The World Trade Center Utah (WTC Utah) team is thrilled to welcome Miles Hansen as the organization’s new president and CEO. Hansen replaces Derek B. Miller, who is now the president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber and Downtown Alliance.
“As a native of Utah, with a wealth of experience overseas and at the highest levels of international affairs in the U.S. Government, Miles is uniquely suited to help Utah continue its tremendous growth in international trade,” says Scott Anderson, chair of the WTC Utah Board of Directors. “Miles is a brilliant executive, a critical thinker, a successful problem solver, and a creative innovator. His knowledge and experience will allow him to build on the solid foundation established by previous WTC Utah CEOs Derek Miller and Lew Cramer in creating jobs and growing the state’s economy by attracting overseas investment and increasing exports for Utah companies. I look forward to working with Miles in this critically important position.”
The Search Committee selected Hansen after a two-month search process. The committee, comprised of WTC Utah Board officers, presented its recommendation to the WTC Utah Executive Committee, which selected Hansen in a unanimous vote. As part of the new organizational structure, WTC Utah’s international business director, Suzette Alles, was promoted to chief operating officer and will act as interim CEO until Hansen arrives in August 2018.
Looking forward to his new leadership role in Utah, Hansen says, “I am thrilled with the opportunity to return to my roots and join the World Trade Center Utah team. In a time of divisiveness at home and abroad, Utah is a prime example of all sides working together to tackle challenges through the proper application of pragmatic principles – and nowhere is that more evident than within the strength of Utah’s economy and the ingenuity of Utah companies.”
Further, he says, “Under Derek’s leadership, WTC Utah developed a nationally-recognized brand, and I look forward to building upon that legacy while helping Utah companies expand on the international stage, attract more foreign investment, create more jobs and drive economic growth.”
Hansen joins WTC Utah after serving as the Director for Gulf Affairs at the National Security Council in the White House. Prior to that, he served as a staff aide to the State Department’s Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs. As a diplomat, Hansen was the energy and economic officer at the U.S. Consulate General Dhahran in Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich Eastern Province, where he served as a liaison with Saudi Aramco and advised U.S. government and private sector leaders on the Saudi energy industry and economic reform agenda. He also served tours focused on Iran at the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan, Armenia, and the Iran Regional Presence Office at the U.S. Consulate General Dubai.
Before joining the U.S. State Department as a Thomas R. Pickering Fellow, Hansen started his career in Utah as a special assistant in the Office of the Lieutenant Governor. He is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and Brigham Young University. A speaker of Russian, Farsi, and Arabic, Hansen has firsthand experience in more than 70 countries and is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Market Highlight: Netherlands
This article was prepared from information by the U.S. Commercial Service and from information by the U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.
Situated between Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom, the Netherlands is the fifth-most competitive economy in the world, according to the 2015 World Economic Forum. And according to U.S. Census data for 2017, the Netherlands was Utah’s eighth best trading partner. Some of the top Utah economic cluster sectors exporting to the Netherlands include aerospace and defense, life sciences and outdoor recreation.
As of the fourth quarter 2017, the Netherlands ranked first in important products and services from Utah’s life sciences industry, and third for its imports of products and services from Utah’s outdoor recreation industry.
U.S. firms register relatively few trade complaints in the Netherlands because the Dutch tend to support a level playing field in trade matters. Perhaps that’s why the Dutch are considered the genuine “neutral” traders of Europe. U.S. companies setting up businesses in the Netherlands will, however, encounter a complex business culture in which companies, trade unions, government bodies, and industry associations engage in constant and close consultations. This stems, in part, from the traditional Dutch emphasis on achieving consensus and avoiding conflict in a small and densely-populated country.
There is a trend, particularly with larger government procurements, to “buy European” when no Dutch products are available. The Dutch Government sees political advantages in buying European, especially when all other criteria are equal in a bid competition. As a consequence, local representation is essential for U.S. companies that hope to win major government contracts.
A joint venture with a Dutch or European partner will improve a U.S. company’s competitive position. Companies looking to compete on Dutch Government procurement contracts should contact the U.S. Commercial Service at the Embassy early on in the process for guidance and possible advocacy, particularly if there are political or “level playing field” issues at play.
The U.S. Commercial Service in the Netherlands offers valuable assistance to U.S. companies looking to enter the Dutch market. This includes helping U.S. companies locate a Dutch agent or distributor and organizing trade events to promote U.S. products and services. The U.S. Commercial Service also provides custom market research and counsel for U.S. companies on market opportunities and regulations in the Netherlands.
Geographically, the Netherlands is 16,039 square miles (approximately the size of Maryland); 18 percent of that area is water, necessitating the Netherlands’ famous dikes and windmills. The capital is Amsterdam. The Netherlands has a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary democracy.
In June, Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert led a Utah delegation to the SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington, D.C. The summit is the highest-profile event dedicated to promoting foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States.
As a consequence of its prominence, SelectUSA is a signature event that provides an unparalleled opportunity to bring together companies from all over the world, economic development organizations from every corner of the nation, and other parties working to facilitate business investment in the United States. This year’s event was attended by approximately 3,000 leaders.
Featuring senior government officials, C-Suite business executives, and other thought leaders, each summit focuses on a timely theme related to the U.S. investment environment, industry trends and new opportunities.
The Utah booth featured representatives from the World Trade Center Utah (WTC Utah), Economic Development Corporation of Utah (EDCUtah), the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) and Salt Lake City.
Together, the organizations have been exhibiting at the SelectUSA summit since 2014. The Team Utah agenda included a series of meetings with Gov. Herbert and delegations from other countries looking to invest in Utah or relocate to the Beehive State. Those delegations represented Australia, Qatar, several Eastern European countries, Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam and Israel. And since the Utah Jazz is the most international team in the NBA, Gov. Herbert was pleased to present Utah Jazz jerseys to the players’ respective country representatives.
Promoting FDI in Utah is a high priority for Gov. Herbert, WTC Utah and our partner organizations because 42,200 Utah jobs are directly supported by majority foreign-owned affiliates. Some of the leading foreign countries with businesses investing in Utah include the United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany, Canada and Italy.
Toolbox: Tip #8 part 1 – Why Partners and How to Find Partners?
World Trade Center Utah’s “10 Tips to Help you Think, Act and Succeed Globally” provide a deeper dive into topics that will help as you pursue international business opportunities.
Finding an Export Management Company (EMC) or Export Trading Company (ETC)
When selecting an Export Management Company (EMC) or an Export Trading Company (ETC), it is important to take your time because you are effectively turning over the international side of your business to them. The selection process is similar to hiring a new employee as it often comes down to a judgment call between equally qualified candidates. EMCs and ETCs can be found a few different ways:
- Networking – ask peers in your industry if they are aware of EMCs and ETCs
- International trade centers/local contacts – these organizations often maintain lists of local EMCs and ETCs
- Internet research – the Federation of International Trade Associations maintains a list of EMCs and ETCs
- Industry associations – if you are a member of an industry association, contact them to see if they maintain a list of EMCs and ETCs
- Trade Journals – contain articles referencing international expansion that may highlight EMCs and ETCs.
Finding a Piggyback Partner
For piggyback partners, it is more difficult to qualify potential candidates than to identify them. Local manufacturers of complementary goods are an obvious example. Review the literature of these potential partners to clarify if opportunities are available. Unlike EMCs, these partners may not be used to cold call regarding exporting partnerships. Piggyback partners can be found through:
- Trade shows
- Industry press
- Trade associates
- Sales staff
Finding a Sales Agent or Distributor
Most indirect partners are located in the United States whereas most direct export partners will be located abroad. One major consideration in choosing direct partners is travel to the foreign market. The World Trade Center Utah team is able to help facilitate international business opportunities in the form of trade missions two to three times annually. Please contact us for more information.
The means of finding direct export partners is the same whether it is for sales agents or distributors:
- Existing distributor and agent lists – compile a list of distributors for your top complementary and competitive products.
- Networking with industry contacts and trade associations – peers will often share information if your product enhances or is complementary to theirs.
- U.S. Department of Commerce – offers International Partner Search service that provides up to six foreign potential partners
- Local and state contacts – State foreign offices, U.S. Chambers of Commerce – sponsor workshops and seminars which link to overseas buyers.
- Catalog Shows – show your products internationally at a trade show without the expense of travel.
- Ask the potential customer base for recommendations – foreign customers may have local contacts that understand the need to import your product rather than buy directly from a U.S. Distributor.
- Advertising – This can be as simple as adding a line to your domestic materials stating that you are open to international distributor inquiries.
- Kompass – www.kompass.com is a free service that offers information about companies. Paid subscriptions offer more in-depth information.
- Private Databases – other paid databases such as Dun & Bradstreet, Hoovers, Kompass International offer insight to companies and group them by industry. The World Trade Center Utah is able to provide free customized research using extensive trade data. This research will help you navigate international market opportunities as well as potential partners.
- Internet Research – other online sources include Michigan State University Center for International Business Education and Research
For more information, or for any other help with your international expansion efforts, please contact WTC Utah Trade Services Manager Jim Porter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Going Global: Intermountain Farmers Association
You’ve known Intermountain Farmers Association (IFA) as the farmers’ cooperative that helps us “grow the things we love,” and it’s been that way since 1960. What you may not know is that IFA first began as “Utah Poultry Producers” in 1923, a poultry cooperative that covered Utah with producers and sold Utah eggs from coast to coast. Over the decades, the cooperative grew, expanded products and services, and reinvented itself based upon a history of agriculture excellence.
Ninety-five years later, the cooperative has a retail division with 23 brick and mortar IFA Country Stores covering Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Nevada and Utah, nine agronomy centers focused on producing custom fertilizer blends, and four feed mills. Robert Bowles, IFA’s commercial feed marketing coordinator, says IFA’s feed division accounts for 50 percent of the cooperative’s sales and has a global reach. IFA’s flax seed-based Omega 3 cattle supplement is not only popular with dairy farmers across the U.S., but also with dairies in South Korea.
Utah producers export large quantities of agricultural products to Asia, says Bowles. Recognizing that South Korea does not have the land area to produce a significant amount of feed, its dairies must import 75 percent of the feed for their herds. Hence, it made perfect sense for IFA to partner with a local distributor and expand its feed business into the Korean market.
“Our goal is to maximize the return on investment for the farmers in our cooperative and reaching a larger market through exporting is part of that goal,” he explains.
Recognizing IFA’s international success, WTC Utah and the Utah Department of Workforce Services awarded the cooperative with the Vanguard in International Business during the Central Utah Business Forum in June. IFA was also one of 23 Utah companies to receive Export Acceleration Grants in the first period of the grant cycle to help with exports and international expansion. Grant recipients receive access to knowledge, tools and connections that are otherwise out of their reach. Examples include funding for translation services, research fees and travel costs associated with trade missions and trade shows.
Speaking of trade missions, Bowles says IFA participated in the Utah trade mission to Mexico and is excited to explore additional Asian markets during the upcoming Utah trade mission to Taiwan and South Korea this coming September. For more information about IFA, visit ifacountrystores.com.
|July 11||Doing Business with China Diplomatic Luncheon|
|July 16||Doing Business with Israel Diplomatic Luncheon|
|July 16-22||Farnborough International Airshow|
|August 27||Applying for Grants Seminar|
|Sept. 17-20||Taiwan Trade Mission|