U.S. Department of Commerce Makes $30 Million Available to Assist America’s Coal Communities

To support locally-driven efforts in coal country to spur job growth, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross today announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) has published a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) making $30 million in funds available to assist coal communities through the 2017 Assistance to Coal Communities (ACC 2017) initiative.

“The Trump administration is working every day to help America’s coal industry, its workers, and their communities,” said Secretary Ross. “This funding is one element of a government-wide effort to restore American jobs, and renew the areas hardest hit by misguided regulations.”

Since taking office, President Trump and his Administration have reversed regulations that have drastically squeezed the American energy sector, eliminated constricting energy restrictions that would have shackled the United States’ economy under the Paris climate change accord, blocked the EPA’s and other agencies needless war on coal, and, in conjunction with Congress, acted swiftly to roll back many of the burdensome regulations and laws which have strangled many American communities.

These critical policy shifts have resulted in a better deal for coal country and tangible results for American workers who have gone ignored for far too long.

The $30 million in ACC 2017 funds available for application are targeted to directly assist communities and regions severely impacted by the declining use of coal through activities and programs that support economic diversification, job creation, capital investment, workforce development and re-employment opportunities. Under the ACC 2017 initiative, EDA is seeking applications for projects and activities that will:

  • Support the creation of new businesses and jobs in a variety of industry sectors,
  • Create or implement economic diversification strategies targeting affected workers and businesses,
  • Develop a business incubator program,
  • Enhance access to and use of broadband services to support job growth,
  • Facilitate access to private capital investment, and provide related capacity building and technical assistance, or
  • Promote market access for goods and services created and manufactured by businesses in the impacted community/region.

Under the ACC 2017 initiative, the term coal economy is used to refer to the complete ecosystem of coal-reliant industries and businesses. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Coal Mining; and/or
  • Coal-Fired Power Plants; and/or
  • Related Transportation, and/or Logistics, and/or Supply Chain Manufacturing Industries.

Prospective applicants are encouraged to refer to the NOFA on grants.gov for more details on the ACC 2017 funding, including eligibility, matching-fund requirements, and other information.

For additional information about ACC 2017, please visit the EDA’s ACC 2017 webpage at: www.eda.gov/coal.

Foreign Direct Investment: Driving Global Competitiveness and Innovation

Graphic on Direct Employment by Majority Foreign-Owned Firms in the United States.

The following is a cross-post from the U.S. Economic and Development Administration

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) plays an important role in the U.S. economy. It leads to the creation of jobs, an increase in wealth and living standards, and overall growth and innovation that drive the U.S. economic competitiveness. Later this month, the Commerce Department will host the 2017 SelectUSA Investment Summit providing a platform to communicate economic priorities and affirm the United States as the number one destination in the world for foreign direct investment.

The United States remains an attractive destination for FDI for a variety of reasons, including a large consumer base, a productive workforce, a highly innovative environment, and legal protections. As a result, foreign firms make investments in the United States on a regular basis by establishing new operations, purchasing existing operations of another company, or providing additional capital to their existing U.S. operations.

The U.S. welcomes foreign investment, and the numbers show that investors have confidence in the opportunities here. With a population of 320 million and a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) that’s over $18 trillion, our nation is home to more FDI stock than any other country.

The numbers paint the big picture:

  • 12.1 million jobs are attributable to FDI.
  • 6.4 million reflects the number of U.S. workers who are directly employed by majority foreign-owned firms.
  • 2.4 million includes jobs attributable to the economic activity of majority foreign-owned firms, including jobs in those firms’ supply chains, jobs attributable to higher incomes, and other economic effects.
  • In the manufacturing sector alone, productivity growth from technology spillovers associated with FDI contributed 3.5 million jobs.

At the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administratoin (EDA), FDI is one of our investment priorities. These priorities are designed to provide an overarching framework to guide the agency’s investment portfolio and ensure its investments contribute the strongest positive impact on sustainable regional economic growth and diversification.

Since FY2011, EDA invested more than $109 million in 91 projects to help advance local strategies to attract FDI. Of the total, 61 projects totaling close to $98 million are expected to create and/or retain 30,073 jobs and attract over $8 billion in private investment. The other 30 projects totaling close to $12 million support FDI-related planning, research, technical assistance, access to capital, and/or other activities that are essential for successful economic development and job creation in the future.
Examples that show how EDA is investing to support FDI include:

  • Mississippi: Mississippi State University’s Canton-based office received the Mississippi Economic Development Council’s Community Economic Development Award for its work to bring advanced manufacturing jobs back to America. The program acquired its initial funding through EDA. According to the University, the initiative resulted in a nearly $11 million economic impact, with more than 33 direct investment opportunities identified and 333 jobs created or saved. Additionally, the program saw 262 industry certifications and 221 paid internships in high-demand advanced manufacturing skills.
  • Georgia: Over the last three decades, the global automotive sector has established a noticeable presence in the Southeast United States. From Mercedes in Alabama, to BMW in South Carolina, many automotive manufacturers are seeking to take advantage of the Southeast’s comparatively inexpensive cost of doing business, warm climate, and excellent transportation networks. In 2015, EDA invested $700,000 in Public Works Program funds in the city of Lavonia, Georgia, to make sewer systems improvements that helped bring a foreign-based automotive parts manufacturer to the region. As a result, it is estimated that the region will gain 400 new manufacturing jobs and attract $54 million in foreign direct investment.

Explore Export Opportunities in Poland and the Czech Republic

Smart Cities Business Development Mission to Poland & the Czech Republic
Dates: September 10-15, 2017

Explore Export Opportunities in Poland and the Czech Republic

The U.S. Commercial Service, the trade promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration, is organizing a Smart Cities Business Development Mission to Poland and the Czech Republic from September 10 – 15.

This mission is focused on business and designed to help export ready U.S. companies launch or increase their export business in promising sectors in Poland and the Czech Republic that contribute to the development of smart cities, including e-mobility, energy efficiency and management, e-governance, and environmental management and quality, including air and water quality.

U.S. companies will attend pre-scheduled meetings with potential agents, distributors, end users, industry contacts and government officials for the goal of launching or increasing exports.

Trade with China Continues Trend While Comprehensive Economic Dialogue Hopes to Balance Deficits

The trade deficit in goods with China ballooned by 13.8 percent year-over-year while the overall trade deficit increased by 5 percent since March as imports increased slightly and exports declined following the release of the April 2017 International Trade in Goods and Services monthly data by the Department of Commerce.

“While the overall trade deficit continues to grow, it is too soon for the numbers to reflect the recent deal with China and other actions of this Administration is taking to level the balance of trade,” said Secretary Ross. “We look forward to the July 16 deadline which will open up the Chinese market to American beef, liquefied natural gas and other products.”

The U.S. goods and services deficit with China increased 5.4 percent from the fourth quarter of 2016 to the first quarter of 2017 growing from $77.714 billion to $81.901 billion.

The trade deficit widened month-to-month with China from 24.6 billion in March to 27.6 billion in April.

While the trade deficit with China grew, there was improvement in other areas. April exports to South Korea were the highest ever on record, while exports to Japan were the largest since August of 2014.

Year-to-date, the goods and services deficit increased $9.4 billion, or 7.5 percent, from the same period in 2016. Exports increased $38.0 billion or 7.1 percent. Imports increased $47.5 billion or 7.1 percent.

The April increase in the goods and services deficit reflected an increase in the goods deficit of $2.3 billion to $68.4 billion and a decrease in the services surplus of less than $0.1 billion to $20.8 billion.

2017 MED Week Conference

Sunday, October 22, 2017  to Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) to celebrate Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week in partnership with the NMSDC at the 2017 NMSDC Conference and Business Opportunity Exchange.

The 2017 National MED Week celebration, recognized at the NMSDC Conference, will feature several Powered by MBDA workshops and seminars that focus on federal programs and recognize the 35th Annual National MED Week Award Winners in Detroit, Michigan

JOINT RELEASE: Initial Results of the 100-Day Action Plan of the U.S. – China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue

President of the United States Donald Trump and President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping agreed at their Mar-a-Lago meeting to advance U.S. – China economic cooperation with a 100-day action plan under the framework of the U.S. – China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue. Under the leadership of the co-chairs, Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross of the United States and Vice Premier Wang Yang of China, both nations have negotiated intensively to make progress on key issues. The three co-chairs reached consensus on initial commitments under the 100-day plan and objectives for next steps.

In approximately one month following the Presidential Summit, the two sides reached consensus on addressing issues in areas including agricultural trade, financial services, investment, and energy. For details, see the U.S.-China joint fact sheet below.

Both sides also identified other issues that will require significant effort to resolve and achieve progress on within the 100-day period. Both sides further committed to strengthen communication and coordination to jointly advance those issues and achieve resolution as soon as possible. Further, as concrete progress is made in implementing the actions under the 100-day plan, the two sides will begin discussing a one-year plan to further solidify actions in promoting U.S. – China economic engagement and cooperation. Following implementation of the 100-day plan, the United States and China look forward to deepening engagement on these and other issues at the first meeting of the Comprehensive Economic Dialogue, to be held in the United States in the summer of 2017.

Initial Actions of the U.S.-China Economic Cooperation 100-Day Plan

1. Following one more round of technical consultations between the United States and China, China is to allow imports of U.S. beef on conditions consistent with international food safety and animal health standards and consistent with the 1999 Agricultural Cooperation Agreement, beginning as soon as possible but no later than July 16, 2017.

2. The United States and China are to resolve outstanding issues for the import of China origin cooked poultry to the United States as soon as possible, and after reaching consensus, the United States is to publish a proposed rule by July 16, 2017, at the latest, with the United States realizing China poultry exports as soon as possible.

3. China’s National Biosafety Committee (NBC) is to hold a meeting by the end of May 2017, to conduct science-based evaluations of all eight pending U.S. biotechnology product applications to assess the safety of the products for their intended use. No additional information unrelated to safety assessment for intended use is to be requested of the applicants. For any product that does not pass the safety evaluation at the NBC meeting held in May 2017, the NBC is to operate with transparency by providing in writing to the applicants a complete list of requested‎ information necessary to finalize the safety assessment for the products’ intended use, along with an explanation of how the requested information would be relevant to the safety of the products’ intended use. The NBC is to hold meetings as frequently and as soon as possible after an application is resubmitted in order to finalize reviews of remaining applications without undue delay. For the products that pass the safety evaluations of the NBC, China is to grant certificates within 20 working days in accordance with Administrative License Law of the People’s Republic of China.

4. The United States welcomes China, as well as any of our trading partners, to receive imports of LNG from the United States. The United States treats China no less favorably than other non-FTA trade partners with regard to LNG export authorizations. Companies from China may proceed at any time to negotiate all types of contractual arrangement with U.S. LNG exporters, including long-term contracts, subject to the commercial considerations of the parties. As of April 25, 2017, the U.S. Department of Energy had authorized 19.2 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas exports to non-FTA countries.

5. By July 16, 2017, China is to allow wholly foreign-owned financial services firms in China to provide credit rating services, and to begin the licensing process for credit investigation.

6. The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) intends to extend by July 16, 2017 the current no-action relief to Shanghai Clearing House for six months, with further extensions amounting to up to three years, if appropriate and consistent with the conditions set forth in the no-action relief. The People’s Bank of China and the CFTC are to work towards a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) concerning the cooperation and the exchange of information related to the oversight of cross-border clearing organizations.

7. By July 16, 2017, China is to issue any further necessary guidelines and allow wholly U.S.-owned suppliers of electronic payment services (EPS) to begin the licensing process. This should lead to full and prompt market access. China is to continue to allow Chinese banks to issue dual brand-dual currency bankcards that allow U.S. EPS suppliers to process foreign currency payment card transactions.

8. The applicable U.S. federal regulatory authorities remain committed to apply in the United States the same bank prudential supervisory and regulatory standards to Chinese banking institutions as to other foreign banking institutions, in like circumstances and in accordance with U.S. law.

9. China is to issue both bond underwriting and settlement licenses to two qualified U.S. financial institutions by July 16, 2017.

10. The United States recognizes the importance of China’s One Belt and One Road initiative and is to send delegates to attend the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing May 14-15.

The United States welcomes direct investment by Chinese entrepreneurs as it does by entrepreneurs from other countries. The United States welcomes Chinese participation in the SelectUSA Investment Summit that will be held June 18-20 in Washington D.C.

Celebrating National Travel and Tourism Week

The following is a cross-post from Tradeology, the official blog of the International Trade Administration (ITA)

National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW), now in its 34th year, is the annual salute to travel and tourism in America. During the first full week in May, communities across our nation unite to showcase the impact of travel to policymakers, business leaders and local media with rallies, events and other activities.

While the industry is focused on celebrating this week, the National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO), U.S. Foreign and Commercial Service offices around the globe, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), federal agencies responsible for the United States’ public and Native American lands (Interior, Agriculture, Forest Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, etc.), and the Departments of State and Homeland Security are working together to put our best face forward when the world’s largest travel trade show, IPW, comes to Washington.

For the first time in its 49-year history, the U.S. Travel Association is bringing its premiere trade show, IPW, formerly known as the Discover America International Pow Wow, to the nation’s capital.

In just three days of intensive pre-scheduled business appointments, more than 1,000 U.S. travel organizations from every region of the USA (representing all industry category components), and nearly 1,200 international and domestic buyers from more than 70 countries, conduct business negotiations that will generate more than $4.7 billion in future travel to the United States.

Given that travel and tourism is the United States’ largest services export and represented a $246.2 billion dollar infusion into the nation’s economy in 2015, the federal partners are pleased to have IPW in our backyard. In addition to providing the world’s U.S. travel goods and services buyers and the international media with an “up close and personal” look at all there is to see and do here in the nation’s capital, having IPW in Washington will also give U.S. Travel the opportunity to showcase the importance of the travel and tourism industry to our national elected officials.

America’s travel and tourism industry is on the rise. Representing $1.6 trillion in economic activity annually, this sector of our economy supports more than 7.9 million U.S. jobs, 1.2 million of which are directly attributable to international inbound travel – read exports. More people are employed by travel and tourism-related industries than are employed collectively in the construction industry, finance and insurance industries, agriculture, and education.

The federal partners are building new itineraries that will feature our national marine sanctuaries, wildlife refuges, lesser-known national parks, scenic byways and other federal properties. In addition, Commercial Service officers will meet with U.S. sellers, offering export assistance, and with international buyers, offering connections between them and U.S. sellers. The Department of Homeland Security will be taking appointments for enrollment in its trusted traveler programs and Native American tribal representatives and the Bureau of Indian Affairs will meet with international buyers to educate them about the tremendous product available on our Native Lands.

International travelers visit the United States to see big cities like New York, where you can ride a ferry to the Statue of Liberty, take a walk through Central Park and enjoy a Broadway show, all in one day.

People come to America to hike the California Coast, where you can find bonsai trees living in the shadows of the giant redwoods, a phenomenon that does not exist anywhere else on the planet.

People come to America to see some of the best art and culture in the world, from the globally renowned art collection at the Chicago Institute of Art to the back lots of Hollywood to the Crystal Bridges Art Museum in Bentonville, Ark., one of the hottest new museums in the country.

Our country’s diverse array of uniquely American experiences can stand up to any destination anywhere in the world, but we cannot take either our experiences or our visitors for granted. We must stay focused on maintaining a welcoming presence to the international buyer community and we believe a strong presence at IPW is one great way to accomplish that.

For more information on National Travel and Tourism Week, go to: https://www.ustravel.org/toolkit/national-travel-and-tourism-week