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Interested in Doing Business In Cuba? Join SBA Conference Call on July 29

Blogged By: 
SBA News
Created on July 22, 2015
 

Conference Call Small business owners often tell us that they have many questions about how to enter a new market - and those questions are magnified when it comes to doing business with Cuba.  There have been several changes to the bilateral relationship in recent months, and, to address your questions, I hope that you will join SBA Administrator Contreras-Sweet and other senior officials on July 29 at 4:00 p.m. ET to discuss the opportunities that exist for exporting to Cuba.

Today’s re-establishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba and reopening of embassies in Washington and Havana is an historic step marking the new direction in U.S.-Cuba relations announced by President Obama last December. This step was preceded by a series of significant measures: in January, the Departments of Commerce and Treasury amended their regulations to increase travel, trade and the free flow of information to and from Cuba.  In April, during the Summit of the Americas in Panama, President Obama met with Cuban President Raul Castro.  And after a six-month review, Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism was rescinded.  Significant challenges remain, and the President has acknowledged the U.S. will continue to press the Cuban government on areas of concern, in particular human rights and basic freedoms.  And the trade embargo remains, which can only be lifted through Congressional action.  Nonetheless, the President’s decision to reestablish diplomatic relations with Cuba and ease some commercial and travel restrictions is a step toward increased economic opportunity in our hemisphere - particularly for American small businesses. 

New Top Markets Series Provides Data and Analysis to Help U.S. Exporters Compare Opportunities Across Borders

Blogged By: 
Marcus Jadotte, International Trade Administration
Created on July 22, 2015
 

Top Markets SeriesLast year, the United States exported $2.34 trillion worth of goods and services—an all-time record. Exports from the United States in 2014 equaled the entire gross domestic product of Brazil and exceeded all commercial output in India, Italy, or Mexico. What is more, exports are an increasingly important aspect of the U.S. economy. As the significance of exporting grows, the Obama administration and the Department of Commerce is committed to providing the data and analytics U.S. companies need to compete effectively in foreign markets.

To meet this objective, the International Trade Administration (ITA) is leading the NEI Next Initiative, a customer service-driven strategy that is delivering improved information to American businesses to help them win when competing abroad. Of course, winning in foreign markets is often a case of investing resources as strategically as possible – i.e., picking which market to introduce a new product; or choosing whether to expand in one market or focus on opportunities elsewhere. That is why we are proud to release a new product line today: ITA’s Top Markets Series.

Innovation: Much More than High-Tech

Blogged By: 
Patricia Tomczyszyn, MBDA Public Affairs Specialist
Created on July 21, 2015
 

MBDA High TechInnovation. When most people hear or use this term, they are referring to new, cutting edge technology and products. However, innovation means much more than that. Operational innovation involves creating entirely new ways of filling orders, developing products, providing customer service, or doing any other activity that an enterprise performs.

David Brier, a brand identity expert, explains the single difference between the innovator and the ordinary person as: The innovator sees the dots and connects them while ordinary people either 1) don’t see them, or 2) don’t explore, question, or connect any of them.

The Atlanta MBDA Business Center connected the dots when they recognized the potential for substantial growth among minority-owned information technology firms in relation to the growing demand for healthcare IT services. A successful partnership with the Healthcare Supplier Diversity Alliance enabled the Center to transition 77 minority-owned businesses into the rapidly growing healthcare industry in fiscal year 2014.

The Minneapolis MBDA Business Center connected the dots by realizing that baby boomer business owners are retiring and selling their companies. They also realized that acquiring these businesses is a perfect opportunity for minority-owned firms to increase revenue, expand operations, and create jobs.

Business Mission to Tanzania

Blogged By: 
MBDA
Created on July 14, 2015
 

TanzaniaFollowing the recently concluded U.S.-East African Community (EAC) Commercial Dialogue, the Eastern Africa Diaspora Business Council in partnership with the Tanzania Embassy in Washington, DC will host a Trade Mission to Tanzania. This Trade Mission scheduled for August 5th -10th 2015, is designed to promote Tanzania’s sleeping giant, the agribusiness sector to U.S. Investors. This sector will play a significant role in energizing the Tanzanian economy to achieve poverty reduction through resourceful and productive processes that can accelerate economic growth, sustainable development and deeper integration of the Agribusiness sector in Tanzania through Public Private Partnership. 

The Southern Agriculture Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) partners believe they can bring up to 350,000 hectares under production, creating 420,000 jobs, generating annual farming evenues of $1.2 billion, contributing to food security, and lifting more than two million people out of poverty by 2030. This Trade Mission is going to highlight opportunities of trade and investment with the U.S. under African Growth and Opportunity Act specifically by diversifying their exports as well as facilitating Tanzania's integration into the global economy. This mission will give investors a hand-on experience, with site visits, tours of key infrastructure facilities, meetings with key agencies and a round-table discussion with existing investors and top CEOs.

The main U.S. businesses targeted for this Trade Mission include those in the Agriculture related sectors which include; financing, logistics, energy, cold storage facilities, infrastructure. Other mission highlights include an opportunity to visit a World Heritage site Ngorongoro Conservation area (also home of the Big 5) as well as a meeting with the East Africa Community Secretariat in Arusha, Tanzania.

Benin is Powering Up and Wants U.S. Products and Expertise

Blogged By: 
Doug Barry is a Senior International Trade Specialist
Created on July 13, 2015
 

Benin AmbassadorIt’s not every day when a credentialed ambassador to the United States leans over, eyes brightening, and says, “If small U.S. companies come to Africa, they will make money.  A lot of money.”

He smiles as he savors the words a lot, as if tasting something delicious.

But then it’s back to reality.  He’s asked about perceptions among U.S. businesspeople that much of Africa is decidedly unpalatable, unhealthy, unfriendly, and unprofitable.

The Benin Ambassador to the United States Omar Arouna has heard it all before.  “Benin has been a stable democracy since 1990,” he explains.  “We have the same values, the same aspirations as the American people.  We see things exactly like the American people.”

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