U.S. Businesses To Benefit from Expansion of APEC Cross-Border Privacy Rules System

April 20, 2017  |  No Comments  |  by Nicole àBeckett  |  Blog

Singapore, Chinese Taipei, and the Philippines recently communicated their plans to join the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Cross-Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) system. The CBPR system will cover over a half billion Internet users with these additions, and many U.S. businesses will benefit from better being able to transfer data across borders.

The 21 APEC member economies first endorsed the CBPR system in 2011 in order to build consumer, business, and regulator trust in cross border flows of personal information (International Trade Administration blog). Exchanging information across country borders is a fundamental too for business in the global digital economy, and the system networks by providing a common framework for the exchange of personal information for participating economies.

The CBPR system has four main components. The first sets cognition criteria for organizations wishing to become an APEC CBPR system certified Accountability Agent. The second component is an intake questionnaire for organizations that wish to be certified as APEC CBPR system compliant by third-party CBPR system certified Accountability Agent. The third component is the provision of assessment criteria for use by APEC CBPR system certified Accountability Agents when reviewing an organization’s responses to the questionnaire. Finally, there is a regulatory cooperative arrangement to ensure that each of the APEC CBPR system program requirements can be enforced by participating APEC economies.

Since 2011, Canada, Mexico, Japan, and the U.S. have joined the system. South Korea also submitted its Intent to Participate earlier this year. As South Korea, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, and the Philippines are in preparation to join, companies across all sectors in the U.S. will benefit from uninterrupted data flows in these economies, enabling them to sell more goods and services, supporting more U.S. jobs

The U.S. Department of Commerce will continue working to encourage more APEC economies to join, so the system can expand into more and more Asian-Pacific markets. With the system, businesses in the U.S. can trade more easily with participating economies. If you are interested in exploring trade opportunities in APEC CBPR system certified economies, contact Mercatura Global today.

Vice President Pence Visits Japan for Inaugural Economic Dialogue

April 17, 2017  |  No Comments  |  by Nicole àBeckett  |  Blog

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso are meeting in Japan this Tuesday. It will be the first high-level economic dialogue between the two nations since President Trump’s inauguration in January.

According to White House officials, the primary goal of Pence’s trip to the Asia-Pacific is to reinforce regional security alliances and stress the U.S.’s commitment to economic engagement within the region. To that extent, Pence is expected to communicate that U.S. withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific trade partnership “shouldn’t be seen as a retreat from the region” (CNN).

In Tokyo, Vice President Pence will participate in a listening session followed by remarks to the U.S. and Japanese business community as part of the inaugural U.S.-Japan Economic Dialogue. However, these discussions likely establish a framework for future discussion rather than negotiating a bilateral trade agreement.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is expected to join Pence in Tokyo, and according to Bloomberg, Japanese officials are worried he may bring up disputed topics such as a weaker yen, trade imbalance and automobiles. Japan currently has the second-largest goods surplus with the U.S., causing the country to be vulnerable to the Trump administration’s potential trade policies.

Stay updated on the talks between Vice President Pence and Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso by following Mercatura Global on Twitter!

IMF Director Defends Trade as Driver of International Growth

April 10, 2017  |  No Comments  |  by Nicole àBeckett  |  Blog

As part of the joint report ‘Making Trade an Engine of Growth for All,’ the International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization, and World Bank emphasized the role of trade as a driver of global growth (Reuters). During the unveiling of the report in Berlin, all three organizations claimed the current trend toward protectionism since the early 2000s posed a threat to international economic growth.

Christine Lagarde, the director of the IMF, made a statement asserting that “trade integration is a powerful tool to raise growth and improve living standards.” She continued to assert it is an engine for global growth and prosperity.

According to the Financial Times, the joint report is a response to President Trump’s protectionist rhetoric and criticism toward multilateralism. He has also been critical of the role of the WTO, and the reports calls for governments to defend the WTO, its dispute settlement system, and its ability to prevent trade wars.  The report comes a little over a week before finance ministers and central bankers from around the world gather in Washington D.C. for the first biennial meetings of the IMF and World Bank since the U.S. election.

As the U.S. is the biggest shareholder of both institutions, it is likely that the upcoming meetings will be centered on President Trump’s plans for them.

Mercatura Global is a supporter of free trade and its ability to make international trade accessible for everyone. We help facilitate the export process to assure your company maximizes its returns and develops the most profitable export strategy. If you are interested in learning more about expanding your business globally, contact us today.

President Trump and Chinese President Xi Form 100-Day Action Plan on Trade

April 7, 2017  |  No Comments  |  by Nicole àBeckett  |  Blog

This Thursday and Friday, President Trump welcomed Chinese President Xi JinPing to Mar-A-Lago for their first face-to-face meeting. On Thursday, Trump administration officials claimed they will be hardening their position on trade with China (The New York Times). China is America’s largest trading partner, and President Trump is expected to sign an executive order directed at countries that dump steel into American markets. This measure would be intended to address China’s huge trade surplus with the U.S., an issue highly publicized during President Trump’s campaign.

According to China’s Foreign Ministry website, Xi believes both sides should promote the “healthy development of bilateral trade an advancement” (Reuters). Xi also asserted there is no reason to spoil the China-U.S. relationship.

According to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, during the Summit the two leaders agreed to put into action a 100-day plan to tweak the trade relationship between China and U.S. (US. News & World Report). While there were no major breakthroughs at the meeting, the 100-day plan is intended to address economic differences, included a reduction in the U.S. trade deficit.

To stay up to date on the progress of the 100-day plan and other international trade news, follow Mercatura Global on Twitter.

Trump Administration with Seemingly Softer Stance on NAFTA

April 4, 2017  |  No Comments  |  by Nicole àBeckett  |  Blog

A White House draft circulating around Congress reportedly details only minor changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). According to the Wall Street Journal, the proposed NAFTA alterations as mainly “modest” changes while keeping most of NAFTA’s controversial provisions the same.

There were two specific changes outlined by the draft proposal. The first proposal would allow member nations to levy tariffs on imports they consider to cause “serious injury” or “threat of serious injury” to domestic outfits (US News). This proposal could be potentially leveraged against Mexican imports that contribute to the U.S. deficit in goods trade.

A second proposal refers to a section of NAFTA that requires member governments to consider companies based in their foreign counterparts for “public sector procurement” projects such as infrastructure ventures. Under current NAFTA provisions, foreign suppliers are guaranteed to be treated no less favorably than domestic companies competing for the same procurement opportunities (International Trade Administration). With the new provision, rules would be established that require government procurement to be conducted consistent with U.S. law and the administration’s policy.

The letter also supposedly call for leveling the playing field in tax treatment, expanding opportunities for agriculture, and creating stricter intellectual property enforcement and digital protection.

It is likely that this draft will be altered further before any formal NAFTA negotiations, which would be initiated through a formal 9-day notice of President Trump’s intent to revisit the deal. To stay up to date on the future of NAFTA and U.S. trade policy, follow Mercatura Global on Twitter.

USTR Nominee Robert Lighthizer Takes Strong Stance on China in Senate Hearing

March 15, 2017  |  No Comments  |  by Nicole àBeckett  |  Blog

President Trump’s nominee for U.S. Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, had his Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday. At the hearing, Lighthizer pledged an “America first” strategy and vowed an aggressive approach to tackling trade with China. According to Reuters, Lighthizer claimed he will enforce U.S. laws and trade deals that will stop unfair imports and push China into scrapping excess factory capacity.

Lighthizer further targeted China and the World Trade Organization by asserting the WTO isn’t set up to “effectively deal with a country like China and their industrial policy” (Politico). Lighthizer specifically referred to China’s industrial policies that allow for the dumping of steel and aluminum products into U.S. markets.

Lighthizer’s confirmation as U.S. Trade Representative has been delayed due to his representation of Brazil and China in the past. The 1995 amendment to the Trade Act prohibits the president from appointing a trade representative who has directly represented, aided or advised a foreign entity in a trade negotiation or dispute (Bloomberg). As a result, Senate democrats are claiming Lighthizer needs a waiver from both houses of Congress before he is confirmed.

After the hearing on Tuesday, Republican chairman of the committee Orrin Hatch conveyed his belief that Lighthizer is both qualified to serve as the USTR and that he should be confirmed in “short order.”

This Week in Trade: U.S. Trade Representative Hearing, the German Chancellor Visit, and More

March 13, 2017  |  No Comments  |  by Nicole àBeckett  |  Blog

Robert Lighthizer Hearing on Tuesday:

President Donald Trump’s choice for the position of U.S. Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, will have his controversial Senate confirmation hearing this Tuesday. Lighthizer previously represented an entity controlled by the government of China in a trade dispute with the U.S. in 1991 and also worked on behalf of Brazil in 1985. As there is a government provision that bars anyone who represented foreign governments in trade negotiations/disputes with the U.S. from being U.S. Trade Representative, Lighthizer will need a special congressional waiver before he is confirmed.


President Trump Meets with German Chancellor on Friday:

President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are set to meet on Friday, March 17th. Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, has claimed the German government does not “believe in world economic order based on protectionism” (Reuters). The two leaders are expected to discuss a variety of topics, with trade being a central issue.  During the 2016 campaign, President Trump called Merkel “great world leader,” but that her decision to allow hundreds of thousands of refugees into Germany was a “catastrophic mistake.”

Further tension stems from the fact that Germany has a 50 billion-euro trade surplus with the U.S., making it Germany’s biggest export destination. Therefore, protectionist sentiments in the U.S. are of great concern for German exporters.


TPP Negotiators to Discuss Trade in Chile:

This week, trade ministers from a handful of Pacific Rim countries are meeting in Vina del Mar, Chile, to discuss trade. The primary reason for the meeting is to discuss the future of the TPP now that the U.S. will not participate, and the talks are between the 12 TPP negotiators, including the U.S., as well as China, South Korea, and Cambodia.

As the U.S. currently has no official trade representative, the U.S. Ambassador to Chile, Carol Perez, will attend the meeting on behalf of the U.S.

California Exports Show Optimistic Trade Outlook for 2017

March 10, 2017  |  No Comments  |  by Nicole àBeckett  |  Blog

California started off 2017 with a high level of exports.

According to Beacon Economics’ analysis of U.S. trade statistics released by the U.S. Census Bureau, California’s merchandise export trade in January 2017 posted a nominal 10.9% gain over January 2016. Over the last year, California accounted for 11.3% of the entire country’s merchandise exports, totaling to $117.71 billion of merchandise export trade.

Manufactured goods exports this January rose by 10.4% in comparison with last January, rising from $7.83 billion to $8.64 billion. In comparison, non-manufactured goods (mainly agricultural products and raw materials) grew by an impressive 24.8%, from $1.28 billion to $1.59 billion.

California’s primary trading partners are Mexico and Canada. There was an 8% and 22.3% year-over-year respective increase in exports to the countries in January 2017. In addition, shipments to the European Union were 6.3% higher and to the Far East were 19.5% higher.

All of these gains from trade were reflected in increased volume of outbound traffic at California’s main international trade gateways, including LAX and the Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Oakland.

These numbers, provided by the U.S. Census Bureau, indicate a positive outlook on California exports in 2017. If you are interested in taking advantage of the growing demand for California exports, Mercatura Global can help you develop an export strategy that best meets your company’s needs. For more information, contact Mercatura Global today.


Happy International Women’s Day! Female Exporter Spotlight: Tess Winningham

March 8, 2017  |  No Comments  |  by Nicole àBeckett  |  Blog

In honor of International Women’s Day, Mercatura Global is recognizing a woman business-owner who has achieved success through international trade.

Tess Winningham, CEO and Co-Founder of Alignment Simple Solutions, says she’d like to see “seventy percent” of her company’s total sales be from exports (Global Trade Magazine). Alignment Simple Solutions corporation was formed in 2012, and its manufactures and sells quality wheel alignment products.

From the start, Winningham had the goal of growing her company globally. Initially, she utilized eBay as a mechanism to test global demand and to increase global awareness of her product. The Commerce Department’s U.S. Commercial Service former director in Birmingham, Nelda Segars, says she remembers that Alignment Simple Solutions stood out against other small businesses because the company did not have to be educated or convinced into seeing the advantages of exporting.

Tess had been working in business development for some time, and she immediately understood the value of her product and the demand it would have worldwide. At first, the company mainly exported to Mexico and Australia. After utilizing the Commercial Service’s Gold Key program, Winningham entered the European market. The Department of Commerce provided counseling and assistance throughout the process.

Alignment Simple Solutions now sells its products in over 100 countries worldwide, both through online sales and direct distributors. The company has won the Alabama’s Excellence Award, was named Alabama’s Small Business of the Year, and has received other honors.

Mercatura Global is a strong supporter of #womenwhoexport. Through our Women’s Trade Connect Platform, we hope to unite like-minded women business-owners across the world and encourage them to engage in cross-border trade. If you are a female business-owner looking to grow your company and discover strategic partners abroad, contact Mercatura Global today.


U.S. Oil Exports Boom as CERAweek Begins

March 6, 2017  |  No Comments  |  by Nicole àBeckett  |  Blog

In 2016, the U.S. exported a record 3 million barrels a day of refined products, which is over double the 1.3 million barrels a day that were exported 10 years ago (Bloomberg).

The U.S. refining industry has experienced a major shift in recent years, and it has transformed from a domestic industry to a global venture. This is largely due to struggling countries such in Asia, Latin America, and Africa leaving gaps in the industry that U.S. companies have taken advantage of.  For the first time ever, in late 2016 the U.S. actually exported more crude and refined products to Latin America than it imported from the region. The U.S. is redrawing the global energy map.

Last year alone, Mexico relied on U.S. gasoline for a total of 50% of total consumption, and in December it imported a record high of 1.2 million barrels a day of U.S. fuels. However, this boom is mainly due to malfunctions of local Mexican refineries, not due to an increased demand for fuel. Aside from Mexico (22% of exports), U.S. refined products are also being exported to Canada (13%), Japan (7%), and Brazil (6%).

In an effort to stabilize oil prices, OPEC has agreed to cut back oil production in 2017. According to Reuters, this has caused a spike in American, British, and Brazilian sales of oil to Asia as companies attempt to fill the emerging supply gap. So far, OPEC has lost about 5% of its Asian market share since October.

This week is the 36th annual CERAweek in Houston, an international gathering where energy industry leaders and others meet to discuss future investment plans within the industry. The program provides insight into the global and regional energy future by discussing key issues. For more information about CERAweek, click here.

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