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President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum during the U.S. Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum during the U.S. Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

As President Barack Obama wrapped up the first-ever U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit this week in Washington, D.C., he urged more American companies and investors to get involved in African economies.

“Some of the fastest-growing economies in the world. A growing middle class. Expanding sectors like manufacturing and retail. One of the fastest-growing telecommunications markets in the world. More governments are reforming, attracting a record level of foreign investment. It is the youngest and fastest-growing continent, with young people that are full of dreams and ambition.” President Obama said in a Summit speech.

Maryland companies are at an advantage when it comes to interactions with African markets. Businesses interested in exporting internationally will find several resources available through the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED), including the following: Continue Reading…

Maryland/DC Celebration of International Trade 2013

International panelists share their expertise on exporting during the Maryland/DC Celebration of International Trade 2013.

Navigating the diverse barriers to foreign trade can be a challenge. Fortunately for businesses in the Maryland and Washington, D.C. region, a bevy of experts and organizations stand ready to assist companies in launching or expanding their export operations.

The 2014 Celebration of International Trade: Conference and Exposition—sponsored by the Maryland/DC District Export Council (DEC), JP Morgan Chase & Co.UPS, the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) and others—will bring all of these resources together on May 22 in Linthicum, Maryland.

The second annual conference, held at the Maritime Institute Conference Center, will feature representatives of several industries and countries presenting a series of interactive panel discussions. Experts will include Libo Suen, the U.S. Small Business Administration Washington Metropolitan Area District Office‘s District International Trade Officer, and Bill Houck, Regional Manager with the Office of International Trade at Export Solutions. Local, state and federal government and commercial exhibitors will also show their resources and services at the conference.

Carl Livesay, Manufacturing Program Manager with the Office of Strategic Industries and Innovation at DBED, who is part of the event’s organizing team, urges business representatives to register as soon as possible. The first annual conference attracted more than 400 attendees, but the upcoming conference is already on track to draw more than 500, he said.

“This is the No. 1 opportunity for companies looking to overcome the barriers to international trade. Leaders in international trade will be presenting all day. Many companies are sending two representatives so they can glean information from as many sessions as possible,” Livesay said.

“This is not the type of conference where you simply listen to a speaker and go home. This truly is a content-rich conference. You will interact and network and receive practical advice for your company,” he added.

Find additional registration details on the DEC website here.

Find coverage of the 2013 Celebration of International Trade: Conference and Exposition on MDBIZ News, including advice from industry experts and reaction from organizers and participants.

 

Port of Baltimore

ANNAPOLIS, MD (March 6, 2014) –  Governor Martin O’Malley joined more than 300 Maryland business leaders last night at the 18th Annual World Trade Center Institute’s International Business Leadership Awards and announced that Maryland’s trade exports climbed to a record $11.8 billion in 2013. Trade to countries that Maryland has strategically targeted, like United Arab Emirates and Brazil, grew by 39 percent and 22 percent, respectively. Key merchandise export categories include transportation equipment; chemicals; computer and electronic products; machinery manufactures; and waste and scrap. Maryland’s strong performance in 2013 helped the U. S. reach an all-time record for exports of U.S. goods and services, reaching $2.3 trillion in 2013 and supporting nearly 10 million American jobs.

“The continued increase in Maryland exports, along with the Port of Baltimore hitting record cargo levels and BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport growing its international passenger traffic, demonstrates that Maryland remains a fierce global competitor,” said Governor O’Malley. “Ultimately, our strength and global competitiveness depends on our willingness to make the investments that a modern economy requires to create jobs.”

“Exporting is paying off for many Maryland businesses that continue to ‘make locally and sell globally,’ said Bill Burwell, Director of the U.S. Commercial Service in Baltimore. “Ninety-five percent of the world’s consumers reside outside of the United States. If your business is not exporting, it’s time to get on board—because not selling globally is just like leaving money on the table. We can help you navigate the avenues of exporting.”

At the conclusion of his remarks, Governor O’Malley presented the Governor’s International Award to Ronald Peterson, President of The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System. In addition to the Governor’s Award, there are also seven awardees of WTCI’s International Business Leadership Awards: Domino Sugar – Stuart FitzGibbon, Refinery Manager; Honest Tea – Seth Goldman, Cofounder, President, & TeaEO; Institute for Genome Sciences – Claire Fraser, Director; KEYW – Len Moodispaw, President & CEO; MedImmune – Bahija Jallal, Executive Vice President; Phenix Technologies – Frank Vitéz, President; and Prometric – Michael Brannick, President & CEO.

To boost the State’s exports and help companies take advantage of global trade opportunities, Governor O’Malley launched the Maryland Export Initiative in 2010 to complement President Obama’s National Export Initiative. In 2012, Maryland was awarded a total of $1.2 million in grants from the U.S. Small Business Administration to increase the number and amount of Export MD grants, a State program that provides funding to small and mid-sized businesses to help them market their products and services overseas. As a result of the increase in funding, 89 Maryland small businesses have benefitted from the program, enabling them to add a combined 400 new jobs and generate more than $180 million in increased export sales. 

The O’Malley-Brown Administration has taken significant steps to ramp up the State’s international outreach. In 2011, the Governor led two historic economic development missions – one to China, South Korea and Vietnam and one to India – that netted a combined $145 million in trade and investment deals for the State and the companies that were part of the delegation. In 2013, the Governor led a trade mission to Brazil, which resulted in EMS S/A, Brazil’s largest domestic pharmaceutical company, announcing its new U.S. headquarters in Montgomery County and plans to invest $200 million into the new operation.

The State has a number of foreign trade offices in targeted countries, including China (Shanghai), Israel (Tel Aviv), France (Paris), Africa (Nigeria); India, Russia, South Korea (Seoul), Taiwan (Taipei), Vietnam (Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City), Brazil, and United Arab Emirates (Dubai). With the exception of the offices in China and Israel, all the State’s foreign offices operate on a contingency basis with no up-front cost to taxpayers.

Maryland’s Office of International Investment and Trade works to stimulate foreign direct investment in the State, offers export assistance for small and mid-sized Maryland companies and coordinates international trade and investment missions and trade show opportunities for Maryland companies. For more information on resources available to business that want to market their products or services globally, visit www.choosemaryland.org

BWI Airport

A growing number of travelers are choosing Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport as their gateway to the world. International traffic surged about 20 percent in 2013, airport officials announced.

Last year represented the second busiest year in the airport’s 40-year history, with a total of 22,498,353 commercial passengers. Passenger totals broke records in four months out of the year, in January, March, May and December.

International traffic has grown by roughly 20 percent for two straight years at the airport. Over the past five years, international passengers using BWI Marshall has nearly doubled, according to airport officials.

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The new global marketplace is in need of responsible and innovative leadership. The World Trade Center Institute (WTCI)—the largest international business network in the mid-Atlantic, housed in Baltimore’s World Trade Center—is committed to fostering and celebrating those leaders in Maryland’s business community.

With that goal in mind, the WTCI announced the winners of their annual International Business Leadership Awards contest this week. The seven winning company leaders will be formally recognized on March 5 at the Jim Rouse Visionary Center in Baltimore.

Winners include:

Many of these companies have also worked directly with the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, which is also headquartered in the World Trade Center, to receive assistance and/or help promote fellow Maryland startups and entrepreneurs.

Tickets to the WTCI celebration and networking event are available for purchase. Find additional details on the WTCI website.

ANNAPOLIS, MD (December 5, 2013) – Governor Martin O’Malley joined Rio de Janeiro Governor Sergio Cabral Filho last night to sign an agreement to share best practices for keeping both the Chesapeake Bay and Rio’s Guanabara Bay clean, healthy and sustainable. The agreement aims to connect the more than three decades of experience Maryland has in restoring the Chesapeake Bay with the current challenges that Rio faces with improving the water quality of Guanabara Bay in time for the 2016 Olympics. The agreement follows a Memorandum of Understanding that was signed by the two Governors in March 2011 and a cooperative effort that began earlier this year between Maryland’s Secretaries of Environment and Natural Resources, and the Environmental Secretary and State Environmental Institute (INEA) in Rio.

“We’ve made tremendous progress cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay and today, we’re building on that progress by sharing our experiences with our counterparts here in Brazil,” said Governor O’Malley. ”From BayStat  to restoring our signature blue crab and creating hundreds of green jobs across our state, Maryland’s programs are leading the way to a greener, more sustainable future.” Continue Reading…

ANNAPOLIS, MD (December 4, 2013) – Midway through a trade mission to Brazil, Governor Martin O’Malley today joined Rio de Janeiro Governor Sergio Cabral Filho to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Maryland-Rio Partners of the Americas, and to sign a joint declaration celebrating the partnership.

“I am pleased to join with Governor Cabral to celebrate the special relationship that Maryland and Rio have enjoyed for five decades,” said Governor O’Malley. “Together, our two regions have built a solid foundation of educational, social and cultural exchange, and have developed programs that exemplify our joint commitment to protecting our environment.”

“Maryland-Rio Partners of the Americas has been a very successful people-to-people partnership of citizens working together as volunteers to improve the lives of individuals in Maryland and Rio de Janeiro,” said Dr. Lowell W. Adams, President of Maryland Partners of the Americas. “We look forward to continuing our important work and growing our programs to the benefit of both regions.” Continue Reading…

ANNAPOLIS, MD (December 3, 2013) – On a trade mission to Brazil, Governor Martin O’Malley today announced that Brace Pharmaceuticals, an investment company created by EMS S/A, Brazil’s largest domestic pharmaceutical company, has opened its U.S. headquarters in Montgomery County and plans to invest $200 million into the new operation. The company, which is located in the Rockville Innovation Center, develops and commercializes products in the late stage of clinical development and helps research and development companies successfully finish their developments and obtain FDA market approval. Brace recently entered into its first venture investment in a U.S. company with Gliknik, a Baltimore-based biopharmaceutical company that is creating new therapies for cancer and immune disorders. The announcement came after Governor O’Malley visited EMS headquarters near Sao Paolo and met with the company’s CEO Carlos Sanchez and President of U.S. Operations Vinzenz Plorer.

“Brace Pharmaceuticals’ decision to establish its U.S. headquarters in Maryland reaffirms the State’s position as one of the world’s leading locations for life sciences innovation,” said Governor O’Malley. “We welcome Brace and are pleased that they will be able to benefit from our highly-educated workforce and our proximity to key federal labs. Their work with a wealth of cutting-edge companies will help to cure diseases and develop new therapies to save lives across the globe.”

“By establishing Brace’s operations in Rockville, Maryland, we have access to one of the U.S.’s top life sciences communities,” Brace’s Plorer said. “There is a talented pool of industry experience to draw upon as we expand our footprint. Moreover, there is established infrastructure and support from companies, universities, NIH and FDA.” Continue Reading…

Joined by more 30 Maryland businesses, higher education leaders and government officials, Governor Martin O’Malley today kicked off an economic development mission to Brazil, which has one of the fastest growing major economies in the world and is the largest economy of the Latin American nations. After arriving in Brazil’s capital of Sao Paulo yesterday, Governor O’Malley and the delegation were briefed earlier today on Brazil’s history, economy and culture by U.S. Consul General Dennis Hankins. The Governor then met with and addressed a dozen Brazilian companies in the environmental and security technology industries, promoting Maryland as the ideal gateway to the U.S. marketplace.

“While Maryland and Brazil have a long history of trade dating back 50 years, this mission will help open new doors for investment, for both Maryland businesses looking to enter or expand in the Latin American markets, and for Brazilian companies looking to enter U.S. markets by locating in Maryland,” said Governor O’Malley. ‘We look forward to working with our partners in Brazil to build on our shared strengths in biotechnology, information security and protecting our environment for future generations.”

Governor O’Malley also announced that two Maryland businesses are expanding in Brazil. Cambridge International, the world’s leading manufacturer of metal belting based in Cambridge, Md., is expanding its manufacturing facility in Sao Paulo with additional product lines and plans to add a dozen employees by 2016. The company will also be launching the Cambridge Architectural Division in Brazil over the next year. Continue Reading…

The next time you’re filtering through airport security, consider that the equipment scanning you and your luggage was likely produced right here in Maryland.

Smiths Detection, with its U.S. headquarters in Edgewood, is the world’s leading supplier of an array of tools used to detect weapons, explosives and chemical threats.

“Talk to any of our employees, we take great pride in keeping people safe,” said Mike Castek, site head of the Edgewood plant. Smiths Detection employs roughly 230 Marylanders, about 10 percent of the global division’s workforce, operating within United Kingdom-based Smiths Group.

While the majority of Americans will interact with a Smiths Detection scanner or x-ray machine at an airport, products also cater to elite security groups like the United Nations’ Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Weapons inspectors used Smith Detection products during their most recent investigation of chemical warfare in Syria. The group’s mission helped secure them the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.

The focus on chemical weapons detection is part of the rationale behind its Edgewood location. Aberdeen Proving Ground, just a stone’s throw from the plant, houses the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, which uses several Smiths Detection products. Military and first responders to chemical threats have utilized the company’s unique Chemical Biological Protective Shelters.

“It’s crucial to be close to our customers and to be able to get the products to the right place as quickly as possible,” said Brian Boso, chief scientist at the plant.

Leadership at the Maryland location also take advantage of their proximity to Washington, D.C.

“We talk to the CIA, TSA, Secret Service, U.S. Marshals and the Department of Defense on a constant basis, trying to work with them to figure out what the future threats are and to develop new techniques,” Boso said.

“Unfortunate events” have contributed to Smiths Detection’s rapid growth in recent years, company leadership said.

Prior to Sept. 11, 2001, threat detection equipment represented a very small portion of Smiths Group’s global operation. Through acquisition of another company, it then produced 100-150 desktop explosive detectors per year. Three months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, however, the Transportation Security Administration placed an order for 6,000 desktop explosive detectors to be issued at airports across the nation.

“It’s a very event-driven industry. As the terrorists change their mode of operation, we have to adapt,” Boso said.

Increased demand for security equipment caused Smiths Group to name Smiths Detection a separate division in 2003. In recent years, the Edgewood plant’s footprint and workforce has doubled.

Smiths Detection was at the forefront of developing on-site detection tools for “white powder incidents,” often suspected of involving anthrax, he said. More recently, the company has developed a scanner for liquid, which will enable TSA to restrict only threatening liquids carried on by passengers, clearing harmless ones.

The Edgewood plant’s workforce reflects the changing face of new-age manufacturing, where the laboratory is as important as the factory floor.

A large number of employees are electronic test technicians, who typically have a two-year associates degree with an electrical engineering focus. Members of the research and development staff tend to have advanced degrees.

“It can be a challenge sometimes to find highly technical scientists, but we’ve been able to take advantage of Maryland’s educated workforce and also attract people here,” Castek said.

As opposed to historic perceptions of a dangerous factory, Smiths Detection’s next-generation manufacturing methods focus on protecting the employee.

“The workplace is designed around the people as much as it’s designed around the equipment, which was not the case years ago,” Boso said.  “We pride ourselves that our products help keep people safe, so we certainly don’t want anyone getting hurt building our products.”

Smiths Detection is poised for growth in Maryland. Already, its technology is used at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, BWI Fire & Rescue Department and fire departments in Harford County, Cecil County, Prince George’s County and Baltimore City. Multiple courthouses and federal buildings in Maryland also use Smiths Detection weapons scanners.

Boso said the company is well integrated with governmental and public safety institutions across the country, but there are new opportunities emerging in commercial and critical infrastructure markets.

Corporate headquarters, schools, mass transit stations and prisons are becoming customers for threat detection equipment, including x-ray machines, metal detectors, scanners used to secure checkpoints.

“We see a fair amount of expansion in those areas, for sure. Smiths is optimistic about the future market,” Boso said.

 

November 14, 2013 (Baltimore, MD) – Governor Martin O’Malley announced today that EnerTech Capital Partners and Foundation Medical Partners (FMP) have been selected to receive funds through the State’s $84 million InvestMaryland program. The venture capital firms will invest $10 and $7 million each in young, innovative Maryland companies. As part of the agreement, the firms will return to the State’s general fund 100 percent of the principal and 80 percent of the proceeds from successful investments. Created by Governor O’Malley and the Maryland General Assembly in 2011, InvestMaryland is a historic initiative to fuel Maryland’s Innovation Economy, support entrepreneurs and stimulate job creation.

“Maryland is committed to investing in the entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses that will soon become the leaders of our growing Innovation Economy and we are excited to have EnerTech and FMP join us in that effort,” Governor O’Malley said. “InvestMaryland leverages the capital and expertise of the private sector to support young Maryland businesses as they grow and create family-sustaining jobs for the people of our State.”

“Venture capital and knowledgeable investors can mean the difference between success and failure for young companies, even those built around promising ideas and innovative technologies,” Business and Economic Development Secretary Dominick E. Murray said. “InvestMaryland is just one more advantage Maryland has in the life sciences, social media, cybersecurity, big data, green energy and other high-tech fields. We look forward to working with EnerTech and FMP as they make their investments.”

“EnerTech has been investing in Maryland since shortly after our founding in 1996. We are delighted to be selected by the InvestMaryland team and welcome their participation in our final close of EnerTech Capital Partners IV,” said Tucker Twitmyer, Managing Director of EnerTech. “The State has an impressive track record in our sector and we look forward to helping Maryland’s workforce create the next generation of real energy solutions — for Maryland and for the world.”

EnerTech invests in early to growth-stage companies that offer products or services that make energy production and consumption more efficient, reliable, and cost-effective. The firm has managed about $500 million since its founding in 1996. Its current fund, in which InvestMaryland is a participant, is approximately $120 million. EnerTech’s portfolio ranges from Tangent Energy Solutions, a company that makes industrial sites more energy efficient, to n-Dimension Solutions, a cybersecurity firm focused on critical infrastructure.

FMP invests in the healthcare technology sector, focusing on transformational technologies and services that enable value-based healthcare and leverage wireless, data and analytics technologies. Its portfolio includes a diverse set of companies specializing in healthcare informatics, medical device development and innovative diagnostic technologies. FMP is still in its fundraising phase and could not comment on its new fund.

InvestMaryland is the largest venture capital investment in history by the State. Last year, $84 million was raised for the program through an online auction of tax credits. Of that funding, two-thirds will be managed by private venture firms like EnerTech and FMP. So far, $48 million has been committed to seven firms. The remaining third is being invested by the state-run Maryland Venture Fund (MVF).

The MVF was seeded with $25 million and over its 17-year existence invested in hundreds of start-up and early stage technology and life sciences companies, generating a $67 million return, 2000 jobs and more than $1 billion in private investment. Returns from MVF investments are reinvested in the program.

Executive Director of the Regional Economic and Studies Institute Dr. Daraius Irani shared his economic outlook.

Executive Director of the Regional Economic and Studies Institute Dr. Daraius Irani shared his economic outlook.

With a projected increase in holiday shopping and a recovering housing market, Maryland’s economic outlook has multiple positive highlights, according to Regional Economic Studies Institute Executive Director Dr. Daraius Irani.

Irani presented RESI’s findings during the 2013 Economic Outlook Conference, the organization’s premier event, held at Towson University last week.

Maryland reached a milestone in August, regaining 100 percent of the jobs lost during the recession—one of only 16 states to do so. Over the last year, statewide employment expanded 1.7 percent, the largest year-over-year growth rate since the start of the economic downturn five years ago. The professional and business services industry added 16,300 jobs to the economy over the last year, making it the state’s largest employment contributor, according to RESI.

Irani praised recent developments, including the planned Amazon facility in Southeast Baltimore, expected to create more than 1,000 full-time jobs, with wages at up to 30 percent more than the average retail job. “Not all of the jobs we create in our economy should require a Ph.D. or a masters degree. This presents some opportunities across the economic spectrum, as well as an excellent tuition reimbursement program to help workers pursue higher education,” he said.

Irani described the state’s housing market as “generally upbeat,” with home prices increasing by about $16,000 since the last year. Maryland building permits, which represent new construction, rose 12.9 percent between July and August, up 9.3 percent from the previous year.

He emphasized that recovery is ongoing nationally and at the state level and that overall consumer confidence historically remains low. He attributes much of the “lurch” in consumer confidence to party gridlock in Congress and the recent shutdown of the federal government. Still, RESI projects an increase in national holiday retail sales by 4 percent this year, welcome news for Maryland businesses that depend on a boost between November and December.

Irani light-heartedly added, “I encourage you all to go out and shop.”

Find a video of the presentation with additional data below: