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China remains the market with the most potential for U.S. exporters, according to the 2018 Market Potential Index (MPI) by the International Business Center in the Broad College of Business at Michigan State University. Hong Kong and India are second and third in this year’s ranking.

The top three spots in the 2018 ranking remain unchanged from the 2017 rankings, with China keeping the overall top spot for the fifth year in a row. Singapore moved up from the sixth spot into the fourth spot on the strength of its strong commercial infrastructure and high levels of market receptivity.

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International trade and policy experts have made strong arguments that the worldwide economic downturn a decade ago (2008-2009) was due to the inadequacies in the rules that we need to have globally for a stable and prosperous economy. The carryover effect to today, some 10 years later, is potentially worrisome in the long term, some economists suggest.

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Mauritius is an island nation flourishing economically and socially. The population has origins from the European and African continents, as well as from India and China which makes it unique for its social peace and multi-cultural society. Mauritius is the fastest growing economy in sub-Saharan Africa. Moreover, it has one of the highest GDP per capita incomes in Africa.  All of these facts make Mauritius a prosperous country in diversified ways.   

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Late last year Russia and OPEC agreed to extend their agreement to decrease oil production until the end of 2018.  Russia, OPEC, and other major oil-producing countries agreed to reduce their oil production in 2017 in an attempt to decrease the global supply of oil and in turn increase the price of oil.  An extension was signed in advance of the previous deal ending in this coming March.  The original cut in oil production was in response to falling oil prices.  After declining for the previous few years, 2017 saw rising oil prices worldwide, due in large part to the agreement limiting oil that OPEC and other countries enacted last year.  West Texas Intermediate saw crude oil prices rise from $43.33 per barrel in 2016 to $50.56 per barrel in 2017. 

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E-commerce is a major component of almost every business that sells goods in the modern world, some even call e-commerce the key to a successful business.  E-commerce is defined as transacting or facilitating business over the internet. With the internet growing exponentially over the last two decades many people now look to it for a more convenient avenue to shop and do business over.  People can now do everything from paying their bills online to buying groceries and getting them delivered to their home.  With the tremendous growth in the potential for e-commerce, many companies have taken advantage of the increased opportunities for revenue. 

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Export.gov is a great resource for your international business needs. The website contains a wide variety of tools and information to help you and your business succeed with international trade. Recently, Export.gov released a series of new videos to help educate small and medium-sized companies on exporting, and to encourage these businesses to start exporting or expand their exporting operations.

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The Russian economy has been hit hard by the global drop in oil prices, which began in the summer of 2014. Oil prices, once over $110, now sit slightly above $50. Oil exports are a vital component of the Russian economy and made up $250 billion of the country’s exports until the collapse in prices. Today, oil exports only amount to $60 billion, a 75% drop. To combat the reduction in oil exports, the Russian government has been working hard to build up the country’s agriculture industry. The government’s efforts, along with positive impacts from European Union sanctions, are beginning to make a difference and are shaking up the global dynamics of the agriculture industry.

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It is no secret that the new President of the United States, Donald Trump, favors protectionist economic policies. We are most used to hearing how his policies might affect relationships with China, Mexico, and Russia, but almost all countries will be impacted by the new president's policies. One of the countries who might see significant economic change from Trump's economy is India. India’s largest export, IT Services, face a particularly concentrated threat, and other industries such as pharmaceuticals also find themselves impacted by Trump’s America first policies.

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China was able to achieve a 6.8% economic growth rate in the last quarter of 2016, which marks the end of its constant declining growth after more than 2 years. This boost was fueled by higher government spending and record bank lending. Overall, the economy grew at 6.7% in 2016, which is within the government’s growth target but still the slowest in 26 years.

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Sarah Singer, assistant director at the International Business Center at Michigan State University and manager of globalEDGE, was recently interviewed by Open to Export to discuss how globalEDGE can assist in market research for exporters. Highlighted in the discussion were especially useful resources for exporters on globalEDGE, such as our risk comparator tool, country trade statistics, and country indices. Sarah also offered advice for exporters who want to research potential new markets, and how globalEDGE can be an important tool for this research.

A link to the interview is available here: http://opentoexport.com/article/market-research-focus-globaledge/

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Brand is bond in the world of business. The first thing we think of when someone mentions a company name is not their most recent financial statements or their internal initiatives to cut costs or boost R&D. The first thought is of the brand that company has built. Take for example, Nike. When someone mentions Nike, by and large it conjures images of cutting edge athletic wear and oozes cool. It is clear that brand is crucial to a company’s success, and while scores of other factors go into success with international business, one of the key components is building a global brand. You don’t want, however, to automatically assume that one broad brand for the entire world will be the perfect strategy for your particular company. Instead, in most cases it makes much more sense to approach different markets in varying ways.

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A stated goal of Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry is to increase trade relations with the countries in Africa, which currently make up only 1.5% of the country’s total international trade. The continent’s economic potential and recent investments by other Asian nations has led Singapore to explore an expansion of trade, with an initial focus on free trade agreements. Singapore currently has very few agreements with any African nations, but in August, the country was able to work out small agreements with Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Mozambique.

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Since President John F. Kennedy signed the Presidential Proclamation 3447 on February 3, 1962, the United States has not been able to invest or do business with Cuba, as an “embargo on all trade” was declared. However, within the past two years, major changes have been made to reopen business opportunities between the U.S. and Cuba. In December 2014, President Obama met with Raul Castro and made the controversial decision to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba. More recently, in July last year, both countries reopened their embassies and U.S. companies such as Verizon, Netflix, and Airbnb have expanded into the Cuban market. Many believe that now is the ideal time to start doing business with Cuba; however, there are also a wide variety of potential issues that could complicate future transactions.

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Japan’s tough economic sledding continues. The Land of the Rising Sun faces currency appreciation without the underlying fundamentals to support it. A myriad of issues have led to weak economic conditions in Japan, and the recent appreciation of the yen isn’t helping at all. In fact, it is a counteractive force to Japanese monetary policy, and is causing headaches for Japanese firms.

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The Celtic Tiger is roaring again. After an economic downturn in 2008, Ireland was in dire straits. It was more often associated with the failing economies in Southern European countries than its peers in Northern Europe. In 2015, however, these troubles seem to be a relic of the distant past. Ireland’s GDP has grown at an astounding 7% through this point in 2015, while most of Western Europe is marred in low growth in the 0 to 2 percent growth range. This positive trend in the Irish economy has been spurred mainly by investment from overseas, particularly U.S. pharmaceutical and tech companies.  A skilled workforce, and a minimal corporate tax rate of 12.5% has led many of these U.S. corporations to set up their base European operations in Ireland. Companies such as Pfizer, Apple, Facebook, and Google have built up major operations in Ireland’s main cities. Some major US companies have even completed mergers or acquisitions to execute a tax inversion, and move their base of operations for tax purposes to Ireland. Not only are these countries creating jobs and bringing in tax income to help the public financing of Ireland, but they are helping to offset all of the negative aspects that were dragging down the Irish economy.

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Do you need to find the U.S. Export Assistance Center (USEAC) that covers a certain ZIP code area in the United States? Then this new globalEDGE resource is just what you need. The new ‘Look Up’ tool, located in the Trade Contacts page of the Insights by State section, helps you search for any ZIP code within the U.S., and provides you with the contact information of the USEAC office(s) that covers that particular ZIP Code area. There are more than 100 USEACs located across the United States, and the centers assist U.S. businesses that are new to exporting, want to expand to additional export markets, or want to increase their market share in existing markets. USEACs also connect local U.S. companies with additional international trade resources, as well as work closely with the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the U.S. Export-Import Bank to counsel clients on export finance options.

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In the latest globalEDGE Business Beat, MSU’s International Business Center Director Tomas Hult discusses U.S. international trade opportunities with Stefan Selig, who is the Under Secretary for International Trade at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration. Their conversation focuses on three different U.S. trade initiatives, as well as the great potential for U.S. export growth.

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Oudtshoorn, the capital of ostrich industry, has been enjoying prosperity from ostrich farming since the 1880s. These big-eyed birds provide jobs to the locals and attract tourists from all over the world. Before I went on this trip to South Africa, I never knew ostrich farming could be turned into a profitable business. During the visit, I observed several advantages and disadvantages of ostrich farming.

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Volkswagen, one of the world's largest automobile makers, was recently exposed as having cheated on diesel emissions tests as far back as 2009. The Environmental Protection Agency said that Volkswagen could face penalties of up to $18 billion for their wrongdoings. Potentially worse is the fall out from a class-action lawsuit, as anyone who bought one of the affected cars now owns a vehicle that is illegal to drive in the United States.  Along with severe repercussions to Volkswagen itself, there could also be difficulties that the German economy faces.

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Since the financial crisis, the economic situation in the European Union has been stagnant. Years of low growth and low inflation have left the Eurozone seeking answers. In January 2015, the ECB sought to find these answers through a massive bond purchase program similar to the quantitative easing program that the Federal Reserve carried out in the United States. The plan entailed the creation of €1 Trillion, or approximately €60 billion per month, by September 2016 to carry out the purchase of bonds in Europe. This plan was put in place to push down interest rates, therefore boosting inflation and creating a more attractive environment for credit creation. In turn, this would effectively result in a stimulation of growth throughout the European economy.

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The last six years of economic crisis have taken a huge toll on Greece’s fishing industry, with fish being the country’s second largest agricultural export. Diminishing household buying power has stifled the demand for fish domestically; a problem that has been exacerbated by a weakened banking sector that is unable to provide sufficient cash to customers. Exporting fish to countries in a more stable economic position could revive this industry, yet even this solution is laden with problems.

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With business becoming more and more global every day, small and medium sized companies are being pushed to start exporting if they want to stay competitive. This poses a challenge for these businesses however, as exporting has become more complex. For this reason, the U.S. Department of Commerce has made available its 11th edition of A Basic Guide to Exporting; this edition has been tailored to fit small and medium size businesses' needs for exporting in today's world.

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Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, is set to visit the U.S. this week and aims to pitch Japan’s bullet-train system to state representatives in California. Currently, Japanese companies are competing to join three fast-train projects that are under consideration in the United States. The three individual projects would link Los Angeles to San Francisco, New York to Washington, and Dallas to Houston. Abe is hoping to attract an export market for Japan’s advanced bullet-train system in order to help jumpstart the nation’s economy. As of now, he sees the United States as a viable export market for the revolutionary train system.

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An increase in the national sales tax sent Japan into a recession in the middle half of 2014, but increased exports have Japan poised for growth in the New Year. Japanese exports grew 13% in December from a year prior, while imports only increased 2% over the same period. This growth in exports reduced Japan’s trade deficit, which was at its highest level since data became available in 1979.

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Since the Eurozone has been at a very low inflation level for quite some time and people have become more conservative in their spending, the issue of pushing the economy up has been raised by the European Central Bank. The ECB President, Mr. Draghi said, “for growth to pick up, you need investment. For investment, you need confidence. And for confidence, you need structural reforms.” Then, a 60-billion-euro-a-month bond purchase program became such a structural reform last week. This blog will examine both the regional and international impacts of this quantitative easing policy.

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There is a world of opportunity for those seeking to export their food and agriculture products, considering that more than 70% of the world’s purchasing power is located outside of the United States. By tapping into these new markets before your domestic competitors, you will reap the benefits of having little to no competition, while possibly offsetting slow growth in your home market with the new increase in your company’s sales and profitability. Additionally, an enlarged customer base, as the result of expanding into foreign markets, can lead to your business hiring more employees and create economies of scale in production. Furthermore, diversifying the markets you sell to will help to mitigate the risk that often comes with expansion. For example, if your product sales tend to fluctuate seasonally, exporting can help to counterbalance drops in demand. Fortunately for companies seeking to export, the United States’ reputation for sound business practices and high quality goods appeals to foreign markets.

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Amidst the overshadowing election events, a Texas company defied the norm and exported domestic oil to a foreign customer, despite the government ban on exporting crude oil. This ban has been in effect since the 1970’s Arab Oil Embargo crisis. The company, BHP Billiton, struck a deal to sell $50 million worth of a lightweight-oil called condensate to foreign purchasers without government approval. This is the first instance where a company has exported US crude oil without the consent of the government. Since the 1970 ban, the US has kept all crude oil within the country and as a result created a huge surplus in storage. With all of this extra oil build up, companies have been longing to sell it and remove the ban. However, this could have big implications for US consumers of oil.

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The latest segment of the How to Sell in the Americas: Trade Wind Conferences took place in Bogotá, Colombia. This segment focused on the numerous export opportunities available in Latin America and how the Trade Winds program can assist US exporters in reaching new markets. The embedded video below specifically addresses the market opportunities in Colombia, Panama, Mexico, Brazil, and Peru. Additionally, the video discusses the benefits that NAFTA, CAFTA-DR, and other free trade agreements can have on doing business abroad.

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Due to a stagnant "eurozone" economy between April and June, the United Kingdom is bracing itself for a period of economic decline, as well as contemplating the steps necessary for avoiding another lengthy recession. The slight decline of the reliable German economy, which has diminished by 0.2% in GDP growth this year, has signaled that harder times are most likely in the eurozone's future and have already affected the U.K.'s manufacturing industry and exports to mainland Europe. Five of the UK's top six major export partners reside within the eurozone (Germany, the Netherlands, France, Ireland, and Belgium), and this has prompted the nation's economists and political leaders to call for new economic policies to protect Great Britain's market interests.

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Export growth in the global economy is stagnant. China’s exports increased by 8.6% last year, yet for a decade it had produced export growth rates around 20%. Similarly, Germany’s export growth has slowed significantly, increasing by only 0.9% in 2013. Sluggish trade is a result of a slow global economic recovery that has consistently failed to meet target projections. Financial officials in some countries are contemplating currency devaluation as a measure to make exports more appealing abroad.

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Michigan’s economy is reinforced by the global export market, with food and agriculture exports creating a $3.2 billion industry and supporting over 20,000 jobs. Exports of consumer food products are growing three times faster than sales in the United States due to foreign consumers’ growing purchasing power and lower trade barriers. Exporting is an essential way for Michigan companies to increase sales and profits by tapping into a far greater consumer market.

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Oregon-based High Impact Technology (HIT) is a company that specializes in making “smart” materials that are designed to seal up after being punctured. More than half of the company’s employees work on the international part of the business and exports are essential to HIT’s success. High Impact Technology’s products primarily have military purposes and its customers include Germany, Canada, and Russia. A recent blog post by the International Trade Administration (ITA) documents a discussion about HIT’s international business opportunities between HIT’s Director of Operations Russ Monk and ITA Senior International Trade Specialist Doug Barry.

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A recent U.S. Commercial Service event in Los Angeles, California focused on the export and business opportunities available in Europe for U.S. companies. A video highlighting The Discover Global Markets: Europe conference discusses the many takeaways from the conference and provides an overview of specific trade opportunities in the European market. The video also discusses how the U.S. Commercial Service can assist companies in developing a strategy to start or expand a business in Europe.

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China and India have been in an economic race for many years and although China is still ahead, the gap between the two countries is shrinking. While the public fears that China’s GDP growth will continue to decrease, India seems to be making a revolutionary growth story of its own, as the new Prime Minister Narenda Modi takes control. Many find that Modi’s economic revival strategy mirrors China's economic strategy in the early 2000s and India hopes to achieve a similar level of economic success and growth.

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A free trade agreement (FTA) is a treaty between two or more countries that reduces trade barriers and encourages transparent trading and investing among member countries. Consistently, free trade agreements have benefited United States exporters by making foreign markets more accessible and by creating a more stable and transparent trade environment. In 2012, nearly half of US goods exports went to FTA partner countries and the US manufacturing sector alone realized a $59.7 billion trade surplus. Currently, the United States has 14 free trade agreements in place with 20 countries and is in the process of negotiating two additional FTAs.

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At globalEDGE we are dedicated to providing important international business information to our users all around the world. For this reason, we have developed enhanced trade statistics for each country on our site. The country trade statistics pages on globalEDGE have just been updated to provide a visually appealing interface with easy-to-use features. On these new pages, you can view a country’s rank in terms of exports, imports, or trade balance. Additionally, top ten trade partners and export/import commodities for each country are provided in both a chart and table format for easy comparison.

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The international marketplace offers great opportunities to Michigan food companies who wish to increase sales. Worldwide, consumer food product exports are growing three times faster than U.S. sales. Though exporting can seem intimidating, Michigan food and agriculture companies can look to upcoming export assistance programs that are happening nearby in Grand Rapids and Canada as a way to enter export markets.

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Exporting has become a major source of growth for businesses of all sizes, but especially for small businesses.  In the United States, a large percentage of the labor force is made up of small business employees.  Export growth can enable these companies to grow in size, which creates a need for more workers.  Exporting also allows businesses to diversify their customer bases, which can protect companies in times of regional or country-specific economic contraction.

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Out of the millions of U.S. businesses, only about 300,000 individual companies made an international sale in 2012. Although the U.S. is the world’s number one exporter, there is potential to grow exports by small and medium sized businesses. In its book Exporters!, the U.S. Commercial Service interviews 28 of its current clients that are small businesses, which export their goods or services. Each company covered in the book is unique and has a different story of how they first began exporting. One common theme was the benefits and resources provided by the U.S. government.

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In his 2010 State of the Union address, United States President Barack Obama announced the US National Export Initiative to improve conditions affecting exporting in the private sector. Obama hoped to double exports by 2014. This would include working to remove trade barriers abroad, help firms and farmers enter new markets, and help with financing. Since the initiative was announced, over a million export-supported jobs have been created and exports have increased by over fifty percent. In 2012, US exports set a record reaching $2.2 trillion, which was 13.9% of overall GDP.

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The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s (MDARD) International Marketing Program annually recognizes a leading food and agriculture exporter through its ‘Michigan Ag Exporter of the Year’ award to a deserving Michigan food or agriculture company. This special honor can bring further success, signaling to international buyers a company’s quality and commitment to exporting.

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When one strolls into their favorite coffee shop on a typical arctic-conditions day like the ones we've been enjoying in Michigan lately, they usually see coffee beans imported from well known "coffee countries," such as Colombia, Brazil, or perhaps an African country like Ethiopia, Kenya, or a rising coffee-exporting nation like Zambia. In spite of this, reports show that Vietnam is actually the world's second largest exporter of coffee, with its share of the global market rising nearly 20% within the last 30 years. Vietnam's coffee industry, which employs 2.6 million people, produced nearly 3 billion pounds of coffee in 2012-2013. The country's coffee exports have landed primarily in Germany and the United States, but imports from other European Union countries, as well as Japan and South Korea, have also contributed to Vietnam's rapid and surprising growth in coffee exports.

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The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is offering Michigan food companies multiple opportunities to exhibit within Michigan Pavilions at the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Show and the National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show. The shows offer businesses a unique, helpful, and affordable way to showcase products under the Michigan name, known globally for outstanding quality. In previous years, over $600,000 in actual sales were reported with $3 million in anticipated sales!

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The small Caribbean nation of Grenada lies around one hundred twenty-five miles north of Venezuela, between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It has always had an economy built off of its island paradise lifestyle with its beautiful blue water, beaches, and landscape. This style of economy for such a small nation can only carry it so far, but Grenada now has other plans to help it make an international presence.

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It’s not too early to start planning for 2014! The 2014 year holds an extensive list of Food Export Association activities, programs, and services to help exporters of Michigan food and agricultural products begin or expand their international sales. They provide educational programs, export promotions, customized export assistance, market entry support, and a cost-share funding program. The 2014 Food Export Activity Calendar includes the dates, locations, and other details about buyers’ missions, seminars, focused trade missions, and more!

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In a recent study done by Chatham House, a world-leading source of independent analysis based out of London, it was found that large amounts of Nigerian crude oil was being stolen. The research discovered that at least 100,000 barrels of oil per day, or around 5% of total output, were stolen in the first quarter of 2013. The extensive network of exported stolen oil includes thieves, financial centers, commodities traders, politicians, and international trade.

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England, the third largest economy entity in the euro zone, is facing difficulties on its way to economic recovery and is seeking help from a Canadian governor. Taking the term from Sir Mervyn King, Mark Carney became the new governor of the Bank of England (BE) with hopes of bringing a breath of fresh air to the British economy. Before entering Carney’s time in charge, let’s take a glance at the British economy and predict the future trends under Carney’s lead.

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While Cyprus is experiencing economic woes and Turkey is finding its way out of a huge European debt crisis, the energy relationship between Cyprus and Turkey regarding gas and oil is causing stress for both countries. On Wednesday, Turkey announced the suspension of energy projects with Italian giant ENI because the company expanded the exploration for oil and gas to Cyprus. ENI’s decision on the project expansion in Cyprus has created hope of economic recovery Cyprus but it infuriated Turkey since the project would cut down the energy plan in Turkey.

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Learning the business environment of other countries is an important task for those looking to export their products to new markets. Foreign countries provide vast opportunities for growth and allow companies of all sizes to reach new customers. However, each market filled with opportunities also presents challenges for businesses. There are many resources for small companies that make the transition into a foreign market much easier. Doug Barry recently sat down with Mike McGee, Senior U.S. Commercial Service Officer, to discuss the business environment of Burma (now known as Myanmar). To watch this interesting video on doing business in Burma, please see the posted video below!

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Out of the millions of businesses in the United States, only about 1.5 percent of these companies sell their products internationally. Furthermore, over half of these businesses exported to only one foreign market. So what can be done to increase U.S. exports? Doug Barry of the U.S. Commercial Service has the answer. In his book, Exporters! The Wit and Wisdom of Small Business Owners Who Sell Globally, Doug Barry shares 26 success stories from small companies in the United States who made the leap of faith in selling their products abroad. These companies started from small beginnings and now make products for customers throughout the world.

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The shale-gas industry is flourishing in the United States and West African crude oil exporters are being negatively impacted.  Because of the “U.S. shale-gas revolution”, crude oil exports from Angola, Algeria, and Nigeria to the United States have fallen by over 40%.  Thus far, this has led to a decrease in overall crude oil exports from these three countries; however, the increase in supply of sweet crude oil has led existing buyers to increase their purchases and allowed new buyers to enter the market.

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India’s trade gap, especially as of late, is increasing rapidly.  This is due largely in part to substantial percentage hikes in imports and stagnant export growth.  Some are growing concerned over the rising account deficit, which is directly correlated to the current trade deficit.  To put India’s trade deficit in perspective, exports grew by 0.8% in January while imports grew by 6.1%.

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“Export or Die”, a phrase that Americans and other countries seem to neglect, has become an emergent dilemma in Japan. An annual trade balance report released last Thursday triggered a sense of crisis in Japan by displaying a huge trade deficit. This is the second straight year that exports have been in the red for Japan. As an export-reliant country, Japan is going to be hit hard by this news without doubt.

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The traditional model for young start-ups has been to establish a foothold in the United States for a couple years, before branching out to Europe and Asia. These traditional models are out of date and only constrict your company's growth potential.

The United States used to be worth twice as much as Europe and three times that of Asia. Times have changed though; the world is becoming one market, a global market. The language of this global market is currency, which can take on multiple forms, but it's uniting all. If you aren't doing business in Europe and Asia, that's 2/3's of your potential revenue streams you are missing out on.

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It is no secret that America tops the list of fattest nations. In fact, it is one of the largest stereotypes facing the people of the United States. Yet for the first time, competition has emerged from other nations like Mexico, New Zealand, and Chile and it may even be due to U.S. markets. Both fast food and drug markets are spreading globally, and consequently, so is obesity. With obesity, of course, come related health issues, especially diabetes, which is where the pharmaceutical companies swoop in to save the day while churning out incredible profits.

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While economists have many different ways of observing trade trends (think about looking at GDP changes), one of the best ways is to isolate a specific area and observe that to gain a good picture of it. One such area is the Port of Los Angeles and the clues that it provides about American international trade as a whole.

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With an increasingly interconnected world and growing international marketplace, many companies are searching for opportunities at a global level. Businesses are looking to expand overseas for many reasons—stagnant economies at home, desired growth in their customer base, or even the pursuit for higher profit margins. Whatever the case may be, these businesses are becoming very important for the global economy. Surprisingly enough, not all of these businesses are large multinational firms. In fact, there is a recent trend where small businesses are beginning to follow larger companies in expanding their business operations into foreign markets.

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The New Year began with the United States barely avoiding sequestration that many economists agree would have been a giant setback for the U.S. economy that would pile on to the global economic troubles. Not the way to start things off. With the major economies of the world still struggling to return to the growth needed to bring down unemployment there may be good news after all.

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International trade is a very important aspect of the world’s economy in the globalized business climate of today. Less than one percent of all United States businesses export and according to research, the main reason for not exporting is the lack of confidence in selecting the best market for U.S. products. To help solve this issue, the U.S. International Trade Administration has published a book titled Free Trade Agreements: 20 Ways to Grow Your Business available for download on iTunes.

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Deemed export compliance can sometimes be a confusing subject matter. However to help you better understand exporting, Amber Road has a free webinar discussing export compliance from a university perspective. The webinar will address many topics including how to use technology to automate the export compliance process and will feature guest presentations. This free webinar takes place on Tuesday, October 23, 2012 from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM EDT. To find out more information and to register for this online webinar event, please click here!

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In September 2011, India lifted a four-year ban that was responsible for limiting the exportation of wheat and rice.  Because of this ruling, India exported over 10 million tons of grain and soymeal in the first half of 2012, a figure that is nearly double what it was in the first half of 2011. The current drought in Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan has significantly limited wheat production in these countries, yet world wheat prices have remained relatively stable due to India’s timely increase in the exportation of this commodity.

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Have you ever heard of mapping underground pollution? I hadn’t until recently, after Doug Barry sat down with John H. Sohl III, the founder of Columbia Technologies. This mapping involves using sensor technology that tracks leakage of pollutants, and following an analysis, customers can make decisions on risk assessment, disposition of the property and proper cleanup actions. The more interesting aspect of this story is how the company grew internationally.

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In Brazil, where young workers have typically opted to join large corporations in the public or private sector, statistics now confirm a rise in young entrepreneurs choosing instead to run their own franchise. According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, the number of Brazilians aged 18 to 24 that attempted entrepreneurship increased by 74% between 2002 and 2010, with the franchising model being the simplest and safest way to run their own business. The sector has experienced a 10-13% average annual increase since 2002, generated a profit of $44 billion USD in 2011 (89 billion reals), and is responsible for 837,000 jobs.

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Exports are a vital source of growth at a time when the market in the U.S. and in Europe is fragile. Exports are now contributing to the U.S.’s recovery and growth at a higher percentage than the previous two recessions and subsequent recoveries. There is no better example of this than Combustion Associates, a California based company whose foreign sales make up 90% of their total revenue. Recently, Doug Barry sat down with Kusum and Mukund Kavia, a married couple who came from Bangladesh via London to the U.S. with not a lot of money, but a whole lot of determination.

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One Cleveland company has had amazing global success due to the Golden Key program through the U.S. Commercial Service. Jet Incorporated is a Ohio-based company that has used technology to design an environmentally friendly water treatment system aimed at replacing septic tanks.  This product relies heavily on new home construction. When the U.S. experienced a major slump in residential construction, Jet Incorporated needed to look to new markets in order to sustain growth. Now international sales are close to 30% of their overall income.

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In China, the domestic economy is struggling just like the rest of the world with slow sales and declining construction. The cost of labor has also increased drastically, with wage rates increasing upwards of 15% in some cases, year over year. Compared to May of last year though, exports have increased 15.3 percent, twice as fast as economists had predicted. How are Chinese companies finding success when Europe is in a debt crisis and the United States is still recovering from rampant unemployment though? Easy – exporting and automation.

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Earlier this month in Washington D.C., Ambient Technologies was one of several companies recognized for their efforts to increase exports in the United States. They received the Presidential E Award for their efforts to export their company’s services abroad, with help from the Export Assistance Centers of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

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Earlier this month a report from The Brookings Institution was released with some useful data. The data, while slightly obvious, came to the conclusion that the majority of our cities and metro areas are the factories of our nations export output. Some of the notable data points include:

- 100 metro areas generated 84% of U.S. exports in 2010
- Exports increased 11% in 2010, the fastest increase since 1997
- Jobs supported by exports rose 6% in 2010, while the overall economy lost jobs during 2010.

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Today Michigan State University hosted the Go Global: Exporting 101 Seminar at the Henry Center for Executive Development. The seminar was centered on showing businesses all of the resources available to help them export. Small businesses in particular were targeted as there are many national and local initiatives aimed to help increase exports. Many interesting statistics were shared that prove just expansive the growth opportunities are if companies begin to export more aggressively.

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Small companies are often intimidated by the thought of selling their products abroad. To be fair to them, there are a lot of considerations that need to be factored in that do not apply in domestic sales that can be overwhelming. There are often extra fees, legal considerations, shipping concerns, as well as culture and language barriers. Still, selling abroad is a great option for small companies who are looking for rapid growth. By no longer limiting your business to selling within your boarders, countless new customers will become available to you. That is exactly what Charles Popenoe III found out with the help of the US Commercial Service and International Trade Administration.

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Around the world many small businesses are beginning to take advantage of global opportunities by exporting their products abroad and finding new markets in different countries. With many opportunities to find business partners overseas, finding the right path to take may prove to be a difficult task. However in the United States, there are many government export promotion programs that assist small to medium sized firms succeed and find the right opportunities in these new markets. One program in particular is the International Trade Administration. Doug Barry of the Trade Information Center and the U.S. Commercial Service recently sat down with a technology company from Maryland to discuss the benefits it gained from using export assistance programs.

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For a majority of small business owners interested in international exporting, complex African markets are typically avoided in comparison to more familiar markets, like those in Western Europe. In spite of this trend, Amethyst Technologies, a Baltimore-based company, has expanded into Tanzania and Kenya with support from the U.S. Commercial Service. Through working with government agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Amethyst Technologies has found success in historically unpredictable markets, and has also made a positive impact through building laboratories that are used for drug testing and developing standards for education, health care, transportation, and agriculture.

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As economic globalization continues to make foreign markets more accessible, opportunities for small businesses to export abroad remain on the rise. In response to the ongoing global recession, the United States federal government has recognized the importance of small business owners, and the crucial aspect they play in a successful economy. Stemming from the government’s National Export Initiative, many small businesses have stepped out of American markets and found success through exporting abroad, such as the Patton Electronics Company.

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Over the past years, free trade agreements have proven to be one of the most effective ways to open up foreign markets for businesses looking to export overseas. Trade agreements help reduce barriers for these businesses and eliminate costly tariffs on imports. The creation of more transparent trading promoted by free trade agreements also contributes to an easier environment for the exporting of goods and services. This past week, the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement entered into full force, creating many opportunities for increased trade between the two countries.

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As globalization increases, small businesses are gaining many opportunities to export their products overseas. However, less than two percent of all United States companies export to foreign markets. With the National Export Initiative, the United States plans to turn this surprising fact around and double U.S. exports within the upcoming years. Small businesses can play a crucial role in helping the United States accomplish its exporting goals. In fact, some small businesses in the United States have already found success in markets abroad.

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With the National Export Initiative, the United States is seeking to double exports by the end of 2014. However, the typical United States manufacturing exporter sells to less than five buyers in overseas markets. Many people may assume that the responsibility of meeting the ambitious export goal lies in the hands of large businesses and corporations in America. While partially true, there are other businesses in the United States that are already stepping up to the challenge. These businesses are the small businesses all over the country that are being driven by entrepreneurship, creativity, and hard work.

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Doug Barry, an expert in small business exportation, recently teamed up with Jim Blasingame of “The Small Business Advocate Website” in three interviews regarding the BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India, and China.  These interviews focus on exporting and doing business in these four countries and the many opportunities that are available in these countries in the business sector.

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In response to decreasing domestic demand, small-to-midsize businesses in Europe are looking to export.  However, many of these enterprises are finding it difficult to be globally competitive because of high labor, transport, and real estate costs.  Many of these businesses produce equipment used in construction and high costs of production have led to unaffordable prices.  To be successful, these companies need to find new export countries and increase their competitiveness.

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A Basic Guide to Exporting is a comprehensive overview of how to export provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The guide does an excellent job of guiding companies through a complex global economy by examining:

  • How to identify markets for your company’s products
  • How to finance your export transactions
  • The best methods of handling orders and shipments
  • Sources of free or low-cost export counseling

The Tenth edition of this highly respected reference book has been revised for 2012 and contains some new case studies and information about the National Export Initiative.

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With the United States setting a goal to double exports in the next four years, small businesses play a very important role in accomplishing this mission. The National Export Initiative, the official title of this export growth objective, has a website designed to help small businesses export products to new markets and attain business growth abroad. Doug Barry of the U.S. Department of Commerce is an expert in exporting strategy for small businesses and has helped many small businesses accomplish their exporting goals. Last week, we posted a blog about an interview with Doug Barry where he explains how a small bio-business used international markets to achieve remarkable levels of business growth. This week, Doug Barry has conducted additional interviews where he shares his small business expertise and knowledge.

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For small businesses, exporting products to new markets may appear unattainable.  With assistance from partners such as the U.S. Commercial Service, business leaders with minimal international experience can soon learn the basics of exporting.  This can be an enormous opportunity for business growth, attainable without unnecessary levels of risk.  Jim Blasingame of “The Small Business Advocate” recently sat down with Doug Barry, the Director of Marketing and Communication for the U.S. Commercial Service, to discuss such a success story.  One small bio-business used international markets to quickly achieve levels of wealth that otherwise would have seemed impossible. 

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This past week, the United States passed a trio of free trade agreements removing trade barriers with the countries of Panama, South Korea, and Colombia. The free trade agreements will have many impacts on international trade tendencies between these countries as the pacts will essentially eliminate tariffs faced by exporters in all four countries. Exports of each country are expected to rise as a result of the agreements and many businesses small or large will be able to compete in new markets abroad. The trade relationships between each country will dramatically change as the new trade agreements mark the biggest opportunity for exporting businesses in decades.

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Germany and Vietnam recently expanded their economic ties by signing financial cooperation and partnership pacts.  Last year bilateral trade exceeded 5 billion dollars between these two countries and Germany was Vietnam’s largest trade partner in the European Union.  These countries are not only looking to increase trade, but also to create welcoming working conditions for businesses in each other's country.  This partnership aims to benefit both parties in ways far beyond just trade.

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If you are a small business counselor looking to improve your skills as an export and trade advisor, online training certification may be of interest to you. The Export and Trade Counseling Certification Training webpage is a great resource to achieve this goal and is provided by the U.S. Commercial Service of the Department of Commerce. This page offers small business counselors the opportunity to receive certification after viewing several webinars on exporting information and guides.

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China’s image as a low-cost place of production is likely to change due to the rapid increases in worker wages.  In fact, wages for the average manufacturer worker in China are expected to double by 2015.  As this has begun to unfold, many foreign manufacturers have begun looking for alternative low-cost production bases and have been largely unsuccessful in finding better options.  Foreign reliance on China for inexpensive production will likely be a thing of the past as these wages continue to climb.

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In 1982, China was just beginning to open up to capitalism when the government decided to use a plot of land in a rural town of Yiwu to use as an open-air market. What started off as a rural, poor city has turned into a vibrant Trade Mart which now covers 988 acres. To put this into perspective, you could fit 10 Mall of America’s in the same space.

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With its close proximity to Canada and Mexico, most United States exporters export to only one market and unsurprisingly this market is usually Canada. However, many smaller companies that work with the U.S. Commercial Service have found other great markets filled many new customers. Some of the best markets with countless opportunities for U.S. companies are Vietnam, India, Indonesia, India, China, Taiwan and Thailand. You can learn more about these markets by watching these videos on India, Indonesia, and Vietnam posted on the Export.gov website. With these videos, you will learn about some of the many sectors in these markets where U.S. companies are competitive. In the videos, you will also be introduced to the top U.S. commercial diplomats in these markets who will help your company evaluate and enter exciting new markets.

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With the local economy struggling, many businesses in Michigan have turned to international exporting as a source for new markets.  The state’s total exports for 2010 reached $44.5 billion, a 36.3% increase over 2009.  Rick Haglund recently posted a column on Ann Arbor.com about the work that trade specialists such as Patrick McRae of the United States Commercial Service and workers at Michigan State University’s International Business Center (CIBER) are doing to support globalization efforts of small and medium-sized local businesses. 

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Over a quarter million small businesses in the United States export their products and services to other countries around the world. By doing so these businesses increase their revenues, broaden and diversify their customer base, and provide jobs for their local communities. The United States has set a goal to double exports by 2014 in order to support the addition of two million jobs for the American workforce and encourage economic growth. To reach this goal and help small businesses further increase their exports, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Department of Commerce, and the Small Business Administration have released a new Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Tariff Tool.

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As Colombia’s energy sector expands and major infrastructure projects continue to develop, vast opportunities will be made available in Colombia for exporters across the globe. The United States has been Colombia’s top trading partner for the last couple of years but competition is increasing as other countries aggressively pursue trade opportunities in Colombia’s active and growing market.

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Are you familiar with the free webinars on the Basics of Exporting provided by the U.S. Commercial Service? These webinars have been especially designed to meet the needs of new exporters. There is no fee to participate, although registration is required. Each webinar will begin at 2:00 p.m. EST and will last one hour. Content will include slides, live audio, and question-and-answer sessions with international business experts. 

The newest upcoming webinars are:

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Are you or your boss scared of starting to export products internationally? Are you afraid of dealing with culture barriers (especially in client meetings)? Do you want to expand your business globally to reach the 95% of consumers who live outside the U.S., but are just not sure how? If these questions sound pertinent to your business, then the U.S. Commercial Service is here to help you.

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With China being one of Brazil’s most important trading partners, the two have created a whole lot of business and money-making opportunities for both countries. No person knows this more than Eike Batista, a Brazilian minerals tycoon that is now the eighth richest man in the world, with a wealth of $27 billion. He’s gotten there quickly, thanks in large part to China.

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Learn how your company can tap into the Global Marketplace! This year the Commerce Department’s Trade Information Center is offering a series of one-hour webinars on the basics of exporting. These webinars have been especially designed to meet the needs of new exporters. There is no fee to participate, although registration is required. Content will include slides, live audio, and question-and-answer sessions.

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There are many markets for U.S. goods in the Middle East and North Africa but the largest single market happens to be relatively new. Formed in the 1970s, the United Arab Emirates is the largest single market for U.S. goods in the region and the 19th largest market globally. The United Arab Emirates is a federation composed of seven states located on the Arabian peninsula. As new, large-scale infrastructure projects continue to develop, this market will remain a prominent source of opportunities for United States exporters.

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A few weeks ago, President Obama discussed progress made on an important goal of the United States. Over the next five years, the American economy is looking to double its exports and support the creation of many new American jobs. The first step of this process began with the implementation of the new U.S. export control system in August of 2010. Now, President Obama’s Administration is deploying its Export Control Reform Initiative webpage at export.gov. This website has helped the United States make remarkable gains on its plan to double national exports.

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When most people think about rare earth mining, they think miners extract a chunk of lanthanum or cerium, send it to Apple, and they put it in their newest iGadget. However, few know that there are two different types of rare earths with wide ranging uses and prices. In addition, raw minerals must be processed using a complicated (and often dangerous) process to extract the individual elements.

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Wondering where to go next? The answer is easy, Korea. Approaching the top ten largest economies in the world, it is often overlooked because of its physical distance and the close proximity of its big brothers China and Japan. In fact, Korea has recently doubled its GDP and its imports from the United States. So while recent news may be bringing adverse attention to Korea, it is starting to bring to the spotlight an economy that is growing and is expected to soon become a major economic partner of the United States.

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The success of the National Export Initiative (NEI), which calls for the doubling of U.S. exports and adding millions of new jobs in 5 years, depends in part on the 265,000 plus U.S. exporters finding buyers in additional country markets. If an exporter is selling to Canada now, Mexico or Chile might be good places to expand. But how will the U.S. company know which market to choose?

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By supporting India for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, President Barack Obama positioned the United States for a long-term political and economic partnership with the emerging Asian nation. While much focus has been put on the political alignment of the United States and India against their rivals in China and Pakistan, there are also great opportunities for business partnerships to emerge. As is often the case, strengthened political ties may lead to strengthened economic ties as well.

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Carpet sales have been the center of Nepal’s exports for years (up to 1/3 of total exports), but recently sales have been on a steep decline. Many carpet firms in Nepal have gone under due to the extreme decline. There was once over 3,000 in operation but now only around 600 remain. While there are still hundreds of carpet companies in Nepal, they say that they will need help from the government in order to stay on top of this global market.

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Doug Barry, of the U.S. Commercial Services, recently sat down with Jim Blasingame on “The Small Business Advocate Show” to discuss potential ways to make a small business more competitive in an increasingly global marketplace. The first suggestion that both Mr. Barry and Mr. Blasingame had was to go to one of the 108 offices for the United States Commercial Services to get advice, which is usually free. However, Mr. Barry quickly brought up another alternative that he feels is better: attending trade shows.

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Despite the tendency to think otherwise, it is possible for businesses of any size to have a successful strategy centered on exporting products overseas. While many entrepreneurs and small business owners may believe that they cannot possibly develop a successful international business strategy due to a lack of knowledge about foreign customers, poor foreign language skills, or size constraints, experts in the field of international business would urge them to push those doubts aside. 

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Many small business owners in the United States struggle to successfully export products to global markets. Without expertise in dealing with international markets, it may be challenging to develop a business plan that is well-suited for customers around the world. Doug Barry of the Trade Information Center at the United States Department of Commerce recently interviewed one man who set an example for other small business leaders to follow.

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Say goodbye to your flat-screen TV and that new car battery you were going to buy. In late July China announced that they would be decreasing the supply of rare earth metals to the rest of the world. Now it may not seem like an obvious connection but these rare earth metals in question are the materials that help produce our flat-screen monitors, car batteries, and many more products we manufacture and sell. Now the question comes to, why is China doing this?

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Learn how your company can tap into the Global Marketplace! This fall the Commerce Department’s Trade Information Center is offering a series of four one-hour webinars on the basics of exporting. These webinars have been especially designed to meet the needs of new exporters. There is no fee to participate, although registration is required. Content will include slides, live audio, and question-and-answer sessions.

They will be led by experts in their field, and will cover such topics as:

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Exporters often want to know: “Does my product need a license before I can sell it to an overseas buyer?” The answer is often “no,” as 95% of goods shipped from the U.S. don’t require a license. But exporters must do additional due diligence to make sure their goods are not sold to denied parties. In a new series of videos produced by the U.S. Trade Information Center and Foreign Trade Statistics, the basics of export regulations are presented in a clear and engaging way. The series also contains videos on how to use trade statistics to pinpoint best markets and the role of freight forwarders and letters of credit in the export process. According to video team leader Doug Barry, there are now 20 short videos to help U.S. companies successfully participate in the National Export Initiative.

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It can be done! Creating jobs back home while increasing sales overseas is possible and United Solar Ovonic has proved it. United Solar Ovonic is a Michigan based company that creates and exports solar panels and has recently begun a joint venture with United Solar Ovonic Jinneng in China. They develop lightweight, flexible solar panels. They are great, not to mention green, energy producers so it’s no wonder that this business has been booming.

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Recently Jim Glasingame of The Small Business Advocate talked with Doug Barry of the US Commercial Service about the US National Export Initiative. The United States has announced that they want to double the number of exports as well as increase jobs at home. The reality is that a lot of US companies do not export as well as they could, or to as many places as they could. Research shows that most companies that actually do participate in exporting only export to one country. There are so many opportunities all around the world that businesses are not taking advantage of.

Luckily, the US Commercial Service is willing to help businesses. They have offices in countries all over the world and are passionate about helping businesses expand internationally. Want more information? Go to export.gov or listen to this interview here!
 

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It might be surprising to learn that the majority of companies that export have less than 100 employees, and even more have less than 5! There seems to be a misconception going around that a company needs lots of employees and lots of capital in order to engage in international trade. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. With the following helpful advice, you could be expanding your business globally and possibly enhancing it.

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After the devastating earthquake in Haiti this January, a global effort has been made to rebuild the country. The hospitality that was shown to the hurting country has been inspiring. Haiti is certainly still working to rebuild its country, but luckily people around the world are seeking to help create a better economy for this small country.

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Recently Doug Barry conducted an interview with Sharon Doherty. She is a grandma, entrepreneur and potential poster child for the National Export Initiative. Years ago Sharon was a show dog hobbyist before she saw a need for a line of high-quality grooming products for pets. Since 1993 she has been selling to buyers worldwide and now exports to more countries that she has employee. She is in 34 countries now with four more on tap.  How’d she do it?

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Brought to you by the U.S. Commercial Service, there are still eleven more webinars from the excellent Basic Guide to Exporting Webinar Series. There is still time to register, but don't delay. In particular there is a webinar on June 15, titled "Improving Your Cultural Intelligence." Cultural Intelligence (CQ) is described as the capability to function effectively in a variety of national, ethnic and organization cultures. You can learn how to do the following:

  •       Identify the cultural implications of your marketing and negotiating decisions. 
  •       More effectively function in culturally diverse settings. 
  •       Enhance and build your Cultural Intelligence.

       You will have your questions answered by David Livermore. Listen and learn from questions asked by companies participating in the Webinar. Dr. Livermore has written many award-winning books on this subject. He will also be speaking at the CIBER Short-Term Study Abroad(STSA) Conference in Kansas City from June 4-5, 2010. Short-term study abroad is one of the fastest-growing formats of study abroad, and it appeals to students and presents unique challenges in curriculum, financing, and program management. Interested? Learn more about the conference and come listen to some great speakers!
 

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While Vietnam’s largest export is textiles, seafood is often overlooked as another crucial product to Vietnam’s economic well-being. In June 2009, Vietnam and Japan signed the Vietnam-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, which effectively reduced and eliminated tariffs on a number of Vietnamese goods, one of which was dried seafood. In the past, high prices had deterred other Southeast Asian countries from buying Vietnamese seafood, but the tariff cuts, coupled with overall increased demands, have led to a boom in Vietnamese seafood exports.

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First, is your Website ready for prime time?  Consider adding a section for international buyers which might contain a currency calculator, shipping options and prices, a statement about the buyer paying for customs duties and taxes, and even sample duty and tax calculations using your most common commodity classification codes (call 1-800-usa-trade for assistance with this).  This is purely good customer service and will reduce misunderstandings across the miles.

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A recent Department of Commerce study of midsize and smaller U.S. manufacturing exporters made a surprising finding: the majority of the companies surveyed don’t have an export plan.  What’s more, they lack international financial goals and, in general, lack staff who are dedicated to growing the international side of the business.  In addition, exporters rely mainly on U.S.-based sales efforts to generate overseas customers, and fully one-third sit back passively and let the orders come to them.

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Looking for international trade leads? The U.S. Commercial Service can help. Recently, they released the International Sales Leads gadget on iGoogle. The gadget contains pre-screened, time-sensitive sales leads and Government Tenders gathered by the many U.S. Commercial Service offices around the world. International sales leads are updated regularly with the newest leads appearing on the top of the list.

Check out the U.S. Commercial Service's International Sales Leads Gadget!
 

 

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Looking for a new place to expand your business? Why not Peru? It has become apparent that U.S. exports to Peru are getting simpler and simpler. The U.S.–Peru Trade Promotion Agreement that was signed a few years ago has really expanded the opportunities for U.S. businesses in Peru. With this agreement, many goods can be shipped into Peru duty-free. The certificates of origin and other forms are also becoming more uniform to make exporting easier and simpler.

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It's time for more market briefs! This time, Doug Barry, of the U.S. Commercial Service, conducts two interviews. The first is with Aileen Crowe Nandi, the principle commercial service officer in Chennai, India. In the interview, Ms. Nandi describes the ample number of opportunities for U.S. businesses in the southern region of India (Hyderabad, Bangalore, and Chennai). She also discusses a number of other issues, including cautionary advice for U.S. firms looking to do business in South India, the necessity of being able to compete in an industry based on price, the current infrastructure and consumer base of South India, how these are shifting, and how these shifts should affect the approach when entering into the South India market.

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Bhutan is a country that is not known for its exports. Last year their total exports were only $350 million. Nearly all of that was energy exports to India, yet they have a lot more potential for agriculture exports. The majority of their workforce is in the agriculture industry, but currently it is not one of their exporting strengths. That is where hazelnuts come in. Hazelnuts could be the future of exporting for Bhutan.

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Think of California's Silicon Valley back in the early 2000's. Think of the many companies that had to cut back or fail in the middle of the dot-com meltdown. Telewave Inc. became an expert at making two-way radio equipment. How did a small company such as Telewave Inc. stay alive? They followed a conservative investment strategy that didn't rely on the stock market and borrowed money. The company also focused on lower- to mid-level technology products instead of the breakthrough gadgets. Finally, they grew and spread business-cycle and industry risk across new markets. Now Telewave makes over 1,000 products, which include a ceramic autotune combiner, or "black box." It decreases the number of dropped cell calls, reduces electricity usage by 20 percent, and monitors equipment which in turn lowers personnel costs. But diversifying products can't be the only reason Telewave is still around in this global economy.

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The US Department of Commerce and United Parcel Service (UPS) have announced that they will work together in attempts to increase US exports. They are hoping to increase local jobs by expanding businesses internationally. This may seem contradictory, but the hope is that small and medium sized businesses will be able to find new markets to thrive in internationally, therefore increasing the need for jobs back home.

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Are you interested in learning about the growing areas of patient healthcare and water and waste management and how to take advantage as an exporter? Rapidly-growing economies, strong ties with the United States, and major public health needs put the Gulf Region among the world's most promising markets for U.S. suppliers. To help U.S. firms leverage opportunities in these markets, a senior-level Department of Commerce official will lead a trade mission to Riyadh and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and Doha, Qatar, June 5-10, 2010.

With a strong growing demand for healthcare and water and waste management this mission will be important for any exporter looking to expand into the Gulf Region. Don't miss out on this great opportunity! Apply by March 31st, 2010!

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Vancouver, Canada; London, United Kingdom; Sochi, Russia… but who’s next? It is no doubt that the International Olympic Committee faces peer pressure when deciding upon the city that will host future Olympics, but why so much competition between nations?

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Now is the time to think about ways to expand your international sales!  The United States Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration has just started a new series of webinars to help businesspeople learn about topics ranging from identifying new international markets to understanding export controls.

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Are you an American small business owner? Here's an interesting fact for you: 95% of your prospects live outside the U.S. But you're just a small and measly company, how could you possibly access this vast global demand? Why the internet of course! You usually don't think of selling a product online as exporting, but it is. Starting small is a great way to go, but as a small firm if you want to grow, you may need a lot of help. How exactly do you develop and excecute a comprehensive exporting plan without much knowledge?

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Doug Barry of the U.S. Commercial Service has another market brief for our blog readership. In this brief, he interviews Amer Kayani, who is a Senior Commercial Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Saudi Arabia. The interview covers the potential of emerging markets, with a primary focus on Saudi Arabia. Additionally, Mr. Kayani clears up some misconceptions some may have regarding Saudi business sentiments towards U.S. investors and businesspeople.

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Recently, Doug Barry of the U.S. Commercial Service, interviewed Rich Steffens, who is head of the Senior Commercial Office in the Ukraine. In the interview, Mr. Steffens describes the learning curve required to effectively market and do business in the Ukraine and the larger former Soviet bloc. He also describes the major industries and natural resources which shape the way business is done, and the future markets that might emerge there. He also describes ways in which the U.S. Commercial service can, and has provided assistance to those seeking to do business in the Ukraine.

Check out the video version of the interview, or read the transcript!

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Portugal may be known to many for port wine and perhaps even fado music, but there are far more opportunities in the Portuguese market than people may realize. And realizing this is something that can prove very valuable to businesses looking to export to other areas of the world, especially for the United States. Portugal is not only a member of the European Union, but it has very strong ties to the U.S., meaning many American companies who have set up operations there have access to the EU market, giving it a huge advantage.

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You have to pay to ship your products to another country, but you don’t want it to cost you an arm and a leg. So what can you do? To be successful internationally, you must know how to get your products to your customers all over the world in a timely manner and at the lowest cost.

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India is becoming known today as an economic powerhouse for sectors ranging from manufacturing to outsourced business services.  The diversity of capabilities is unique and varies from one part of the country to another.  Today, the focus will be on Southern India, where industries include automotive components, textiles, IT, chemicals, and many more.

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Why should a small business enter the Canadian and Mexican market? There are a plethora of opportunities in both countries. From a United States perspective, they are the largest foreign investor in Canada and the most popular destination for Canadian investment. The U.S. exports to Canada exceed their exports to the entire European Union. Mexico isn't far behind with the second largest market in the world for U.S. exports. In 2007, U.S. and Mexico two-way trade exceeded one billion dollars a day. I will briefly discuss both the challenges, potential, and strategies for entering both the Canadian and the Mexican market.

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The Trade North America Conference, happening in Detroit this week, is a great opportunity for the Midwest regional business community to learn about today’s trade climate. Underscoring the importance of the event, Undersecretary of Commerce, Dennis Hightower and former Governor of Michigan, John Engler will be speaking. The focus of the conference is to equip businesspeople with information which will enhance their ability to successfully export products to Canada and Mexico.

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Jamal Qureshi never imagined the success he would have when he immigrated to the United States a few years ago from his native city of Bhopal, India. Now he is doing business in the same city he grew up in, just from the opposite end of the world. Qureshi is the CEO of JQ American in Hayward, California, an exporter of products and services in the energy, medical, pharmaceutical, and chemical industries. The unique part of JQ American is that they sell to a whopping 16 countries, while most small and medium sized U.S. firms only export to one international market. So how was all this possible?

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China has long-held a reputation of being one of the world’s top exporters. 2007 World Bank Figures amount China’s exports to around $1.22 trillion, or 37% of its GDP. It is the 2nd largest exporter in the world behind Germany, and is currently number one on globalEDGE’s Market Potential Index Market Growth Rate. The annual growth rate of China’s exports had traditionally been around 25 percent, although effects from the current economic downturn now project these numbers dropping to a modest 10 percent. So with a 15 percent drop, how can it expect to satisfy previous GDP growth expectations?

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Portugal is a good market for U.S. exports and it's comparatively easy to do business with. Surprisingly, building relationships there can lead to sales in other parts of Europe and also in Brazil, a former colony and one of the fastest growing markets in the world. Listen to this podcast featuring U.S. Commercial Service Senior Commercial Officer Dillon Banerjee from the embassy in Lisbon.