Brexit is in the air, and information on the proceedings comes quick and fast. Ireland-based TPA Research issues a weekly brief on all things EU, and they have up-to-date information on what Oklahoma exporters and their EU-based partners need to know.

Check out their Monday morning Week Ahead here.

More highlights in their up-to-the-minute brief can be found below:

EU Intelligence: Brexit

12 March 2019

Key Dates

  • 12 March           ‘Meaningful vote’ scheduled
  • 13 March            Possible ‘no deal’ vote
  • 14 March            Possible Article 50 extension vote
  • 29 March            Currently scheduled Brexit day
  • 2 May                  UK Local Elections
  • 23 – 26 May      European Parliament Elections
  • First week July  New European Parliament sworn in – affecting legal status of any Art. 50 extension

Summary

While yesterday’s update does not provide the time limit to the backstop that Brexiteers demanded, in our view the concessions granted by the UK are not insignificant.  Ireland’s view of unilateral declarations to EU treaties is that they are meaningful – indeed this is the very mechanism by which the Irish government persuaded Irish citizens to approve the Lisbon Treaty by referendum at the second time of asking.  Furthermore, a strengthened referral mechanism to an arbitration panel to rule on issues pertaining to the Irish border makes for uncomfortable reading in Dublin.  The last time an arbitration panel ruled on the Irish border was in 1925 and resulted in a disastrous outcome for Dublin.

The position of the DUP, which will rely to a large extent on the legal advice offered by Attorney General Geoffrey Cox, could be decisive.  Should the DUP oppose the deal, as Sammy Wilson’s initial reaction suggests they might, the deal is all but certain to fail.  In this scenario, Theresa May has committed to offering a vote on no-deal and an Article 50 extension on 13 and 14 March respectively.

Need more information? Read the full briefing by subscribing to TPA Research’s briefings and policy updates by emailing here.

The United States Department of State will hold it’s ninth Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Kansas City in mid-March and there are a few remaining open spots for entrepreneurs from America’s heartland. U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Linda McMahon and Secretary of State – and Kansas’ own – Mike Pompeo will give keynote addresses. Learn about opportunities for your American small business to connect with international partners, you don’t have to be on the coasts to capitalize on the global economy.

Take a look below for more information on that event or the June meeting in the Netherlands!

MARCH MEETING: The Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES), now in it’s 9th iteration, will be in the Netherlands in June and the “Road to GES” will be in Overland Park, Kansas March 18-19.  Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Small Business Administration Administrator Linda McMahon will deliver keynote addresses at this event, which will celebrate the entrepreneurs and innovations of America’s heartland.  2.19.19 Notional Agenda.

Anyone interested in attending the March meeting in Overland Park Kansas should send an e-mail to RoadToGESHeartland@State.gov to receive an invitation to attend.

JUNE MEETING:  The GES Summit will take place in June in The Hague, the Netherlands, June 3-5, 2019.  .  The State Department is encouraging investment-ready entrepreneurs to apply at GES2019.org.  Participants don’t have to have raised significant funding already, but the idea is that they should have advanced beyond the idea stage, be ready to scale, and be operating in one of the  five focus sectors (Health, Ag/Food, Energy, Water, or Connectivity/Tech).   Apply to join by March 1 at GES2019.org.  At GES 2019, the State Department expects 2,000 participants, including 1,200 entrepreneurs, 400 investors, and 400 policy makers from over 120 countries.  The State Department expects business, government, and non-government leaders will bring billions of dollars of investment funding to the table in hopes of finding investment-ready entrepreneurs.

In another fantastic globaltrade.net round up, potential for partnerships with Germany and Oklahoma-based firms are great.

According to a recent release from the Federation of International Trade Professionals, “The United States are the second biggest destination for German goods after the European Union and the United States are the fourth largest supplier of Germany. The U.S.-German Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation guarantees investors in Germany national treatment and allows the free movement of capital between the United States and Germany. Taxation of US firms within Germany is regulated by a protocol on the avoidance of double taxation.

“According to U.S. Census data, trade in goods between the United States and Germany totaled $163.5 billion in 2016.”

For Oklahoma-based firms, producers and manufacturers, there are great commercial opportunities in health, food, agricultural machinery and bio-tech sectors.

In Oklahoma, a great asset is our honorary consular corps, with Germany’s Honorary Consul, Jeremy Tubb a great resource for those wanting to connect with Germany.

Check out the full export and commercial guide for Oklahoma companies here.

After more than two decades of existence, the leaders of the U.S., Canada and Mexico are open to updating the free-trade agreement to stay caught up with the digital age. President Donald Trump notified Congress on May 18 of its intent to renegotiate NAFTA, which triggered a 90-day period before negotiations with Canada and Mexico begin. In an effort to hear from Oklahoma businesses, farmers and manufacturers who will be impacted.

According to the U.S. Commercial Service, comments on a total of seventeen topics will help inform the direction, focus, and content of the NAFTA negotiations include:

  • Digital Trade
  • Intellectual Property Rights
  • Regulatory Practices
  • State-Owned Enterprises
  • Services
  • Customs Procedures
  • Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures
  • Labor
  • Environment
  • Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

Directions for submitting comments via the Federal Register Notice:

  1. Visit www.regulations.gov and search for docket number USTR-2017-0006
  2. Click the “Comment Now!” button to make your voice heard

Written comments must be submitted to the U.S. Trade Representative no later than Monday, June 12, 2017. A hearing will be held on Tuesday, June 27, 2017 at 9:00 am, in the Main Hearing Room at the U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E St. SW, Washington DC, 20436. Persons wishing to testify orally at the hearing must provide written notification of their intention by Monday, June 12, 2017.

The TPP may be dead as far as American involvement is concerned, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t numerous trade and commercial opportunities available for Oklahoma firms interested in doing business in Asia.

The latest Federation of International Trade Associations report on Vietnam is out, and it has identified several sectors key to growth for Oklahoma companies.

Opportunities for business can be found in information technologies, transportation infrastructures as well as healthcare and pharmaceuticals. An English-language export information outlet has also been set up, making for updated and easily viewable information on Vietnamese exports. The Vietnam Export Portal is an official business information channel, updated in English with the aim to introduce export potentials of Vietnam.

For our farming and Oklahoma agriculture professionals, Vietnam is growing as a reliable export market for agriculture related products. It now ranks as the U.S.’s 11th largest agricultural export market – and as economic growth picks up there the country’s need to import all or most of its consumption needs for wheat, cotton, wood and dairy products will be increasingly necessary.

Read the full report on Vietnam export opportunities here.

The much vaunted special relationship between the United Kingdom and United States is exemplified in many sectors, from security and defense to economic, cultural and linguistic ties. The U.K. is the U.S.’s fifth largest trading partner and remains the fifth largest global economy. As Brexit negotiations commence, there may be an opportunity for deeper Anglo-American ties in the economic and bi-lateral trade, where the latest census data shows that in 2016 alone trade between the two nations totaled $100 billion.

Oklahoma exporters in sectors like aerospace and agriculture are especially poised to benefit from greater trade ties with British customers.

The Federation of International Trade Associations released a market background feature on the U.K. that provides a wealth of information for those Oklahoma firms interested in exploring opportunities in Great Britain.

Oklahoma’s 39 federally recognized Indian Nations provide the state with a unique cultural, economic and governmental service facets that only a few other American states posses. This summer, the state’s largest university will host an organization that seeks to capitalize on these tribes’ impact by connecting them with First Nations in Canada, when the International Inter-tribal Trade and Investment Organization hosts its three day trade mission and conference in Norman, Oklahoma.

Given tribes unique standing in the United States as dependent sovereign nations, and Canada’s own specific designation for its First Nations communities, the IITIO seeks to expand the possibility of developing commerce and even international trade between these groups. Despite rumblings of significant changes to the NAFTA agreement by the White House, there remains significant potential for trade ties to develop between these bodies given that Canada is the U.S.’s second largest trade partner. Oklahoma’s single largest trade partner is also Canada.

To see the conference agenda and register, which is free, please visit here.

The Export-Import Bank of the United States and the U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service are out with their basic guide to exporting book, a fantastic tool for Oklahoma exporters or those businesses interested in developing international markets.

Check it out here: https://tinyurl.com/GtExpt

Oklahoma firms, are you considering an expansion internationally?

Velocity Global has a few tips on what you need to consider before you do.

According to Velocity Global, if you’ve decided to pursue business opportunities abroad, “there are a few key pointers to remember when thinking about taking your business overseas. All of these tips will help you avoid wasted costs, achieve growth quickly and efficiently, and diminish risks.”

Take your next step by learning what to look for and where to invest your time and money via this guide from Velocity Global.

 

The below interview originally ran in the January 2017 edition of The New Pioneer magazine. It is reproduced here with the express written permission of the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.

chuck-mills-headshot

Chuck Mills

Q&A with Charles D. Mills, President of Mills Machine Company, on his company’s use of the State Trade Expansion Grant Program offered through the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.

What initially made you decided to apply for the STEP grant?

“Since the grant was written for international marketing programs and I had always wanted to translate my website into several other languages, it was a perfect fit for my company. We chose Spanish to be the first language for translation because we were expanding our export market in Mexico, Central and South America.”

How has having your website translated into Spanish helped to increase opportunities/actual sales results?

“Our distributors have commented on how helpful the translated site is for them and their customers in trying to explain our product line and the advantages of our custom designed products.”

How did STEP funds help you save money in the long term?

“The STEP grant funds supplemented our investment for the translation costs which saved us several thousand dollars.

“As a relatively small company I probably would not have been able to come up with the money to translate my site, that is why I had not done it sooner.”

Describe the application process for the STEP grant.

“The application process was pretty involved but the questions were simple and straight forward. It requires you to define and update your international business plan which is always a good exercise for any business to do on a regular basis.”

What recommendations would you give other companies looking to apply?

“The STEP grant that I was awarded was $5,000 (the current cap is $2,000) and the cost of the translation plus the software and labor required to put that on our website cost us a little over $8,000. So, the new cap of $2,000 would still help but we obviously would have a lot more investment from our side. You could possibly at least translate your home page. The first thing that you need to do is contact your webmaster and see what is required to embed the software into your website and then shop around for a translation company that has good references in translating your industry’s terminology. Be aware of the different dialects and try to find some middle ground where people from different regions can understand your information. Use any local contacts that you have to provide guidance and translate your industries terminology into their language.”

What are some key takeaways from your experience?

“Do your homework, have a plan of what type of marketing that you want to apply for. You could translate your website or a brochure, attend ExporTech, exhibit at a trade show or whatever type of marketing that would grow your company.”

What is the primary reason peer companies should consider this grant other than the export portion?

“Take advantage of your tax dollars to supplement your marketing efforts to grow your company globally. Ninety-five percent of the world lives outside of the United States so take advantage of the opportunity and let’s grow the economy!”

For more information visit: okcommerce.gov/stepfund.

Read more about Chuck Mills and his century-old Oklahoma business in this profile from The Oklahoman.

(Top photo credit: Photo by Jim Stafford, For The Oklahoman.)