Commerce.gov is getting a facelift soon. See the new design.
Syndicate content

Blog Category: International Trade Administration

Secretary Pritzker Works to Promote More Business in Africa

Secretary Pritzker Works to Promote More Business in Africa

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker traveled to Atlanta, Georgia this week to emphasize the importance of helping U.S. companies launch and increase their business in Africa at the “Discover Global Markets: Sub-Saharan Africa” Conference. The event brought together U.S. government officials, visiting U.S. commercial diplomats posted at embassies throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, international business leaders, trade finance experts, and others to help companies identify and develop trade and investment opportunities on the continent.

Secretary Pritzker reiterated America’s commitment to solving the Ebola crisis, while emphasizing that fears about the virus should not get in the way of the facts on the ground in Africa. Ebola is confined to just three countries with a total population of roughly 21 million, while the entire African continent is home to 1.1 billion. The world public health apparatus is actively engaged, and doctors, nurses, and medical workers are using the proper protocols to treat patients and to slow the number of new cases. Efforts to eliminate the virus are starting to turn the corner, and growth of the disease is slowing in Liberia.

Despite the challenges presented by Ebola, Africa presents tremendous long-term growth opportunities, and both the U.S. government and the U.S. private sector are committed to deepening our economic and commercial engagement on the continent. Africa is home to six of the ten fastest-growing economies in the world – including Chad, Congo, the Ivory Coast, Mozambique, Ethiopia, and Sierra Leone. Real income has increased more than 30 percent, reversing two decades of decline, and GDP is expected to rise 6 percent each year over the next decade. By 2040, Africa will boast a larger workforce than either India or China.

The Discover Global Markets Forum served to increase economic and commercial engagement in Africa by helping companies launch or increase their business on the continent. The event also built on the success of the first-ever U.S.-Africa Business Forum, which the Department of Commerce co-hosted in August. This Forum brought together hundreds of American and African chief executives officers with nearly every African head of state to spur more trade and investment between the United States and Africa. At this Forum, U.S. firms announced more than $14 billion worth of investments throughout the continent.

Secretary Penny Pritzker Emphasizes Importance of North American Platform with Canada’s Minister of International Trade Ed Fast and Mexico’s Secretary of Economy Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal

During her trip to Canada, U.S Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker attended the fourth North American Competitiveness and Innovation Conference (NACIC) in Toronto. The conference provided a chance for the Secretary to meet with her Canadian and Mexican counterparts to discuss ways to strengthen the North American platform, which will create jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity for workers, families, and businesses in all three countries. 

In meetings throughout the day, Secretary Pritzker, Canadian Minister of International Trade Ed Fast, and Mexican Secretary of Economy Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal talked about areas of potential collaboration that will help make North America the most competitive place in the world to do business. 

This is the second time Secretary Pritzker has attended NACIC. Last year, the three countries agreed to work on a constructive agenda to strengthen their trade and economic relationship and pledged to continue helping businesses grow and American workers succeed through enhanced regulatory cooperation, and coordinated efforts to facilitate increased trade through many initiatives, including the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. 

Since last year, the U.S., Canada, and Mexico have achieved progress in several tangible areas by promoting the advantages of investing in North America, continuing to foster an ecosystem of entrepreneurship and innovation; and improving the efficiencies of cross-border trade and travel. 

This year, Secretary Pritzker, Minister Fast and Secretary Guajardo talked about additional areas of cooperation that will help them add to the success that has already been achieved, and build upon the continent’s many competitive advantages. Joint investment promotion – or promoting investment into North America from countries outside the continent – will continue to be a focus. Since 2003, nearly 14,000 projects have been announced in North America by outside parties, representing $724.8 billion in capital investment. 

Additionally, by the end of 2014, Canada, Mexico and the United States will each have hosted business and government leaders from the other countries to share knowledge and best practices about innovation incubators, technology accelerators, and how public-private partnerships can revitalize economic regions. With many business and regions still recovering from the global economic slowdown, these innovative exchanges are important to ensuring that new business creation can lead to future growth.  

Secretary Pritzker and Canadian Partners Discuss Increasing Investments on Both Sides of the Border

Secretary Pritzker laying a wreath at the Canadian War Memorial, extending her deepest sympathy for the loss of Canada's heroes.

During a two day trip to Ottawa and Toronto, Canada, Secretary Penny Pritzker met with Canadian Minister of Industry James Moore and Minister of International Trade Ed Fast to discuss U.S. – Canada trade relations and ways our countries can enhance commercial and economic competitiveness.  

During her stop in Ottawa, Secretary Pritzker also delivered the keynote address at an event hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Canada, where she emphasized expanding bilateral and North American growth and competitiveness through increased trade, investment, and innovation. She also reaffirmed North America’s commitment to completing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a high-standard trade agreement that opens new markets across the Asia-Pacific to goods and services made in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Secretary Pritzker also took a moment during her trip to acknowledge the gruesome attack last week in Canada, and offered condolences to the families of Corporal Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent as well as the people of Canada.

Secretary Pritzker Meets with Korean Leaders to Expand Trade and Grow Economic Partnerships

Secretary Pritzker Meets with Korean Pesident Park Geun-hye on the Trade Mission

Earlier this week, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker met with President of Korea Park Geun-hye, the first female President in South Korea, as well as Minister of Trade, Industry, and Energy (MOTIE) Yoon Sang-jick, and Minister for Health and Welfare, Moon Hyung-pyo. The meetings with Korean leaders are part of Secretary Pritzker’s trade mission she is leading with 20 U.S. companies to explore new opportunities for American firms in the health care and energy sectors. 

Three years ago, the U.S.-Korean Free Trade Agreement went into effect, providing the foundation for stronger economic partnerships and growing trade and investment relations between the two countries. During the mission, Secretary Pritzker reaffirmed President Obama’s commitment to deepen U.S. engagement in Asia and emphasized that her visit to Korea is a reflection of the commercial and economic component of the President’s rebalance to Asia. Secretary Pritzker and President Park discussed ways to continue moving both economies forward in the 21st century by seeking new ideas to expand business-to-business ties. In addition, the Secretary applauded President Park’s vision of building a “Creative Economy” in Korea by spurring new business opportunities, industries, and jobs through innovation and entrepreneurship. The meeting concluded with Secretary Pritzker saying that the global business community needs to continue to innovate and explore creative and alternative ways of doing business to grow and stay competitive. 

Secretary Pritzker also met with Minister of Trade, Industry, and Energy (MOTIE) Yoon Sang-jick to discuss entrepreneurship and the importance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) being integrated into the global business community. As President Obama’s chair of the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE) initiative, Secretary Pritzker is working with leaders and businesspeople throughout the world to help create an environment where creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship can grow and thrive. The Secretary also asked Minister Yoon for a commitment to work together to expand industry engagement under the U.S.-Korea Clean Energy Policy Dialogue, by including business participation. Delegations from both countries met in June in Seoul to discuss clean energy technology cooperation, marking progress in smart/micro grids, fuel cells, and energy storage research and development. The Clean Energy Policy Dialogue will continue those talks and broaden the focus to discuss energy policy issues.  

Lastly, the Secretary met with Minister for Health and Welfare, Moon Hyung-pyo. With South Korea’s total market for drugs and medical device products reaching roughly $21 billion, the two leaders discussed how the United States and Korea can build new partnerships in the area of healthcare as well as Korea’s interest in becoming a global hub for clinical trials. 

The main focus of Secretary Pritzker’s visit is to introduce new-to-market firms and expand the market presence of American medical, pharmaceutical and energy-related firms that have innovative products and services. Developments in these sectors can be harnessed to improve the standard of living for citizens of both countries. 

Commerce Secretary Pritzker Discusses Opportunities for U.S. Businesses in Japan

Secretary Pritzker Delivers Keynote Address at American Chamber of Commerce in Japan

Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker met with representatives from the Japanese healthcare and energy sectors as part of a series of roundtables to discuss American and Japanese business relationships and improve U.S. investment in the Japanese market. These events are part of the Secretary’s trade mission to establish new partnerships and expand the market presence of U.S. medical/pharmaceutical and energy-related companies with innovative products and services.

The roundtable provided U.S. and Japanese entities the chance to share views about the opportunities that exist in the Japanese market and to encourage the development of partnerships that may lead to future breakthroughs in the energy and health sectors.

Secretary Pritzker also delivered a keynote address at an event sponsored by the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) and the Japanese Industry Association, Keizai Doyukai. She opened her remarks by thanking Ambassador Kennedy, who is working side by side with the Commerce Department’s Foreign Commercial Service Officers stationed in Japan and thanked the team, led by Andrew Wylegala.

During her remarks, Secretary Pritzker emphasized the important role that U.S. and Japanese businesses play in anchoring our relationship, highlighted the U.S. as a key destination for investment, promoted the upcoming SelectUSA Summit on foreign investment, and highlighted the healthcare and energy sectors as two sectors of critical importance to growth, innovation, and quality of life in both countries.

Secretary Pritzker touched on America’s drive to strengthen commercial partnerships, help Japan develop new energy technology, optimize the mix of energy imports, and increase energy conservation. The U.S. anticipates continued high growth in the renewable energy sector, providing excellent opportunities for American firms that have cutting-edge, cost-competitive products and services.

Commerce Secretary Pritzker Begins Business Development Mission to Japan and Seeks Opportunities for U.S. Companies in Health Care and Energy Sectors

Commerce Secretary Pritzker Begins Business Development Mission to Japan and Seeks Opportunities for U.S. Companies in Health Care and Energy Sectors

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today began a five-day Business Development Mission to Japan and South Korea and met with Japanese leaders in Tokyo to address opportunities for U.S. companies to launch or increase their business in the health care and energy sectors. Due to a lack of natural resources, both Japan and South Korea have long been dependent on imported energy sources to meet their energy needs.

During her first day in Tokyo, Secretary Pritzker was joined by U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and the business delegation in several bilateral meetings with Japanese leaders.  During her meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Secretary Pritzker commended him on his government’s commitment to reform throughout his two years in office, and noted that American businesses are eager to partner with Japan in the country's ongoing efforts to reform and strengthen its health care and energy sectors. She also praised Prime Minister Abe for his vision in entering the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, and she discussed the need for the U.S. and Japan to be creative and bold as the countries enter the final stages of the negotiations.

Following her meeting with the Prime Minister, Secretary Prtizker met with Japan’s Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare Yasuhisa Shiozaki. During the meeting she addressed the importance of continued engagement on medical device and pharmaceutical issues, stressing the concerns the industry has with annual price revisions in the medical devices and pharmaceutical sectors.  She also thanked the Minister for Japan’s cooperation on vaccine issues and stressed the need for continued cooperation on Ebola response efforts.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Leads Business Development Mission to Japan and South Korea

Home to nearly 60 percent of the world’s GDP and the fastest growing economies, the Asia-Pacific region offers a wide array of opportunities for United States businesses and workers. To further improve the U.S. economy, the Obama Administration recognizes the critical importance of strengthening its well-established trading partnerships in the region, particularly with Japan and South Korea.

With the fourth and thirteenth highest GDP respectively, Japan and South Korea are highly developed, stable markets for trade and investment. The healthcare sector in both countries is expanding quickly to meet rising demand. In Japan, there is a rapidly-aging demographic profile, with a population aged above 65 years, which will increase from 25.1 percent in 2013 to 29.2 percent by 2023. In addition, South Korea is emerging as a hub for global medical tourism by attracting and training world-renowned doctors and developing more advanced clinical trials.

To take advantage of these growing market opportunities, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker will leave tomorrow for Asia to lead 20 American firms on a Business Development Mission with stops in Japan and South Korea. The business delegation includes small and big companies, such as C3 Energy, HPI, and Oregon. The mission will focus on expanding opportunities for U.S. businesses in the healthcare and energy sectors and will also look for ways to help the region develop and manage energy resources and systems, and build out power generation, transmission, and distribution.  

As the voice of business in the Administration, the U.S. Department of Commerce, plays a pivotal role in expanding market access for U.S. companies in countries around the world. Specifically on this mission, Secretary Pritzker and American businesses will meet with Japanese and South Korean business leaders in the medical device, biotechnology, regenerative medicine, energy and health IT sectors to explore opportunities for partnership and investment.

The Commerce Department is committed to creating more opportunities for American businesses to flourish both at home and abroad. During the mission, Secretary Pritzker will also focus on reinforcing trade agreements that reflect our values, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS), that will help U.S. firms gain greater access to the Japan and South Korea markets.

This will be Secretary Pritzker’s first trade mission to Asia since taking office in June 2013 and will promote U.S. exports to Japan and South Korea by helping American companies launch or increase their business in these key markets.  The mission will make stops in Tokyo, Japan and Seoul, South Korea.

Expanding U.S.-China Commercial Relations Remains a Top Priority

ITA Trade Specialists Meet with U.S. Exporters at the DISCOVER GLOBAL MARKETS: Greater China and Gateway Countries forum

The U.S.-China commercial relationship remains one of great success and growing potential, despite continuing challenges.

That’s the major takeaway after two weeks of heavy focus on China at the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA).

It began with the DISCOVER GLOBAL MARKETS: Greater China and Gateway Countries forum Oct. 7-8 in New York City, during which our global team provided export guidance to more than 300 business representatives looking to export to the region.

Then this week, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Stefan M. Selig visited Shanghai and Beijing in advance of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) high level meetings that the Department of Commerce will host along with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative in the United States later this year.

While in China, Under Secretary Selig participated in JCCT Vice-Ministerial meetings with China’s Ministry of Commerce, and co-chaired the JCCT U.S.-China Industries and Competitiveness Dialogue with Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Robert Holleyman and China’s Vice Minister of Information and Industry Technology Liu Lihua.

Spotlight on Commerce: Jose "Pepe" F. Burgos, Director U.S. Commercial Service-Puerto Rico

Jose "Pepe" F. Burgos, Director U.S. Commercial Service-Puerto Rico

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 in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month

Guest blog post by Jose "Pepe" F. Burgos, Director U.S. Commercial Service-Puerto Rico

My name is Jose F. Burgos. My nickname is Pepe and I was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. My mother was from the town of Aguadilla in the west part of the island, and my father was from Humacao on the opposite side of the island. I was raised in Aguadilla by my mother and brothers after my father passed away when I was four years old. When I was 13 years old, my mother and older sister passed away in a car accident. Then I was raised by one of my cousins and their family. I have one brother who lives in Baltimore and we are very close. I was blessed to grow in a very family-oriented environment surrounded by my cousins and friends.

At first I wanted to be a doctor, but when I start studying and got to physics and organic chemistry, I realized medicine was not for me. I decided to study business, but I was not sure what kind of business. I decided to study international business with the main purpose to obtain a job to travel around the world.

Eleven years into my career, I realize how big international business can be – that it is more than traveling and is a daily learning experience. I worked three years in the Puerto Rico Trade Company and I have been currently working for the past eight years as Director of the U.S. Commercial Service in Puerto Rico. 

My passion for international commerce grew during my academic years, ultimately leading to my earning a Master’s Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in International Business & Marketing from the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico and a professional development certification from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in International Trade Policy.

It has been a rewarding and amazing opportunity to be able to do what I always wanted to do and work in the field that I studied. 

Since 2006, I have been working as Director of the US Department of Commerce for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. I have assisted companies from Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands in exporting to countries around the world, and provided advice with all the logistic components, including market intelligence, trade counseling, business matchmaking, and advocacy/commercial diplomacy support.

My support has helped companies survive difficult economic times and helped them be among the companies that are creating new jobs for residents in the islands.

Secretary Pritzker and CEOs from the President’s Export Council Explore Market Opportunities with Turkish Business Leaders

Secretary Pritzker and CEOs from the President’s Export Council Explore Market Opportunities with Turkish Business Leaders
After a productive stop in Poland, Secretary Pritzker traveled to Turkey with CEOs from the President’s Export Council (PEC) to explore opportunities for U.S. firms interested in the market and address outstanding challenges to expanding bilateral trade and investment. 
 
While the United States and Turkey have sustained deep strategic and diplomatic ties for decades, both countries want to expand their economic and commercial relationship. In 2009, President Obama visited Turkey and established the Framework for Strategic Economic and Commercial Cooperation (FSECC) with then-Prime Minister of Turkey Tayyip Erdogan. 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. Now, Secretary Pritzker and the PEC CEOs -- serving as commercial ambassadors -- are working to expand and strengthen this relationship through meetings with Turkish government and business leaders in Istanbul and Ankara.
 
In Istanbul, Secretary Pritzker delivered remarks to more than 200 Turkish business leaders and guests at the AmCham/American Business Forum in Turkey (ABFT) 10th Anniversary gala. She noted that progress has been made in the U.S.-Turkey commercial relationship, with total bilateral trade in 2013 just under $20 billion.  

She also stressed three challenges U.S. businesses face in the Turkish market that must be addressed: greater transparency in government procurement; commercial offsets – a policy that forces companies to produce locally; and the ability to obtain Good Manufacturing Practices certification. Ilker Ayci, President of Turkey’s Investment Promotion Agency, also shared Secretary Pritzker’s sentiment that the United States and Turkey must work together now to address current obstacles.