The third week of May is World Trade Week in New York City, a series of conferences, panels and celebrations that draws trade organizations and businesses from across the country to promote global commerce. USCIB is once again a lead organizer, as Cynthia Duncan, USCIB’s senior vice president of Carnet and trade services, sits on the World Trade Week steering committee.
World Trade Week provides a unique networking opportunity for small businesses seeking to go global, and it serves as a reminder to stakeholders of the importance of international trade to New York City and the U.S. economy. This year’s celebration stressed how businesses can take advantage of technology to innovate and expand internationally.
Festivities began on Monday May 12 with the 9th Annual International Trade Awards Breakfast at Baruch College. Eight companies were recognized for outstanding contributions to global trade. One of the winners, Susan Axelrod of Love & Quiches Gourmet, reminisced about how times have changed since she started her catering business 20 years ago, when she’d record orders on index cards and toss them in a shoebox. Today, accounting software and improved supply chain distribution allow Axelrod to export her baked goods to over 17 countries. Her company won the Global Technology Award for products. A full list of awardees is available on the World Trade Week website.
At the end of the awards breakfast, USCIB’s Duncan presented the inaugural World Trade Week NYC Next Generation Program scholarships to college students who demonstrated “strong scholastic achievement and service to their community.” The World Trade Week NYC committee of the New York District Export Council developed this scholarship fund to inspire young professionals to pursue careers in international trade. Duncan awarded $1,000 scholarships to Kyaw Htoon, majoring in international business at Baruch College, and Elizabeth Pulos, enrolled in the Department of International Trade and Marketing at the Fashion Institute of Technology.
World Trade Week events run the gamut from talks on “The Politics of Trade: TTP, TTIP, TPA” to information sessions about “Copyright Strategies for Your Business.” On Thursday May 15, Duncan spoke at one such event, “Export Smarter: Tricks of the Trade,” where she gave a presentation on USCIB’s ATA Carnet trade services to an audience of exporters.
“It’s a merchandise passport,” Duncan said of the ATA Carnet. “Think of it as a tool that allows you to explore markets outside the U.S.”
The ATA Carnet is a customs document that allows businesses to easily export commercial merchandise without paying duties or value-added taxes. Seventy-four countries participate in the Carnet International Convention, and the Carnet can be applied to a wide range of items for trade and commercial purposes, including, Duncan noted, five human skulls that were shipped to a museum in Sweden.
USCIB serves as the U.S. national guaranteeing association for the ATA Carnet. Merchandise passports are good for the temporary importation of commercial samples, professional equipment and goods for trade exhibitions and fairs. Visit the ATA Carnet website to find out more about USCIB’s trade services.
Other speakers at the Export Smarter session included Geoffrey Sauer and Michelle Bonina of Reed Exhibitions, who explained the do’s and don’ts of attending global trade shows. Thaddeus Kubis, founder of The Institute for Media Convergence, offered tips for global marketing strategies, while Stephen Ufland of Beechams LLP Chartered Accountants explained the European Union’s complex value-added tax regime, and when and how businesses can reclaim the VAT. Finally, Kevin Wasik of UPS concluded the event with a presentation about how online buying expectations differ from country to country.
Each year, the World Trade Week steering committee works together to highlight the link between international trade and New York City’s economic growth, as well as to help businesses share knowledge, resources and ideas for succeeding internationally. (World Trade Week 2014 actually runs longer than one week, and it ends on Thursday May 29.)
Staff contact: Cynthia Duncan