In the summer of 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama announced the formation of a program known as the National Export Initiative (NEI). A focus of this initiative was the goal of doubling U.S. exports within 5 years and to give America a stronger competitive edge in the global market. Later that fall, he signed into law the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 – which provided the resources to assist small businesses drive economic recovery and create jobs, striving to attain the goals set forth in the NEI.
ABOVE: President Obama signs the Small Business Jobs Act, September 27, 2010. (Win McNamee, Getty Images.)
The State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) grant initiative, launched under the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, is a pilot grant program authorizing up to US$ 90 million in grants to the 50 U.S. states (and additional territories) over a three year period to help them increase the number of businesses that export, and to increase the value of exports by small businesses.
In 2011, the STEP program awarded 52 grants totaling US $30 million – an average grant to a U.S. state or territory was US$ 577,000.
Administered and distributed via most U.S. state-based economic development agencies, these funds are designated for authorized activities that including foreign trade missions, design of international marketing products, and of course: OVERSEAS TRADE SHOWS SUCH AS THOSE ORGANIZED AND PRODUCED WORLDWIDE BY MESSE DUESSELDORF!
Each state has its own project plans and STEP grant dispersal procedures, so be sure to contact your state’s economic development agency for details (a full list can be found HERE).
When in the 2002 heater hit movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding the father of the bride Gus Portokalos (adroitly played by Michael Constantine) is confronted with any kind of skin ailment, he pans, "Put some Windex." Somehow that humorous expression strikes me as somberly befitting for this week’s economic developments in Europe where its leaders agreed on a so-called “Windex-Fix” that would impose steep losses on investors holding troubled Greek bonds while simultaneously boosting the effectiveness of the region’s bailout fund.
Michael Constantine / My Big Fat Greek Wedding
This is important stuff to know for American companies involved in exporting, to know the financial situation of international markets, and what market realities your business partners (and competitors!) overseas are facing. Knowing this will allow you to engage more effectively when you participate at one of our trade shows in Düsseldorf.
A Grand Plan
Under the agreement reached in Brussels in the wee hours of the morning, Greek bondholders agreed to voluntarily write down the value of Greek bonds by 50%, thereby reducing the nation's debt to 120% of GDP from 150%. The private sector [read: mostly European banks] agreed to the write downs on the condition of a € 30 billion contribution from the public sector [read: European tax payers].
At the same time, the bailout fund (known as the new European Financial Stability Facility) would help cash-strapped countries like Spain and Italy borrow at least € 1 trillion by providing a kind of insurance that would make their bonds more attractive to investors – and thus hopefully preventing them from eventually experiencing a similar fate as Greece.
So why is this important?
New York Times columnist Bill Marsh recently prepared a remarkably interesting article and flow chart putting the entire complicated situation into a clearer and simplified perspective:
At one time, investors viewed lending to the Euro Zone as risk free. But Greece was borrowing more money to finance itself than it could afford to repay. Similarly, but to a somewhat lesser extent, other countries in Europe (Ireland, Portugal, Spain, and even Italy) were finding themselves sliding down a similar path. With investors sensing that bond yields would not be met, it looked increasingly possible that the contagion could spread elsewhere – resulting in more difficulty for these countries to borrow money to pay their bills, and risking the investors (i.e. European banks) bottom line: a resulting recipe for huge financial losses, European credit markets to lock up, and certain European financial meltdown to follow. The shockwave would be felt worldwide – yes, here in the United States.
Is this “putting Windex” treatment going to work?
Marsh hypothesized that Greek debt will continue to grow and that eventually an orderly, negotiated default will occur, which will ideally be contained thanks to the above mentioned agreement reached in Brussels – and which would shore up the credit of the other countries Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Italy and thereby save the Euro currency and financial collapse of the Euro Zone.
At the moment, it appears an imminent crisis has been averted. But of course, time will tell.
Watching this summer’s nonstop political childish behavior wrangling and economic rollercoaster uncertainty unfold on both sides of the Atlantic would make a reasonable person think that the whole world’s unraveling at the seams. With 24 hour cable-TV talking heads feeding us their nonstop personal opinions and endless electronic push notifications cranking out of our smart-phones feeding us every trivial byte of “news”, you’d think that modern civilization is on the verge of collapse.
Hardly. Put it all aside, calm yourself, and take three deep breaths. Better now?
Over the past months something remarkable has been occurring beneath the radar of the much-hyped nonsense that passes for news and politics nowadays.
2011 has stacked up as a remarkably positive year for U.S. companies seeking export markets and participating at Messe Duesseldorf’s trade shows.
Not withstanding the very positive results for US companies that have already participated at this year’s leading interpack and GIFA-METEC-THERMPROCESS-NEWCAST events in Germany, and Hospitalar in Brazil, record-breaking participation at the upcoming MEDICA and COMPAMED trade fairs in Düsseldorf this November will be realized.
MEDICA and COMPAMED will feature nearly 450 U.S.-based exhibitors occupying nearly 65,000 square feet of net exhibit space, more space back to back and side to side than would fill an entire US-football field! Add in the participating companies from Canada and from Mexico at MEDICA and COMPAMED, and the show is the largest contingent of North-American based exhibitors at a medical industry event fair anywhere outside of the western hemisphere!
And just around the corner next spring: the once-every-four-year drupa 2012 print-media trade will return to Düsseldorf for a whopping two-week stint, and where American companies will occupy about 2 football fields of space.
True, we’ve been saddled here with a sluggish economy and not enough jobs, but exports have proven to be an important way to grow business, put people to work, and stay competitive with growing international competition! So instead of wringing our hands about cable’s predicted societal implosion, just turn off the television and reset your browser’s homepage to www.mdna.com in order to focus on the the positive, exciting things that U.S. innovators and exporters are proudly doing!
The world renowned Carnival festivities of Brazil concluded last Tuesday at midnight, but in many ways the good times are continuing to roll in this massive country of over 193 million people.
Hospitalar, the 18th International Fair of Products, Equipment, Services and Technology for Hospitals, Laboratories, Pharmacies, Health Clinics and Medical Offices will return to the Brazilian metropolis of São Paulo (May 24-27, 2011), and already the indicators are present that this will medical industry trade show will break its own records!
Andre Penner / AP Photo
Especially for companies based in the United States, Hospitalar has grown increasingly attractive over the past several years as more and more companies seek to get involved in Brazil and other important South American markets. Already set to break last year’s high water mark, more American companies have signed up and will occupy more space than ever before at this “thermometer” of the health sector in Brazil.
Brazil’s healthcare sector represents over 8% of the country’s GDP. In 2009, Brazilian imports of medical equipment and devices totaled around US$ 2.8 billion. Around 43.2 million Brazilians are covered by health plans/insurance. Additionally, there are reported to be 218,254 Health Services establishments, 6,733 hospitals and 17,911 medical laboratories in Brazil. The budget of Brazil’s federal Health Ministry in 2010 was more than US$ 40 billion.
And growth in this field is only predicted to continue. Expansion in this sector is not merely anecdotal: just last month the Hospital Nossa Senhora de Lourdes Hospital in the city of São Paulo opened its new Surgery Center occupying a total area of nearly 20,000 square feet. And the nearby city of São Carlos will receive US$ 4.1 million for the construction of a 100,000 square foot building for the Center for Innovation in Healthcare and for the purchase of equipment and materials.
Hospitalar is an annual trade fair – the last staging of the show in 2010 featured 1,250 exhibitors, representing 36 countries and attracted some 89,000 trade visitors from 60 countries to its accompanying exhibits, congresses, and workshops.
Take the classic Brazilian phrase É boa pra caramba: "Boa" by itself means "good." But when "pra caramba" comes after "good," it transforms “It's good” to “It's amazing!”
Messe Düsseldorf North America, the subsidiary office of Messe Düsseldorf in Germany - organizer of the renowned MEDICA trade fair, is the exclusive representative office of Hospitalar in the United States and Canada, and also organizes the North American Pavilion at the show every year.
McLean, Virginia based FPSA (The Food Processing Suppliers Association) is a global trade association serving suppliers in the food and beverage industries. The Association's programs and services support its members by providing assistance in marketing their products and services, overall improvement in key business practices and many opportunities to network among industry colleagues. Among the association's programs and services to achieve these objectives is PROCESS EXPO, The Global Food Equipment and Technology Show.
Messe Düsseldorf GmbH and The FPSA recently announced the formation of a formal strategic alliance to increase the international reach of PROCESS EXPO as part of interpack’s worldwide product family.
Messe Duesseldorf will aid in the sale of booth space at PROCESS EXPO as well as well as promoting visitor attendance to food processors around the globe.
Pictured from left to right: Bernd Jablonowski (Project Director, interpack 2011), Hans Werner Reinhard (Executive Vice President, Messe Duesseldorf GmbH), Jan Erik Kuhlmann (President & CEO, Multivac), David Seckman (President & CEO, FPSA).
The renowned interpack trade fair, organized by Messe Duesseldorf, was founded in 1958 and developed over the decades into the number one global platform for the packaging and processing industry. The last staging of the show in 2008 featured 2,744 exhibitors from 60 nations and attracted 179,000 trade visitors.
“This partnership will significantly increase the presence of PROCESS EXPO in the international market, where Messe Duesseldorf is a leader within the processing and packaging trade show arena,” stated Scott Scriven, Chairman of FPSA. “With 7 international subsidiaries and 68 foreign representatives worldwide supporting Messe Duesseldorf in 127 countries, PROCESS EXPO will have unprecedented access to new markets,” he added.
“Messe Duessseldorf is pleased to be joining with FPSA in the formation of this partnership. The exponential growth of PROCESS EXPO since the announcement of the move to a biennial show tells us that strategically, this is where we need to be in the North American market. We are now pleased to offer our existing customers a new platform,” added Hans Werner Reinhard, Executive Vice President of Messe Duesseldorf.
PROCESS EXPO will be held November 1-4, 2011 at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago, Illinois. www.myprocessexpo.com
interpack will return to the fairgrounds in Duesseldorf, Germany May 12-18, 2011. www.interpack.com
2010 is stacking up to be a good year for U.S. companies seeking export markets and participating at Messe Duesseldorf’s trade shows not just in Duesseldorf, but at the company’s satellite trade fairs in other markets, from Brazil and Australia to China, India, Russia and Singapore!
A total of 987 U.S. companies have participated in, or will participate, in our worldwide roster of trade shows in 2010, occupying over 250,000 square feet of net exhibit space – enough to completely fill nearly four and half US-football fields end to end and side to side!
Leading the pack this year, as always, is the renowned MEDICA and COMPAMED trade fairs this November in Duesseldorf. The show will feature over 420 US-based exhibitors (a 5% increase over 2009), not mentioning the numerous others who participate in the show via European or offices based elsewhere in the world. Add in 48 companies from Canada and 10 from Mexico at MEDICA and COMPAMED, and the show is the largest contingent of North-American based exhibitors at a medical industry event outside of the western hemisphere!
Other events in Duesseldorf, # 1 worldwide for their respective industries that have occurred this year, included wire/Tube (120 US exhibitors), glasstec (58) and the upcoming K trade fair later this month (112), just to name a few.
Saddled with a sluggish economic recovery at home, exports have proven to be an important way to grow business and stay competitive with growing international competition. Kudos to these US companies that are actively embracing export market opportunities!
We’ve been showing the way for nearly 30 years!
Since 1982, Messe Düsseldorf North America has been a resource for US companies seeking new international market opportunities. We have served as an international like to innumerable U.S. companies over the years, assisting with everything necessary to exhibit at or visit one of the trade shows organized by the Messe Düsseldorf group of companies around the world.
For nearly 30 years, MDNA has brought market partners together to ensure that exhibitors and visitors find customers or providers of service and merchandise they are looking for.
San Fernando, California-based Medical Illumination International is a leading medical lighting manufacturer for surgeries, minor procedure/examinations, oral surgeries, magnifying and UV "Woods" lights, and has been an annual exhibitor at MEDICA in Düsseldorf, Germany for the past decade.
At the beginning of July 2010, the company was invited by the White House to attend a briefing by President Obama on his new National Export Initiative (NEI).The participants received a first-hand explanation of the U.S. Government’s plans to increase its support of U.S. manufacturing businesses - including the goal of doubling U.S. exports within five years, hammerig out more trade agreements, increasing pressure on trading partners to further open their markets to U.S. products, and a proposal to create an export promotion cabinet.
Chosen as one of 150 American companies because of its strong embrace of export operations, Medical Illumination International was represented at the briefing by VP of Sales & Marketing Mr. Larry Debord.U.S. President Barack Obama outlined his vision for this new export initiative, as well as the various facets of the program and how they would to be implemented, including more financial support for export promotion.
Messe Duesseldorf North America congratulates Medical Illumination International for its participation in this special and unique event, and for its embrace of exporting and seeking new markets overseas.
President of the United States Barack Obama
Mr. Larry Debord Vice President, Sales & Marketing Medical Illumination International
Since 1982, Messe Düsseldorf North America has been a resource for US companies seeking new international market opportunities.We have served as an international like to innumerable U.S. companies over the years, assisting with everything necessary to exhibit at or visit one of the trade shows organized by the Messe Düsseldorf group of companies in Germany, Czech Republic, South East Asia, China, India, Russia, The Middle East, and South America.
Has anyone been paying attention to what’s been going on in Greece for the past few months?
If not, you probably should be – for there are some remarkable things that are happening there right now that have a direct impact on worldwide finance, exchange rates, and exports – all of which are relevant to your company’s export strategies and international trade show participation!
In a nutshell:
Years of unrestrained government spending has left Greece, a country of just over 11 million, with a national debt of upwards of more than 120% of the nation’s annual GDP.Greece has also not been in compliance for some time with the EU’s rules that Eurozone members keep their deficit below 3 per cent of GDP. (Greece’s deficit is currently reported at 12.7 %.)
Like many countries, the Greek government relies on borrowed money to balance its books. However the worldwide recession of the past couple of years has made this harder to achieve because tax revenues have been falling while public sector spending and welfare payments have been rising.
Investors and market speculators have lost confidence in the Greek government's ability to tax and borrow, and therefore have been demanding increasing interest rates to offset the risk that they might not get their money back.And the higher it’s borrowing costs, the more difficult it has been for Greece’s economy to outgrow the problem.
To muddy the waters further, Greece
is one of 16 members of the Eurozone.This means it cannot act on its own (i.e. devaluate its currency, cut interest rates, etc), but must defer to the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, Germany.All the Greek government can really do independently is rely on public sector service cuts – which will undoubtedly extend and deepen the country’s recession, foment civil discord, and further reduce tax revenues which will make it even more unlikely the country can meet its future debt obligations.
The big concern has been that Greece might walk away from its existing debts and simply try to go at it independently – and potentially triggering another round of similar defaults in other indebted European countries (i.e. Spain, Portugal, Ireland), eventually placing the value (and perhaps existence!) of the Euro in peril. A Solution at Hand?
In the first weekend of May 2010, EU leaders led by German Chancellor Angela Merkel stepped in to build a firewall in an attempt to protect its members from speculative attacks.(If the EU had not acted to protect Greece from defaulting, the concern was that bond speculators and investors would bail from Spain and Portugal as well, seriously increasing the depth of the problem and threatening not just Europe but the rest of the world’s economy!)
So up to € 70 billion was allocated in an attempt to protect the Euro against further market speculation.Nonetheless, worldwide markets have continued to sell of the Euro – resulting in its lowest value against the US Dollar in more than a year. What does this mean for US exhibitors at our trade shows in Düsseldorf?
This infinitely complex problem has been boiled down to its most basic elements for the sake of this article. But the net result in the short term is that US based companies can expect increased purchasing power abroad (your US$ will go further in exhibit space costs, booth rental, travel expenses, etc), but probably increased European competition because of the weaker Euro, and less purchasing power by European customers.
Exhibitor registration opened this past week for one of Messe Düsseldorf’s most long-running and renowned trade shows, GIFA 2011 – International Foundry Trade Fair.Since 1956 the city of Düsseldorf has played host in convenient proximity to Germany’s industrial heart in the neighboring Ruhr
region, which developed rapidly during the industrial revolution with the development of several iron works and to this day remains the crucible of the country’s foundry output.
Perhaps more so than other industries over the past couple of years, the iron and steel industries have been particularly hard hit due to drop in demand for everything from automobiles to household appliances.Stock markets plunged, financial sources and lending seized up, and capital expenditures and investments tanked.
Astutely reported recently in a leading U.S.
foundry industry trade journal, the economic downturn of 2008 and 2009 made it readily apparent that finance and capital were indeed global in nature, and by extension – so has become economic competition. (“2010 Outlook.” Foundry Management & Technology
December 2009: 17-20. Print.)
And within the industry there appears to be a growing consensus that to stay competitive and achieve growth, the playing field has now changed.Surely domestic consumption no longer can be counted on as the solely reliable source for sustainable long-term growth.
The growth opportunities are increasingly in international markets.
GIFA will continue to offer US companies a platform to maintain their prominence and global competitiveness. Every four years, nearly 800 exhibitors from all over the world present the very latest foundry machinery, plant construction technologies, foundry-related materials, engineering innovations and measurement and testing devices for quality assurance to over 70,000 trade visitors.
GIFA is an international technology forum focusing on the needs of the customers and represents a marketplace for sustainable innovations.Contact Messe Düsseldorf North America and see the possibilities!
In February 2010, the administration of Barack Obama officially announced a new strategy to implement policies that would encourage U.S.
exports to double in five years, thus making good on promises made during the 2008 U.S.
presidential campaign.The unveiling included pledges to hammer out more trade agreements, increase pressure on trading partners to further open their markets to U.S. products, and a proposal to create an export promotion cabinet.
Officials also explained that this initiative would also include more financial support for export promotion.
Now you can make sound arguments about the wisdom of the U.S. Government to be spending borrowed money on this, or whether or not American workers get a fair shake from these trade agreements.(Just take a 5 second look at the shouting heads on the various cable TV “news” outlets.)But let’s face it:Overall, the American economy benefits from its exports, and any assistance waving our flag is a welcome development in this increasingly competitive world.
And what’s more, the favorable value of the U.S. dollar in the past couple of years has made “Made in the USA” products particularly more affordable and attractive in overseas markets.
Saddled with a lengthy recession and sluggish recovery at home, exports are an important way to grow business and help expand our economy and create jobs.
So now more than ever:export.
We’ve been showing the way for nearly 30 years!
Since 1982, Messe Düsseldorf North America has been a resource for US companies seeking new international market opportunities.We have served as an international like to innumerable U.S. companies over the years, assisting with everything necessary to exhibit at or visit one of the trade shows organized by the Messe Düsseldorf group of companies in Germany,
Czech Republic, South East Asia, China, India, Russia, The Middle East, and South America.
For nearly 30 years, MDNA has brought market partners together to ensure that exhibitors and visitors find customers or providers of service and merchandise they are looking for.