Doing Business with United States
|Language||English (official language), extended Spanish|
|Religion||Protestants (largest group)|
|State system||Federative presidential republic|
|Head of State||Joe Biden – President|
|Head of government||Joe Biden – President|
|Currency name||US dollar (USD)|
|Time shift||-6 hours (East Coast), part of the year -5 hours|
|Nominal GDP (billion USD)||22,997.50|
|Economic growth (%)||5.7|
The United States of America, abbreviated as the United States or USA, is a federal presidential republic bordered to the north by Canada and to the south by Mexico. They are located between two oceans – the Atlantic in the east and the Pacific in the west. Thanks to the exclave of the state of Alaska, the territory of the USA extends to the shores of the Arctic Ocean and also includes the Pacific island of Hawaii. The USA consists of the 50 US states, the District of Columbia (DC), which is a self-governing federal territory with a capital city under Congress, and other dependent territories. The United States of America is the third largest country on the planet by both area and population. The political establishment of the USA is a federal presidential republic. At the federal level, the state administration divides powers between the executive power, which is in the hands of the president, the legislative power, exercised by Congress, and the judicial power, represented by the Supreme Court. The US Constitution also defines the relationship between the federal government and the state governments. The United States of America is the strongest economy in the world. Consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of the US economy’s performance (roughly 70% of GDP). In 2020, the GDP decreased by 3.5% due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the economy recovered significantly in 2021. To mitigate the effects of the coronavirus crisis, the US government proposed a number of initiatives, including the adoption of the “America Rescue Plan”, which was approved in March 2021 and contained an injection into the economy of trillion US dollars. With the gradual abatement of the pandemic, the successful and rapidly progressing vaccination, the related opening of establishments and the pumping of government dollars into the economy, there is a sharp economic recovery, however, it largely stopped at the beginning of 2022. The problem remains the high debt burden of the USA and, in connection with the energy crisis (which began even before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine), also high inflation and problems with supply chains. The USA is the most important export partner for the Czech Republic outside the EU, after Great Britain, and also one of the most important export destinations from the point of view of the added value of exported goods (aircraft engines, medical equipment, microscopes, etc.). The growth trend of both exports and the total volume of trade with the USA has been clear since the beginning of the Czech Republic’s existence. The fluctuation occurred only in the years of the global economic crisis (2008-09) and partially in 2016-17. The export of goods from the Czech Republic to the USA, for example, achieved a year-on-year increase of 17% in 2019 (a total of CZK 10 billion). The US market is sometimes considered the most competitive market in the world. Czech products and services have a chance to establish themselves on the American market, provided that they are sufficiently original, high-quality, innovative, competitively priced, and also if American customers are sure that they will be guaranteed an adequate standard of after-sales service. Risk is a normal part of business in the US, and the occasional failure is nothing exceptional and precludes a fresh start.
Practical telephone numbers (emergency services, police, firemen, information lines, etc.)
911 is the main number to call in trouble, partly corresponding to an integrated system, from which assistance is then directed according to the nature of the problem. The points of assistance are called PSAPs, Public Safety Answering Points. The number 911 can be called in the event of a traffic accident, injury, threat to life or property, or fire. Under the “N11” system, there are several other three-digit ’11’ mode telephone numbers: 311 – General Local Authority Services 411 – Roadside Advice (1411 in Texas) 511 – Traffic Information
Important web links and contacts
US Government Institutions:
Office of the President – www.whitehouse.gov
Department of State – www.state.gov
Department of Defense – www.defense.gov
Treasury Department – www.treasury.gov
Department of the Interior – www.doi.gov
Department of Justice – www.justice.gov
Department of Agriculture – www.usda.gov
Department of Commerce – www.commerce.gov
Department of Labor – www.dol.gov
Department of Housing and Urban Development – www.hud.gov
Department of Transportation – www.dot.gov
Department of Energy – www.energy.gov
Department of Education – www.ed.gov
Department of Health – www.hhs.gov
Department of Veterans Affairs – www.va.gov
Department of Homeland Security – www.dhs.gov
US Federal Reserve – https://www.federalreserve.gov/
Council of Economic Advisers – www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/cea
The National Bureau of Economic Research – www.nber.org
Census Bureau – www.census.gov
Internal Revenue Service – www.irs.gov
Data on Labor Market and Price Changes (US Bureau of Labor Statistics) – www.bls.gov
Bureau of Economic Analysis – www.bea.gov
CNN Main Media – www.cnn.com
New York Times – www.nytimes.com
Washington Post – www.washingtonpost.com
Chicago Tribune – http://www.chicagotribune.com/
Miami Herald – www.miamiherald.com
Los Angeles Times – www.latimes.com
Weather – www.weather.com
The Ten Commandments for Doing Business with the USA
The PaulSourcing agency has prepared ten recommendations for doing business with the United States of America for Czech entrepreneurs interested in business relations with the United States of America. In 2020, it was supplemented with 4 current tips.
4 recommendations for entering the US market during the coronavirus pandemic:
- Creating a business strategy Entering the American market, due to its size, difficulty, ferocity and distance, was already very difficult before the pandemic, and currently this difficulty is increasing many times over, which, of course, brings challenges and new opportunities. Create a longer time frame for your input in your feasibility studies and the individual steps you want to take. Create a financial cushion and, above all, arm yourself with patience and perseverance. Contact the foreign offices of CzechTrad in the USA.
- Choosing the right product Try to consider the possible success of your product. Unemployment is now high in the US and purchasing power has decreased. Products of standard consumption with low added value, which are over-pressured in the market, will be very difficult to position. On the contrary, products with high added value such as medical technology, nanomaterials, IT and ICT products, health and safety solutions, chemical production, research, development, pharmaceuticals and others will open up new possibilities. Consult the foreign offices of CzechTrad (preparation in the framework of certifications and registrations will be limited, mainly in the direction of the healthcare sector, see below).
- Approaching companies In today’s complicated times, even more than under normal circumstances, everything must be perfectly prepared before starting to approach potential business partners, especially in terms of various mandatory certifications, attestations, registrations or proper marking of labels and packaging. These requirements must be completely prepared before you start offering the product. Otherwise, local merchants will not attend to you. Price offers must always be in US dollars, and in catalogs and leaflets they must be adapted to local customs, especially do not forget to use the correct units (for example, the temperature is not given in °C but in °F).
- Marketing If your company has volunteered to help in some way during the pandemic, don’t be shy about showcasing it on your website or in your newsletters, even if it was in Europe and not the US. Helping a good cause is viewed very positively in the United States and can help you draw attention to your business.
Ten Commandments for Doing Business with the United States of America
- Be creative Original and innovative solutions are valued here, especially if they allow the company to significantly simplify or streamline the production process or save costs.
- Be flexible American companies tend to be very demanding, and a company that is able to respond flexibly to the changing market situation or to the new demands of the American customer is considered a promising partner.
- Don’t underestimate preparation Perfect preparation for an important business meeting or an important project is key.
- Allow for cultural differences Although Americans may be similar to us in many ways, they have their own cultural idiosyncrasies and in many situations they will react differently than we would expect them to.
- Respect the specifics of the local environment When you are not sure of your partner’s reaction and attitude, weigh every word – rather be careful with the use of humor during the negotiation and respect the meaning of traditional American values (patriotism, patriotism and state symbols; respect for social minorities and state authorities; the importance of politically correct actions; meaning of religion, etc.).
- Use the services of professionals who know the local environment Local conditions can be quite different compared to what Czech companies are used to, for example from European countries. It is certainly worthwhile to use the services of local experts on legal, import or certification issues, if necessary also specializing in the given industrial segment. CzechTrad’s foreign office in Chicago can also help you make the necessary contacts.
- Be active and proactive Monitor the market situation and monitor trends, maintain long-term relationships with American partners and inform them about your company’s new products. You will be defended as a serious partner with a serious interest in cooperation.
- Be a reliable and trustworthy partner Don’t promise anything you can’t keep and respect the agreements made.
- Adhere to agreed deadlines Plan your program so that you always have sufficient time reserve when moving between meetings. Adherence to deadlines should be the rule even when fulfilling longer-term deliveries; in case of delay caused by unexpected circumstances, immediately contact the American partner and try to resolve the situation to mutual satisfaction.
- Be confident Negotiations with American partners are not easy, Americans can be very tough negotiators. Be aware of your competitive advantage, the quality of your products and the value of your company’s offer, and don’t be afraid to politely but assertively assert your interests.