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Making It Easier to Clear Customs in Latin America

Blogged By: 
Diana Alvarez
Created on April 25, 2014
 

This post originally appeared on International Trade Administration Tradeology blog.

Diana Alvarez recently completed an internship in the International Trade Administration’s Office of South America.

Look South Logo with CountriesThe Look South campaign is encouraging companies to seek export opportunities in Latin America.

More than 40 percent of current U.S. exports go to Mexico, Central America, and South America. Both its geographic proximity and the presence of 11 free trade agreements in the region make these markets attractive for U.S. businesses.

As the U.S. government continues to support businesses expanding in Latin America through the Look South Initiative, one key aspect being addresses is working through potential barriers to trade.

Issues like long customs-clearance times, inconsistent interpretation of customs regulations, and subjectivity of customs inspectors can add to the time and cost of the exporting process. These costs can especially affect small business exporters.

To address these problems, the International Trade Administration is working alongside U.S. Customs and Border Protection, governments across Latin America, and other public and private sector partners on the Customs Modernization and Border Management Reform Program.

This program brings business and government together to discuss the challenges faced at the border and to develop solutions that will make clearing customs easier, faster, and more efficient.

How much is your Small Business Health Care Tax Credit worth?

Blogged By: 
HealthCare.gov
Created on April 25, 2014
 

This post originally appeared on HealthCare.gov.

When you buy health coverage for your employees through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplace, you may qualify for a tax credit worth up to 50% of your premium contributions.

Our new SHOP Tax Credit Estimator can tell you what that credit might be worth to your business.

Here are some key things you should know about the tax credit and applying for SHOP:

  • Employers with fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees may be eligible for the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit, worth up to 50% of employer premiums contributions, if their employees make an average of $50,000 a year or less.

  • The tax credit will be available to eligible employers for two consecutive taxable years.

  • The tax credit may be available to eligible tax-exempt employers who could receive up to 35% of employer premium contributions, and can access the credit as a refund.

  • Generally, the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit is available for eligible employers purchasing SHOP health plans.

  • To enroll in a SHOP plan in most states, you’ll use an agent, broker, or insurance company. You’ll also need to complete a SHOP eligibility application.

  • Visit IRS.gov for the most up to date information and guidance on claiming this tax credit.

  • Even if you’re a small employer who does not qualify for a small business tax credit, you may still purchase coverage through SHOP.

Five Tips for Protecting Your Intellectual Property in Global Business

Blogged By: 
Ken Mouradian
Created on April 25, 2014
 

This post originally appeared on International Trade Administration Tradeology blog.

Ken Mouradian is the Director of the International Trade Administration’s Orlando Export Assistance Center.

You spent the time and money to build your business, including the development of products and services (patents, trade secrets and copyrights), business methods (trade secrets), brands (trademarks and service marks), and your presence on the Internet (trademarks and associated domain names, copyrights). Why wouldn’t you protect these Intellectual Property (IP) assets from unauthorized use?

Stopfakes.gov is your portal to resources for protecting intellectual property.Many small businesses are at a disadvantage in not having the expertise or resources to prevent theft of their intellectual property in the global marketplace. So in recognition of World IP Day on April 26, here are some simple, practical measures that any exporter can take to protect their IP assets:

Commerce Connects U.S. Businesses to Opportunities in Africa’s Power Sector

Blogged By: 
The Commerce Blog
Created on April 22, 2014
 

Energy for Africa 600 million people, 70% of the population of sub-Saharan Africa are without electricity.With its fast-growing middle class and tremendous human, agricultural, and mineral resources, the continent of Africa is attracting investors and businesses from all around the world. Home to seven of the world’s ten fastest-growing economies, Sub-Saharan Africa outpaces global average growth. That is why, in 2012, President Obama launched the Presidential Policy Directive (PPD) on Sub-Saharan Africa, now known as the U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa. The Strategy recognizes that Africa holds the promise to be “the world’s next major economic success story,” and the Commerce Department is working help businesses be part of that success story by promoting U.S. trade and investment through the Doing Business in Africa (DBIA) campaign.

Today, the Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency’s (MBDA), Miami MBDA Business Center hosted the Power Africa B2B Summit to promote the public-private partnership model envisioned by President Obama’s Power Africa Initiative. President Obama announced Power Africa last year as an initiative to double the number of people with access to power in Sub-Saharan Africa, where 600 million people lack access to electricity. The United States is investing more than $7 billion in this effort.

SBA Improves Small Businesses Access to 7(a) and 504 Loan Programs; Enhances Job Creation

Blogged By: 
SBA News
Created on April 17, 2014
 

SBA LogoU.S. small businesses will gain improved access to two major government-guaranteed loan programs once a final rule to that effect issued by the U.S. Small Business Administration becomes effective April 21, 2014.

The SBA recently published a Final Rule on the Federal Register that eliminates or revises several requirements for its two main loan programs, 7(a) and 504. The rule expands eligibility, makes it easier for small businesses to secure SBA-backed financing, and encourages job creation.

“These 504 and 7(a) program enhancements will expand program eligibility and improve access to capital for small businesses. Improvements in CDC corporate governance oversight enhance program integrity and encourages more local involvement,” said Ann Marie Mehlum, SBA Associate Administrator for the Office of Capital Access.

Did you know...

MBDA Minority Business Centers helped clients obtain capital totaling $4.76 billion during the last 5 fiscal years.
Graph for Dollar Value of Capital

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