Short Takes: News from the International Trade Administration
80 U.S. Companies Explore European Business Opportunities at Warsaw Event
U.S. companies looking for export opportunities in Europe came to Warsaw, Poland, on April 20–22 to participate in the 2009 Trade Winds Forum Europe. The event, organized by the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service (USFCS), attracted more than 350 participants, including 130 U.S. business representatives from 80 companies, 200 Polish companies, and 28 USFCS senior commercial officers from across Europe.
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|Rochelle Lipsitz, acting director general of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service (center), with participants at the 2009 Trade Winds Forum Europe, which was held on April 20–22 in Warsaw, Poland. (U.S. Department of Commerce photo)
“Nearly 40 percent of the companies attending the Trade Winds Forum are repeat attendees who were at last year’s program in Istanbul, Turkey,” said Rochelle Lipsitz, the acting director general of the USFCS. “Firms from that event reported dozens of export sales as a result of their meetings, and we look forward to the same great results this year.”
During the course of the event, more that 840 meetings were held between senior commercial officers and U.S companies, and an additional 245 business meetings were conducted between U.S. and Polish companies.
A cross section of industries were represented, including energy (mining, oil and gas, electric power generation, and renewable); defense and aerospace; telecommunications and information technology; environmental technologies; medical equipment; safety and security equipment; automotive parts and service equipment; and logistics and transportation.
Participants also received marketing and advertising exposure to more than 20,000 subscribers of Commercial News USA, a monthly magazine sponsored by the Department of Commerce, in a special Trade Winds edition.
Task Force Secures Extension to European Union Metric Labeling Exemption for U.S. Firms
U.S. companies exporting to the European Union (EU) will be able to continue using both metric and non-metric labels on their products, thanks to successful efforts on their behalf by the Department of Commerce’s EU Metric Only Task Force.
According to EU Directive 2009/3/EC, published on May 7, 2009, an exemption will be extended indefinitely to existing EU regulations that would have required the exclusive use of metric labeling by January 1, 2010. This new directive is expected to save U.S. firms hundreds of millions of dollars because they can go metric according to their own timeline, without facing a major trade barrier in the EU.
“U.S. small and medium manufacturers benefit most from this resolution, as the costs to provide metric-only labeling are significant,” said Michelle O’Neill, acting under secretary for international trade. “The efforts of government and industry officials to resolve this long-standing issue will allow business to continue without disruption.”
The EU regulation dates to the late 1970s, when Directive 80/181/EEC, the so-called Metric Directive, ordered the exclusive use of metric labeling on most products sold in Europe. Subsequent directives extended the implementation date to 2010. During the past several years, the members of the task force worked with their EU counterparts and U.S. industry representatives to monitor and provide input for the successful resolution of the issue.
ITA Blog Launched
A new blog by the International Trade Administration was launched on April 23, 2009. In its introductory post, the blog notes that it is meant to be a place for an “ongoing dialogue about how trade benefits U.S. businesses and what ITA is doing to [help] them achieve those benefits.” The blog will feature posts written by ITA employees at all levels, from trade specialists working directly with companies to help them achieve their first exports to industry and regional analysts and government senior officials working in Washington, D.C.
By mid-May, the ITA blog already featured nine posts, including a description of the recent Trade Winds Forum Europe in Warsaw, Poland; an overview of the telecommunications market in Vietnam; a look at intellectual property rights issues on World Intellectual Property Day; and a report on U.S. Travel Rally Day events in Washington, D.C.
The blog will be another channel of communication that provides a context for discussions of trade promotion, policy, and analysis and shows how trade fits into the larger economic picture.
Visitors to the blog are encouraged to reply to posts and to engage in discussions about the questions and issues raised in the entries. Visit the new ITA blog.
Contributors to this section include Stephanie Smedile and Bill Burwell of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service and Tim Truman of the International Trade Administration’s Office of Public Affairs.