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Export Basics


  • Submitted on 24 February 2014

    Created on February 24, 2014
     

    Western HemisphereAre you a minority business enterprise? Look south for your next customer! Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced the Look South initiative in January. The initiative is a U.S. Commerce Department-led, federal effort to encourage entrepreneurs like you to do business with our Free Trade Agreement (FTA) partners in Latin America. The 11 FTA economies are Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, and Peru.

    Minority business enterprises have great opportunities in looking south for their next customer, since MBEs are more likely than non-minority-owned firms to export, five times more likely to conduct business in languages other than English, and typically possess cultural knowledge and business acumen that enables breaking into the global market more efficiently and effectively.

    That is why the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), in collaboration with the International Trade Administration (ITA) and other federal agencies, are working to encourage greater export activity among the nation’s 5.8 million minority-owned and managed firms. Through nationwide MBDA Business Centers and ITA’s U.S. Export Assistance Centers, minority-owned firms have access to financing, market analysis, technical assistance and other services to help expand their reach.

  • Submitted on 24 January 2014

    Created on January 24, 2014
     

    National Export Initiative Connects Businesses with World Markets

    World Map and ChartsDid you know that according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data, minority-owned firms are twice as likely to export as other U.S.-owned businesses? The data indicates that minority-owned firms are best positioned to succeed and expand in the growing global economy. With 95 percent of the world’s consumers outside of the United States, exporting enables businesses to boost their bottom line while building their international competitiveness. For many U.S. firms, international diversification has enabled them to weather changes in the economy much better than if they had been selling only in their backyard.

    That said, many more minority-owned firms could be exporting more. Many business owners that I meet don’t export, in part because they believe exporting is too burdensome, or they’re unaware of the various resources available to assist them. However, expanding your business through exporting is more viable today than ever before. If you have a good track record of selling in the United States, one of the most open and competitive markets in the world, you are likely a good candidate to make overseas sales.

    In 2010, President Obama launched the National Export Initiative (NEI),aimed at expanding federal government-wide efforts to assist exporters while supporting millions of U.S. jobs.  These efforts have helped contribute to record U.S. exports culminating in an all-time high of $2.2 trillion in 2012. As a result of the NEI, more and more businesses are taking advantage of key export tools and resources to expand their global market share.

  • Submitted on 06 September 2013

    Created on September 6, 2013
     

    There are various resources that allow you to assess your company’s readiness to export. These tools help you to understand what constitutes export readiness for a firm, and how your company can move toward that goal:

    Export.gov’s “Are You Export Ready?” Questionnaire - This questionnaire highlights characteristics common to successful exporters. Many of these questions will guide you into areas of the Export.gov homepage where you can obtain more information on exporting. Upon completion, you will receive a score which will help you to assess your export readiness, as well as identify areas of your business needs to strengthen to improve its export activities.

    globalEDGE Diagnostic Tool--CORE™ - This self-assessment tool allows you to determine your company's readiness to expand its operations internationally and ascertain its ability to export a particular product.

  • Submitted on 28 August 2013

    Created on August 28, 2013
     

    Discover 2013There are plenty of questions for a small business looking to start exporting. What markets are best suited for your company’s products? How can you compete with larger companies? How can you get paid for your products? What kind of research do you need to do to begin exporting?

    Luckily, you can get answers to all these questions and more at the 2013 Discover Global Forum in Raleigh, NC, Sept. 16-18.

    This two-day summit will feature some of the world’s most knowledgeable people when it comes to exporting. Trade specialists from around the globe will be on hand to share inside tips about doing business in established and emerging markets, from Africa to Asia and the Middle East to South America.

  • Submitted on 16 August 2013

    Created on August 16, 2013
     

    Departure BoardHouston’s exports have been soaring, and they will get an additional boost now that Air China, China’s flag carrier, opened up a non-stop flight route between Beijing and Houston.

    This is Air China’s first non-stop flight route to the U.S. in 30 years, and it is easy to see why Air China chose Houston—the city consistently ranks near the top of the most globally-oriented business communities in America.

    In fact, for the first time since the data has been collected, Houston became the top exporter among U.S. metropolitan areas in 2012. Houston’s goods exports totaled $110 billion, accounting for more than half of all Texas exports.

    This new flight will only help Houston exporters continue to expand to new markets.

    Behind Mexico, Canada, and Brazil, China is Houston’s fourth-largest export market, importing more than $5 billion of goods from Houston in 2012. With China’s rapid urbanization and growing middle class, demand for American-made products is likely to grow. This new flight is the next step in expanding the relationship between Houston and China.

  • Submitted on 15 August 2013

    Created on August 15, 2013
     

    Trade DataThe Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration recently released U.S. metropolitan area trade data for 2012, which shows that overall exports are up for the third consecutive year. Specifically, exports are up in 31 of the top 50 metropolitan areas, 29 of which reached record exports between 2011 and 2012. Among the top 25, Washington, DC, recorded the highest growth between 2011 and 2012, increasing exports by nearly 43 percent. Exports from San Antonio, Texas, which has an MBDA Global Business Center, grew by 33 percent during the same period.

    The Department of Commerce offers a wealth of tools and information for businesses to make choices about exporting to international markets. For example, did you know that U.S. companies sold $8 billion in transportation equipment and food products to South Korea last year? U.S. companies also exported $1.4 billion in agricultural products to Turkey.

    These are just two examples of the kind of information available through the International Trade Administration’s TradeStats Express. Here’s another. Let’s say your company sells office furniture.  Using TradeStats Express, you can very quickly determine that furniture sales to Saudi Arabia have grown 153 percent from 2007 levels and that they are currently purchasing over $140 million in furniture and fixtures from the U.S.

  • Submitted on 10 July 2013

    Created on July 10, 2013
     

    Global GrowthWhy Consider Exporting?

    • Access. Today, improvements in trade finance, the Internet, and trade agreements have dramatically increased access to markets worldwide.

    • Demand. More than 70 percent of the world’s purchasing power is located outside of the United States. Your competitors are increasing their global market share, and you can too.

    • Profitability. Exporting can be profitable for businesses of all sizes. On average, sales grow faster, more jobs are created, and employees earn more than in non-exporting firms.

    • Competitive Advantage. The United States is known throughout the world for high quality, innovative goods and services, customer service, and sound business practices.

    • Risk Mitigation. Most companies that export have an easier time riding out fluctuations in the U.S. economy and are more likely to stay in business.

  • Submitted on 25 April 2013

    Created on April 25, 2013
     

    Shipping YardExporting your product and services requires planning. Like any successful project, one of the first steps is making a plan.  Whether you’re going on vacation, conducting a domestic business transaction or starting a new venture one common trait is essential for success . . .  careful attention to detail.  A great starting point to determine your company’s level of preparedness for international market entry is completing an export readiness assessment.

    Selecting the appropriate markets for our products and services, determining how to strategically engage target markets, and securing the financial and managerial resources are just some of the analyses needed to ensure that your export venture is a long-term success. The results of such an assessment may, for example, lead to modifying and ramping up production in order to ship your products to South America or perhaps giving consideration to a more complex venture of opening an office abroad.

  • Submitted on 18 March 2013

    Created on March 18, 2013
     

    Gold Key ServiceAre you interested in exporting to a new market? Need help finding the best overseas business partner?

    The U.S. Commercial Service’s Gold Key business matchmaking service does exactly that. The Gold Key Service is a cost-recovery fee based, customized matchmaking service, which enables U.S. companies to find an ideal overseas distributor or business representative. The Gold Key is provided through your local U.S Export Assistance Center which works with the U.S. Embassy in the country of interest.

    For larger countries, that require multiple distributors/business partners, the Gold Key Service is offered specifically for the geographic area you would like to target. The service pre-screens and organizes a day or two of meetings with 3-5 potential partners which you then fly out to meet. A Gold Key can take 6-8 weeks to complete so planning ahead is necessary.

    Where is the value?

    As you can imagine, U.S. companies find this service very valuable because they receive pre-scheduled meetings with pre-qualified distributors vetted by an in-country Commercial Specialist at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, prior to traveling to the market. Obviously no business partner is absolutely perfect but every effort is made to identify a compatible relationship.

  • Submitted on 09 June 2011

    Small businesses interested in starting or expanding sales of their goods and services overseas have access to a new, free online tool that will gauge their readiness to export and help them develop an export business plan.

    The Export Business Planner, developed by the U.S. Small Business Administration, offers a ready-made, customizable and easily accessible document that can be updated and referenced continuously as the business grows.

    The Planner, located at www.sba.gov/exportbusinessplanner, allows users to:

    • Determine their export readiness

Did you know...

Between 2002 and 2007, minority-owned firms outpaced the growth of non-minority firms in gross receipts, employment, and number of firms. Minority firms are an engine of job creation.
Graph for MBE Growth

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