August 28, 2015 | Industry Insights
U.S. Businesses Get A Boost from ITA Initiatives to Compete in Global Market
The International Trade Administration (ITA) under the U.S. Department of Commerce is charged with assisting businesses in competing in the global marketplace. Last year alone, U.S. exported goods and services were valued at a combined total of $2.34 trillion, and the federal agency continues to help boost exports with several key initiatives designed to foster U.S. businesses’ success in international markets.
Among the key initiatives in which the ITA played a critical role is the Information Technology Agreement, a plurilateral trade agreement that requires participants to eliminate their tariffs on a specific list of information technology (IT) and telecommunications products. These products include computer hardware, subassemblies, and peripherals; computer software; telecommunications; electronic components; measuring, testing, and analyzing instruments; semiconductor manufacturing and testing equipment; office machines; and miscellaneous products. The U.S. and 46 other nations agreed to cut tariffs, with the agreement covering about 97% of world trade in defined IT products – currently estimated to exceed $1 trillion. Small and medium-sized firms that were once unable to export such products due to the high tariffs will now have access to some of the largest markets in the world.
Just last month on July 16th, the ITA along with the Women Impacting Public Policy (“WIPP”) announced a strategic partnership designed to help small and mid-sized women-owned firms succeed in the global marketplace. The two organizations will work together on marketing, education programs, and events leveraging their organizations’ expertise to help make U.S. businesses more export savvy. The ITA will also partner with WIPP’s ExportNow program, which guides participants — current and new exporters — through the steps to enter new growing markets or to expand their export reach.
Also in July, the ITA unveiled its new Top Markets series, a collection of 19 sector-specific reports that spans such areas as agricultural equipment, cloud computing, renewable energy, and health IT among others. Each report ranks future export opportunities within a particular industry based on a sector-specific methodology. The reports provide a detailed assessment of the competitiveness landscape within a sector, as well as the opportunities and challenges facing U.S. exporters in key markets. The Top Markets series, according to the ITA, is particularly valuable for small and medium-sized firms who typically do not have the capital or the in-house resources to acquire that commercial intelligence.
Other initiatives launched by the ITA include its Startup Global seminar series, designed to encourage exporting among startups and entrepreneurs by connecting ITA resources with local organizers who understand the unique needs of local businesses. Startup Global also connects businesses with the talent and insight of ITA’s foreign commercial service officers located in more than 70 international markets.
Also, through the ITA’s SelectUSA program, which is intended to attract foreign direct investment, the Brazil-U.S. Investments Map was recently launched. This will help increase investment flow between two top 10 global economies. The United States is Brazil’s second-largest export market and its second-largest source of imports. Bilateral trade between the two countries grew 74% between 2009 and 2014.
Looking ahead, the ITA will be conducting the largest trade mission to sub-Saharan Africa in U.S. history with Trade Winds Africa. From September 14 through September 21, the ITA plans to lead a delegation of U.S. firms to will explore opportunities and participate in business-to-business meetings with companies in eight African countries.
This is all good news for U.S. businesses and the logistic service providers facilitating the movement of cargo to foreign markets. Our specialists at Roanoke Trade are available to provide the marine cargo, transportation-related liability insurance, transportation-related bonds and ATA Carnets necessary for supply chain and transportation intermediaries. Please contact us at 1-800-ROANOKE (800-762-6653).