- Table of Contents
- Full Issue in PDF
- U.S. Export Position Improves as National Export Initiative Marks One Year
- Answering the Call to Double U.S. Exports
- In Chile, a Sense of National Unity and Opportunities for U.S. Businesses
- New Web Portal Helps Companies Protect Intellectual Property Rights
- Short Takes
- Trade Calendar
- Featured Trade Event: Trade Mission to Qatar and United Arab Emirates
Short Takes: News from the International Trade Administration
Travel and Tourism Industry Posted Significant Gains in 2010
On February 1, 2011, after a meeting of the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board in Washington, D.C., Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke (center) visited with two members of the newly formed Corporation for Travel Promotion (CTP): Lynda Zengerle, a partner with Steptoe and Johnson LLP (left), and Mark Schwab, senior vice president of United Airlines (right). Also in attendance was Joel Secundy, ITA's deputy assistant secretary for services (second from right). CTP is a new non-profit corporation that will promote travel to the United States and will work to improve the entry process so that visitors will want to return. A new fee paid by international travelers coming to the United States from countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program and by private-sector matching funds will fund CTP. (U.S. Department of Commerce photo)
The U.S. travel and tourism industry posted a healthy 47 percent surge in its overall trade balance in 2010, according to figures released by Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke at a meeting of the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board (TTAB) in Washington, D.C., on February 1, 2011.
"Travel and tourism continues to be one of the bright spots in the U.S. economy," said Locke. "With a $28.3 billion trade surplus in the first 11 months of 2010, this industry has a huge role to play in helping our country answer President Obama's call to double our exports by 2015 and win the future."
During the first 11 months of 2010, the United States welcomed more than 55 million international visitors, which was 11.4 million more visitors than 2009. While international visitation increased 10 percent, international visitor spending increased 11 percent to $122.7 billion. The travel and tourism industry employs nearly 8 million people across the United States.
The TTAB consists of 30 appointed industry leaders from the travel and tourism industry who advise the secretary of commerce on matters about the industry and provide policy recommendations. For more information about TTAB, and to learn more details about the travel and tourism industry's performance in 2010, visit the Web site of ITA's Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, www.tinet.ita.doc.gov.
Public Comment Sought on Proposed Changes to Foreign-Trade Zone Program
In an announcement published in the Federal Register on December 30, 2010, the Foreign-Trade Zones Board is soliciting public comment on revisions to the regulations that govern its operations.
Foreign-Trade Zones (FTZs) can enhance the competitiveness of a company’s U.S. facilities by helping to maintain domestic activity and by creating jobs in communities where they are located. The program was established by Congress in 1934 and is administered by staff members within the International Trade Administration. Currently, more than 250 FTZs are located in the United States, and they employ nearly 330,000 workers. In 2009, more than $28 billion in merchandise was exported from FTZs.
“The Foreign-Trade Zones program helps companies create and keep jobs here [in the United States],” said Francisco Sánchez, under secretary of commerce for international trade. “The revised regulations proposed today will make it even easier for companies to take advantage of the Foreign-Trade Zones program and to expand their exports.”
The proposed regulations will simplify certain aspects of FTZ operations. For example, rather than continuing to require advance approval by the FTZ Board for export manufacturing, the proposed regulations would in many circumstances allow a company to simply report its FTZ activity at the end of the year. This proposed change should dramatically improve the flexibility and responsiveness of the FTZ program for U.S. exporters.
To help the public to understand the proposed regulations and to make the best use of the public comment period, the board’s staff members have been conducting a series of public forums. In February, sessions are scheduled in Newark, New Jersey; Detroit, Michigan; and Houston, Texas. In March, there will be forums in Atlanta, Georgia, and Miami, Florida.
For more information about FTZs, including the full text of the proposed regulations, instructions for submitting comments, and a schedule of the upcoming public forums, visit the FTZ Board’s Web site at www.trade.gov/ftz.
Staff at DAT/EM Systems International of Anchorage, Alaska. With the help of the International Trade Administration, the company was able to obtain a funding commitment for a contract it signed with the government of Ethiopia. (photo courtesy DAT/EM Systems)
ITA Win: With ITA Help, Alaska Exporter Signs Contract in Ethiopia
Since its inception, the International Trade Administration (ITA) has been helping U.S. companies in their efforts to expand sales overseas. Here is a story of a recent success with the help of ITA’s Advocacy Center.
On December 21, 2010, DAT/EM Systems International, a developer of photogrammetric hardware and software products in Anchorage, Alaska, signed a contract with the Ethiopian government worth $527,000. The company will install 30 digital photogrammetric (map) workstations, including personal computers, specialized 3D stereo monitors and input devices, custom software, and large-format plotters. All of the equipment for the project will be produced in the United States.
The company was the successful bidder in a tender issued in December 2009 by the Ethiopian Ministry of Works and Urban Development. However, DAT/EM ran into delays with the funding commitment from the Ethiopian government, whose ability to implement the contract looked doubtful. But after contacting the ITA’s Advocacy Center, and with assistance of staff members based at the U.S. embassy in Addis Ababa, DAT/EM obtained a funding commitment for the project. The company plans to send two full-time staff members to Ethiopia to fulfill the contract.
“The Commerce Department’s Advocacy Center was indispensible to us as we encountered delays in the funding of the project,” says Jeffrey Yates, general manager of DAT/EM. “The support we received was crucial to a timely resolution of the funding issue.”
Since its creation in 1993, the Advocacy Center has helped hundreds of U.S. companies compete in the world market. It offers help in a variety of circumstances, but most issues involve companies that want the U.S. government to communicate a message to foreign governments or government-owned corporations on behalf of their commercial interest, typically in a competitive bid contest. For more information about the Advocacy Center, visit www.export.gov/advocacy.
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