March Newsletter


Pictured: Consul General of Italy Lorenzo Ortona with WTC Utah president and CEO Miles Hansen at a diplomatic luncheon hosted by WTC Utah and GOED. To learn more about opportunities with Italy, read the Market Highlight section below.  

As Spring begins, high school students all over Utah will be receiving acceptance letters from colleges and universities of their choice, many of which are right here in Utah. Utahns place a premium on education as a top priority for the state and a critical mechanism for economic development. Investment in our higher education has paid off as Utah’s colleges and universities are recognized globally for the quality of their educators, their contributions to science and the success of their alumni.

Utah’s system of higher education is a critical component of the state’s international ecosystem and an important partner for elevating Utah’s global status. It develops a high-skilled workforce that draws in foreign companies to Utah. Research in science and technology at the state’s research institutions create new startups that pursue international customers and investors. Utah higher education alumni are global ambassadors for the state. These contributions are so important that Utah’s higher education institutions are represented on WTC Utah’s governing board.

One commonly ignored aspect of how universities help grow and globalize our economy is the economic contribution from the large number of international students attending Utah’s colleges and universities each year. Currently, over 8,000 students enrolled in Utah come from outside the United States, about 4.5% of Utah’s total student population.

Utah’s international students come from all over the world to study here because of our high-quality education, low cost of living, safe environment and easy access to world-class outdoor recreation. Utah’s student population is truly global, with students from China – 18.9%, India – 10.7%, South Korea – 9.4%, Saudi Arabia – 5.6 % and Brazil – 4.7%. These students enroll in accredited institutions across the state, including the University of Utah – 2,699 students, Brigham Young University – 1,719 students, Utah Valley University – 785 students, Utah State University – 763 students, Latter-Day Saints Business College – 635 students. Additionally, international students are also enrolled at Weber State, Southern Utah University, Salt Lake Community College, Dixie State University and Snow College.

Beyond the intrinsic cultural benefits that accrue when international students engage and interact with U.S. students on their home campuses, these students also provide a powerful financial contribution to Utah’s economy. According to the NAFSA Association of International Educators, during the 2017-18 academic year, 8,254 international students in Utah contributed more than $215 million to the Utah economy and supported 2,295 jobs in Utah. NAFSA estimates that nationwide, three jobs are supported for every seven international students.

Tuition, rent and other accommodations make up the majority of international student expenditures. However, retail spending, phone contracts and bills, health insurance, food and transportation also make a significant contribution to local economies. The families of these students often visit, spending money on tourist attractions and other services as well.

To continue bringing these benefits into the state, WTC Utah supports Study Utah, a consortium of higher education institutions in Utah working together to position Utah as the premier destination for international students and scholars. Through a collaborative approach, this group of universities and colleges strives to leverage strategic relationships and increase opportunities for attracting more international students to Utah’s higher education institutions. Study Utah representatives are interested in partnering with local and state government offices as well as Utah businesses to further our mission and provide opportunities for international students in Utah. If you are interested in collaborating, contact Study Utah at studyutahboard@gmail.com or visit their website: studyutah.org.

Study Utah is yet another example of how Utahns work together towards a common vision. Strong partnerships are the backbone of Utah’s success, and WTC Utah is proud to support Utah’s businesses and government in achieving global success right here at home.

Going Global: UltrAspire

Before he joined St. George-based UltrAspire, an outdoor running and accessories company, Vice President of Sales Kevin Robison never thought he’d attend another ISPO Trade Show. But thanks to a STEP Grant from World Trade Center Utah, UltrAspire’s Robison and leaders from nine other Utah outdoor-related companies exhibited in February as part of the Utah delegation at ISPO Munich in Germany. ISPO Munich is one of the world’s largest trade fairs for sports businesses.

The other Utah companies attending with the STEP Grant were: Coalatree, Cotopaxi, Dark Energy, DPS Skis, Drift, Fortress Clothing, GRIP6, Hand Out Gloves and SNO-GO. STEP is funded in part through a grant with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and administered by World Trade Center Utah.

Robison says he knew ISPO Munich could be huge for UltrAspire, not only for the trade show’s potential to open new markets, but also because UltraAspire’s products are so unique and innovative that he felt the company could win an award. His instincts proved to be right on both accounts.

“We were only home from the show a week and the event was already profitable for us,” he says. “What’s more, we were chosen as an ISPO award winner in the outdoor segment for our Lumen 800 Ultra waist light.”

If not for the STEP Grant, attending ISPO Munich wouldn’t have been possible for UltrAspire, a small company with only six full-time employees. Seizing the opportunity, Robison says the UltrAspire team was determined to make the most of ISPO Munich by arranging as many meetings as possible with potential distributors. The team came away exhausted, and Robison lost his voice over the course of the four-day event, but the results were phenomenal.

“We were slammed,” he says. “We already have orders from companies in Guatemala and we nailed down distributors in other global markets.”

While the U.S. is UltrAspire’s largest market, the company derives approximately 40 percent of its business from international sales, with specific strength coming from Asia. Robison says he is currently restructuring the company’s sales efforts in Europe and so the timing of the ISPO Munich Trade Show couldn’t have been better.

The seeds of UltrAspire started in 1979 when founder Bryce Thatcher was unable to find a hydration pack that allowed him to maximize his running performance, so he decided to make one himself using his grandmother’s sewing machine.

Thatcher went on to launch the very first hydration company, invented hydration belts, packs, handhelds, vests, produced the first screw-top water bottle for runners and introduced many other industry firsts. His innovations, which were need-based, continue to meet the needs of athletes to perform better.

Today, almost all hydration products are iterations of Bryce’s original designs. Founded in 2012, UltrAspire continues to drive the industry forward, setting the company apart from its competitors. Robison describes Thatcher as the brains behind the company’s research and development – “the mad scientist that keeps driving innovation forward.”

“Behind Bryce’s vision, we want to stay within our core, stay true to who we are,” Robison says. The company branched out from its hydration packs to offer unique, waist lights for runners, handheld hydration bottles, water bottles, flasks and cups, race vests and other accessories that are wildly popular.

“We are all about getting people outside,” Robison concludes.

To learn more about UltrAspire, visit ultraspire.com or call (888) 346-0608.

Privacy Trends at Home and Abroad

By Tsutomu Johnson, Parsons Behle & Latimer

Join us on March 26 to hear from Parsons Behle & Latimer attorney Tomu Johnson on privacy requirements from the European Union and California, and how those privacy trends affect international business. Click here to register. The labyrinth of privacy regulations can make difficult to figure out how to comply. This article, by Johnson, discusses the main themes in privacy regulation.

Governments across the globe have proposed or passed broad privacy regulations limiting what companies can do with the data they gather from individuals. In 2018, the European Union started enforcing the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”). U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and Ron Wyden have proposed broad privacy legislation as well. Finally, in the absence of action from Congress, state legislatures have enacted their own privacy laws. In 2018, California passed the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”) and Ohio passed the Data Protection Act (“DPA”). In 2019, Utah’s and Washington’s state legislatures proposed privacy legislation.

Notice/Transparency

Most privacy laws start with the premise that companies must tell consumers how and why they gather personal information. To achieve that goal, privacy laws require companies to post a public notice explaining the following:

  1. Why the company is gathering personal information,
  2. What the company does with that information,
  3. Whether the company shares that information with third-parties,
  4. Whether personal information is being used for a company purpose or being sold to third-parties,
  5. What the company does to protect personal information,
  6. What rights, if any, a consumer has when it comes to processing personal information, and
  7. How to contact the company in case consumers have questions about how the company handles personal information.

Consumer Rights

Privacy regulations vary when it comes to consumer rights, but the three recurring rights are:

  1. The right to access personal information,
  2. The right to delete information, and
  3. The right to restrict how a company processes information.

Regarding access, companies not only need to provide information in the privacy notice, but they also need to provide information to consumers when the consumer requests it. Companies must provide requested information in a common electronic format and must also provide the information within a reasonable time after the consumer’s request.

A lot of companies worry about the right to delete or restrict personal information because it triggers an obligation to delete or restrict personal information from the company’s network and all the partners who received that personal information from the company. There are, however, exceptions to those rights. Consumers cannot ask companies to delete or restrict processing when personal information is needed to perform a contract between the company and the consumer.

Administrative Privacy Programs

Most privacy laws require some level of administrative privacy within a company.  Administrative privacy includes privacy policies and procedures, a privacy charter approved by a company’s board of directors, data protection impact assessments and a process for responding to consumers’ requests and data breach events. A designated person, who is responsible for a company’s privacy objectives, should routinely report to the highest level of management about data privacy impact assessments, consumer requests, breach events and progress toward privacy goals.

Fines

To make companies pay attention to privacy regulation, most privacy laws levy strict fines for failures to comply. For example, in the European Union, regulators can levy fines as €20,000,000 or 4% of global revenues, whichever is greater. In the United States, the CCPA gives consumers in California the right to file class action lawsuits against companies. Those class action lawsuits can quickly add up to millions of dollars in claims and millions of dollars in litigation defense costs.

Tsutomu Johnson is a privacy attorney at Parsons Behle & Latimer and is the CEO of Parsons Behle Lab, a software company that provides automated legal documentation for complying with privacy laws such as the GDPR and the CCPA. His email is tjohnson@parsonsbehle.com and his phone number is 801-536-6903.  

Market Highlight: Italy

World Trade Center Utah will be visiting Italy in June as part of our Governor-led trade mission in conjunction with the Paris Air Show. We are currently recruiting Utah businesses to join us for the trade mission and air show. Click here to learn more. Italy enjoys strong biotech, life sciences, energy and aerospace industries and offers potential opportunities for Utah companies in each of those markets.

WTC Utah and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development started laying the groundwork for increased trade between Utah and Italy in January when we hosted Lorenzo Ortona, Consul General of Italy, for a diplomatic luncheon. During his time here we identified strategic opportunities for increased Utah/Italy trade and we are excited to take the next step by visiting Italy.

The website World Business Culture notes that Italy has a well-educated and discerning consumer base as well as a vibrant manufacturing sector with thousands of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) producing a wide range of high-quality goods across a number of sectors. “Both the Italian consumer base and SME companies need new products and services and are actively looking to work with international partners who can add value to their lives. If you are not doing business in Italy at the moment, you should start to scan the market for opportunities as soon as possible,” the website says.

The website export.gov says Italy’s biotech industry is well developed due to excellent academic and industrial research and because of the value of produced technology and products. Italian biotech companies totaled 571 in 2017. The turnover is more than $12.2 billion with an increase of 12 percent between 2014 and 2016, while investments in R&D amounted to $2 billion with about 3,790 employees in biotech research. Biotechnology is among the sectors utilizing a higher level of innovation in Italy.

A 2017 report by Centro Studi Assobiotec, notes that the Italian biotech industry is a dynamic and innovative sector, particularly in the areas of precision medicine and advanced therapies. However, the industry needs a long-term national strategy with stable and clear rules to develop and remain competitive. Currently, Italy relies on biotech drug imports primarily from the United States, Belgium and Germany.

Within the Biotech sector, Export.gov notes that Italy’s life sciences industry is the most developed and accounts for the largest number of companies (52%), comprising 295 of the total 571 firms. Pharmaceutical and medical device biotech firms, comprising 74 percent, are responsible for much of the turnover, with an increased number of projects both in diagnosis and therapies. Italy is home to about 100 laboratories (public research centers and university labs), and 47 Scientific and Research Hospitals (IRCCS). “The development of this sector will provide strong opportunities for major U.S. biotech companies looking to partner in order to advance new treatments and product development,” export.gov reports.

According to Deloitte, Italy’s life sciences industry is supported by strong technological vocation and is driven by the need to focus on this high technological and scientific potential to support the growth of the Italian health system in terms of competitiveness and attractiveness.

In 2017 the Italian Ministry of Economic Development unveiled its National Energy Strategy, which aims to increase the competitiveness of the country by aligning its energy prices to be on par with the rest of Europe, improve the security of supply and to decarbonize the energy system in line with the long-term objectives of the Paris Agreement. The website Enerdata says the Italian energy system, which is based on gas and renewable for power generation and on oil for transport, could benefit from technological progress in renewables, energy storage, energy efficiency and communication technologies to reduce its CO2 footprint.

“Italy should phase out coal-fired power generation by 2030 at the latest. Gas will be the key in the energy transition, in the power sector and in the maritime transport (LNG). The country will seek to diversify its gas supply routes and to develop biofuels (national chains of biomethane) and will bet on energy efficiency. Italy aims to reduce the cost gap with other European countries (around €2/MWh for gas and €35/MWh for an average household and 25% for industry for electricity in 2016),” according to Enerdata.

Where renewables are concerned, Italy aims to raise the share of renewable energies to 48-50 percent of electricity consumption by 2030 (from 33.5 percent in 2015), 28-30 percent in heat consumption (from 19 percent in 2015) and 17-19 percent in transports (from 6.4 percent in 2015).
As for the aerospace sector, export.gov says with a turnover of 20 billion USD and a workforce of more than 50,000, the Italian aerospace industry ranks seventh in the world and fourth in Europe and represents the largest manufacturing sector in Italy in the field of high-tech integrated systems. Five regional players and more than 300 SMEs stand out at the national and international level, both in civil and military fields. The key players are Finmeccanica, its subsidiaries, a wide network of SMEs, research centers and universities. Italy is well integrated in international projects and has primarily fostered relationships with non-European partners.

Export.gov goes on to say that the Finmeccanica Group (with 30 percent ownership by the Italian Government) has a leading role in the aerospace, defense and security sectors. Finmeccanica holds a 50 percent share in Agusta Westland (AW), the world’s second-biggest producer of civil helicopters, and controls Alenia Aermacchi. Alenia, which restructured in 2012 to streamline its business, manufactures products for military and commercial aircraft, military trainers, turboprops, aero structures, advanced mission systems, unmanned aerial systems (UAS), parts, subassemblies and provides maintenance services. Avio Aero – founded by Fiat and now owned by GE Aviation – is one of the oldest companies operating in the aerospace industry worldwide. Avio Aero is a leading manufacturer of aircraft and naval engines and a leader in space propulsion. Another important player is Piaggio Aero Industries that designs, develops, constructs and maintains aircraft, engines and aircraft structural components. 

According to the Italian Aerospace Industry Federation (AIAD), 75 percent of its members are SMEs and about half of these have fewer than 100 employees. These firms are concentrated in several clusters located in Piedmont, Lombardy, Lazio, Puglia, Campania and Umbria. This network represents a key industry component characterized by a highly skilled workforce. About 25 percent of these firms are located in the Campania cluster (29 major companies plus 130 sub-suppliers). The Piedmont cluster is a production and scientific pole whose focus is technological innovation. Turin Polytechnic University and other specialized research centers provide design and R&D services. 

According to export.gov, Italian technological and manufacturing know-how includes: fixed wing (Alenia), rotating wing (AW), propulsion, software, fuselage components, design and assembly of parts (in aluminum, titanium and composite materials), metallurgy, mechanics, electro-mechanics, electronics, manufacturing and processing of plastics, rubber and all high-performance materials for complex applications. 

2019-03-13T13:14:05+00:00