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Short Takes: News from the International Trade Administration

Asian–Pacific Firms Make Big Contributions to U.S. Economy According to New Report

According to a report published in August by the Department of Commerce, foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States by Asian–Pacific investors plays an important and growing role in the U.S. economy. The report, “Asian–Pacific Foreign Direct Investment in the United States,” focuses on 10 economies that have a large FDI presence in the United States: Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan.

According to the report, Asian–Pacific companies currently employ more than 788,000 U.S. workers. That number is equal to the combined working population of Boston and San Francisco. The jobs are high paying and offer, on average, annual compensation of $68,000. The firms spend $4.6 billion annually on research and development in the United States and generate $61 billion in U.S. exports.

“Companies invest in the United States because it is the largest single-country economy in the world,” noted the report, “and its labor pool is one of the best educated, most productive, and most innovative.”

Among its conclusions, the report predicts that Asian–Pacific FDI will increase in the United States during the next 10 years, with China and India likely to be significant contributors to that trend.

Aaron Brickman and staff members of the Department of Commerce’s Invest in America program wrote “Asian–Pacific Foreign Direct Investment in the United States.” Invest in America is the primary U.S. government mechanism that manages FDI promotion at the federal level. To learn more about Invest in America, or to obtain a copy of the report, visit the office’s Web site at

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Compound Annual Growth Rates of Asian-Pacific foreign Direct Investment in the United States, 2004-2008


Exporting Basics Focus of Webinar Series

A series of seven Webinars on the basics of exporting kicks off on September 9, 2009, and will continue through December 2, 2009. The biweekly sessions are based on the Department of Commerce’s popular publication A Basic Guide to Exporting, which was recently revised and published in its 10th edition in 2008. (See the September–October 2008 issue of International Trade Update.)

“These Webinars will be an excellent opportunity for companies that are not currently exporting—especially small and medium-sized enterprises—to learn the skills they need to sell to international buyers,” said Doug Barry of the Department of Commerce’s Trade Information Center, which is the primary organizer of the Webinar series.

The first session on September 9, 2009, is titled “Export Basics: How to Identify Potential International Markets for Your Products.” The next six Webinars will be held every other week throughout the fall and will focus on topics such as finding financing, understanding export controls, finding international partners, and using opportunities offered by free trade agreements.

Registration can be made for individual sessions or for all seven sessions. There is a $40 fee per session. Those registering for two or more Webinars will receive a complimentary copy of A Basic Guide to Exporting.

For more information about the Webinar series, or to register, visit at

Access to Credit for Small and Medium-Sized Manufacturers Focus of Manufacturing Council Recommendations

Proposals for several government-backed programs to assist small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs) were forwarded to Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke in a letter that was approved by the Manufacturing Council at a teleconference held on August 25, 2009. Locke requested advice about the issue of credit availability at his meeting with the council on July 20, 2009.

“[I]n the current global economic crisis, small and medium-sized middle market manufacturing companies (SMMs) struggle to secure adequate lines of credit for basic day-to-day operations or investment in their facilities and employees,” said the council in its letter. “[W]e need to rebalance our manufacturing financing system to open up credit to those SMMs that are traditionally healthy but temporarily impaired.”

The proposals forwarded to the secretary included a government-guaranteed loan program, a government-guaranteed accounts receivable sales program, and a government-guaranteed accounts receivable insurance program.

“Until the federal government takes immediate steps to support SMMs, we expect a significant disruption in the critical supply chain across all industries, from national security to medical device production,” said the council in its letter.

According to the Census Bureau, there were 282,034 SMMs in the United States in 2006.

The Manufacturing Council is a federal advisory body that was established in 2004. It consists of up to 15 private-sector industry leaders who are appointed by the secretary of commerce to provide a channel of communication between the federal government and the manufacturing sector. To learn more about the Manufacturing Council, or to read the text of the letter that was approved at the August 25, 2009, teleconference, visit the council’s Web site at

Contributors to this section include Aaron Brickman of Invest in America, Doug Barry of the Trade Information Center, and Marc Chittum of the International Trade Administration’s Manufacturing and Services unit.

Recently Posted on the ITA Blog

The Benefits of Corporate Partnerships: Greg Briscoe, commercial officer with the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service in Memphis, Tennessee, wrote, “I just completed another great phone call with a small U.S. company expanding its exporting profile as a direct result of cooperation between the U.S. [and Foreign] Commercial Service and FedEx, a [Commercial] Service corporate partner. I’ve been following up with the 12 small and medium-sized FedEx clients that participated in the November 2008 FedEx trade mission to India that was certified by the Commercial Service.” (August 3)

The International Conversation on Climate Change: Frank Caliva, an international trade specialist in the Office of Energy and Environmental Industries, wrote, “Businesses are now more commonly implementing ‘green’ strategies to lessen their impact on the environment. We are taking steps in the right direction, but real change will require a coordinated effort on a global level. To achieve this, we at ITA have been working with other federal agencies as participants in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations.” (August 20)

To read the full text of these and other postings, visit the ITA Blog at