Tuesday, October 11, 2011

U.S. Exports Rise to Record as Trade Deficit Shrinks

U.S. Exports Rise to Record as Trade Deficit Shrinks
The New York Times

Amidst a gloomy economic climate, exports are standing out as a bright spot in the American economy. The Department of Commerce recently reported that exports reached a record-breaking $178 billion in July, helping the United States to shrink its trade deficit by 13.1%, according to the New York Times.

For our part, the Austin-Round Rock exported nearly $4 billion of goods in the first half of 2010 (the most recent period for which data is available). Our region's primary global markets are Taiwan, South Korea, Mexico, China, Japan, Malaysia, and Canada.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Florida to Spend $2 Million for International Trade Job Training

Florida to Spend $2 Million for International Trade Job Training 

Workforce Florida, a statewide board of government and business leaders, will put $2 million towards training and career education initiatives to boost employment in the state's ports, and air cargo and international trade sectors.

The University of North Florida and the Jacksonville-based infrastructure consulting engineering firm Reynolds, Smith and Hills are among the recipients of the program's funds.

Source: WorkforceFlorida.com 

Futurist predicts unbelievable changes

Try to imagine a world where there are no post offices, banks, cash, credit cards, newspapers, marriage, air travel--even no shoplifting. This is the world that awaits us, according to futurist Bob Louden of Saratoga.   Indeed, indications of its arrival are already here. It's the wireless world, and it's not far away.

For starters, we will be able to talk to anyone in the world, and the words will be translated as they are uttered. By then iPad technology will be all over the world and business will be conducted without having to travel. Since manufacturing will be computerized, eliminating labor, only 10 percent of the population will have to be employed, the most intelligent 10 percent, he calls it.

The rest will be doing the business of humanity, whatever that is in 20 or 30 years. And living on some form of unemployment compensation dispensed by the government from funds that once went to labor costs.
Of course, Louden can't look into the future any more than the rest of us can, but he does have a firm grip on the evolution of computers--what they can do and what they're going to be able to do. He was there on the ground floor with IBM and other ground-breaking companies.

Here's the scenario he envisions: When you enter a grocery store in the near future your profile will be encoded at the entry, and you won't get in if your profile doesn't show the ability to pay. Hence, no shoplifting—and self-check out, of course. Aboard any public transit you will indicate your destination on the map, and the computer at the stop will know what language to use for the instructions.

Everyone will have access to public domain knowledge. E-books will have audio of famous speeches, video inserts, even motion and vibration inserts. Computers will be as big as a ring; iPhones will be used as credit cards are today. TVs will be 3D, even in five years. Electric cars will be charged in garages and on the highway.
Many of these transformations will occur in the next decade, since we'll have universal wireless power in 10 years, Louden predicts. Deciphering the human genome will be automatic and part of each person's profile when you step into the doctor's office.

With women, mainly educated women, marrying later or not at all, birth rate and intelligence will both decline. Educate women and we'll have fewer and fewer children--could be a model for Third World countries. Most people in the Middle Ages didn't know who their father was. The same may soon be true for us, what with longer spans of sexual activity: female puberty comes earlier these days and marriage later.

In 30 years our lives will be unbelievably changed, Louden says. Sounds like an understatement.

UPS Customs Brokerage Can help with Your Customs Filings

UPS Customs Brokerage Can Dot the "i"s and Cross the "t"s on Your Customs Filings 

As a shipper, you know how essential it is to be compliant for your importations and exportations, and how complex and intimidating the process can be for each and every shipment. As the world's largest customs broker, UPS Customs Brokerage prides itself on handling each entry individually, and leverages its knowledge of global regulations and compliance to deliver the best service possible.

UPS has brokerage operations in more than 60 countries, with the capability to clear shipments in more than 120 countries. This scale of operations is particularly beneficial to customers with export needs in addition to import needs, whether it pertains to customs clearance, consulting, trade management, or a combination of these services.

The expertise of UPS Customs Brokerage extends to its active participation as advisor and subject matter expert to US Customs as well as a number of regional and trade authorities around the world, including the European Customs Union and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Asia. This involvement in the global customs arena translates into current, in-depth knowledge that benefits UPS Customs Brokerage customers with every single filing, everywhere.

UPS focuses on compliance on behalf of its customers so that they can ship with confidence and stay focused on growing their business. Call 1-888-253-2748 for more information on how UPS Customs Brokerage can help with your international shipments.

Source: UPS

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering 9/11

Today I am reflecting on 9/11/2001 and those that lost their lives. I am also thinking of those throughout the world that extended to the US, their commiserations.

Item ThumbnailI was in London that fateful day in my offices next to the London Stock Exchange. It was mid-afternoon when the TV monitors interrupted our market feeds with the images of the 1st tower in flames. A plane they say hit it. I was the only American in the office that day but we all stared in disbelief as the tower burned. Then the second plane hit the second tower - and we immediately knew it was not any accident.

Almost simultaneously, sirens in London went off and they began closing down the stock exchange, locked down Canary Wharf, and London police were erecting barricades everywhere. The Londoner's feared that they were to be imminently hit as well.

As I stared at the monitors, fellow workers came up to me expressing their sorrow as well. I was stunned. My daughter Heather was in one of those towers 3 months before undergoing training at Morgan Stanley. And I found out much later that she was actually on the phone with some of her brokers in that tower when the first plane hit.

That evening Londoners began dropping off flowers in front of the US Embassy. So many bouquets were left there that they filled the street and created a traffic jam. A Scotsman showed up and began playing the bagpipes. The next morning, they moved the flowers to a small park across from the US Embassy in from of a statue of Franklin Roosevelt. Crowds formed lines that were several blocks long waiting for an opportunity to lay some flowers in front of that statue. Waiting in line myself, no one was talking, we were just moving slowing to the entrance of the park. They had set up some tents to allow visitors so sign a book of commiseration for those who lost their lives.

I was amazed at the many nationalities and ethnic groups that were in line. I saw Indian Sikhs, some Arabs, Pakistani, German, Irish, Scots, and a few Japanese in line. All had similar expressions and most were carrying flowers, handmade signs, cards, and other items to leave at the statue.

Phone lines to the US were jammed. my return flight was cancelled and I had to stay in the UK for another 10 days before I could get a flight back home. One never feels so isolated as one does when a disaster strikes at home and you can't call loved ones.

That Saturday, the Queen attended a special mass that was held at St. Paul's Cathedral. Again, thousands showed up; I heard mass from the street that morning. Below are some of the pictures I took of the events.

Link to the pictures:

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Not Everything is "Made in China"

According to FRBSS and calculations by the authors, Galina Hale and Bart Hobijn,
(with data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Bureau of Labor Statistics,
Census Bureau, and National Accounts Data), goods and services from China accounted for only 2.7% of U.S. personal consumption expenditures in 2010, of which less than half reflected the actual costs of Chinese imports.

The rest went to U.S. businesses and workers transporting, selling, and marketing goods carrying the "Made in China" label.

Although globalization is widely recognized these days, the U.S. economy actually remains relatively closed, says the report.  The vast majority of goods and services sold in the United States is produced here. In 2010, imports were about 16% of U.S. GDP. Imports from China amounted to 2.5% of GDP.

Analysis from several sources addressed the following considerations:
  • The fraction of U.S. consumer spending that goes for goods labeled "Made in China" and the fraction that is spent on goods "Made in the USA"
  • The part of the cost of goods "Made in China" is actually due to the cost of these imports and the part of U.S. consumer spending that can be traced to the cost of goods imported from China, taking into account not only goods sold directly to consumers, but also goods used as inputs in intermediate stages of production in the United States.
Although globalization is widely recognized these days, the U.S. economy actually remains relatively closed. The vast majority of goods and services sold in the United States is produced here. In 2010, imports were about 16% of U.S. GDP. Imports from China amounted to 2.5% of GDP.

The table shows calculations of the import content of U.S. household consumption of goods and services. A total of 88.5% of U.S. consumer spending is on items made in the United States. This is largely because services, which make up about two-thirds of spending, are mainly produced locally. The market share of foreign goods is highest in durables, which include cars and electronics. Two-thirds of U.S. durables consumption goes for goods labeled "Made in the USA," while the other third goes for goods made abroad.

Chinese goods account for 2.7% of U.S. PCE, about one-quarter of the 11.5% foreign share. Chinese imported goods consist mainly of furniture and household equipment; other durables; and clothing and shoes. In the clothing and shoes category, 35.6% of U.S. consumer purchases in 2010 was of items with the "Made in China" label.

Import Content of US Personal Consumption Expenditures (% of Expenditure share)
Import Content
Share Spent On
Directly Sold to Final Demand
CategoryExpenditure ShareMade in USAMade in ChinaTotalChinese GoodsTotalChinese Goods
   Less food and energy
   Motor vehicles
   Furniture/HH equip.
   Other durables
   Gasoline/other energy goods
   Other nondurables
Source: Author calculations based on Bureau of Labor Statistics, Trade Statistics, Census Bureus and National Accounts Data, August 2011

The authors explain that if a pair of sneakers made in China costs $70 in the United States, not all of that retail price goes to the Chinese manufacturer. In fact, the bulk of the retail price pays for transportation of the sneakers in the United States, rent for the store where they are sold, profits for shareholders of the U.S. retailer, and the cost of marketing the sneakers. These costs include the salaries, wages, and benefits paid to the U.S. workers and managers who staff these operations.

The table shows that, of the 11.5% of U.S. consumer spending that goes for goods and services produced abroad, 7.3% reflects the cost of imports. The remaining 4.2% goes for U.S. transportation, wholesale, and retail activities. Thus, 36% of the price U.S. consumers pay for imported goods actually goes to U.S. companies and workers.

This U.S. fraction is much higher for imports from China, says the report. Whereas goods labeled "Made in China" make up 2.7% of U.S. consumer spending, only 1.2% actually reflects the cost of the imported goods. Thus, on average, of every dollar spent on an item labeled "Made in China," 55 cents go for services produced in the United States. In other words, the U.S. content of "Made in China" is about 55%.
When total import content is considered, 13.9% of U.S. consumer spending can be traced to the cost of imported goods and services. This is substantially higher than the 7.3%, which includes only final imported goods and services and leaves out imported intermediates. Imported oil, which makes up a large part of the production costs of the "gasoline, fuel oil, and other energy goods" and "transportation" categories, is the main contributor to this 6.6 percentage point difference.

China's 2011 inflation rate is close to 5%. If Chinese exporters were to pass through all their domestic inflation to the prices of goods they sell in the United States, the PCE price index (PCEPI) would only increase by 1.9% of this 5%, reflecting the Chinese share of U.S. consumer goods and services. That would equal a 0.1 percentage point increase in the PCEPI. The inflationary effects would be highest in the industries in which the share of Chinese imports is highest-clothing and shoes, and electronics. In fact, recent data show accelerating price increases for these goods compared with other goods.

However, it does not seem that so far Chinese exporters are fully passing through their domestic inflation. In May 2011, prices of Chinese imports only increased 2.8% from May 2010. This is partly because a large share of Chinese production costs consists of imports from other countries.

Xing and Detert (2010) demonstrate this by examining the production costs of an iPhone. In 2009, it cost about $179 in China to produce an iPhone, which sold in the United States for about $500. Thus, $179 of the U.S. retail cost consisted of Chinese imported content. However, only $6.50 was actually due to assembly costs in China. The other $172.50 reflected costs of parts produced in other countries, including $10.75 for parts made in the United States.

Make Up of Personal Consumption Expenditures
Source% of Total
Made in U.S. from US parts
Made in U.S. from parts imported from other countries
Made in U.S. from parts imported from China
Final goods imported from other countries
Final goods imported from China
U.S. content of "Made In" other countries
U.S. content of "Made In China"
Source: Sources: Bureau of Economic Analysis, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Census Bureau, and authors' calculations

Of the 2.7% of U.S. consumer purchases going to goods labeled "Made in China," only 1.2% actually represents China-produced content. If we take into account imported intermediate goods, about 13.9% of U.S. consumer spending is attributable to imports, including 1.9% imported from China, concludes the report.

For the complete report and findings, go to :

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Did You Know that ITA has New Import Trends and Data?

From the International Trade Administration.
August 16, 2011

Natalie Soroka is an economist in the Office of Trade and Industry Information within the International Trade Administration. She focuses on international trade statistics and trends, as well as the impact on the domestic manufacturing sector.

In promoting U.S. trade interests, it can be easy to forget about the other side of the coin: imports and their importance as inputs to U.S. manufacturers and exporters. Early last year the Census Bureau started to include state-level merchandise import data with their monthly data release, which is now also available on our TradeStats Express platform. Similar to the state export series, this resource can be used to explore state-level trends in goods imports going back to 2008.  For example, in 2010 New York’s main import was precious stones and metals, most of which consisted of diamonds from Israel, India, Belgium, and South Africa. As far as trends over time, as you would expect state imports generally declined across the board in 2009.  However, two states bucked the trend and actually increased their imports: Kansas and Utah.  In Kansas’ case, this increase was nearly all due to high mineral fuel imports, which then dropped the following year (causing Kansas to be one of only four states that saw goods imports decline in 2010).

Bar graph showing state imports of oil and gas as a percentage of total state goods imports. MT, LA, HI, WY, MS, TX, PA, WA, CO, IL, MN, OK and KS are above the national average of 14.6 percent.
State reliance on imports of oil and gas as a percentage of total state goods imports
As for Utah, in 2008 the state reported increased imports of precious stones and metals, as well as aircraft.  In 2010 imports largely rebounded nationwide, except in four states: Delaware, Kansas, Wyoming, and Maine.  Delaware showed the greatest decline, which was largely due to a steep drop in imports of mineral fuel.  In 2008, mineral fuel accounted for more than a third of Delaware’s goods imports, but has since dropped 89 percent, accounting for only 5 percent of goods imports in 2010.
Speaking of fuel, many states rely heavily on oil and gas imports, importing higher than the general nationwide average share of nearly 15 percent. In particular, oil and gas account for more than half of total goods imports in five states: Montana, Louisiana, Hawaii, Wyoming, and Mississippi. On the other side, two states did not directly import any oil or gas in 2010: Rhode Island and West Virginia.
In 2009, 100,891 companies only imported, 196,903 companies only exported, and 78,940 copanies imported and exported.
Twenty percent of companies engaged in trade both import and export.
In addition to the state import series, this past April the Census Bureau also started to release data on U.S. importing companies. In addition to highlighting the characteristics of companies that imported in 2009, this release also shows that for U.S. businesses, exports and imports are not mutually exclusive, with a sizeable portion both exporting and importing in 2009.
For more information on state import trends and U.S. importers, check out ITA’s Trade Statistics webpage.

Haiti Energizes their Textile Industry

tradegov | August 25, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Tags: HaitiMAGICtrade preferences | Categories: Supply ChainTextilesTrade Shows and Trade Events | URL: http://wp.me/pF6la-lE

Amelia Baines is an intern in the Office of Public Affairs in the International Trade Administration

Despite seemingly overwhelming odds, Haiti continues its road to recovery. This struggling nation is slowly rebuilding after the devastating earthquake in 2010. While the Haitian government and economy is still on the road to recovery, Haiti’s textile and apparel industry continues to grow, even with the challenges posed by insufficient infrastructure and potential customer’ concern about the country’s recovery. As Haiti’s largest employer, continued expansion of the textile and apparel sector could infuse the economy with the growth it so desperately needs. Haiti is a prime location for business ventures, new industries, as well as exports. This small nation is surrounded by water and has a large sea port where their main exports are various types of textiles.
Map of Haiti
The Haitian textile and apparel industry is the country’s largest manufacturing sector, and employs more than 28,000 workers, and apparel constitutes more than 80 percent of all Haitian exports to the United States.  In 2010, exports of Haitian apparel valued more than $550 million, and looks to be increasing in 2011. Growth in the apparel industry could be the catalyst to the Haitian economy potentially employing 150,000 people within years and bring.
The United States is Haiti’s number one trading partner and textiles accounts for more than half of all exports. Other major items exported include oil, mangoes, cocoa, and coffee. The United States receives more than 70 percent of these exports with another 9 percent going to the Dominican Republic and 3 percent to Canada. The vast majority of Haitian apparel is exported to the United States, the world’s largest apparel market.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Texas LEAD Conference Friday, August 26, 2011


The 9th annual Texas LEAD (Leadership,  Education, And Diversity) Conference will be held this week at the UT Commons Conference Center.  This conference is sponsored jointly by the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA) and the National Black MBA Society (NBMBAA).

This conference is a great place to network as well as interact with some great speakers.  Keynotes will be by Gary Hoover, Entrepreneur and founder of Hoovers.com and William Arruda, personal branding guru.  In addition, two of our ACC IBI faculty are speakers:  Eli Mercer and yours truly will be present.

There is a student rate of $25.00 for the one-day conference.  More details can be found at:  http://texaslead2011.eventbrite.com/

Hope to see you there.Publish Post

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

8 Steps for Export Compliance

Global Trade Net (www.globaltrade.net) recently published a great article by Matthew Goldstein on how to comply with Export Regulations and controls.

In many respects, export controls are just another cost of doing business in today’s global marketplace. They cannot be ignored. Responsible exporters must be dedicated and fully commit their company to compliance. They must stay informed of changes to the export control regulations, follow other laws applicable to their international operations, and adjust each compliance step as needed. While this may all seem very complex, the eight steps described in this article present an organized approach to export controls that can minimize risks and help keep a company’s foreign markets open.

Learn the Rules
Determine Jurisdiction and Classification
Register as Required
Screen Each Transaction
Obtain All Necessary Authorizations
Make and Keep Records and Reports
Implement a Written Compliance Program
Monitor Compliance

The complete article can be found on Global TradeNet.

Upcoming Trade Events in Austin and elsewhere


This event list is edited and compiled by Karen Parker at our local Austin Export Assistance Center.  Additional information about the U.S. Department of Commerce,  Export Assistance Center  can be found at http://export.gov/.  The local Austin Center can be found at:  http://export.gov/texas/austin/.

NOTE - Click on blue title to link to more details and registration info.

Local to Austin:

Sept. 21, Introduction to Imports, International Trade Education Series Workshop.  9:00 AM–11:30 AM.  If you are interested in learning how to import your goods to the U.S., this seminar is geared to assist you.  Topics examined in this “Introduction to Imports” seminar will include selecting qualified suppliers, transportation, logistics and much more.  30 seats available.  Registration: $35.

Oct. 19, Introduction to Exports  International Trade Education Series Workshop. 9:00 AM–11:30 AM. If you are a manufacturer, service provider, entrepreneur or small business owner interested in exporting products or services, let us help you explore your export potential.  This seminar will take the unknowns out of international trade.  We will help you discover whether your company is export ready. Topics examined in this “Introduction to Exports” seminar will include resources available to help you go global, identifying the advantages of exporting your products or services abroad, and much more.  30 seats available.  Registration: $35  

*Oct. 22 to Dec.10, 2011, CGBP Certificated Global Business Professional (CGBP) Exam Prep Course, Saturday’s 9:15 am–3:00 pm.  The International Business Institute at ACC is offering a course designed to help prepare students and business professionals to take the CGBP Exam.  The NASBITE CGBP certification provides a benchmark for competency in global commerce.  The CGBP designation demonstrates an individual’s ability to conduct global business. Topics include: Global Business Management, Global Marketing, Supply Chain Management, and Trade Finance.  Registration is currently open and ends October 12, 2011. For more information on this class or the exam email ibi@austincc.edu, call 512–223–0390

*Nov. 16, Small Business Global Export Access Forum, AM session on Export Finance and PM session on Export Readiness and Resources. Save the date, more details coming soon.

*Nov 29 and 30,  BIS Complying with Export Controls. Save the date, more details coming soon.

in Texas:

*August  11, 2011, Maquila Supplier Day Program, El Paso, TX.   8:30 am The El Paso Economic Development Department will conduct the next Supplier Day on in the La Placita meeting room at the El Paso Airport.  Two Maquiladoras will be taking brief meetings with USA suppliers at the event.  Please contact Mayra de la Canal at the El Paso Economic Development Department to reserve a meeting time – delacanalmx@elpasotexas.gov

*Sept- Dec.  2011, Numerous International seminars, Dallas, Texas. Host by the SBDC International Trade Center

*Oct 12 & 13, AES Compliance Seminar and AES PClink Training by Census Bureau, Dallas, TX.  How well do you know the Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR) and the Automated Export System (AES)? Are you up to date on recent clarifications? Do you understand how to classify your commodities? It is imperative that you understand the new requirements of the FTR so you can avoid possible penalties and seizure of your commodities. Attending this educational seminar and workshop will provide you with the information to assist you with the exporting process.  Seminar Cost:  $275 for seminar and $60 for training.

Oct. 27-28,  US-MEXICO BORDER ENERGY FORUM XVIII, El Paso, Texas. The annual U.S.-Mexico Border Energy Forum brings together private sector and government leaders from all 10 border states, Mexico City, and Washington, D.C. This year the Forum starts Wednesday, October 26, in partnership with Re-Energize the Americas.

Oct 27-28, 4th Reenenergize The Americas Conference, El Paso, Texas.

Elsewhere in the US:

*Sept.  7-8, 2011, Arizona Export Compliance Summit, Scottsdale, Arizona.  This hands-on, application-focused two-day event will review and update of the compliance challenges facing technology exporters, manufacturers, brokers, freight forwarders and academic institutions of all sizes.  Insightful speakers will review a wide range of issues facing trade compliance executives, empowered officials and practitioners at all levels including: automation in trade compliance; best practices; export control reform; merger and acquisition due diligence; enforcement, disclosures and investigations; real world case studies, lessons learned from industry peers; and more.  Cost:  $495

Nov. 2–5,  National District Export Council Conference: Exporting Creates Jobs. Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, NV.  This event will focus on how to enable attendees and exhibitors to increase their exporting initiatives.  An education track includes Export University certificate program, an International Pavilion Exhibition Hall, U.S. Commerce staff from around the world and Consuls General from more than 30 countries.  This conference and trade show is solely dedicated to exporting U.S. goods and services and exchanging best practices with attendees.

International Events:

August 21– 27, TRADE MISSION: Lima, Peru and Santiago, Chile.  This Business Development Trade Mission will assist you company by providing matchmaking opportunities in both locations, networking events and site visits. Registration deadline: June 15. Cost: SME $3,500, large companies $4,200.  Participants cover other costs for travel, lodging, meals, etc.

Sept. 19-23, EXECUTIVE-LED MISSION TO SOUTH AFRICA, Johannesburg & Cape Town.  Representing one of the largest economies and most diversified industrial and service sectors, South Africa, provides major opportunities for U.S. suppliers Targeted Sectors will include: sustainable and efficient energy technologies (equipment and products), productivity enhancing agricultural technologies, and equipments, and educational services and skills development.. Cost: SME $2,125, large companies $2,565. Registration deadline: July 18. Participants cover other costs for travel, lodging, meals, etc.

Through an Intern’s Eyes - See how to apply for Internships

Through an Intern’s Eyes

 (Reprinted from Tradeology, the ITA blog)

tradegov | August 8, 2011 at 3:08 pm | 

Carrie Bevis is an intern in the International Trade Administration’s Office of Public Affairs. She is a second-year student at the University of Virginia.

Initially, waking up at dawn every morning during my first summer vacation from college to metro across the city for an unpaid job hardly sounded appealing. Though, I soon discovered that the excitement of being an ITA intern (and an occasional cup of coffee) were enough to make me jump out of bed every day to arrive early. As an intern in the Office of Public Affairs at ITA, I’ve been exposed to a myriad of experiences, faces, and assignments. Apart from a nifty name-badge and a soon-to-be framed photo of the departing Secretary Gary Locke and me, the ITA intern network gave me hands-on experience in the behind-the-scenes work, while I loaned an extra hand to the hard-working employees.

Commerce Secretary Locke with ITA OPA intern Carrie Bevis June 2011Commerce Secretary Locke with ITA OPA intern Carrie Bevis June 2011. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Commerce
I spent the first couple weeks of my internship taking on simple tasks for the friendly folks in my office. By the third week, my colleagues started to trust me enough to give me bigger and better assignments. I soon became engrossed in the work as I took on projects that allowed me to interview other offices, visit related agencies, and write blogs about my experiences - much like this one.
Despite being tucked away in an office all day, I’ve never felt more connected to world. The staff was always current in the world’s events and interacted with people from across the globe on a daily basis. David Lee, the volunteer leader of the ITA intern network, was responsible for exposing us interns to the fabulous personalities at work here. Thanks to the network, I’ve met the Deputy Under Secretary Michele O’ Neill and had chances to break away from my desk by volunteering at the gorgeous Ronald Reagan Building for trade events. From the other side of the world, to just across the hall, the interactions with ITA employees always left me with a sense of a greater mission that even my small efforts contributed to.

Most of all, my time spent here was enlightening. In macroeconomics class, we learn that voluntary trade helps both sides. Sounds simple, right? Wrong. Working in the Office of Public Affairs, I’ve taken calls from reporters and constituents, sifted through months-worth of trade-related articles, listened to senior staff prep for testimony, and sat through FTA mark-ups on the Hill. On the world stage, you deal with egos the size of countries, literally. So naturally the work of ITA employees is fraught with battles that they intend to win for the U.S. But if anybody can tactfully navigate the issues that arise while effectively serving U.S. interests, I believe it is the ITA employees.
They’ve all shared their frank experiences with me. I’ve spoken with the Secretary upstairs and I’ve chatted with the commercial service officer in Montana. I interviewed trade specialists in theOffice of Textiles and Apparel and e-mailed with members of the Office of Travel & Tourism Industries. I’ve called the commercial service officers in Pennsylvania, received advice from the deputy under secretary, even traveled with other interns. Absolutely everyone I talked to was enthusiastic and devoted to the work they do for ITA and gave testimony to the rewarding nature of the job.

Fuzzy feelings aside, these people mean business and they’re after results that will benefit the American people. The Department of Commerce is on target to achieve President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI) to double U.S. exports by 2015. Murmurs of NEI practically echo down the hallways of the ITA headquarters as employees work to increase American exports by ensuring fair trade, increasing U.S. companies’ competitiveness, and helping companies navigate foreign markets. As ITA helps U.S. businesses tap the 95 percent of consumers outside our borders, they’re opening up new and better job opportunities for the 9 percent of unemployed Americans at home.

If you’re interested in the incredible opportunity that I had, you can apply to intern at the Department of Commerce by visiting http://www.commerce.gov/node/12814 . I’m proof that you don’t have to have connections to land a government internship. All you need is enthusiasm, persistence, and a will to help the American people.  Working from within the office of Public Affairs, I feel like I’ve seen it all first-hand. My eyes have grown wide in surprise at the happening on the Hill, narrowed as I combed through a world’s worth of articles, and focused on whomever exciting new government figure I happened to meet.  But on my last day, I never expected them to get slightly bleary as I hugged my colleagues goodbye.

For previous blogs, you can subscribe directly at:    http://blog.trade.gov/

Thursday, August 4, 2011

CBP Now Hiring CBP Officers, Border Patrol Agents for Southwest Border

CBP Now Hiring CBP Officers, Border Patrol Agents for Southwest Border        (Monday, August 01, 2011)

Washington – U.S. Customs and Border Protection is looking for hard-working, dedicated men and women to join its ranks on the frontline of protecting our homeland. CBP officers and Border Patrol agents carry out CBP’s dual mission to facilitate travel and trade while securing the nation from those that would do us harm like terrorists and terrorist weapons, criminals, and contraband.

CBP is currently hiring CBP officers to work at ports of entry and Border Patrol agents to work between the ports on the southwest border. These two diverse but congruent functions make up more than 40,000 of the close to 60,000 CBP employees.

The primary responsibility of a CBP officer is to protect the nation by detecting and preventing terrorist and their weapons from entering the U.S. while facilitating the orderly flow of legitimate trade and travelers. CBP officers perform the full range of inspection, passenger and cargo analysis, examination and law enforcement activities relating to revenue and trade, seizure of contraband, interdiction of agricultural pests and diseases and admissibility of persons at 331 ports of entry located at airports, sea ports and land borders.

The primary mission of Border Patrol agents is also to prevent terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the United States but do so, between official ports of entry. Agents are also responsible for detecting and preventing the smuggling and unlawful entry of undocumented aliens into the United States. To carry out their duties, Border Patrol agents conduct roving patrols, line-watch duties, transportation checks and other law enforcement activities.

Both the CBP officer position and the Border Patrol agent position are full-time, uniformed positions that require both regular qualification and carrying of a firearm and include paid training at either the CBP Field Operations Academy in Brunswick, Ga., for CBP officers, or the Border Patrol Academy in Artesia, N.M. Applicants for either position must be a U.S. citizen and resident for the last three years, have a valid driver’s license and pass a medical examination, fitness tests, and drug test as well as a thorough background investigation with a high probability of being subject to a polygraph examination used to determine suitability for the position.

Applications must be filled out online and testing is available in various locations nationwide. Apply now for the ( CBP Officer ) position or the ( Border Patrol agent ) position. Additional information about the job opportunities is available on the CBP website. ( CBP Officer ) ( Border Patrol Agent )

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Announcing SBA’s NEI Export Video Contest

My U.S. Export Story – Finding Customers around the World
Announcing SBA’s NEI Export Video Contest

SBA is teaming up with Visa to ask small business owners: “Where will your next customer come from?” In order to recognize successful small exporters and increase awareness toward federal assistance for exporters, we’re sponsoring the SBA Export Video Contest. The contest, presented in partnership with the National Export Initiative and Export.gov, will award monetary prizes to five successful small business exporters representing a variety of industries.

American small businesses looking to expand are going global. There are a number of advantages to exporting: reaching new customers, increasing sales and profits, and becoming less dependent on domestic demand, to name several. In fact, over two-thirds of the world’s purchasing power is based outside the U.S., where the vast majority of consumers reside. The U.S. government stands ready to help your small business get started in exporting, with an array of programs, tools and resources.

We want to hear your exporting story in a short, original video submitted to YouTube. U.S. small businesses that have completed at least one successful exporting transaction are eligible.*

Winners will receive cash prizes, an expenses-paid trip to be honored at the National District Export Council Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada from November 2-5, 2011, and $1,000 towards a Commerce Department Gold Key service, or various other trade-related events.

To Enter:
1) Create one original video 3 minutes or less in high-definition format. Contest participants must end their video with the following words: "That's my exporting story. Where will your next customer come from?", along with a referral towww.export.gov for assistance. This referral can be spoken, written, embedded or delivered in any appropriate way deemed effective by the submitter.

2) All videos must have a unique title or they will not be judged. i.e., not "My Export Story."

3) Upload your video to your own YouTube account. In the description, indicate one of the following 5 categories for your video: manufacturing; consumer products; professional services; technology; agribusiness.

4) While viewing the 
SBA Exporting Contest Video, click the comment box and then click on "Create a Video Response" and enter the URL of your video entry.

Videos may be uploaded starting Aug. 1, 2011. Entries must be received by Sept. 3.  

*See full contest rules and regulations at http://www.sba.gov/exportvideocontest . 
Additional resources for exporting:
SBA Guide to Exporting and Importing
SBA’s Export Business Planner Tool

Co-sponsorship Authorization #11-7080-11SBA
SBA’s participation in this cosponsored activity is not an endorsement of the views, opinions, products or services of any cosponsor or other person or entity. All SBA programs and service are extended to the public on a non-discriminatory basis.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Arab unrest, high food prices as a result of the Arab Spring

Creating a democracy is hard.  Perhaps harder now than it was when America cast off its totalitarian rule 250 years ago.  Today, most of us are not farmers capable of feeding ourselves and our families; today we rely on jobs to trade our skills for such sustenance.  If democracy is to continue to germinate, take root, and flourish in the Middle East, we must find ways to ensure that the people can sustain themselves through this transition.

The story below was one of our worst fears at the 11th Doha Forum.  How do we help the people with necessary food and water during the Arab Summer?

From Syria to Libya and Egypt, the uprisings and unrest gripping the Arab world have cast a pall on the start of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month when the traditional focus on piety will likely be eclipsed by more unrest.
Food prices — part of the economic hardships that catalyzed the ouster of the Egyptian and Tunisian leaders — are still climbing. And protesters have shown little patience for conciliatory gestures by governments after decades of empty promises.
With momentum strong to drive out authoritarian regimes, there is no sign that opposition forces will ease up on protests — even with the difficulties of the month of dawn-to-dusk fasting that begins Monday.
Predictions of a tense Ramadan have already started to be realized.

Libyan rebels are turning their weapons on each other, dimming hopes for the overthrow of longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Exports Support U.S. Jobs

Exports Support U.S. Jobs

Cover image of Projected Jobs Supported by Exports 2009 and 2010
Joseph Flynn is the Director of the International Trade Administration’s Office of Competition and Economic Analysis

Did you know that 9.2 million jobs in the United States last year were tied directly to exports? The International Trade Administration this week issued a report, Projected Jobs Supported by Exports, 2009 and 2010, which updates an earlier ITA report Exports Support American Jobs. This report provides preliminary estimates for jobs supported by exports for 2009 and for the value of exports that support one job for 2009 and 2010. This report attempts to improve projections, provide transparency in making the projections, and provide revised estimates for 2009 and 2010. The revised estimates of jobs supported by exports are 8.7 million in 2009 and 9.2 million in 2010.

The value of exports that supports one job was $164,000 in 2009 and $181,000 for 2010. That is, the value fell slightly from 2008 to 2009 because of the recession and softness in export prices. In 2010, the value increased to $181,000 as export prices and productivity strengthened. Thus, for every billion dollars of exports, over 5,000 jobs are supported.
Not only do exports support millions of U.S. jobs, those jobs actually pay more than jobs in similar sectors unrelated to exports. Earlier work by the International Trade Administration gives an idea of how much more pay they receive. The report Weekly Earnings in Export-Intensive U.S. Services Industries estimates that workers in export-intensive services industries earn 15 to 20 percent more than comparable workers in other industries. Similarly, the report Do Jobs in Export Industries Still Pay More? And Why? estimates that exports contribute an additional 18 percent to workers’ earnings on average in the U.S. manufacturing sector.

The International Trade Administration publishes a variety of reports on international trade and economic issues.