Friday, September 23, 2016

17th annual Bringing the World to PA!

posted by Hannah Copenheaver
Governor Tom Wolf with Pennsylvania's Authorized Trade Representatives

In conjunction with the Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development, we hosted the 17th annual Bringing the World to PA on Monday, September 19, 2016.

Meetings with PA’s Trade Offices:
The event brought 14 of PA’s authorized trade representatives to meet one on one with local manufacturers and colleges to discuss their international business strategies. These representatives cover 46 different international markets for Pennsylvania. The list of Pennsylvania's Authorized Trade Representatives in attendance included
  • Australia (Australia, New Zealand)    
    • Sarath Menon (Singapore) and May Abrera (Philippines)
    • Ms. Angela Foley
  • Canada           
    • Mr. Chris Leslie
  • Central & Eastern Europe (Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Ukraine)
    • Ms. Pavlina Becvarova
  • Germany (Austria, Germany, Italy, Switzerland)
    • Ms. Franziska Wegerich
  • India
    • Ms. Supriya Kanetkar
  • Indonesia
    • Ms. Mary Veronika
  • Mexico
    • Chris Leslie (Canada)
    • Mr. Efren Flores
  • Middle East (Egypt, Greece, Israel, Jordan, Turkey)
    • Mr. Seth Vogelman
  • Netherlands (Belgium, Netherlands)
    • Ms. Nora van der Horst
  • Saudi Arabia
    • Ms. Wiam Alwazir
  • Singapore (Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam)
    • Mr. Sarath Menon & Ms. Carma May Abrera
  • South Korea
    • Mr. Steve Shin
  • Taiwan
    • Ms. Irene Tsai & Ms. Amy Pan
  • United Kingdom (Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom)
    • Mr. Martin Lewis

Each year, the event seems to attract more and more companies – and we hit a record number! Companies represented the southcentral Pennsylvania area, which encompasses Adams, Berks, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon and York counties. Here are this year's event numbers:
  • 14 authorized trade representatives
  • 87 attendees for meetings
  • 41 different companies, 15 of which were new to the event
  • 150 meetings between companies and trade representatives

This year also presented a new opportunity for us to showcase the export program in front of Governor Tom Wolf and First Lady Frances Wolf, as they kindly opened the Governor’s Residence to host the event.
Evening Reception:
Governor Tom Wolf
The day ended with a networking reception in the Governor’s Rose Garden. The 129 reception attendees included state and federal government officials, the Philadelphia consular corps members, World Trade Center Harrisburg members, event sponsors, and local manufacturers and trade service providers. Guests of Honor during the reception included:

  • Governor Tom Wolf
  • First Lady Frances Wolf
  • Department of Agriculture      
    • Secretary Russell Redding
    • Deputy Secretary Hannah Smith-Brubaker
  • Department of Community and Economic Development  
    • Secretary Dennis Davin
    • Deputy Secretary Joseph Burke
    • DCED Secretary Dennis Davin
    • Deputy Secretary Carol Kilko
  • Department of Education
    • Secretary Pedro Rivera
  • Department of Labor & Industry
    • Secretary Kathy Manderino
  • Department of State   
    • Secretary Pedro Cortés
  • Germany: Honorary Consul Ralf D. Weidemann
  • Flanders: Representative Daisy van den Hooff-Mertens
  • France: Honorary Consul Michael E. Scullin
  • Mexico: Consul Alicia Kerber
  • Pakistan: Honorary Consul Inayat H. Kathio
  • Peru: Consul General Vitaliano Gallardo
  • Switzerland: Honorary Consul Christine Pfister
  • Uruguay: Honorary Consul Peter Longstreth

WTC Executive Director Tina Weyant
So, why do we hold this event?
We wanted to showcase just how large the southcentral Pennsylvania export economy is and why it is important to our state’s growth. Studies show that manufactures who export show increased and faster profits, which in turn leads to more jobs and higher paid workers. According to the latest merchandise export trade statistics for US Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA's), which were released on September 8, 2016, the seven MSA's of southcentral Pennsylvania exported a total of $8,818,824,663 in 2015. This represents 22.4% of the total Pennsylvania state exports!  These figures demonstrate just how vast and mighty this region truly is.

Thank you to our event sponsors!

We would like to extend a special 'thank you' to Team Pennsylvania, the event’s signature sponsor, for all of their gracious support. At the silver level, we had the support of UPS and the York County Economic Alliance, York’s chamber of commerce and economic development corporation. At the bronze level, CAM Innovation (a York-county manufacturer), Fulton Bank’s international group, K&L Gates, Klinge Corporation (also a York-county manufacturer), and Stambaugh Ness provided additional financial support. Furthermore, the program would not have been possible without our partnership with MANTEC.  

Steve Shin (Korea), Franziska Wengerich (Germany), and Nora van der Horst (Netherlands)

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A Look at the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Posted by Ian McGinnis, Intern

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a free trade agreement among the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim countries. Generally speaking, the agreement lowers tariffs and reduces barriers to trade among all countries involved. The trade agreement is one of the largest ever, consisting of 40% of the global GDP and 25% of the world’s exports. Full text of the agreement can be found on the United States Trade Representative website.
As with any policy decisions, there will be negatives and positives. One positive of the TPP tariff reductions is the gains to be made in the agricultural sector. The export tariffs on certain goods such as fruit and soybeans are cut, giving an edge to companies that export these products. Also, machinery export tariffs are cut, which could provide that sector with a nice push. Big pharmaceuticals may not have as positive of an outlook on the TPP due to decreased intellectual property rights changes. Another way the TPP may affect the U.S. is with reduced tariffs, import competition will increase because of the decrease in price. This may have an adverse effect on the economy due to displacement of jobs. However, this will most likely be offset by job churn.

Many estimates show small gains to be made relative to currently projected growth in the U.S. This is due to the fact that 40% of American exports go to the six countries in the TPP that we already have trade agreements with, and only 6% of current exports go to the TPP countries that we do not have current agreements with. Much of the gains to be made in this deal are in countries which need greater market access such as Japan, Vietnam, and Malaysia.

This is just a brief snapshot of the agreement. There are many sources from which you can learn about it and how it will have an effect on your community; here are a few:

WSJ Opinion Article "Some U.S. Industries Seen as Winners in Pacific Trade Pact"

[Photo via Saigoneer]

Friday, July 1, 2016

5th Year for the Pennsylvania Pavilion at the Summer Fancy Food Show

Posted by: Hannah Copenheaver

The World Trade Center Harrisburg partnered for the 5th year with Pennsylvania's Office of International Business Development in organizing the Pennsylvania Pavilion at the 62nd annual Summer Fancy Food Show.

The show was held at the Javits Convention Center in New York City from June 26-28, 2016.

The Fancy Food Show is North America's largest show for the specialty food and beverage industry and attracts a large number of foreign buyers.

This Year's Show Recap:

- This year was the largest since the show’s 1954 inception.
- More than 47,000 specialty food professionals filled the exhibit halls (equal to 6 football fields).
- There were over 2,670 exhibitors, from over 55 countries, displaying their delicious foods!
- Nearly 60 Pennsylvanian companies exhibited throughout the show.

Neilly's Foods
Pennsylvania Pavilion: 

The Pennsylvania Pavilion included 13 companies, with four from our southcentral region.

Companies were able to arrange pre-scheduled appointments with foreign buyers, which took place the day before the show opened.

BumbleBerry Farms (Stoystown - Southern Alleghenies Region)

DelGrosso Foods (Tipton - Southern Alleghenies Region)

Giorgio Foods Inc. (Temple - Southcentral Region)
Little Baby's Ice Cream

Irenes's Bakery & Gourmet Kitchen (Bensalem - Southeast Region)

Little Baby's Ice Cream (Philadelphia - Southeast Region)

Love Beets (Bala Cynwyd - Southeast Region)

My Boy's Baking (Allentown - Lehigh Valley Region)

Naked Granola (State College - Central Region)

Neilly's Foods (York - Southcentral Region)
Sweet Note Bakery

Nuts About Granola  (York - Southcentral Region)

Pretzel Pete (SB Global Foods, Inc.) (Montgomeryville - Southeast Region)

Sweet Note Bakery (Bensalem - Southeast Region)

Wolfgang Candy (York - Southcentral Region)

Monday, June 20, 2016

Hannah Joins Core PA on the Mining, Oil & Gas Tour

Posted by: Hannah Copenheaver

World Trade Center Harrisburg partner CORE PA Global hosted a tour for seven journalists to showcase Pennsylvania companies involved in the mining, oil and gas field from June 13 to 17, 2016. The tour took place in the western part of the state, beginning in Berlin and ending in New Castle. Hannah accompanied the tour for the week as a Core PA Representative. 

The tour was CORE PA funded and executed, with additional support from the TEAM PA
Foundation, Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), and Tierney, a public relations firm, whose services were secured through DCED. 

With the "core" region of Pennsylvania having a large, diverse manufacturing history, inviting international journalists to tour the Commonwealth is beneficial for attracting foreign direct investment into the region. They are able to gain first-hand experience, which makes for a stronger story and a lasting connection. The ultimate goal is to send a message to prospective foreign investors that Pennsylvania is a great place to do business.

The attending journalists included:

  • Anthony Barich (Australia)
    • International Coal News, Mining News, Mining Journal, Mining Monthly
  • Gloria Towolawi (U.S)
    • USA Oil and Gas Monitor
  • Margaret Nongo-Okojokwu (Nigeria)
    • Orient Energy Review
  • Peter Darling (UK)
    • Mining WorldLink, Coal International, Mining World
  • Michael Reed (U.S.)
    • Pipeline & Gas Journal
  • Jamie Zachary (Canada)
    • PROCESSWest, IPP&T
  • Arun Kumar Singhal (India)
    • DEW Journal

The tour featured presentations and site visits to the following industry leaders:
Hannah in the model of the shuttle that
rescued the Chilean miners in 2010.

  • Center Rock (Berlin)
    • Provides construction, mining and quarry equipment. 
    • Their equipment was used to save 33 miners trapped in Chile in 2010.
  • Environmental Tank and Container (Johnstown)
    • A leading manufacturer of equipment for the oil and gas industries.
  • Curry Supply (Martinsburg)
    • One of America’s largest manufacturers and dealers of commercial service vehicles.
  • “O” Ring CNG Fuel Systems (Brookville)
    • The first private compressed natural gas (CNG) fuel station in the state. 
    • The owner converted 16 vehicles to be fueled by CNG, resulting in halved annual fuel costs. 
  • Noise Solutions Inc. (Sharon)
    • North America’s leading provider of engineered industrial noise suppression for the energy sector.
  • Ezeflow Group (New Castle)
    • Mostly works with carbon steel for pipeline work. 
    • A successful, and strategic, move from Texas to Pennsylvania. They have invested over $5 million in the Pennsylvania site since buying the facility in 2011.

Throughout the tour, the journalists also heard keynote presentations from local partners about their respective regions' economic development initiatives and opportunities, leaders and experts from the industry, and other complimentary companies. 

A few of the journalists have already publicized their articles. You can read their reports by clicking here

The group at Blackbird Distillery
Hard hats and boots during the ETC tour
Taking a tour of the vehicles at Curry Supply


SEDA-Council of Governments is the host organization for CORE PA Global, which is an
initiative established to increase the visibility of a 53-county footprint of Pennsylvania to
international and domestic investors. The initiative partners with over 50 economic development organizations and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to attract, retain and grow business and industry in the region. 

Core PA has hosted several tours to date, with this being the second tour with a mining, oil and gas focus. WTC Harrisburg previously participated in the first tour - focused on the food industry - when they came to York, PA in 2014.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Customs Valuation Issues for Imports into China

by WTC Guest Blogger Ted Murphy, Partner, Baker & McKenzie LLP

China recently amended its customs declaration requirements to capture new information that may make it easier for the General Administration of Customs to target potential customs valuation issues.  Specifically, importers are now required to identify whether the buyer and the seller are related; whether that relationship influenced the price charged; and whether the importer is making any royalty payments.  A client alert my colleagues in China prepared on these changes may be found here.

Given the increased scrutiny China Customs has paid to related party transactions and the payment of royalties in recent years, we expect that the new declaration requirements will only intensify this trend.  If you are importing into China, you need to be aware of these issues and be sure they are adequately addressed (e.g., have you confirmed whether royalties are being paid and, if so, whether they are dutiable for customs purposes?).

Ted Murphy
Baker & McKenzie LLP
815 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006
Tel:  +1 202 452 7069

Friday, May 20, 2016

Event Recap: International Trade Conference 2016

Posted by: Hannah Copenheaver

This year marked our 17th International Trade Conference! It was held on May 18, 2016 in Lancaster. If you missed it, you did miss another exciting and fun event, but here is a recap of what went on. 

1. The morning “Mimosa Mingle” breakfast kicked off the conference and celebrated our 25 year anniversary. Special remarks and a toast was made by WTC Vice-Chairman Adam Say (RoomMates Decor).

2. There were six sessions during the conference:

  • Top Issues for Employers When Sending Employees Abroad
    • presented by Jennifer Nelson & Kristi Weierbach, Stambaugh Ness
  • Logistics Keeps the World Moving
    • presented by Gordon Hartmann, UPS, Tom Stump, UPS, & Daniel Johnson, iGlobal Stores
  • Intellectual Property Primer and International IP Considerations
    • presented by Shawn Leppo, McNees Wallace & Nurick
  • International Trade (Show) Secrets
  • Rediscovering Letters of Credit as a Trade Tool in the Strong Dollar Environment
  • The Global Impact of SEO

3. We brought the "You Export WHAT? To WHERE?!" topic back for the luncheon again this year, as everyone can benefit from hearing the success stories and lessons learned from other local companies. The keynote presentation featured two World Trade Center Harrisburg Members, who shared their unique export stories:

  • MRG Labs, presented by Lisa Williams 
    • MRG Labs is a leader in the development of sampling and analytical techniques for in-service lubricants and maintenance monitoring. MRG provides grease sampling solutions for wind turbines, robotics, electric motors, motor operated valves and gear boxes, and pillow block bearings through their Grease Thief sampling and analysis system. Additionally, the company offers unique lubricant certification training programs that combines specialized training with hands-on learning.
    • Exports What?: Grease Thief sampling kits and Grease Thief analyzers 
    • To Where?!: The sampling kits can be found in 13 countries, including Spain, France, Denmark, Australia and China, and the analyzers can be found in Spain, China, Californiaand York, PA.
    • Download the presentation
  • Keystone Human Services International, presented by Charles Hooker
    • Keystone Human Services International (KHSI) builds upon a firm tradition of individual empowerment and community restoration to provide services, programs, and support to improve the lives of children and families outside the United States. KHSI promotes strong community-based human service systems throughout Eastern Europe and beyond, bridging the cultural boundaries that have allowed the children and families of these regions to endure immense hardship largely in silence. Since 2014, KHSI has been granted Special Consultative Status with the United Nation’s Economic and Social Council for Non-Governmental Organizations.
    • Exports What?: Community-based services for people with disabilities
    • To Where?!: Russia, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Romania, Kazakhstan, India

4. Trade service providers and regional partners were on-hand during the Trade Exhibition to meet with companies and answer any questions they might have. 

Exhibitors included:
  • Core PA Global
  • Foreign Trade Zone 147
  • Fulton International Group
  • International Service Center
  • Mid-Atlantic Eurasia Business Council
  • Stevens & Lee Griffin International
  • UPS
  • U.S. Commercial Service
  • York County Economic Alliance

5. We also decided to have a Twitter contest during the conference! Our booth displayed a live Twitter feed of all of the online discussion. At the end of the conference, three "tweeps" were chosen at random and received a small prize for their participation! Thank you to everyone who followed, mentioned, liked, re-tweeted, and interacted with us on social media! Search #ITC16 on Twitter to view all of the tweets from the conference. 

It was such a fun day and it sure did fly by fast. Many took advantage of the prime networking and the opportunity to learn something new from our expert presenters. Thank you to all who attended this year! Of course, this conference could not be held annually without the gracious support of our sponsors. Special thank you to the following companies for their continued support: 
  • Silver Level Sponsors: UPS & York County Economic Alliance
  • Bronze Level Sponsors: Core PA Global, Foreign Trade Zone 147, Fulton International Group, Stevens & Lee Griffin International
  • Strategic Partners: MANTEC & PA's Office of International Business Development

Video: Watch our video, highlighting everything that was featured at the conference! Special thank you to our spring semester intern, Emily Johnson from Lebanon Valley College, for making this awesome video for us. 

Pictures: To view the entire picture album, please view our Facebook page.

That's a wrap!

Monday, May 16, 2016

WTC Board Meeting in the New World Trade Center Building & Special Guest from WTCA

Posted by: Hannah Copenheaver

On May 11, 2016, we hosted our quarterly Board of Directors meeting at the "new" World Trade Center Harrisburg location. Even though it is still under construction, that didn't stop us! We transformed the conference room area using a few folding tables and chairs and some nice tablecloths. This allowed us to "get a feel" for what future meetings will be like! 

We also welcomed special guest, Martin Salloum, who is the new World Trade Centers Association Regional Development Manager for North America. Martin was previously the President & CEO of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce and World Trade Center Edmonton for eighteen years. 

Hannah Copenheaver, Ed Kercher (WTC Chairman),
Martin Salloum (WTCA), Tina Weyant
Hannah setting up the new conference room.

Design board of the new World Trade Center Harrisburg office.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

ABRIN Toy Fair Brings Latin American Economy To The Forefront

By WTC Guest Blogger Jessica Toutsis, RoomMates Décor

ABRIN, the largest event in Latin America for the toy industry, brings together the most important toy makers in Brazil and introduces new products that will impact sales for the upcoming year. 

While the show provided a firsthand look at many new and exciting product lines, the current state of the Latin American economy was top of mind for many distributors. A shrinking economy and increased unemployment rate, leaves worry in many consumers’ minds, but re-regulating the economy is crucial in order for it to start growing again. The country has not experienced this type of economic restraint for 35 years, which provides hope that things can get better once again. 

This topic lingered through the ABRIN Toy Fair, allowing many exhibitors to weigh in on the topic. Viewpoints were similar. The economy is difficult, but a united sense of confidence was expressed by many. 

With the current political and economic concerns at hand, distributors have begun adapting their investment priorities. They are now looking to invest in the future, finding ways to diversity in new markets and pursue a new customer base.   

Adam Say, Director of International Sales for RoomMates Décor, the largest manufacturer of peel & stick wall stickers, agreed with this proactive thinking.

“Even though the economy is difficult, we were happy to spend time with our current customers, who took an interest in wanting to see our new designs. We were also happy to meet new customers who were looking to diversity their portfolio with RoomMates products.”
Although times are difficult, many are trying to remain optimistic that the economy will once again turn around.

Jessica Toutsis is the Digital Marketing Manager for RoomMates Decor, headquartered in York, PA, and writes on trade show experiences for the World Trade Center blog. 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Cheers to 20 Years!: Tina's 20 Year Work Anniversary

By: Hannah Copenheaver

This month marks Tina's 20th year with World Trade Center! Tina was hired in May 1996 as the first full-time employee of the then-named Southcentral Pennsylvania International Network (SPIN), after several years of the organization operating on a volunteer-basis. Tina has served as the Executive Director since this time. (Click here for a full timeline of our organization.)

Hannah and Jan surprised Tina on April 28 with presents and cake! You can see in the picture below the new desk set that was given to mark Tina's twenty years of leading the organization, including a matching clock, name placard, and business card holder. 


Friday, April 15, 2016

International Trade Fair for our Children's World

By WTC Guest Blogger Jessica Toutsis, RoomMates Décor

In the Eastern European toy industry, the Kids Russia Fair in Moscow is the aspirant fair everyone is flocking to. Also known as the “International Trade Fair for our Children’s World,” products including children’s toys, hobbies, baby, outdoor, playground and sports are all featured. 

Having the reputation as one of the most important trade shows for the Russian toy industry, the Kids Russia Fair is the perfect place for distributors, licensors, vendors and buyers to establish themselves in the market. For RoomMates Décor, the largest manufacturer of peel & stick wall stickers, the Kids Russia Fair is a great place to strengthen relationships with international distributors. Receiving featured booth placement with Russian toy distributor Konik Ltd. at the show, both RoomMates Décor and Konik Ltd. benefited, and also received increased foot traffic from the larger space.

Irina Fedotova, Head of Marketing and Advertising for RoomMates Russia / Konik Ltd. was very happy with the quality of the attendees. 

“Our RoomMates product planogram showcased some of our top selling designs in the Russian market, and allowed retailers to envision what our products could look like in the aisles of their stores.”

Take a quick trip straight to the Kids Russia Fair right from your desk and watch highlights from this year’s show!

Jessica Toutsis is the Digital Marketing Manager for RoomMates Decor, headquartered in York, PA, and writes on trade show experiences for the World Trade Center blog.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Hannah Judges Enactus Competition

By: Hannah Copenheaver

I had an awesome opportunity to represent World Trade Center as a judge for the Enactus regional competition in Washington, DC on March 29. For those who are unfamiliar with the organization, Enactus is an international non profit that brings together students, colleges and businesses who are committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to transform lives and shape a better more sustainable world. Enactus chapters are located in colleges around the world (in 36 countries!) and each team creates community development projects centered around improving the livelihood of their respective community. 

Enactus puts on an annual series of competitions to provide a forum for college teams to showcase the impact of their efforts, which are evaluated by business executives serving as judges. Winning teams from six regional competitions, like this one in Washington DC, advance to the one national competition for the United States. There are 35 national competitions around the global and the top winners from each country advance to the prestigious Enactus World Cup, which moves locations each year around the world. 

During the Washington, DC regional competition, 47 mid-Atlantic college teams presented their projects and achievements in fifteen minutes or less. I was able to judge seven of these presentations. Nearly all had a visual presentation with pictures, infographics, testimonials, and videos. The student groups were comprised of typically four to six presenters with the rest of their teammates providing support in the audience. Teams were extremely well rehearsed and perfectly poised - even their outfits were matching! They take this competition extremely seriously. I can speak from my experience on the York College of Pennsylvania presentation team - it is no joke!

At the end of a very long day, the judges tallied up their results and 29 teams were crowned "Regional Champions", allowing them to attend the national championships in St. Louis, MO in May. Congratulations to the following Pennsylvania Enactus chapters:
  • Cairn University – Langhorne, PA
  • Immaculata University – Immaculata, PA
  • La Salle University – Philadelphia, PA
  • Penn State Altoona – Altoona, PA
  • Saint Francis University – Loretto, PA
  • Saint Joseph’s University – Philadelphia, PA (Rookie of the Year)
  • Wilkes University – Wilkes-Barre, PA
  • York College of Pennsylvania – York, PA
Best wishes to all at the national championship!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Doing Business in Eurasia

By Hannah Copenheaver

On March 22, we hosted a roundtable discussion with the Mid-Atlantic Russian Business Council/Mid-Atlantic Eurasia Business Council in Harrisburg that addressed emerging business opportunities in the greater Eurasian region. 

A panel of experts discussed a variety of topics, ranging from legal, regulatory standards, and taxation, that influence the way Eurasian counties conduct business in their respective markets. 

Here is a brief overview of the speakers and their key points:

Ulf Schneider, Founder and Managing Partner, SCHNEIDER GROUP
- Eurasian Economic Union has 182.5M people, 20M sq km, and 14% of world's land. Key concepts include the free movement of goods, services, capital and people.
- Russia continues to be the largest country in the Eurasia region, with 146 million people and $1236 billion (USD) in GDP in 2015. Their GDP is ranked at #13 in the world. 
- According to the "Doing Business Report" (2016), Ukraine presents the most challenges in the region, especially in the categories construction permits, paying taxes and paying across boarders. 
- Kazakhstan presents new opportunities, as they recently joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2015.
- In conclusion, Eurasia has a "diverse mix of different countries"click here to download the presentation

Siarhei Nahorny, Senior Counselor, Trade & Economic Affairs, Embassy of Belarus in the U.S.
- Belarus has 10 million people with $63 billion (USD) in GDP in 2015.
- The country is located in the "heart" of Eurasia, bordering Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Russia and Ukraine.
- Belarus has 400 enterprises with US capital investments. The US invested $90M in the country last year alone.

Elena Liaskovskai, Director, International Tax Desk – Central & Eastern Europe & Russia, PwC
- Forming a LLC is the most frequent way for a US company to set up an entity in Russiaclick here to download the presentation

Jonathan Nelms, Partner, Baker & McKenzie
- One of the largest problems in the region continues to be corruption
- Jonathan reviewed the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and its prohibited offenses, including anti-bribery, falsifying books and record keeping, and incorrect internal auditing controls.
- Some common red flags include over invoicing, unusual credits, requesting payment to a third country, extravagant gifts, among many others. Don't do it!
click here to download the presentation

James Thomas, Assistant Vice President, Sales & Marketing, ASTM International
- Suggested forming an MOU with the local partner company to signify that you are committed to the new relationship

Tina Weyant (WTC), Elena Liaskovskai (PwC), Siarhei Nahorny (Belarus Embassy), James Thomas (ASTM), Ulf Schneider (Schneider Group), Jonathan Nelms (Baker McKenzie), Val Kogan (MARBC), Lydia Sarson (German American Chamber), Hannah Copenheaver (WTC)

US-Bulgaria Chamber in America Promotes Trade & Investment Opportunities

By guest blogger Eliz Nestorov, President,US-Bulgaria Chamber in America  The recently founded U.S.-Bulgarian Chamber in America (USBGC) is ...