such as overcoming market access barriers, furthering cooperation on intellectual property rights, and enabling businesses to take advantage of opportunities in key sectors such as renewable energy, financial services, and infrastructure.

Chicago Today, Russia Tomorrow

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)

Cross-posted from ITA Tradeology blog by Francisco Sánchez, Under Secretary of Commerce 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.

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, http://www.bay.ru, BayRu is one of the fastest growing e-commerce sites in Russia. On bay.ru, 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.

Minority Businesses Export to Support Jobs in Long Island

Under Secretary Sanchez (center), Congressman Tim Bishop (right) and Shakir Farsakh, director of the Long Island Export Assistance Center (left)

Cross-posted from ITA Tradeology blog by Francisco Sánchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade

Washington can be a sweltering place in the summer. And this year is no exception. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to escape the heat of Washington today for Long Island, New York. There, I joined forces with my friend and colleague Congressman Tim Bishop to help highlight the benefits of exports and the impact they have in strengthening the economy.

We’ve always known exports to be among best ways to boost domestic economic output. Just last year, the United States had a record-setting $2.1 trillion in exports which supported nearly 10 million American jobs.

Rather, the question has always been “how can we expand the message of exporting to more businesses?”

This was the challenge laid forth by President Obama in 2010 when he announced the National Export Initiative, which aims to double U.S. exports by the end of 2014.

Well, the data are in! One of the great things about our country is our diversity. And according to the U.S.  Census Bureau, that same diversity is boosting our economy. A report released this month, using data from 2007, shows that exports by minority-owned American businesses make significant contributions to our economy.

U.S. Outdoor Recreation Industry Found to Boost the Economy

The Outdoor Recreation Economy

Guest blog post by the International Trade Administration's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Services Kenneth E. Hyatt.

If you haven’t heard the news, the U.S. travel and tourism industry is on pace for a record-setting year of creating American jobs and growing the economy.

In fact, a new report (PDF) released today by the Outdoor Industry Association shows the impressive impact of America’s outdoor recreation on the economy.  

The study found that the outdoor industry has created 6.1 million jobs nationally and puts $646 billion into the U.S. economy each year. The study also shows that each year, three out of four Americans participate in active outdoor recreation—activities like fishing, hunting, hiking, running, swimming and camping all contribute to refueling the economy.

This new study comes on the heels of new Commerce Department data released last week, which showed that international travelers are spending more while visiting the United States—and that the receipts for U.S. businesses are reaching record highs. International visitors spent an estimated $14 billion on travel to, and tourism-related activities within, the United States in April 2012—$1.5 billion more (or a 12 percent increase) than was spent in April 2011. International visitors have spent an estimated $54.6 billion in 2012 so far, which is an increase of 13 percent when compared to the same four-month period last year.

Guest Blog Post: Commerce Comes to Your Town – Pittsburgh

Lyn Doverspike, Director of the Commercial Service Pittsburgh Office, Harlan Shober, Washington County Commissioner, Under Secretary Francisco Sanchez, Nate Nevela, District Field Director for U.S. Congressman Tim Murphy , Dennis Gray, Aquatech Vice President of Operations and R.Suresh Kumar, Vice President (Projects) Infrastructure – Major Projects.

Ed. note: Cross-posted from ITA Tradeology blog by Francisco Sánchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade

Yesterday I toured Aquatech International’s facility in Canonsburg, right outside of Pittsburgh. The company has been working with Commerce Department staff to export more of their products, and it was great to see up close the great work being done at their facilities.

Established in 1981, Aquatech is a global leader in water purification technology for the world’s industrial and infrastructure markets, with a focus on desalination, water reuse and zero liquid discharge. Aquatech is also a socially responsible company. Their products help to solve the problem of water scarcity abroad. They also help support numerous nonprofits that work to provide clean water to those without access to drinkable water.

Our visit to Aquatech is a part of wider Department of Commerce campaign, announced last month, called “Commerce Comes to Your Town.” Here at the International Trade Administration (ITA), we stand ready to provide American businesses the tools and resources they need to export their goods and services all around the globe, grow their businesses, and create more good-paying manufacturing jobs for Americans.

I can’t stress enough how important exports are for America’s economic future. Forty-one companies that successfully grew their exports recently received the President’s “E” Award during a ceremony at the White House. As part of “Commerce Comes to Your Town,” I’ve spoken in towns across the country and met with business leaders to get their input and spread our message. In fact, earlier in the day, I attended the TechBelt Export Summit in Youngstown, Ohio, where I was able to speak about how important exports are to that region.

Growth and Opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa

Logo: African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA)

Crossposted from ITA's blog, Tradeology.

Guest blog post by Nicole Y. Lamb-Hale is the Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Services within the International Trade Administration

This week I am participating in the 11th Annual U.S.-Sub-Saharan Trade and Economic Forum, hosted this year in Washington, D.C. The event is mandated by the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and is the U.S. Government’s premier high-level, bilateral event with Sub-Saharan Africa. This year’s theme is “Enhancing Africa’s Infrastructure for Trade.”

The AGOA Forum brings together over 600 participants, including senior U.S. and African officials, as well as U.S. and African members of the private sector and civil society.

I am honored to be co-chairing a session with Humberto Brito, Minister of Tourism, Industry and Energy, Cape Verde focused on ways to create an attractive regulatory environment to attract renewable energy investment.

Sub-Saharan Africa is a continent of opportunities for U.S. businesses with overall projected growth rates of approximately six percent in 2012–some of the highest in the world. In looking at the world’s ten fastest growing economies from 2001-2010, six were in Africa. This trend accelerates in 2011-2015 with seven of the ten world’s fastest growing economies being in Africa. In the World Bank’s Doing Business 2012: Doing Business in a More Transparent Worldan impressive 36 out of 46 economies in Sub-Saharan Africa improved business regulations this year–a record number since 2005. Of the economies that improved the most in the ease of doing business in 2010/2011, with improvements in three or more areas of regulation measured by Doing Business, four of the twelve are Sub-Saharan African countries.

Commerce's ITA Releases Data Showing International Visitor Spending Continues at Record-Setting Pace

Graph: U.S. Travel and Tourism-Related Exports

Rate is twelve percent increase over last year

Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA) today released tourism data revealing that international visitors spent an estimated $14 billion on travel to, and tourism-related activities within, the United States in April 2012—$1.5 billion more (12 percent) than was spent in April 2011.

The new data reaffirms the importance of the Obama administration’s efforts to increase travel and tourism in the United States and comes on the heels of the release of the National Travel and Tourism Strategy (PDF) last month. The National Strategy is a blueprint for the Federal government to welcome 100 million international visitors each year by the end of 2021. The visitors would spend an estimated $250 billion per year, supporting more jobs and spurring economic growth in communities across the country.  Read the full ITA release here.

Assistant Secretary Michael Camuñez Concludes U.S.-Mexico Border Trade Policy and Promotion Week Visit

Assistant Secretary Camuñez is joined by public and private stakeholders after recognizing the New Mexico Border Authority for their efforts to support the local community.

Guest blog post by Michael C. Camuñez, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Market Access and Compliance, International Trade Administration

During this past week, in my official capacity as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Market Access and Compliance, I had the privilege of leading a high-level delegation of U.S. and Mexico government officials on a tour of the U.S.-Mexico border region, which, with $460 billion in trade passing across it each year, is one of the most economically significant borders in the world. As a native New Mexican, I was especially proud to highlight the vast commercial benefits that the border region generates for both countries. The trip included stops in San Diego/Tijuana; NM/Santa Teresa; El Paso; Laredo/Nuevo Laredo; and Monterrey, Mexico. 

At each stop, stakeholders repeated the theme that we—government and business—must work together to change the narrative about the border. The goal is not to diminish awareness of the fact that real security challenges exist; rather, we need to increase awareness that there is more to the border story. Both countries are critical to the economy of the other, and one of our goals for this trip was to highlight the fact that new commercial opportunities exist and that the border serves a critical role in facilitating the essential flow of goods and people between Mexico and the U.S.

Our delegation consisted of U.S. and Mexico government officials and members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. We conducted stakeholder outreach events related to the border trade facilitation efforts under the U.S.-Mexico 21st Century Border Management initiative, which was established by Presidents Obama and Calderon in May 2010 as a vehicle to develop and promote a more secure and seamless border between our two countries. These events provided us with an opportunity to share information with stakeholders about the ongoing work and accomplishments of the initiative and to receive important, on-the-ground feedback from them, which can be incorporated into the 21st Century Border Management work streams.

Secretary Bryson Encouraged by President’s Export Council Recommendations to Help Strengthen U.S. Economy

Secretary Bryson addresses the President's Export Council

Yesterday, Secretary John Bryson met with the President’s Export Council (PEC) with two goals in mind: to discuss further ways to strengthen the U.S. economy; and to update PEC members on the actions taken by the Department and the administration to increase exports.

As the principal national advisory committee on international trade, the PEC provides a forum for public-private interaction at all levels of government and business. It is responsible for advising the president on government policies and programs affecting U.S. trade performance, covering topics that range from export promotion to deliberations over specific trade challenges in various industries and sectors.

Since the PEC last met, the Obama administration has made great strides in creating jobs, increasing exports and growing the economy. For example, the U.S.-Korea and U.S.-Colombia free trade agreements were implemented earlier this spring, and will drive billions of dollars in additional annual exports and create tens of thousands of American jobs.

Europe Travel Log: Secretary Bryson’s Meetings and Events in Berlin, Germany

Photo of Bryson and others on elevated walkways

On May 24-25, U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson visited Berlin, Germany–the final stop on his European trip this week–to meet with senior business and government leaders and to address a major conference on trans-Atlantic trade. The Secretary delivered remarks on the importance of trans-Atlantic trade and a strong bilateral investment relationship between the United States and Germany. He also highlighted Germany's vocational training system, which he witnessed first-hand earlier in the week, as an important model for the United States.

‪While in Berlin, Secretary Bryson also met with Minister for Economics and Technology Philipp Roesler, State Secretary Harald Braun of the Foreign Ministry, and Chancellor Merkel's Senior Economic Adviser Lars-Hendrik Roeller. These meetings focused on how the U.S. and Germany can work together to advance economic growth and increase jobs by reducing barriers to trans-Atlantic trade.

‪Secretary Bryson also met with Hans-Peter Keitel, Chairman of the Federation of German Industries (BDI) along with representatives from companies across various sectors, ranging from industrial to IT to automotive and manufacturing. The Secretary encouraged the businesses to consider further investment in the United States, highlighting the attractiveness of the investment climate, including the resources provided by SelectUSA, the first coordinated effort by the U.S. government to attract new business investments to America.


International Buyer Program Announces 2013 Roster of Trade Shows

IBP B2B Matchmaking at Pack Expo 2010

Guest blog post by Gary Rand, Acting Director of the International Buyer Program

If you’re a U.S. company, your chances of finding the right international business partner greatly increases at a trade show that has been selected as a venue for the International Buyer Program. You’ll not only meet more international buyers, representatives and distributors, but your products and services can be listed in the Export Interest Directory distributed to all international visitors to the show. In addition to assistance from our experienced U.S. Commercial Service staff, you will also have access to an on-site International Business Center, where your company can meet privately with prospective international buyers, sales representatives and business partners.

That’s why I am pleased to announce the 30 U.S. trade shows in 2013 to which the International Buyer Program (IBP) will bring prospective international buyers. Thanks to our rigorous competitive selection process, I am confident these 30 trade shows will provide excellent B2B matchmaking venues for U.S. companies looking to expand their international sales to new markets, or to start exporting.

The advantage of the IBP versus other B2B matchmaking service offerings is it enables U.S. companies to meet a breadth of pre-screened prospective buyers from around the world all in one domestic venue. In fact, last year the IBP recruited nearly 13,500 prospective buyers from international markets to come to U.S. trade events to meet U.S. exporters. As a result, the IBP generated over $900 million in exports in 2011–a 10 percent increase over 2010. Over 49 percent of these successes were by U.S. firms that exported to a new market. There are still over 25 trade shows for remaining in 2012. For those U.S. companies planning to exhibit at any of these shows, the IBP is a great way to maximize your trade show investment.

The International Buyer Program is a joint government-industry effort designed to increase U.S. export sales by promoting international attendance at major U.S. industry exhibitions. The IBP provides practical, hands-on assistance to U.S. exhibitors interested in exporting and making contacts with prospective overseas trade partners. This assistance includes export counseling, marketing analysis, and matchmaking services. The IBP is an important part of our implementation of the Obama administration’s National Export Initiative which aims to double the value of U.S. exports over the next five years.

Deputy Secretary Blank Advocates Public Service in Commencement Speech

Guest blog post by Commerce Deputy Secretary Rebecca M. Blank

This morning, I had the privilege of delivering the commencement address to graduate students at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) commencement ceremony.

I was also deeply honored to receive an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree during the ceremony for my work as a public servant, including the leadership I provided in my previous job at Commerce, overseeing the nation’s premier statistical agencies, the Census Bureau (during the 2010 Census) and the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The commencement speech provided an opportunity to give advice to the graduate students and to encourage them to use their expertise and experience to find solutions to the pressing problems facing our world. UMBC is particularly well-known for its scientific training. Science, technology, engineering and math–STEM fields–are particularly important, and it is STEM-related research that will drive innovation in the years ahead. In fact, STEM jobs have grown three times faster than other jobs, indicating the need for more workers with these skills.

Secretary Bryson Awards Presidential Export Honors to U.S. Exporters, Including 35 Small- or Medium-Sized Enterprises

Secretary Bryson delivers remarks, congratulates recipients

Thirty-five outstanding small- or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) took center stage at the President’s “E” Awards ceremony at the White House today. This morning, Commerce Secretary John Bryson and Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Michelle O’Neill joined Senior Adviser to the President Valerie Jarrett to honor U.S. companies and organizations that have made significant contributions to increasing American exports. A total of 41 companies and organizations—the largest group to receive the award in the past twenty years—were honored at the ceremony, which marks the 50th annual “E” Awards.

Winners of the 2012 “E” award represent diverse communities across the country from places like Bakersfield, Calif., Baton Rouge, La., Bolingbrook, Ill., and Bradford, Pa. Of the honorees recognized at today’s ceremony, 35 are SMEs, 20 are manufacturers, and 17 are both.

“E” Award recipients contribute to the President’s National Export Initiative (NEI) goal of doubling U.S. exports in order to support American jobs. A key component of the NEI is ensuring that America’s small businesses have the tools, resources and relationships they need to make exporting a growing part of their business operations and creating jobs in the United States.

Deputy Secretary Blank Delivers Remarks on Manufacturing at the Aspen Institute

Deputy Secretary Blank delivers remarks at the Aspen Institute (Photo: Steve Johnson, Aspen Institute)

This morning, Deputy Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank delivered the keynote address at “Manufacturing, Innovation, and Workforce Training: What Works In Germany and The United States For Jobs and Growth,” a conference co-sponsored by the Aspen Institute, the German Center for Research and Innovation, the German Embassy, and the Representative of German Industry and Trade. Her remarks come the week before Commerce Secretary John Bryson travels to Dusseldorf and Berlin to meet with government and business leaders.

Deputy Secretary Blank noted how both America and Germany have shown strength in areas such as manufacturing and exporting. She emphasized the importance of maintaining economic growth by strengthening the U.S.-German economic relationship.

U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement Now in Force!

Colombian porches superimposed on map of Colombia

Ed Note: The following is a cross-post that originally appeared on ITA's blog, "Tradeology."

Christopher Blaha is a Senior International Economist within the Office of Trade and Policy Analysis and Julie Anglin is the Colombia Desk Officer within the International Trade Administration.

Today more than 80 percent of U.S. exports of consumer and industrial products to Colombia become duty-free as part of the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement. This includes agricultural and construction equipment, building products, aircraft and parts, fertilizers, information technology equipment, medical scientific equipment and wood. Also, more than half of U.S. exports of agricultural commodities to Colombia become duty-free, including wheat, barley, soybeans, high-quality beef, bacon and almost all fruit and vegetable products.

The agreement also provides significant new access to Colombia’s $180 billion services market, supporting increased opportunities for U.S. service providers. For example, Colombia agreed to eliminate measures that prevented firms from hiring U.S. professionals, and to phase-out market restrictions in cable television.

Prior to the enactment of this agreement, the average tariff that U.S. manufactured goods faced entering Colombia was 10.8 percent. With entry into force today, Colombia’s average tariff rate for manufactured goods from the United States has been reduced to 4 percent.

Department of Commerce and Environmental Protection Agency Announce New Initiative to Boost exports and Create Jobs

Secretary Bryson, second from right, poses with government and university officials

Today, at a Technology Market Summit held at American University, Commerce Secretary John Bryson and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson launched an environmental technology initiative to help create American jobs in the growing environmental industry.

The Environmental Technologies Export Initiative builds on President Obama’s National Export Initiative, which aims to double U.S. exports by the end of 2014 and support millions of American jobs.

As Secretary Bryson pointed out in his remarks at the event, the American environmental industry generates approximately $312 billion in revenues each year, with a global market of more than $800 billion. This growing industry employs nearly 1.7 million Americans and includes over 60,000 small businesses across the country.

The initiative will include a web-based tool, which is scheduled to be launched in the fall at export.gov. This will help environmental firms find the tools and information they need to sell their goods abroad.

National Travel and Tourism Strategy Sets Goal to Draw 100 million International Visitors to U.S.

One of America's many beautiful National Parks

Guest blog post by Secretary of Commerce John Bryson and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar

As we celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week, the U.S. government is doubling down on its commitment to create more jobs for Americans by growing international and domestic travel and tourism that powers our economy.

Last year, 62 million international tourists visited the United States and pumped a record $153 billion into local economies, helping to support the 7.6 million jobs in our travel and tourism industry. These numbers make tourism America’s number one service export.

That’s why the White House released a new National Travel and Tourism Strategy today, charting a new course toward making America a more attractive and accessible destination than ever before. The Strategy sets a goal of drawing 100 million international visitors by 2021, which is expected to generate $250 billion annually in visitor spending by 2012. The strategy also encourages more Americans to travel within the United States.

America is the land of extraordinary natural wonders – from the Grand Canyon to the Florida Keys; from Yellowstone to Yosemite. America is where we do big things, and as a result, we have incredible landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge and the Empire State Building; the Hoover Dam and the Gateway Arch. This is the land of iconic cities and all their sights – from Independence Hall in Philadelphia to the Space Needle in Seattle to the skyline of Chicago. From the Mall of America to Walt Disney World, we have it all right here.

At President Obama’s direction in January, we co-chaired an interagency task force to develop the strategy – identifying concrete steps in five key areas designed to promote these destinations and make America as number one tourism destination in the world:

China Travel Log 4: On His Final Day in China, Secretary Bryson Highlights Travel to the U.S.

Secretary John Bryson spent his last day in China in the financial capital of Shanghai.

He began his day with a group of American business leaders based in China. The leaders, members of American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai and the U.S.-China Business Council, exchanged ideas and shared information about the opportunities and challenges of day to day business operations in China.

As Secretary Bryson said to the group, our bilateral trade with China reached over $500 billion last year, with U.S. merchandise exports reaching $100 billion for the first time. However, with a trade deficit close to $300 billion, we still have a lot of work to do.

The Secretary then gave remarks at a tourism event, highlighting the robust and growing travel of Chinese tourists to the United States.

In his remarks, Secretary Bryson pointed out that "travel and tourism between our countries is crucial to building stronger cultural and economic ties. This generates greater understanding and friendship between our people. And yes, it also generates greater prosperity."

China Travel Log 3: Secretary Bryson Travels to Nanjing, China

Nanjing Municipal Party Secretary Yang Weize and Secretary Bryson, talking while overlooking Nanjing

With the Strategic and Economic Dialogue complete, Secretary Bryson traveled to Nanjing this weekend for meetings with Chinese provincial officials to discuss how the U.S. and China can continue to work together to strengthen the economic relationship between the two countries.

Nanjing, in eastern China, is the capital of Jiangsu province. With a population of over 8 million, the city is an important cultural, educational and economic center, located a little over an hour from Shanghai.

Secretary Bryson's weekend began with a meeting with Nanjing Municipal Party Secretary Yang Weize, where Secretary Yang spoke about the history and culture of the city that was one of the four ancient capitals of China. Secretary Yang also highlighted the city's commitment to innovation and education. Over 800,000 students study at colleges and universities in the city.

Secretary Bryson expressed his thanks for the hospitality he has been shown in the city and his eagerness to learn more about the future of Nanjing, a city where imports from the United States are on the rise.

The two also spoke about how Nanjing is set to host the Youth Olympics in 2014, the second time the games will be held.

Secretary Bryson Declares May World Trade Month

Photo of manufacturing materials at Port of Baltimore)

Today, Commerce Secretary Bryson issued a statement in honor of May 2012 World Trade Month, which is marked annually by a series of state and local events across the country to promote U.S. trade relationships and provide resources to U.S. businesses looking to export their goods and services around the world.  World Trade Week, which falls in the third week of May, is recognized by a presidential proclamation annually.

Two years ago, the president set a goal of doubling our nation’s exports in five years through the National Export Initiative (NEI). On the second anniversary of the NEI, we announced that 1.2 million more Americans have export-supported jobs due to U.S. exports increasing by one-third from 2009 to 2011.  This is particularly good news because export-related jobs–like manufacturing jobs–pay higher than average.

To keep this momentum, this administration is committed to giving American workers and businesses a fair shot in the global economy by supporting trade agreements that will open up markets to U.S. companies, working to aggressively investigate unfair trade practices taking place anywhere in the world, and continuing to work to ensure that our workers and businesses are competing on a level playing field.

ITA: In Brussels, Assistant Secretary Camuñez Promotes Intellectual Property Rights and Protections

Seated beside Assistant Secretary Camuñez is Marielle Gallo, a Member of the European Parliament representing France.

Guest blog post by Michael C. Camuñez, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Market Access and Compliance, International Trade Administration

This past week, I traveled to Europe as part of my ongoing efforts to deepen the already-robust trans-Atlantic trade relationship. One of my stops was in Brussels, Belgium, the home of the European Commission and heart of the European Union. There, I sat down with EU leaders to discuss ways in which the U.S. and Europe can work together to foster greater economic opportunity and growth on both sides of the Atlantic. I was honored to join a lunch with the president of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, and other EU leaders, where I offered them my perspective on the importance of the protection of intellectual property rights to our shared prosperity.

I also participated in a panel discussion on intellectual property rights (IPR) and growth at the 10th Annual European Business Summit, an issue vital to fostering innovation. My participation in the Business Summit was timely. For the past several weeks, IPR policies have been hotly debated across the European Union. The question at the forefront of this debate is: how does one protect and enforce IPR, while at the same time creating an environment that will foster the continued growth of the digital economy?

My remarks offered me an opportunity to talk about the perspective that I bring as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Market Access and Compliance. My role has given me some insight into the global competition to transform industrial, carbon-based economies into 21st-century knowledge-based economies–to attract and keep talent, to intensify the pace of innovation and commercialization of innovative products and services, and how to gain and keep our competitive edge.

Secretary Bryson Promotes American Businesses Across the Americas at White House Conference

Earlier today, Secretary Bryson delivered welcoming remarks at the “White House Conference on Connecting the Americas.” The all-day conference brings together business and community leaders from across the country with Administration officials working to expand opportunities for American businesses and people throughout the Americas.

The conference also serves as a forum for the Hispanic community, with cultural and economic ties to the rest of the Americas, to further identify ways in which they can partner up with the administration to promote economic growth and prosperity.

Secretary Bryson spoke at the conference about how the U.S. can ensure a strong economic foundation at home, while strengthening its economic ties throughout the Americas. He reinforced that the people and cultures from throughout the Western Hemisphere are all part of the story of America, and together can create a powerful force in the global economy.

The U.S. economy benefits substantially from trade in the Americas. Over 40 percent of U.S. exports go to the Americas, and those exports are growing faster than U.S. trade with the rest of the world.

Almost 84 percent of U.S. trade within the region is covered by Free Trade Agreements. The U.S. has already opened trade with Mexico, Chile, Central America, Dominican Republic, and Peru through FTAs, and continues to work toward implementation with Colombia and Panama.

In his remarks, the Secretary also pointed out how the Department is working hard to connect U.S. companies to trade opportunities throughout the Americas. Earlier this week, Brazil’s President, Dilma Rousseff visited Washington, and Secretary Bryson led a meeting of the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum. Leaders from both countries discussed how they can build on the U.S.-Brazilian record year of over $100 billion in bilateral trade.

The Department of Commerce is co-sponsoring the “White House Conference on Connecting the Americas” with the White House Office of Public Engagement and the Council of the Americas, an international business organization focused on economic and social development in the Western Hemisphere. 

Secretary Bryson Talks about Turkish-American Economic Cooperation

Secretary Bryson and Members of the Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists of Turkey

Today, U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson delivered keynote remarks at a luncheon co-hosted by the Center for American Progress and the Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists of Turkey (TUSKON). The event, titled “Building on the Progress in Turkish-American Economic Cooperation,” comes at an exciting time in U.S.-Turkish relations, with bilateral trade reaching a record level of $20 billion this past year.

Turkey is the world’s-17th largest economy, and was the world’s second-fastest growing economy in 2011.

During his remarks, Bryson talked about the president’s National Export Initiative, which aims to double U.S. exports from 2010 to 2014. He noted that U.S. exports to Turkey have already doubled.

Over the past two years, the U.S. and Turkey have come together through the Framework for Strategic Economic and Commercial Cooperation. Secretary Bryson announced today that he plans to attend the next Framework meeting that will be held in Turkey in late June.

Secretary Bryson also emphasized the importance of stronger bilateral investment, including efforts such as SelectUSA.

Bryson ended his remarks by saying, “Let’s do everything possible to usher in a long and prosperous era–as the bonds between our two nations continue to grow in the 21st century.”

Secretary Bryson Addresses the Industry Trade Advisory Committees

Secretary Bryson Addresses the Industry Trade Advisory Committees

Earlier today, Secretary John Bryson addressed the advisers of the Industry Trade Advisory Committees (ITACs) at a quarterly plenary session at the Department of Commerce. The Secretary laid out his priorities in manufacturing, trade and investment.

The ITACs are comprised of U.S. business leaders who assist the Department of Commerce and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative with trade policy. Secretary Bryson was joined by U.S. Trade Ambassador Ron Kirk and 16 of the ITAC committees to discuss the importance of new and upcoming trade initiatives.

This meeting takes place just weeks after the 2nd anniversary of President Obama’s National Export Initiative. The work of the ITACs is helping to build on the all-time record of $2.1 trillion in U.S. exports last year. Export-supported jobs also increased by 1.2 million from 2009 to 2011.

Secretary Bryson praised the advisers for their work on the U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement, which recently went into effect. This agreement dropped tariff rates to zero on about 80 percent of U.S. goods exported to Korea. Secretary Bryson also thanked the ITACs for their continued work on efforts such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The Secretary also discussed the importance of advancing America’s bilateral relationships through strong and balanced growth in areas such as trade and investment, and cited his recent trade mission to India as an example of this.

USTDA Awards Two Clean Energy Grants During India Trade Mission

Henry Steingass (far right), USTDA Regional Director, and Mark Dunn (far left), USTDA Regional Manager, pose for a photo with Commerce Secretary John Bryson during a luncheon in Mumbai Mar. 26, 2012

Guest blog post by U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA)

To support India’s plans to improve energy efficiency throughout the country while opening India’s market for increased U.S. exports of clean energy technologies, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) concluded two grant agreements during Secretary Bryson’s five-day infrastructure trade mission to India. The delegation included 16 U.S. companies and three U.S. agencies, including USTDA.

"India has ambitious energy infrastructure development goals," stated USTDA Regional Director Henry Steingass. "We are pleased to join this trade mission to support those goals, and to help open the market for U.S. clean energy technologies, which are among the best in the world."

India's growing population and rapid economic expansion are placing a strain on the country’s energy infrastructure. Approximately 400 million people do not have grid connectivity, while many households in electrified villages do not have access to grid supply. Growing demand is increasing the frequency of power outages in urban areas as well. In response to these challenges, Indian utility companies are making heavy investments in clean energy infrastructure, and these grants will support those investments while opening the market up for the cutting edge technologies of U.S. clean energy businesses.

The first grant will support a feasibility study for Azure Power, a private sector solar power developer that will assess the development of a rural micro-grid solar power project.  Azure aims to set up over 100 micro-grid solar systems, with each system covering an average of 2-3 acres of rural land with little or no connectivity to existing electrical grids.  The second grant will support a feasibility study for CESC Limited for the implementation of smart grid technologies across their electricity distribution networks in Kolkata, India.  The study will develop a smart grid pilot project as well as the requirements for broad implementation.

These projects respond to the joint commitment made by President Obama and Prime Minister Singh in late 2009 to greatly expand energy efficiency and clean energy cooperation and to form a Partnership to Advance Clean Energy (PACE). In addition to substantial improvements to India’s clean energy infrastructure, successful implementation of these two projects could generate more than $250 million of exports for U.S. companies.

EHDD Could Not Have Asked For A More Inspiring and Productive Day!

Jennifer Devlin, Managing Principal, EHDD

Guest blog post by Jennifer Devlin, Managing Principal, EHDD

Ed. Note: EHDD is a San Francisco-based architecture and planning firm that pioneered green building in California.

We joined the India trade mission because it is a wonderful opportunity to mark the the opening of EHDD's Mumbai office this month. This week, the meetings set up by the U.S. Commercial Service with the Department of Commerce have been outstanding and have led to some key leads for new work. To share a quick story of what has already come of this visit:
 
We met with Amity University representatives from their Noida campus on Monday in Delhi. After an exciting conversation about the extensive expansion plans at Amity, and knowing we were on our way to Jaipur, they invited us to make a presentation to their students and colleagues at Amity University, Jaipur. Upon our arrival in Jaipur, Preetha Nair excitedly showed us the front page of The Times of India where our lecture was announced with "limited seating available"!

We took the morning off from the official business of the delegation and visited Amity University's Jaipur campus, where we were welcomed by Vice Chancellor Singh, his deputies, faculty and students. We spent time in a seminar format answering very challenging questions from the architecture students about climate change, the Kyoto Protocol and the efficacy of passive design strategies in buildings. We were imminently impressed with water research presented by a faculty member from the civil engineering department. After our lecture, to some 400 students and faculty, titled, "The Future of Green Building and Planning on University Campuses," we shared more time with students and toured campus buildings.

We could not have asked for a more inspiring and productive day! And this was only one experience-there have been countless more.

Asia Pacific Business Outlook: Twenty Five Years and Many More Opportunities

Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez speaks during the APBO Conference (Photo USC Marshall School of Business)

Guest blog post by Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco J. Sánchez 

This story is part of an ongoing series highlighting the information available to participants in the 2012 Asia Pacific Business Outlook (APBO)

This is my second year keynoting the 25-year old USC Marshall School’s Asia Pacific Business Outlook (APBO) Conference. It was great to see the diversity of participants, from representatives of businesses across the United States, as well as non-profit organizations, chambers of commerce, and trade associations from both the United States and countries in Asia and Latin America.

It seems as though it’s also a reunion and convergence of sorts of 16 Senior Commercial Officers (SCOs) from Asia and local Commercial Service trade specialists. For the first time, we have the SCOs from Brazil and Russia joining the conference, contributing their insider knowledge and providing market briefings in one-on-one counseling sessions.

During my address yesterday, I was able to outline our ongoing priorities here at the International Trade Administration and across the Obama Administration as well as provide updates on some major accomplishments achieved in the past few years.

This month marks the two-year anniversary of the President’s National Export Initiative and good things are happening. Last year, U.S. exports surpassed $2 trillion for the first time in history. They supported nearly 10 million jobs, an increase of more than a million when compared to 2009 numbers. So the formula is pretty clear: exports benefit jobs, businesses and the national economy. That’s why we’ve got to continue to increase U.S. exports.

India Trade Mission: Day 2 - Promoting U.S.-India Business Partnerships

Secretary Bryson rides New Delhi's new Metro Airport Express line

Secretary John Bryson promoted partnerships between U.S. and Indian businesses as he discussed the U.S.-India trade relationship during meetings with several Indian government officials in New Delhi today, the second day of his five-day trade mission to India.

“It’s clear that if American and Indian businesses work together, we can build India’s infrastructure in a way that brings inclusive growth, greater prosperity, and job creation in both countries,” Bryson said. “U.S. companies stand ready to help meet India’s infrastructure development objectives, provided our firms have market access for both goods and services.”

In the morning, Secretary Bryson gave remarks at a breakfast sponsored by the American Chamber of Commerce and U.S.-India Business Council. Bryson reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to working with the Indian government to level the playing field for U.S. firms, thereby helping to pave the way for more commercial collaborations.

Bryson and the delegation participated in a GEMS/infrastructure-focused GEMS hosted by the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce. The discussion focused on infrastructure procurement and investment opportunities in states and GEMS cities involved in the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) project. He said one of his most important goals this week is to gain a better understanding of the full commercial potential of India’s many regions. Bryson traveled to the airport on the new Metro Airport Express Line (photo)–an example of New Delhi's growing infrastructure sector–to fly to Jaipur, where he will see DMIC projects first hand.  Full release

India Trade Mission: Day 1 - Commercial Dialogue

Secretary of Commerce John Bryson meets with Indian Minister of Commerce Anand Sharma (credit: Rakesh Malhotra, Department of State)

Today marked the official start of Secretary Bryson's five-day trade mission to India. In the morning he met with Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Aluwalia to discuss ways to strengthen the U.S.-India commercial relationship. He also spoke at an infrastructure roundtable discussion sponsored by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). India is planning to invest $1 trillion in infrastructure development over the next five years, and U.S. companies are in a unique position to offer their skills and expertise in partnership with Indian firms.

Secretary Bryson also witnessed the signing of two U.S. Trade and Development Agency grants supporting U.S. business investments in India’s energy infrastructure development. The first grant will support a feasibility study for Azure Power, a private sector solar power developer based in India. The second grant will finance a feasibility study for CESC Limited for the implementation of smart grid technologies across their electricity distribution networks in Kolkata, India.

During his address at a luncheon hosted by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce (FICCI), Secretary Bryson announced that the U.S. Department of Commerce and India’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry have taken steps to renew the U.S.-India Commercial Dialogue for an additional two-year term, until March 2014. The Commercial Dialogue is a key component of the bilateral commercial relationship and provides a forum for both the U.S. and Indian governments and private sectors to collaborate on issues of mutual interest, ensuring that the trade relationship is “win-win” for both countries. The agenda has been expanded to cover new areas of engagement on topics such as standards–including smart grids, intelligent transportation systems–and sustainable manufacturing.

Autodesk: Technology to Build India’s Infrastructure

Paul McRoberts, Vice President of Autodesk’s Infrastructure Business

Guest blog post by Paul McRoberts, Vice President of Autodesk’s Infrastructure Business

Ed note: Autodesk, Inc., works in 3D design, engineering and entertainment software. Customers across the manufacturing, architecture, building, construction, and media and entertainment industries-including the last 17 Academy Award winners for Best Visual Effects-use Autodesk software to design, visualize and simulate their ideas. Since its introduction of AutoCAD software in 1982, Autodesk continues to develop the broadest portfolio of state-of-the-art software for global markets.

Autodesk is honored to be a representative on this trade mission to India. On behalf of Autodesk, I thank the U.S. Commerce Department and Secretary Bryson for organizing the trip and inviting Autodesk.

This trade mission is focused on infrastructure business development. With 1.2 billion people, India is the second most populous country in the world. India’s population is expected to overtake China’s in the next 10 to 15 years. The country needs to add 25 million homes a year to meet current demand, according to McKinsey and Co. There is also a pressing need for clean water, reliable power, transportation, sustainability standards and more.

In short, infrastructure is a key criterion for India to realize its economic growth potential. The Indian government’s 12th Five Year Plan states that the infrastructure sector will require an investment of about USD 1 trillion. Autodesk software is already being used to design many of the nation’s ambitious infrastructure projects, including:

  • The Mumbai Monorail, the nation’s first monorail. Once completed, it will be the world’s second-longest Monorail corridor. This sustainable transportation system will alleviate congestion in India’s most populous city.
  • Navi Mumbai International Airport, which is expected to have Phase 1 operational by 2014. There is great demand for this additional international airport to service the Mumbai metropolitan region. It is expected to handle 50-55 million passengers annually.

Autodesk has offices in New Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune and Chennai. We also have over 100 Indian resellers. Together, we work closely with Indian customers across many industries, including architecture, engineering, construction, manufacturing and media and entertainment. 

Going into the trade mission, Autodesk is looking forward to productive meetings with government agencies and private companies. We strive to be a trusted technology advisor for more infrastructure projects in India.

Making America a Top Tourist Destination: Commerce and Interior Keep Up Efforts to Increase Visitation

Guest blog post by Commerce Secretary John Bryson and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar

This month, more than a million visitors from across the country and around the world are coming to our nation’s capital to see the cherry blossom trees that bloom each spring among some of America’s most treasured historical landmarks. From the purchase of airline tickets to dining in area restaurants to staying in hotels, these visitors are infusing millions of dollars into the community and supporting local businesses.
 
As we search for ways to grow our nation’s economy, we must not overlook the travel and tourism industry as a source for economic opportunity. According to data released by the Commerce Department earlier today, tourism spending increased 8.1 percent in 2011 and supported an additional 103,000 jobs, for a total of 7.6 million jobs.
 
A big factor in the increase was a surge in international visitors to our country: in 2011, 2.5 million more international visitors came to the United States compared with the previous year. These international visitors spent an all-time record of $153 billion on U.S. travel and tourism-related goods and services.
 
As this data reveals, the travel and tourism industry is one of the most important engines of our economy—in fact, it is our number-one service export. That is why President Obama recently announced the creation of a Task Force on Travel and Competitiveness, which charged us with leading efforts to develop recommendations for a National Travel and Tourism Strategy to promote travel throughout the United States.

How does Commerce’s Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Investigation Process Work?

In the next few weeks, the Department of Commerce is scheduled to release a series of determinations regarding antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) investigations. In light of this, we wanted to share an explanation of the process.

Following U.S. law, regulation, and consistent with international trade rules, the Department of Commerce (Commerce) has the authority to conduct investigations of the alleged subsidization or dumping of foreign products sold in the United States.   

If a U.S. industry believes that it is being injured by dumped or subsidized imports, it may request the imposition of antidumping or countervailing duties by filing a petition with both the Department of Commerce and the United States International Trade Commission (ITC). Import Administration is the agency within Commerce’s International Trade Administration that investigates foreign producers and governments to determine whether dumping or subsidization has occurred and calculates the amount of dumping or subsidization.

If Commerce determines that a petition satisfies all requirements under the law to initiate an investigation, the agency will publish a Notice of Initiation in the Federal Register. The Notice of Initiation will lay out a general history of the proceeding, including dates of official filings as well as the scope of the investigation, explain how Commerce went about making a determination of industry support, and details how the petitioners went about estimating the existence of dumping or subsidization.

Secretary Bryson Announces 16 Companies Joining his First Trade Mission to India

Secretary Bryson Announces 16 Companies Joining his First Trade Mission to India (State Dept. image)

U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson today announced the 16 companies that will join him on a business development mission to India, his first as Commerce Secretary. During the mission, Secretary Bryson will meet with senior-level Indian government officials to advocate for U.S. export opportunities in India’s rapidly expanding infrastructure sector, and promote investment opportunities in America – both key priorities of the Obama Administration. The mission will take place March 25-30 with stops in New Delhi, Jaipur and Mumbai.  

The trade mission supports President Obama’s National Export Initiative goal of doubling U.S. exports by the end of 2014 to create more good-paying jobs. Last week, on the two year anniversary of the creation of the NEI, the Commerce Department released new data showing that jobs supported by U.S. exports increased by 1.2 million between 2009 and 2011, and the value of U.S. exports exceed $2.1 trillion for the first time in U.S. history. The mission also supports efforts to increase investment in the United States through SelectUSA, America’s first national investment advocacy program. In addition, the mission will promote a new national tourism strategy focused on creating American jobs by becoming even more welcoming to visitors from around the world.

“This mission builds on President Obama’s historic visit to India two years ago, when he said before the Indian Parliament that the U.S.-India relationship will be one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century. I couldn’t agree more,” said Bryson. “I am looking forward to connecting American business leaders to new opportunities in India’s rising infrastructure sector, and encouraging Indian businesses and individuals to invest in and visit the United States. India is one of the world’s fastest growing economies, and its large market presents an important opportunity for U.S. companies to sell their goods and services to some of the 95% of consumers who live beyond our borders and boost job creation at home.”  Full release

U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement Provides Opportunities for U.S. Export Businesses

Korea Trade Agreement Enters into Effect

The United States-Korea Trade Agreement (KORUS Agreement) enters into effect today, reducing tariffs on almost all U.S. industrial exports to South Korea and making it easier for U.S. exporters to successfully compete in the Korean market.

With the implementation of the KORUS Agreement, tariffs will immediately be eliminated on almost 80 percent of U.S. exports to Korea.

Tariffs will also be reduced on other industrial exports that are not made automatically duty-free—the average tariff rate on U.S. industrial exports to South Korea will be reduced from 6.2 percent to 1.1 percent. Most remaining tariffs will be eliminated within 10 years. In addition, the KORUS agreement will eliminate tariffs on nearly two-thirds of all U.S. agricultural exports to Korea. The Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration (ITA) can help exporters figure out when tariffs on their products will be reduced or eliminated (PDF).

The KORUS agreement means more trade for U.S. businesses and more jobs for American workers. The tariff reductions give U.S. exports a competitive advantage in the Korean market, creating new opportunities for companies to do business in South Korea and providing opportunities to expand the reach of their businesses.

For example:

  • Zeeland Farm Services, Inc. (ZFS) is a family-owned and operated agricultural and transportation business with over 200 employees. ZFS was able to break into the Korean market in 2008, and their annual sales revenues in exports to Korea have been around the $5 million mark. The base tariff rates on ZFS’s product categories range from three percent for cottonseed exports to eight percent for soybean meal exports. Under the KORUS agreement, all of these tariffs would immediately drop to zero, giving ZFS a competitive advantage in the Korea market.
  • iWood Eco Design is a Louisville, Kentucky-based manufacturer of custom wood-framed sunglasses. The company currently pays an eight percent tariff on its exports to Korea, Under the KORUS agreement, these sunglasses will enter the country duty-free, immediately creating cost savings for the company. Expedited customs clearance commitments in the pending trade agreement would also facilitate greater access to international delivery services.
  • Pipe Line Development Company (PLIDCO), a Cleveland, Ohio-based manufacturer of pipeline repair and maintenance fittings, currently employs approximately 100 employees. International markets, including Korea and other Asian markets, comprise 74 percent of PLIDCO’s export revenue. PLIDCO currently faces tariffs of up to eight percent on its exports to the Korea. These tariffs will be eliminated under the KORUS agreement, enabling PLIDCO to better compete with other top exporters to Korea, including those from the EU and Iran.

The KORUS agreement is also an important step toward meeting President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI) goal to double U.S. exports by the end of 2014. This commitment to supporting exports is one way the Commerce Department is working to support an American economy that’s built to last.

SelectUSA Brings Investment to the United States

SelectUSA logo

Guest blog post by Barry Johnson, executive director of SelectUSA

Today, Commerce Secretary John Bryson met with a number of U.S. ambassadors to countries where SelectUSA, the first federal initiative to help drive investment to the United States to create American jobs, is being implemented. The Commerce Department recently launched SelectUSA in ten countries, including China, Brazil, India and South Korea, and their discussion focused on opportunities for further collaboration. The ambassadors were visiting Washington as part of the State Department’s Global Chiefs of Mission Conference.

One of Secretary Bryson’s top priorities is attracting more investment to the United States to create good American jobs. The Commerce Department, through SelectUSA, is helping to tell the story of why America is the best place for companies from around the world to invest, to hire and to build the future of their businesses.

As part of SelectUSA, the Commerce Department will serve businesses seeking to invest or expand in the U.S. and the state, cities and regions that they seek to attract  and host the business. SelectUSA serves as an information clearinghouse on federal rules, regulations and resources; advocates on behalf of the U.S. as the premier investment destination; and functions as an ombudsman to resolve federal-level problems, issues and impediments to investment.

The Commerce Department just finished two-day training sessions with commercial service officers in ten fast-growing pilot markets to conduct outreach to potential investors and perform SelectUSA investment promotion. Together, these countries represent approximately 30 percent of all foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States. They also reflect both the largest and fastest growing sources of FDI, as well as posts that have been the most active on investment promotion issues.

On the Two-Year Anniversary of the National Export Initiative Successes Abound

National Export Initiative

Guest blog post by Commerce Secretary John Bryson

Today marks the two-year anniversary of the signing of the Executive Order creating the National Export Initiative (NEI), when President Obama set the ambitious goal of doubling U.S. exports over five years.

To mark this anniversary, we released new data today showing that jobs supported by U.S. exports increased by 1.2 million between 2009 and 2011. Building on strong growth in 2010, exports supported approximately 9.7 million jobs in 2011 and the value of U.S. exports of goods and services exceeded $2.1 trillion for the first time in U.S. history.

This new data further confirms the good news that exports support an increasing number of American jobs. At the same time, it is also a reminder that we cannot afford to let up on our efforts to help U.S. businesses build it here and sell it everywhere. We must maintain the track record of the past two years and intensify our support of U.S. companies in selling their goods to the 95 percent of the world’s consumers who live beyond our borders by helping to create opportunities and a level playing field. We know that when American businesses and workers get a fair shot, they can compete and they can win.

The NEI's Second-Year Anniversary: Supporting American Jobs

The Port of Baltimore – one of the top ports in the country – handles around 30 million tons of cargo and 400,000 containers annually.

Guest blog post by Francisco Sanchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade

Earlier today – on the second anniversary of the President’s National Export Initiative – Commerce Secretary John Bryson announced that the number of American jobs supported by U.S. exports increased 1.2 million from 2009 to 2011. In total, U.S. exports now support 9.7 million jobs, serving as a bright spot in our economy, and helping to fuel our economic recovery. In addition, last year, there were a record $2.1 trillion in U.S. exports.  And there is a lot more room to grow.

Never has that been more clear than today.

I was in Baltimore this morning to see our efforts to support U.S. exporters first-hand. The Port of Baltimore – one of the top ports in the country – handles around 30 million tons of cargo and 400,000 containers annually. As the head of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA), I was proud to sign a Memorandum of Agreement with the Port of Baltimore to expand cooperation on export promotion activities here at home.

The Port was also one of 12 U.S. organizations that participated in the February 2012 ports trade mission to India that I led on behalf of the Department of Commerce. During this mission, the Port of Baltimore signed a sister-port Memorandum of Understanding with the Mundra Port, in an effort to increase trade between the two ports. Two way trade between India and the U.S. grew to $58 billion in 2011 and is an NEI priority market. That is why Secretary Bryson will be leading his first trade mission to India at the end of the month to further opportunities for U.S. businesses in this region.

Working Locally to Boost Exports Nationally

Under Secretary Sanchez at the Brookings Institute (Photo Credit: Paul Morigi)

Guest blog post by Francisco Sanchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade

America is made up of different communities — each with its own character, challenges and opportunities.  Regional leaders have a unique view of these issues and bring to the table incredible insight into their respective regions.  That’s why the International Trade Administration (ITA) is firmly committed to working with these local leaders to utilize their insight, and ultimately help more American businesses expand into overseas markets.

This is important work because exporting supports American jobs, provides new opportunities for businesses, and makes significant contributions to the growth of the American economy. 

In recognition of these positive economic benefits, President Obama launched the National Export Initiative (NEI) in 2010 with the goal of doubling U.S. exports.  On the eve of the NEI’s two-year anniversary — officially on March 12 — I’m proud to say that we are on track to meet this goal.  Last year, there were a record $2.1 trillion in exports.  Plus, exports comprised nearly 14% of U.S. GDP — another record.

Progress has been made, and we are determined to keep it going.  Key to this work is our partnerships with local and regional partners.  While ITA has a talented and dedicated staff doing great work in 108 offices throughout the nation, we recognize that we can have an even greater reach through partnership.

Case in point: Our work with the Brookings Institution.

Today, Brookings’ Metropolitan Policy Program released a report called “Export Nation 2012: How US Metropolitan Areas Are Driving National Growth.”  

Secretary Bryson Hosts Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee and Export Promotion Cabinet

Bryson and participants seated at conference table

Meeting follows establishment of the Interagency Trade Enforcement Center through Presidential Executive Order signed today

Commerce Secretary John Bryson today hosted a joint meeting of the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee (TPCC) and the Export Promotion Cabinet (EPC) to discuss strategic priorities for promoting trade and U.S. exports and receive input on new initiatives. Secretary Bryson was joined by officials from the Export-Import Bank, Small Business Administration, National Security Council, and Departments of Agriculture, State, and Treasury, among other agencies.

The TPCC and EPC support the president’s overall economic agenda by helping U.S. companies export globally and create jobs locally. The TPCC is composed of 20 federal government agencies and chaired by the Secretary of Commerce. The EPC was established to coordinate the development and implementation of the National Export Initiative (NEI) along with the TPCC, helping to meet the president’s goal of doubling U.S. exports by the end of 2014.  

During the meeting, which was his first as Commerce Secretary, Bryson highlighted the progress with NEI and the need to strengthen efforts to continue to increase U.S. exports. In 2011, the U.S. exported over $2.1 trillion in goods and services, the highest on record and the first time in history that America has crossed the $2 trillion threshold. Despite the positive signs of economic recovery, the president has made clear that lasting economic growth requires leveling the playing field for American workers and businesses and making sure they are able to compete successfully in global markets.