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October - November 2013 - Issue N. 172
A Publication of the Monterey Bay International Trade Association (MBITA)




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Tony Livoti

Vice President

Shay Adams
AIM Medical Sales


Dr. Edward Valeau
Els Group LLC
Hartnell College
President Emeritus

Marcelo Siero

Jim Faith
Jim Faith & Associates

Cristina Polesel
General Manager

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If you would like to publish an article in this newsletter please contact the editor by email.

This newsletter has been
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MBITA New Member International Contact, Inc.

The Growing Field
of Agri-Tech

What's NewTrade Finance Update

What's NewNational Export Initiative (NEI) Update

Ayse's Corner
International Trade Champions

MBITA Contact Info

MBITA TradePort Event Presentations


Financing global trade transactions is front and center in today's trade promotion service community. In this current issue articles from both public and private sector trade finance service providers are featured which further demonstrates that trade finance is one of the 'key' elements in the success of this country's National Export Initiative (NEI). Also, some poignant comments from MBITA members on the Agro-technology industry and the importance of multi-cultural communications when selling in foreign markets. Enjoy.

Tony Livoti


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Tony Livoti




MBITA New Member International Contact, Inc.

International Contact logoMBITA welcomes new member International Contact, Inc., a multi-language communications agency that has served the needs of corporations and government agencies in over 100 languages for the past three decades. To increase market share and customer satisfaction, leading companies turn to International Contact and their established track record, to help them address clients in their language.

Although potential buyers may speak English, leading research has established that the sales process is most effective when customers are addressed in their native language. Customers purchase with greater confidence from companies that negotiate in the language they prefer.

Globe with flagsExporters often receive compliments from potential clients who appreciate translated business cards and marketing materials. Having their own interpreter during traveling visits or trade conferences and sales meetings provides negotiators with an added tool for the success of their negotiations.

An organization like International Contact provides the language link to foment trust and accrue good will.

Carla Itzkowich and Norma Armon

L - R: Norma Armon, Creative Director and Carla Itzkowich, CEO and Founder


The company's mission is to produce materials that sound originally written in the foreign language, while mirroring the impact of the materials in English. Whether clients need a brochure localized, an interpreter for a video conference, a multi-language slide presentation or any other foreign language need, they turn to International Contact for services in print, audio, video, web, surveys, language fluency testing and consultation.

Carla Itzkowich, the founder and CEO, was born in Mexico and knows firsthand the issues involved in multi-language/multicultural communication. Her experience presenting U.S. corporate communications to foreign buyers has served Apple, the Port of Oakland and Visa International among many others. She looks forward to helping MBITA members and the TradePort network increase sales results and offers a 10% discount to first-time MBITA members.

Carla Itzkowich

Carla Itzkowich
International Contact, Inc.
Tel. (510) 836-1180
Web: www.intlcontact.com

The Growing Field of Agri-Tech

By MBITA Member Royse Law Firm, PC

Ag technologyThe conference rooms of the Silicon Valley might seem like an unlikely place to hear talk of crops, soil, animal tracking and farm management, but a widening group of techies and investors see the potential of applying the Silicon Valley formula to California's largest industry - agriculture - and are aggressively seeking out the new opportunities.

Ag tech machineryAgriculture has been tied to technology since the first Fordson tractor replaced an ox-drawn plow. In fact, the thing that is most striking about tech companies focused on agriculture ("AgTech") is how much catching up they need to do.

Last year, venture capitalists (VCs) invested $30 to $40 million in 100 to 155 deals, depending on how broadly you define the sector. That may seem like a lot until you consider that roughly the same amount was invested in transportation-tech (companies that help you find cabs more easily, for example). If $150 million still seems high, consider that VCs invest roughly $30 billion per year in the US, and of that, $10 billion emanates from the corridor that runs from Palo Alto to San Francisco.

ag water technologyA recent webinar conducted by the Royse Law Firm in Palo Alto illustrates the numerous areas that are ripe for innovation. For example, water remains one of California's most valuable and sometimes most controversial resources, and technologies are being developed that control flow, purify and desalinate water and process waste water. As the largest consumer of water in the state, the agriculture sector has the most to gain from efficiencies in water use, storage and distribution.

Because of the importance of soil quality, environmental technologies are inherently suitable for ag applications. Soil technologies address contaminants such as e-coli as well as nutrients, fertilizers, herbicides and composts. Other production related technologies provide specific and up to the minute weather information.

Precision farmingOne of the more interesting areas in Ag is machinery. The term, "precision farming" has recently become popular, referring to the ability of machines (such as drones and remote controlled or "smart" tractors) to farm a field with pinpoint accuracy. That may seem like science fiction, but commercial sensors and monitors are now available and getting better.

Similarly, technology now allows farmers and ranchers to track animals from field to table with RFID and tracing technologies. Similar technologies capture and analyze that information, placing agriculture in the cross hairs of the most popular new idea in technology - Big Data. What use can farmers use of the vast amounts of information they are gathering? Who owns that information? How can the process of information monitoring, analyzing and gathering be more easily automated, especially in connection with regulatory requirements. Perhaps the biggest gains will come in this emerging sub-sector.

Precision agFinally, the end result of all agriculture eventually ends up on a table (or in a glass), and while the VCs catch up to Ag, the related areas of WineTech and FoodTech have also taken off as areas of innovation and interest. Restaurants no longer have to ship all of their produce from far away - urban farms can supply them with some fresh produce. In fact, herbs and spices now grow in warehouses next door to software companies. A "chip" company in the Silicon Valley can mean a computer chip or a corn chip, both fabbed through high technology.

With all of these potential changes and opportunities in progress, what should the producers be doing? How can rural America get its share of the new wealth about to be created? For starters, the great disconnect in the field, and the reason why Ag-Tech is not yet as big as other "Techs", is the failure of communication between consumer and producer, farmer and techie.

Venture capital might help close that gap but, in the meantime, the group "Silicon Valley AgTech" is hosting 'meetups', webinars and conferences designed to bring the groups together so that the tech community can work on solutions that solve actual problems and create products that farmers actually need. Some farmers have cut out the middleman and created their own technologies, based on solving their own current need. They only need to pitch to the right investors in the right way. Eventually they will start to "hit," get funded and launch.

ag revolutionAn agricultural revolution is underway that is no less significant to farming than the industrial revolution. This new revolution will trade in information more than machines, and will lower the cost of production and expand markets. All signs indicate that, given the technological basis of the coming change, the center of agriculture will soon be where the technology is located. For information on how to join this movement, interested persons can check out the Meetup and LinkedIn groups, such as Silicon Valley AgTech, or the website http://www.agtechsv.com/ or attend one of the upcoming meetings, webinars or conferences listed at www.RoyseLink.com.
For a replay of the recent AgTech webinar, see www.RoyseUniversity.com/webinars.

Roger Royse

Roger Royse
Royse Law Firm, PC
Palo Alto, San Francisco, Los Angeles
Tel. (650) 813-9700 x 201
Email: rroyse@rroyselaw.com

Skype: roger.royse
Web: www.rroyselaw.com

Publisher note: It is MBITA's position that the 'cutting-edge' position of the American agro-technology industry is now well placed for export to developing countries to 'leap-frog' their existing and outdated farming operations.
What's New

MBITA's finance column features articles from the experts in TRADE FINANCE for exports.

Trade Finance

EXPORTA Comes to San Jose, California

Exporta ConferenceThe Chief Economist of Euler Hermes, Dan North, will be giving the keynote address at the West Coast Trade & Export Finance Conference 2013, on October 9th, 2013. He will address the economic challenges within the domestic market, such as manufacturing, monetary and fiscal policy, and evaluate the impact on US exports. The conference is the largest annual gathering of trade finance specialists on the West Coast and will as act as a key meeting point for anyone serious about undertaking business in the region.

More information and registration

Expanding Horizons banner

OPIC Comes to San Jose, California

On November 13th in San Jose, Ca, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) will be conducting the workshop for U.S. small to medium sized businesses with the latest in the highly-successful Expanding Horizons 2013 series that helps businesses learn how they can compete in the global marketplace.

A central focus on this event is the opportunity to schedule and meet in 'one on one meetings' with OPIC staff and representatives from the participating U.S. government agencies who will answer questions related to your business. It includes workshop materials, breakfast and lunch.

Register online
Event flyer
Conference Brochure

Meridian Finance Group
The most active Ex-Im Bank Insurance Broker and 2013 Ex-Im Bank Broker of the Year

Meridian Finance Group logoThe Export-Import Bank of the U.S. has named MBITA member Meridian Finance Group its 2013 "Broker of the Year."

While most of Meridian's credit insurance and trade finance business is underwritten in the private sector, they are particularly proud of the work we do with Ex-Im Bank to support US exports. Exporting is one of the bright spots in the US economy right now and, in partnership with Ex-Im Bank, Meridian is helping hundreds of US exporters to expand their international sales.

At the "Broker of the Year" award ceremony in Washington DC, Meridian was recognized for originating and supporting more Ex-Im Bank insurance policies in the past year than any other insurance broker in the country. In addition to export credit insurance, Ex-Im Bank cited Meridian's contributions to its other programs: their support for banks using L/C insurance, their collaborations with medium-term and working capital lenders, and their generation of new loans for the Global Credit Express initiative.

paymentEx-Im Bank is the official export credit agency of the United States, with a mandate to provide financing, insurance, and guarantees that increase US exports. In the past year Ex-Im Bank programs have supported billions of dollars in US export sales, strengthening the US economy and creating or sustaining an estimated 250,000 jobs nationwide. Rather than costing US taxpayers money or adding to the fiscal deficit, in the past five years Ex-Im Bank has returned over $1 billion to the US Treasury.

Meridian provides access to trade finance tools that exporters can use to expand their international sales, including export credit insurance, cross-border equipment financing, foreign buyer credit lines, political risk insurance, supply chain financing, international leasing, L/C insurance, and other services. Meridian's clients include banks, non-bank lenders, multinational corporations, and—with no minimum size requirements—middle market companies and small business exporters nationwide.

Specializing in trade credit insurance, Meridian helps exporters extend competitive payment terms overseas while protecting their foreign receivables against default risks. With export credit insurance exporters can be confident of getting paid, use credit as a tool to increase international sales, and arrange financing by making their foreign receivables more attractive to lenders. Meridian brokers policies underwritten by every government agency and insurance company in the market.

This is Meridian's 20th year in business and the third time they have been awarded Ex-Im Bank "Broker of the Year." Meridian's team is multicultural and multilingual, with experience not only in trade finance and credit insurance but also exporting, importing, operations, logistics, and distribution.

For information call Meridian Finance Group at 310-260-2130, email export@meridianfinance.com, or visit www.meridianfinance.com.

Ex-Im Bank Approves $34 Million to Finance the Export of U.S. Solar-Related Products to Spain and South Africa

Transaction Supports White House Power Africa Initiative

Washington, D.C. - As part of its renewable-energy push, the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) has authorized a pair of direct loans totaling $33.6 million to Abengoa of Seville, Spain, that will facilitate the export of American heat-transfer fluid produced by The Dow Chemical Company for use in solar projects in Spain and South Africa.

Ex-Im Bank's financing will support approximately 200 U.S. jobs, according to bank estimates derived from Departments of Commerce and Labor data and methodology.

"Ex-Im Bank's consistent support of renewable-energy projects demonstrates our commitment to supporting high-skilled jobs in an important homegrown industry and improving the environment," said Ex-Im Bank Chairman and President Fred P. Hochberg. "In addition to contributing to cleaner sources of energy and supporting U.S. jobs, these two transactions will support President Obama's goal of doubling access to power in sub-Saharan Africa."

Power Africa is a new initiative to double access to power in sub-Saharan Africa. In its initial phase, the United States has already committed more than $7 billion in financial support to this effort.

DOWTHERMTM A heat-transfer fluid from Dow is a key component of the steam-heating process in concentrated solar power plants and replaces conventional fossil-fuel boilers.

Headquartered in Midland, Mich., The Dow Chemical Company, and its consolidated subsidiaries (Dow), delivers a broad range of technology-based products and solutions through the production, marketing, and sales of specialty chemicals and advanced materials and plastics. Dow operates manufacturing sites in 36 countries and employs approximately 54,000 people.

"The Ex-Im Bank is enabling growth in the U.S. and beyond," said Carolina Barrios, market development manager for Dow Heat Transfer Fluids. "By supporting the use of high quality, U.S.-made exports, this transaction advances the competitiveness of Dow manufacturing and operations jobs locally, while helping to meet clean energy demands around the world."

Abengoa is an international company based in Seville, Spain, that applies innovative technology solutions for sustainability in the energy and environment sectors. The company operates two parabolic-trough solar plants in Logrosan, Spain, and is currently building two plants in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa with the Industrial Development Corporation. The two plants in Spain and one of the two in South Africa will rely upon DOWTHERM A.

This press release was issued on 9/19 by Ex-Im Bank. Press release source article.
Contact Lawton King (202) 565-3200.

DS-Concept Establishes New Partnership

DS-Concept Factoring, Inc., a global commercial finance company specializing in international non-recourse factoring, has provided a $3 million non-recourse international accounts receivable facility to a distributor of home goods. DS-Concept was introduced by the company's bank whose credit facility excluded foreign accounts receivable from their borrowing base.

"We're happy to have a new partnership with the company's bank while providing a solution for our client," stated Brandyn Prust, Vice President of Sales. "DS-Concept's global network allowed us to leverage our resources at the local level to efficiently support the financial and legal negotiations simultaneously in three time zones."

This press release was published by DS-Concept Factoring, Inc. on 9/11 2013.

What's New

National Export
Initiative (NEI) Update

Statement from U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker on International Trade in Goods and Services in July 2013

On September 4th U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker issued the following statement today on the release of the July 2013 U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services data. U.S. exports hit the second-highest monthly level on record in July, dropping slightly to $189.4 billion, from an all-time monthly record of $190.5 billion in June. Record export levels were achieved in services and petroleum products. Exports through the first seven months of 2013 totaled $1.3 trillion, keeping the United States on track for another record-setting year.

Since President Obama launched the National Export Initiative (NEI) in 2010, an ambitious plan to sell more American goods and services into foreign markets, the United States has seen an increase of 1.3 million export-supported jobs. The NEI is the first Presidential-led, government-wide export promotion strategy. Through the initiative's focus on improving trade promotion and advocacy, reducing barriers and enforcing trade rules, U.S. exports have continued to grow.

"We have seen record U.S. exports under the National Export Initiative," said Secretary Pritzker. "While we still have more work to do, exports in July 2013 hit the second-highest monthly levels on record, and nearly 10 million Americans now have export-supported jobs. The U.S. Department of Commerce is committed to doing everything we can to help U.S. businesses continue to sell more products and services abroad and support even more jobs here at home.

U.S. Export Fact Sheet September 2013

Contact: United States Department of Commerce
Office of Public Affairs - Tel. 202-482-4883
Press release source article.

The National Export Strategy is available also at
http://trade.gov/NEI and http://export.gov.
International Trade Update at
United States Department of Commerce
Office of Public Affairs - Tel. 202-482-4883

Ayse Oge

Ayse's Corner

International Trade Champions

Ayse Oge is a published author and global trade marketing expert. She is the author or the book Emerging Markets. Ayse's Corner is a periodic feature for the World TradeWinds eZine'.

The global economy is becoming increasingly interconnected due to advances of technology in communication and transportation. Most governments are eliminating trade barriers and placing value in cross-national cooperation and agreements, and consumers are also demanding foreign goods/services. Companies are currently in need for international trade professionals and "champions" who are savvy and have a thorough understanding of the dynamics of international business to thrive in this integrated economy.

Iternational trade meetingsTrue international trade champions are the ones who have both a passion for the profession and a sense of purpose extending beyond simple allegiance to employers in driving their company's trade and export sales performance. These champions must also demonstrate solid competencies and skills in global management, international marketing and sales, overseas customer support service and have a cultural awareness of product design and development to stay competitive in the global marketplace.

I have had the privilege of getting to know some of these international trade champions during the last decade and learn from their best practices. Here are some valuable takeaways from the interviews I conducted with several of them, including CEO's, Vice Presidents, and Export Managers.

  • American quality standards can overcome any price advantage of foreign countries, and they represent built-in advantages for all of the U.S. exporters.
  • A logistic company's role in exports is crucial. Most of them have customized services in terms of preparing documents for shipment, estimating duties and taxes, and helping with essential regulatory and information about your target country.
  • The major benefit of exporting that any company acquires is name recognition, which has a cascading effect in bringing in new customers and additional local and international revenues.
  • International trade professionals need an organization that has experienced associates to service the business, the production capabilities, and the proper policies and procedures to achieve the customer satisfaction before entering into foreign markets.
  • Your professional networks, including government services such as Gold Key and Exim Bank, are significant in ensuring global success every step of the way.
  • Shy away from giving away free samples to your clients. People value products that they pay for. Once they buy them from you, credit the total dollar amount of samples on the final invoice.
  • Americans respect time and abide by deadlines when it comes to business transactions. Reminding your foreign counterparts that they need to do the same can be counter-productive in your relations. A little diplomacy and tactfulness goes a long way.

Global business champions are life-long learners and have the excitement to propel their company's expansion overseas with extraordinary marketing suaveness, extensive quality control and an innovative spirit. This is why the American economy needs to cultivate more "champions" in order to achieve economic growth and create jobs.

Ayse Oge is President of Ultimate Trade, International Trade Consulting, Speaking and Training. Ayse Oge is Regional Director of Business Education Statewide Advisory Committee in Los Angeles, CA. She is also Board Member of California Business Education Association and Program Chair of CBEA Annual Conference, November 15-17 in San Diego, CA.

Ayse Oge

Ayse Oge
Ultimate Trade LLC
Tel. 818-708-9571
Email: oge@earthlink.net
Web: www.goglobaltowin.com

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Please go to MBITA newsletter archives to see other MBITA Members profiles and visit MBITA's Export Promotion Services.