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International trade – A global, regional and local examination from the last frontier.

Regulatory differences have always created opportunities and obstacles. As the forces of globalization make the case for harmonization of standards across global markets, this discussion begs the following: If the economic and political “pieces” of the puzzle are, in fact, in place for this to happen, how long will the process/negotiations take? and Who wins from standards harmonization?

I think that the forces of globalization have ripped the band-aid off of the previous economic system and further subsidies and protections (such as a difference in standards) continue to make the process more painful. Harmonization of standards between trading regions and their companies is an efficiency gain that is ultimately irresistible and therefore inevitable, but how far will the process go? The US international trade regulatory regime is a substantial beast that has evolved over time, often in response to direct competitive threats from the EU. Unfortunately, I think because so much competitiveness has been built upon the current regulatory regime, including upon the differences in standards themselves, moving towards harmonization will be an extremely difficult and time-consuming political process, which I believe would stretch long beyond the Obama administration, if negotiations started today.


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As an adjunct professor of international business/international marketing at Champlain College and an international trade specialist, I am greatly encouraged by today’s news that the International Trade Administration will be leading an education trade mission to Poland and the Czech Republic.

Savvy U.S. academic institutions have long known that international students contribute immensely to a school’s diversity and overall experience, as well as the bottom line. International students, on the other hand, who are eager to reap the rewards of a U.S. earned degree earned partly at home and partly abroad, have helped to pave the way for U.S. academic institutions to form successful partnerships with like minded institutions in competitive markets (Champlain College has campuses in Dublin and Montreal, respectfully).

The events of 9/11 really slowed the growth of the international education sector, as borders tightened up, especially around the movements of international students. Today’s news represents a significant policy shift back to a focus on growth in the education sector that has been over a decade in the making.

International Trade Development Services creates customized outbound and inbound trade missions for businesses and academic institutions interested in a highly targeted, highly profitable business development experience. For more information, call (802) 881-4725 or email at

Tradeology, the ITA Blog

Adam Wilczewski is Chief of Staff at the International Trade Administration.

This week 12 regionally accredited U.S. academic institutions will take part in the first-of-its-kind education trade mission to Poland and the Czech Republic. The trade mission, which I will have the opportunity to lead, is part of a larger effort to increase the number of foreign students studying in the United States.

According to Times Higher Education, the United States is home to more than 4,000 accredited higher education institutions, and 14 of the top 20 universities in the world. Furthermore, the Institute of International Education reports there are more international students (in excess of 723,000) studying at U.S. institutions than anywhere else in the world.

U.S. colleges and universities, such as those on this mission, place a prime importance on keeping their campuses internationally diverse, so that students can gain the most rewarding educational experience possible. And recent…

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As the second anniversary of the National Export Initiative (NEI comes to pass, it gives us a chance to examine the impact of a concerted effort to consciously “develop” international trade.  Thousands of firms exporting for the first time, trade up 34%, jobs created here at home.  U.S. firms proving that they are extremely competitive in the international marketplace.  Not bad for two years…

Trade with South Korea (the world’s 12th largest economy) had been virtually on hold as tariffs remained prohibitively high, while the Agreement sat on Capitol Hill. The signing of the U.S. Korean Trade Agreement will release an enormous bottleneck of trade activity that I believe will enable the U.S. to claim a victory for the NEI.

$3.1 trillion in exports suddenly doesn’t seem so out of reach….

Vermont sits between the eleventh largest city by GDP ( and the thirty-fifth – Boston and Montreal, respectively.  Vermont also ranks last (50th) in expenditures to support international trade, despite the fact that exports from Vermont’s small and medium-sized firms continue to show impressive strength and growth.  A concerted effort, along with strategic investments in Vermont’s infrastructure (Highway, Rail, and Border technology) and international trade technical services, will also lead to growth.  Until then, Vermont will remain the Last Frontier…

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Despite deep levels of political engagement between the US and Japan, the Japanese market remains a case study when discussing ‘obstacles to market penetration’.  Traditionally, a company looking to capture Japanese market share would need to understand the complex channels of distribution, the regulatory regime and deep cultural nuances.  Fascinating to me, is how a decades-old system can change in an instant and ultimately result in a change of trade flow, investment and opportunity, for those ready and willing to act.

Vermont’s Hurricane Irene event was no Fukushima, but it does present some unique opportunities when it comes to trade flows.  Vermont’s infrastructure is largely based on a 200-year old agricultural economy (history of Vermont roads goes back to 1749), overlapped by a highway system built in the 1930s.  The impact of trade in some of these overused, aging corridors is apparent and seems to justify attention.  Just as Japan has been forced to change its approach to international trade, it will be interesting to see if Vermont can continue to seize its “instant” and realize the potential of adaptation to new norms.   The improvements made to our North/South rail line, highway weight maximums, and the EB-5 program are topics for another day….

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Even in the most difficult of economic times, it seems that U.S. exports from small and medium-sized companies remain competitive and in demand. In 2004, it was discovered here in Vermont that for every 10% of export growth, 750 high-quality jobs were created. At the time, Vermont was at the end of its 10th consecutive year of 10% or higher growth….

Tradeology, the ITA Blog

Martin Johnson and Chris Rasmussen are Senior Economists in the Office of Industry Analysis within the International Trade Administration

For the first time in U.S. history annual exports of goods and services crossed the $2 trillion threshold exceeding $2.1 trillion in 2011.  This increase in exports builds on the strong growth in 2010, and in 2011 exports of U.S. goods and services were up over 33 percent from 2009. This growth in exports corresponded with growth in jobs supported by U.S. exports.

We estimate that in 2011 jobs supported by exports increased to 9.7 million in 2011, up 1.2 million since 2009. While the total value of U.S. exports set an all time record in 2011, jobs supported by exports in 2011 were just shy of the 2008 peak of 9.8 million.  In 2011, every billion dollars of U.S. exports supported 5,080 jobs.

Traditionally we think of export oriented…

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Thanks for stopping by.  Today marks the start of my blog, which will focus on international trade, trade development and its impact on the local, regional and global economy.  

Some might say, “Bor-ing….Snoresville”, but they don’t know what it’s like living on the fringes of the most competitive regional market in the world.  

I am based in northwestern, Vermont, USA – the Last Frontier.  

Why do I call Vermont, “The Last Frontier”?  I hope you will join in my discussions and find out, because if you are interested in job creation, economic strength and competitiveness or how the millions of products we see each day actually get to us, this blog should prove to be interesting.   This is my take, as an international trade specialist

Thanks for reading, Enjoy.   

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