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Blog Category: International Trade Administration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

India Trade Mission: Day 1 - Commercial Dialogue

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

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

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

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

Autodesk: Technology to Build India’s Infrastructure

Paul McRoberts, Vice President of Autodesk’s Infrastructure Business

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Korea Trade Agreement Enters into Effect

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

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

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

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

For example:

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

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

SelectUSA Brings Investment to the United States

SelectUSA logo

Guest blog post by Barry Johnson, executive director of SelectUSA

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

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

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

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

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

National Export Initiative

Guest blog post by Commerce Secretary John Bryson

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

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

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