Export Your “Made In USA” Brand

Hanson Marketing is a member of the San Diego & Imperial District Export Council, and today we gathered at the World Trade Center San Diego to meet Mr. Suresh Kumar, Director General of the US & Foreign Commercial Service. His talk brought us up to date on the National Export Initiative and ways in which the federal government is enabling growth, through such programs as committing 3% of US GDP to R & D tax incentives.

His background in consumer marketing shone through, as Mr. Kumar likened the US’ 1400+ commercial service officers to the “Distribution” pillar that must be solidly in place before US exporters begin meaningful promotions.  These officers are truly commercial diplomats, but they think and act like startup entrepreneurs and hold to the 4Ps of marketing and sales management.

Mr. Kumar presented Export Achievement Awards to area companies and to World Trade Center San Diego. The region’s expertise in water technology and maritime systems infrastructure is evident. (Hanson Marketing is proud that client Hawaii Kai Corporation won the same award, due in part to the global channel strategy we formed for the company)

Made In the USA is still the world’s #1 brand cachet, according to Mr. Kumar; and a Designed In California tag signals world-leading innovation.

Learn more: National Export Initiative, US & Foreign Commercial Service. Bellamare, The Maritime Alliance and The Security Network.

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Welcome to World Trade Week: Spotlight San Diego

What makes Cali Baja hum? San Diego’s loaded with export pros, and they’re contributing to the success of this year’s World Trade Week. Southwestern College Center for International Trade Development’s National City campus hosts an info session on “How to Enter into the European Market”. Register to attend here. The speaker lineup includes teams from Baker & McKenzie, a group that’s always worth listening to when it comes to global trade. There will also be representatives from the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency.

At the border, the annual MEXPORT trade show is the area’s best gathering place for all things supply chain. This San Diego event’s a stone’s throw from the Tijuana city limits, so it’s a great chance to mingle with friends from over the fence, too. At last year’s MEXPORT event, I learned a lot about two industries that make our cross-border trade hum: logistics and security services. Sign up here. It’s free to visitors, and they’re running shuttles across the border to simplify parking and transport!

Read more about MEXPORT in a previous post here.

For a great perspective from Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, visit the Department of Commerce’s website here: http://www.trade.gov/worldtrademonth/

Exporting your company’s goods and services is the best way to boost your overall revenues and stake claim as leader in your industry.

US-Mexico Trucking Deal Agreement Nearing

To study up on the latest development in the US-Mexico cross-border trucking negotiations, I went to the BBC. With diplomatic and speculative tones, the Beeb’s coverage tells me that progress has been made, but the hammering and ironing are still left to be done. (see previous coverage on this topic by Hanson Marketing here and here).

I gathered as much by the tentative choice of words in the opening sentence of the BBC dispatch: “The US and Mexico have reached a proposed deal to open US highways to Mexican trucks, raising hopes of an end to a 20-year dispute”.

Progress is progress. If the logistics companies based along both sides of the US-MX border can pencil out a business case for revenue growth in these lean times, we’ll see expansion from both directions in the coming months. Even though the US holds the upper hand due to its sector size and political influence, this is an equal opportunity for growth in both countries.

Challenges to be faced by both US and Mexican truckers include the rising cost of fuel, the crazy-long delays at the San Diego-Tijuana border crossing, the world’s busiest land crossing. Trucks idling while delayed on both sides burn that costly fuel and create a haze of exhaust fumes, a health hazard for residents and workers in the vicinity.

World's Busiest Land Border Crossing: Expansion Officially Underway in Tijuana-San Diego

Just in time comes news that ground is broken for the border crossing expansion project; read more in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Detroit: Motown and Muscle Cars

Today, attendees at the National District Export Council Conference in downtown Detroit were treated to a stellar lineup of presentations and keynotes, after a kickoff reception featuring a Motown Hits cover band that clearly loves the music… I think they would have sung to an empty room and still not let up! And, if that weren’t inspiring enough, we were hosted by Ford Motors for a tour at their historic and awe-inspiring Rouge Plant. It’s hard to do justice to the place in mere words.

Rouge Plant: Growing Roof Going Green, F150s ready to roll

The auto plant’s creation 90-odd years ago on the banks of the River Rouge, and its operations and generational changes since then have coursed through the veins of the US industrial world, affecting us all at home and on the job every day. 10 million Model As, followed by T-Birds, Mustangs, and now brawny F-150s are rolling off the lines. Muscle cars, all.

To cap the evening off, we were hosted by the Ford Museum, home to the best collection of transportation and mobile and modern living icons I’ve ever seen.

AirStream Yurt? Flying Saucer Diner?

And, here I learned that even Bucky Fuller had to work out the kinks before inventing the Geodesic Dome (see Dymaxion House…)

Dearborn, Michigan is home to these tributes of American Innovation, and make the city a destination spot for vacationers and history buffs alike. And, inspiration for global business crowds.

White House Hosts National Export Initiative Event

A fellow member of the San Diego & Imperial District Export Council participated in the July 7 event hosted by President Obama, held to promote our National Export Initiative . Kim Benson is an international business leader based in San Diego and is also appointed to the Industry Trade Advisory Center, a unique private-public partnership that plays a vital advisory role in shaping our nation’s foreign trade policy.

President Obama and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke acknowledged the gathered guests’ contributions to expanding trade, and announced re-launch of the President’s Export Council. As I’ve stated previously on this blog site, this is a commendable and challenging step.

Ms. Benson, who is vice president of Cange International, an international business consultancy observes “a shift in the government taking place now, in terms of the degree of communication among positions and agencies related to trade.” President Obama has also deemed specific members of his cabinet to be Export Promotion Cabinet Members, she notes. “He meets with them regularly and expects cooperation to reach the objectives of the NEI specifically. These efforts will now be supplemented by input provided to President Obama by the President’s Export Council. Having the National Export Initiative clearly set forth is obviously creating unprecedented cooperation among positions and agencies. I see this as something very positive, and I must say that in 20 years I have not seen this level of cooperation.”

The president’s very public and direct pledges since his State of the Union address in January are the best way to hold lenders and government export agencies accountable. Since February of this year, the Department of Commerce has coordinated 18 trade missions with over 160 companies participating in 24 countries. Further, there are eight more trade missions scheduled over the next three months, which can be tracked via Tradeology, the International Trade Administration’s blog. Secretary Locke reminded those gathered in the East Room that in March, the US reached an agreement with China to reopen the Chinese market to pork and pork products. And in June, the US agreed with Russia to reopen the Russian market to US poultry exports. These steps together are worth more than $1 billion. (That’s a start toward reaching $2 trillion in exports in five years, a key goal of the NEI!)

Watch for the Export Promotion Cabinet’s 180-day report to the president, due on September 1.

More About Industry Trade Advisory Center
ITAC is primarily comprised of leaders from small-to-midsized businesses with proven success in global trade. Formed in 1974 and jointly run by the Department of Commerce and the US Trade Representative Office, ITAC ensures that trade negotiators consult with representatives from the private sector during trade negotiations.

Read more about the July 7 White House event here, including a link to a National Export Initiative Progress Report.

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