Tuesday, June 6, 2017

International Trade Conference 2017 Recap

Posted by Emilie Smetak, Intern

This year marked our 18th annual trade conference, All Bets Are Off: Navigating a Changing Global Environment! The conference was hosted on May 25th in York, and speakers included government officials, finance advisors, business leaders and policy directors. Recaps of the presentations are provided below. We hope to see you next year!

“Making Trade Agreements Work For You!”
Policy Director Brian Woodward, Office of Trade AgreementsNegotiations and Compliance (TANC), and president of Klinge Corporation Allan Klinge spoke on the many services provided by TANC and the ability for businesses to tap into these resources. Woodward described TANC’s expertise in areas relating to competition, import licensing, government procurement and state-owned enterprises, as well as the diplomatic/advocacy tools available. Klinge detailed how his refrigeration company reached out to TANC when faced with trading concerns and was impressed with the speed in which they received help. Woodward and Klinge encouraged companies to utilize TANC’s programs and expertise in ensuring optimization of trade potential and avoidance of legal issues. 

Thomas Moul kickstarts the conference by co-presenting
"The Lifecycle of Going Global"

“The Lifecycle of Going Global”
Stambaugh Ness Employees Thomas Moul, Principal/Director of Strategic Tax, Jennifer Nelson, Principal and Tax Practice Director, and Lynn Knepp, Member of CFO Advisory Group, discussed several tax policies and practices relating to international trade. The presenters stressed the importance of understanding issues such as tax duration, social security and pensions, as well as the different regulations for long and short-term assignments. The presentation concluded with an overview of the financial technicalities relating to international interns and employees, tax regulations for establishing a business internationally, and the importance of seeking assistance from trading experts. 

“Spotting and Avoiding Export (Legal) Pitfalls in a Fast-Changing International Business Environment” 
Timothy Charlesworth leads discussion on legal pitfalls
Attorney and shareholder Timothy Charlesworth, Fitzpatrick Lentz & Bubba, P.C., spoke on the many legal issues facing exporters today. Although warning exporters of the risks associated with bribery and poorly written trade agreements, he provided tools for steering clear of these legal traps. He recommended doing your homework in understanding your consumer, keeping records for a minimum of 5-7 years, talking to local legal help, and committing time to international trading partners. Charlesworth encouraged exporters that although legal  measures may seem constraining and enigmatic, many businesses and government agencies are explicitly designed to support exporters in this pivotal aspect of trade.

“Export Finance Tools to Mitigate Risk”
Aerek Stephens, Export Finance Manager at Export-Import Bank of the United States, and Kirk Elken, Securitas Global Risk Solutions, provided a statistical overview of Pennsylvania’s trading performance, as well as the resources available at Export-Import Bank of the U.S. (Ex-Im Bank). Stephens began by discussing Ex-Im Bank’s commitment to helping exporters minimize the risks of trade and support industries such as manufacturing, mining, renewable energy and agribusiness. Drawing from PA export statistics, Elken discussed the advantages afforded from Ex-Im Bank like enhancing primary sources of repayment and creating more working capital.

David Hanson presenting his economic forecast

“Economic Update: Emotion trumps Model” 
CEO of Fulton Financial Advisors and Clermont Wealth Strategies David Hanson presented a forecast on our nation’s current economic and political conditions. Despite the U.S.’s rocky economic landscape, Hanson reminded that the U.S. boasts a surging GDP per capita and is currently witnessing a small business optimism that increased 38% post-election. Hanson suggested that such an unprecedented increase in GDP per capita is largely bolstered by risk-taking, innovation, and the U.S.’s ability to attract businessmen worldwide. Hanson concluded that although Trump’s economic strategy remains ambitious, economic success hinges on the president’s ability to harness this surging business optimism, as well as businessmen’s capability to transform this confidence into increased investment and employment opportunities.

“All Bets Are Off: Navigating a Changing Global Environment”  
UPS employees Mike, Leslie, Nyja, and Craig after Leslie's keynote speech
Leslie Griffin, Senior VP of International Public Policy at UPS, spoke on the Trump administration’s stance towards trade deals and how exporters can succeed within this changing political era. Griffin discussed the direct correlation between trade deals and increased export revenue, as well as this administration’s support of individual country partnerships instead of multi-country agreements like TPP and NAFTA. She spoke heavily on the current NAFTA negotiations, affirmed the importance of trade partnerships with Canada and Mexico, and argued the importance of quick trade negotiations as the Mexican election approaches. Griffin reminded that although much uncertainty remained in regards to the U.S.’s stance on trade, current negotiations could prove useful in re-structuring decade long trade agreements and require active input from local exporters. 

We want to give a big thank you to our sponsors who helped make this event possible! Silver Level: Stambaugh Ness,UPS  and The York County Economic Alliance. Bronze Level: Foreign Trade Zone 147, Fulton Financial Corporation and The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. Strategic Partners: MANTEC. Thank you!

Attendees network over breakfast before the breakout sessions

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 ...