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US Commercial Service Previews Export Forum September 20-22

Growing demand for marine technologies is generating new export opportunities for US companies. To help U.S. companies seize these opportunities, the Department of Commerce is hosting Discover Global Markets: The Blue Economy, in Providence, RI, September 20-22, 2022. International trade specialist Maryanne Burke leads the marine technology team at the International Trade Administration (ITA). Maryanne is part of ITA’s global network of US Commercial Service offices located in more than 100 cities across the United States and at US Embassies and Consulates in more than 75 markets. In the Q&A below, she shares some insights on how U.S. companies can leverage the Blue Economy event and agency export resources to expand their export horizons.

  • Could you give readers an overview of the Blue Economy event, how can US companies benefit from participation?

We are witnessing a new era in ocean technology, sustainability, and logistics, and Discover Global Markets: The Blue Economy will highlight growing overseas market opportunities for U.S. marine technology companies. Like no other event, the Sept. 20-22 forum brings together U.S. companies, foreign buyer delegations, and U.S. Commercial Service marine industry experts from 20 countries. Through export consulting and business-to-business (B2B) matchmaking, U.S. companies can benefit from market intelligence, business leads, partnership opportunities, and potential export sales. It is an excellent place for exporters to both increase their bottom line through export sales and to improve their competitiveness by diversifying into new markets. The Discover Global Markets events, held annually, focus on different industries and regional markets. Over its ten-year run, the series has attracted thousands of U.S. trade attendees, generating millions of dollars in export sales.

  • Which markets will be represented at the show?

We will have a strong geographical presence, representing a real global showcase. US companies will obtain market intelligence from experts in the US commercial services industry at US Embassies around the world, including: Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Singapore, Spain, Netherlands, Norway, Thailand and the United Kingdom, as well as many others. These markets represent some of the best growth prospects in the marine technology sector, providing both short- and long-term industrial opportunities for US companies.

  • What are the opportunities in these countries?

Overall, marine technologies are in demand for both large-scale foreign government projects and independent non-governmental organization projects. The opportunities are plentiful, covering port development and technologies, underwater surveillance, underwater imagery for seabed mapping, offshore wind ecosystems, meteorological instrumentation, ocean science and exploration. Another focus is “smart” clean technology for use in shipping.

In many cases, growth and demand overseas is higher than in the US domestic market. For example, parts of Europe have a strong interest in port development, while in the Indo-Pacific countries are looking for the latest technology to monitor coastal flooding. More and more, we see growing opportunities driven by changing global trends in technology, demographics and sustainability.

Here are some examples of market opportunities:

  • The UK maritime economyit is the largest in Europe, the fifth largest in the world for US exports of goods and the largest market in the world for US exports of services. Technologies are in demand for smart ports, decarbonization solutions and green innovations for shipping and offshore wind energy. The technology is also being sought for smart, autonomous ships, and autonomous underwater vehicles that are independent of sensors. For example, the Royal Navy is looking to develop a range of fully autonomous systems for underwater surveillance, reconnaissance and data collection, among other uses.
  • Italy will invest 3.1 billion dollars (2.8 billion euros) by 2026 to modernize its ports. These investments are part of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, Italy’s strategy to revive its economy since the Covid-19 pandemic. Much of this spending is intended to increase port capacity and will require new technologies and port services. Other funding will make ports more environmentally sustainable, or more efficient and safer through digitalisation. This is in addition to the 2.5 billion dollars (2.3 billion euros) of investments already planned for the ports of Genoa. US companies with innovative solutions in these sectors could benefit from increased spending.
  • India’s maritime sector plans overall investment of $45 billion in ports, maritime transport and inland waterways by 2030. The focus will be on improving infrastructure, efficiency, services, capacity building and logistics. It will also develop shipbuilding and promote a safe and sustainable “green” maritime sector. By 2030, India plans to reach 140 million tons per year passing through its national river system. To achieve this goal, the Inland Waterway Authority of India plans to develop and upgrade 5,000 km of inland waterways. India needs advanced port and maritime technologies such as equipment and services for security, logistics, vessel tracking, oil spill detection and emergency preparedness, dredging, exploration and underwater cartography.
  • Could you provide an overview of the business-to-business matchmaking and industry expertise at the show?

The United States Commercial Service is the trade and investment promotion arm of the International Trade Administration of the United States Department of Commerce. Through our presence at U.S. embassies overseas, our trade experts have in-depth market knowledge and relationships with buyers of U.S. products and services, as well as market expertise in the marine technology industry. And so, we bring these skills to the show, as well as several delegations of foreign buyers.

Our value is knowing the key players and opportunities to bring US companies and potential foreign buyers together. To do this, we organize business-to-business (B2B) matchmaking meetings based on their mutual needs and interests. Because the US Commercial Service screens buyers in advance, we know they are interested in US marine technologies and ready to do business. This arrangement is a real advantage for US exporters, especially small and medium-sized businesses, over finding suitable foreign business partners interested in marine technologies on their own.

Through networking opportunities, U.S. companies will hear from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and prime contractors about overseas projects and their supplier needs, participate in general networking events and learn about US government export programs.
Companies attending previous Discover Global Markets events have noted several benefits of the two-day event. These include the time and resources saved by having to travel to meet contacts, new leads generated, insights gained to refine export strategies, and obtaining real-time market intelligence from experts to understand in depth what is happening internationally beyond what is seen in the media.

  • How does business-to-business matchmaking work?

On the blue economy registration form, a US company enters its information into a database platform about its product or service and the markets to which it wishes to sell. About a month before the event, participants can search the database to identify potential partners and arrange matchmaking meetings. US companies can also host meetings at the event. Experts from the US business services industry will also host B2B meetings in the conference room.

  • What are the recommendations on how best to seize international opportunities?

Contacting the US Sales Department is a good place to start. Our trade specialists can help develop a customized export strategy that identifies priority markets with the greatest potential for export success. For more information about our services and events, visit the Marine Technology Team website, or contact your local U.S. Commercial Service office at offices-us.

Advice for marine technology exporters

  • Take advantage of trade shows to make connections and let people know you’ll be there ahead of time.
  • Perform due diligence by knowing your customer and their end use, understanding local regulations, relying on local distributors for information, and being aware of U.S. government export controls and licensing requirements .
  • Consult the U.S. Commercial Service’s Country Business Guides that offer the latest information on each country’s market conditions, business environment, major industry sectors, and doing business in each market.
  • Consult legal counsel on ways to protect your intellectual property rights. IPR protection in the US market does not automatically extend to foreign markets.
  • Consider leveraging trade finance and global banking resources. These have evolved to the point where selling and buying things internationally can be routine, safe and efficient, especially when using the financing programs of the Export-Import Bank of the United States and the Small Business Administration.
  • Take advantage of U.S. Trade Service resources and regularly updated marine technology trade events on the Marine Technology Team’s website.