U.S. Department of Commerce: International Trade Administration
The International Trade Administration (ITA) strengthens the competitiveness of U.S. industry, promotes trade and investment, and ensures fair trade through the rigorous enforcement of our trade laws and agreements. ITA works to improve the global business environment and helps U.S. organizations compete at home and abroad. ITA supports President Obama’s recovery agenda and the National Export Initiative to sustain economic growth and support American jobs.
Smart Grid Initiatives
- The Smart Grid and the National Export Initiative: In his 2010 State of the Union address, President Obama announced the National Export Initiative (NEI) and set the ambitious goal of doubling U.S. exports within five years to support millions of U.S. jobs. The President also challenged the United States to become the leading exporter of clean energy technologies. The President’s Export Promotion Cabinet has since identified smart grid technology as an important sector of the economy with export potential. The Administration is now using the NEI to concentrate Federal agencies’ attention on trade promotion, market development, and trade enforcement and to highlight opportunities for U.S. export sectors, including the smart grid industry. The NEI is focused on (1) improving trade advocacy and export promotion efforts; (2) increasing access to credit, especially for small and midsize businesses; (3) removing barriers to the sale of U.S. goods and services abroad; (4) enforcing trade rules; and (5) pursuing policies at the global level to promote strong, sustainable, and balanced growth.
- The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Export Initiative (RE4I): The ITA leads the development and implementation of an action plan of 23 commitments from eight federal agencies for new programs, actions, or deliverables to facilitate a significant increase in Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency exports, including smart grid technology and services exports. These commitments address three common hurdles facing U.S. renewable energy, energy efficiency, and smart grid companies seeking to export: a shortage of appropriate financing, limited market access, and a lack of contacts with qualified foreign partners and customers. To address those obstacles, the RE4I’s deliverables are designed to: (a) tailor financing to RE&EE companies, (b) improve market access, (c) enhance information and trade promotion efforts to link buyers and sellers, and (d) strengthen U.S. government services. The RE4I also involves the work of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Export Advisory Committee, which advises the Secretary of Commerce on the development and administration of programs and policies to expand the competitiveness of the U.S. renewable energy, energy efficiency, and smart grid industries.
- Smart Grid Trade Promotion: The ITA is working through its overseas offices and with partners around the world to promote U.S. products and services in markets where smart grid investment is growing. Through the work of industry analysts and international trade specialists at the Department of Commerce in Washington, DC and nearly 100 other U.S. cities and 80 countries, the ITA is quickly identifying market opportunities abroad and engaging the smart grid industry at home to connect exporters to buyers around the world. The ITA utilizes a wide range of trade promotion programs and services in these efforts, including official trade missions, export counseling, international business matching, and the International Buyer Program-- a government-industry partnership that recruits foreign buyers and business partners to attend U.S. industry trade shows.
- Addressing Global Smart Grid Issues: ITA’s Office of Energy and Environmental Industries (OEEI) situated in ITA’s Manufacturing and Services unit provides global smart grid market and policy analysis to U.S. Government and industry stakeholders that support efforts to identify and overcome barriers to trade in global smart grid markets. Key issues for U.S. smart grid firms seeking to do business in foreign markets include the need for fair and transparent procurement processes, the development of standards for the smart grids that support technological interoperability, concerns over intellectual property rights, and a range of market access issues impacting the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) sector. OEEI advises and works closely with government officials from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Departments of State and Energy, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and other key agencies to help ensure free and fair trade of smart grid goods and services.