Entries in Exports (12)


US Manufacturers Get Boost from Overseas Customers

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- A few years ago, Signature Systems Group, which makes portable flooring and fencing products, had $10 million in annual sales and only sold its products in the U.S.

Now, more than half of the Bronx, N.Y., company’s customers are overseas, annual sales have reached $70 million and the company has quadrupled its workforce.

During the opening ceremonies of this summer’s London Olympics, Elton John even performed on one of Signature Systems Group’s floors.

“I could see the floor,” said Arnon Rosan, CEO of Signature Systems Group. “I know they put stuff on top of it but I could always see where the floor was. It was exciting.”

But what’s truly exciting is the comeback that companies like Signature Systems Group are experiencing.

The Boston Consulting Group estimated last year that as many as 3 million new American jobs would be created by 2020. Now, it’s bumped that number to as many as 5 million jobs.

For the first time since the 1930s, U.S. manufacturers have an advantage in exports.

With the most productive workers in the world, U.S. labor is now 20 percent to 45 percent cheaper than foreign competitors. New technologies like fracking are unlocking energy reserves and pushing down energy costs. Even shipping from U.S. ports is cheaper.

“The container ships are coming to the U.S. full,” said the Boston Consulting Group’s Hal Sirkin. “Those containers have to go back anyway, so the U.S. is able to put goods in that container and the shipping companies don’t charge them that much more.”

Many U.S. companies said they can now compete globally.

  • At in Los Angeles, business is up 600 percent and its products are now sold in 24 countries.
  • Hurd Windows and Doors of Medford and Merrill, Wis., said it has customers overseas.
  • Cali-Bowl, which is designed in California, now reaches customers in Korea.
  • Even Oklahoma City’s Lady Americana told ABC News it was hiring.

Economists said that the boom in manufacturing could drive down unemployment by two percent or three percent by the end of the decade.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Fears Mount as China Reports Weak Trading Data in July

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BEIJING) -- Worries are mounting over the strength of the global economy after China, the world’s second largest economy, reported worse than expected trade data on Friday.

In July, China's exports rose by 1 percent from a year earlier, falling short of the 11.3 percent gain made in June.  Analysts had expected to see a growth of about 8 percent.

Imports, meanwhile, faired slight better, climbing by 4.7 percent last month.  But that still was below expectations -- analysts had predicted a 7 percent gain -- and the figures are down from the 6.3 percent growth in June.

The news sent Asian, European and U.S. stocks down on Friday.

Sluggish trade growth is problematic for the Chinese government as it readies to undergo a once-a-decade transition to new leadership. Since June, the country has cut interest rates twice, but it may need more aggressive action to reverse the downturn.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


US Products Are Tops in the Middle East

John Foxx/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- From cars and food to clothing and businesses, consumers in the Middle East love their U.S. products.

According to the U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce, U.S. exports to the Arab world are expected to reach $117 billion next year -- up from $68 billion in 2010 -- which result in one million stateside jobs.

The U.S. is the top exporting country to Saudi Arabia and Qatar, with exports totaling $13.8 billion and $2.8 billion in 2011, respectively.  The top growth sectors are machinery, meat, household goods, toys and games.

GM is the number one American car company in the Middle East. While the U.S. car industry grew by just 1 percent in 2011, GM said that it grew by 13 percent.  Its Tahoe sport utility vehicle, manufactured in Texas, is the number one seller in the region, followed by the Yukon SUV.

Eli's Cheesecake out of Chicago forged a partnership in 2010 with Herfy, Saudi Arabia's biggest and most successful fast-food brand.  With 250 workers, Eli's makes 15,000 to 20,000 desserts a year and now exports about 10 percent of those treats to Herfy's network of 185 restaurants in five countries.

Eli's said that because of its overseas deal, the company has grown by 50 percent in the past year.

For Nancy Mercolino, president of Ceilings Plus, the Middle East -- and Europe -- have meant big business for her Los Angeles manufacturing company.  Ceilings Plus has $30 million in annual revenue and 55 percent of its sales hail from Europe and the Middle East.

"We've doubled our job count at our company -- more than double in the last four years -- and we owe that to our exporting," she told ABC News.  "We owe the growth of Ceilings Plus over the past five years to the innovation, care and quality of our employees."

The 160-strong company, which makes wood and metal ceilings, beat out 10 others to build all the ceilings in the new Doha airport.  Every single component of the ceilings -- all three million square feet -- were made in Los Angeles.

Mercolino also credited Export-Import Bank of the U.S. with her company's overseas business boom.

"[The bank] also made an incredible impact on our ability to get the equipment and finance these projects," she said.  "Without [Export-Import] bank, we wouldn't be here today.  We could not have done this project without government financing.  Private lenders don't readily lend as deemed risky."

Mercolino said that as small businesses like hers and Eli's gained more experience and knowhow to take their product overseas, other countries should take notice.

"It's a long journey that's still not done.  We're still in the beginning phase," she said.  "If we get started exporting, China, I think, should watch out.  We are the sleeping giant and they're just waking us up." 

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Signs Export-Import Bank Reauthorization

File. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama signed legislation Wednesday to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, saying the bill will help boost U.S. exports and create jobs here at home.

Hitting on campaign themes, the president hailed the bill as important to building a strong middle class and "the kind of economy where everybody is getting a fair shot and everybody is doing their fair share, and everybody is playing by the same rules."

"Part of building that broad-based economy with a strong middle class is making sure that we’re not just known as a nation that consumes.  We’ve got to be a nation that produces, a nation that sells," Obama said at a White House signing ceremony. "Our middle class was created by workers who made and sold the best products in the world.  Our communities and our economy have always done better when we shipped more goods than anybody else, stamped with that phrase: ‘Made in America.’ And I want us to be that nation again."

The Export-Import Bank aids U.S. exporters by providing financial assistance to foreign entities that purchase American-made goods. The bill that was signed Wednesday extends the institution’s mandate through September 2014 and raises its financing cap to $140 billion from the current $100 billion.

The president praised lawmakers for passing the legislation, but made clear "we’ve got more work to do."  

Obama went on to urge Congress to act on his legislative "to-do list" to grow the economy, arguing "we shouldn’t have to wait until an election to do some of this business."

"I hope this ends up being a model for the kind of progress that we can make in the months to come and the years to come," he said of the Export-Import Bank reauthorization.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Made in America, Please? China Shells Out for US Exports

Dynamic Graphics/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- In China, there is a hunger for all things American -- and U.S. businesses, small and large, are taking note.

According to the U.S.-China Business Council, the Chinese spent $104 billion in U.S. exports in the last year -- up 542 percent from 10 years ago.

In China recently, Oscar Atkinson, a CEO at Silicone Arts Labs in Memphis, Tenn., visited with potential partners in Beijing and then went to a medical trade fair in Shenzhen, shopping around his company's new skin concealer product called Dermaflage.

"The Chinese consumer is just as image-conscious as the American consumer," he said. "We could have great success if we could find the right partner [and] overcome the regulatory hurdles, which are not significant. I'm looking forward to it."

Even U.S. giants like Pringles and Coca-Cola have figured out there's money to be made across the Pacific.

In Jackson, Tenn., a Pringles chip plant changes the flavors of its chips to soft-shell crab, grilled shrimp and seaweed before shipping to the Chinese middle class. Currently, one of every three Pringles cans goes overseas.

Skippy peanut butter, which is made in Little Rock, Ark., now ships to 70 countries. And Coca-Cola has created a beverage -- which tastes like a sweet version of orange juice -- to cater to the Chinese. The oranges come from the groves of Florida but are sold 11,000 miles away in Shanghai in a drink named Pulpy.

It's not just food. Mack's, the world's largest manufacturer of moldable, silicone earplugs, now provides labels for the Chinese market.

And most of the makeup in China bears U.S. labels -- which is why Atkinson was there, traveling from city to city making his sales pitch for Dermaflage.

He said the Shenzhen trade show was packed with people and international companies.

"It's really something to behold," he told ABC News.

But other U.S. entrepreneurs like Lion Brand Yarn in New Jersey have found another way to reach the masses in China -- through Export Now, an business that helps small- and medium-size U.S. businesses sell to Chinese consumers.

"Much like customers in other parts of the world, Chinese customers are often skeptical about the quality of Chinese-made products," Export Now said. "U.S. products...are getting more and more welcome in the local market."

The company, which sells everything from flip-flops to T-shirts and skateboards, said that 370 million Chinese had logged in to shop for U.S products on its website so far and that last year the site had sold $60 billion in U.S products.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama to Colombia to Boost US Exports

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(TAMPA, Fla.) -- President Obama visited one of the nation’s busiest seaports Friday as a prelude to a weekend South American summit that he said is about courting customers for U.S. exports in order to boost job growth at home.

“Ninety-five percent of the world’s consumers live outside our borders.  We want them buying our products.  And I’m willing to go anywhere in the world to open up new markets for American businesses,” Obama told a crowd of port workers and small business leaders at the Port of Tampa, Fla.

“In fact, that’s what I’m going to be doing right after this visit to Tampa.  I’m heading to Colombia to take part in the Summit of the Americas, which brings together leaders from the Caribbean, and from North, South and Central America,” he said.

Obama, who had set a goal of doubling U.S. exports by 2014, said business with trading partners in the Western Hemisphere is booming — up 46 percent since 2009.  He called the trend a “big deal,” especially for Tampa and Florida, a state critical to his re-election bid.

“We now export more to the Western Hemisphere than to any other region in the world,” he said. “And those exports support nearly 4 million U.S. jobs.”

“So while I’m in Colombia talking with other leaders, I’m going to be thinking about you,” he added.

The administration announced Friday that it is launching a Small Business Network of the Americas aimed at making it easier for small- to medium-sized firms access capital to expand their business to the south. Obama billed the initiative as a sign he believes in free enterprise.

“I’ve always said that the true engine of job creation in this country is the private sector, not Washington,” he said. “Our job in government is to help businesses grow and to hire — to create platforms for their success.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


US and Mexico End Decades-Long Trucking Dispute, Boost Trade

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(MEXICO CITY) -- The United States and Mexico reached an agreement Wednesday to end a ban on Mexican trucks entering the U.S., which lasted nearly two decades.  Putting an end to the measure will cut punitive tariffs by half within the next 10 days and remove the rest on about $2.4 billion worth of U.S. products by the end of this summer, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Mexican Communications and Transportation Minister Dionisio Perez-Jacome signed the agreement in Mexico City Wednesday.  LaHood's outlook on trade was a positive one.

"The agreements signed today are a win for roadway safety and they are a win for trade," he said in a statement Wednesday.

The expectation is that road safety will improve under the terms of the agreement.  The pact requires that Mexican trucks carry monitoring systems that will track hours of service and routes; drivers partake in tests of their ability to read and understand English and U.S. traffic signs; drivers take drug test on a regular basis and that they allow for reviews of driving records.  U.S. drivers and trucks will comply under the same terms in Mexico.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Wednesday lauded the agreement to end the ban and boost exports to Mexico.

"This is a vital step toward a more efficient U.S.-Mexico border," said Chamber president and CEO, Thomas J. Donahue.  "We urge Congress to support this agreement and let this dispute be brought to an end."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Despite Weak Jobs Numbers, Stocks Rebound Thursday

Ryan McVay/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The slide is over.  U.S. stocks perked up Thursday after six days of losses.  News about April's exports was well received by investors.

The Dow closed up 77 points.  The Nasdaq and the S&P both gained 9 Thursday.

Exports reached a record high in April, according to a recently released report.  But there are still signs the economy's growth is slowing down.  First-time unemployment claims consistently disappoint:  Numbers increased by 1,000 last week to 427,000.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


New Sanctions Unlikely to Affect Flow of Venezuelan Oil to US

Comstock Images/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- On Tuesday, the Obama administration slapped new sanctions on Venezuela’s state-run oil company PDVSA, even though Venezuela ranks fourth among countries which export petroleum to the United States.

U.S. officials stress that the sanctions are specifically designed to allow oil shipments to the United States and world markets to continue while making it harder for Venezuela to support Iran’s energy sector. The new measures are also unlikely to lead Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to retaliate by cutting off petroleum sales to the United States, according to government officials and oil analysts.

The new sanctions on PDVSA and six other foreign companies penalize them for doing business with Iran’s energy sector in violation of U.S. law. PDVSA owns Citgo; however, the sanctions do not prohibit petroleum exports to the United States and deals conducted by any subsidies. Rather, the sanctions prohibit dealings with the United States government and aim to make it harder for Iran to import the refined petroleum products it needs.

Venezuela is on average the fourth-largest source of petroleum imported to the United States, according to the Department of Energy, and while it might seem that Venezuela could hold that over the United States’ head, State Department officials say the United States is one of the few countries that can use and process the type of heavy crude that Venezuela produces.

As much as the United States needs Venezuela’s oil, Venezuela’s leaders need the revenue from massive petroleum sales to the United States.

If Chavez were to cut off oil from the U.S., the administration believes he would be hard-pressed to find another buyer elsewhere, and certainly not one large enough to make up for the loss, according to a State Department official involved in the drafting of the sanctions.

Since Chavez relies on oil revenues to fund social programs that he uses to maintain political support, the Obama administration feels he would be shooting himself in the foot by cutting the flow of oil to the United States, the official said.

In announcing the sanctions Tuesday, the State Department said the government’s analysis believes it will not have an effect on oil prices.

So far, that prediction appears to be holding.

“If it was going to really effect the U.S. supply of oil, we’d see the markets going crazy -- that’s not happening,” said Andy Lipow, a Houston-based oil market analyst for Lipow Oil Associates.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


American Exports Boom in March, Biggest Gain Since '94

Dynamic Graphics/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- It’s a big boost for “Made in the USA:” American exports jumped in March, but imports rose as well.

American exports rose 4.6 percent in March, the biggest monthly gain since 1994. U.S. manufacturers stepped up production with increasing foreign demand for cars, chemicals and industrial machinery.

The Commerce Department says the trade deficit grew to more than $48 billion because of the soaring price of oil imports.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio