U.S. architectural firms may be able to cash in on emerging markets by securing more projects abroad with the help of a U.S. Commerce Department award.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) announced Tuesday (Oct. 23) that it had accepted an award of $299,139 from the U.S. Commerce Department’s International Trade Administation's Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP) to promote the export of U.S. architectural services to India and Sri Lanka.
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|India is expected to invest $1.2 trillion in infrastructure projects over the next five years. The first U.S. architectural services trade mission visited Kolkata (Calcutta) last week.|
“American architects are pre-eminent in the world, and their talent and expertise are in high demand in many of the fastest-growing global markets,” said Mickey Jacob, FAIA, AIA first vice president.
The award will be met with a significant investment by the AIA, which pledged to sustain the export project after the initial MDCP award period ends.
Jumpstarting Large Projects
The funds are expected to jumpstart almost $50 million in exports of architectural services and other related products over the next three years, according to AIA estimates.
Among other things, the funds will allow the AIA to help U.S. architects secure projects abroad, with a specific focus on large buildings, infrastructure, and campus-type developments in India and Sri Lanka.
Targeted sectors holding “high potential” for U.S architectural firms in India and Sri Lanka include master planning; regional and neighborhood design; architecture for hospitals, ports, health care facilities, airports and other transportation infrastructure; mixed-use projects; and other architectural services, according to the AIA.
The AIA said it would also prepare U.S. architects for trade missions to India and Sri Lanka and provide cultural information to help firms develop long-term business-development strategies.
India’s Design Needs
India is expected to invest $1.2 trillion in infrastructure projects over the next five years, AIA reported.
The rapid growth of the Indian economy—averaging 8 percent over the past 10 years—has created a pressing need for infrastructure development, and the country requires significant outside expertise to meet its goals, according to the organization.
Double Exports = More Jobs
AIA officials said this was the first time the Commerce Department had awarded MDCP funds to the AIA.
“The awards…will help us continue to make progress toward achieving the President’s goal of doubling exports by the end of 2014,” said Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank. “Higher exports lead to more jobs: In 2011, jobs supported by exports increased by 1.2 million over 2009.
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|AIA will prepare U.S. architects for trade missions to India and Sri Lanka and provide cultural information to help the firms develop long-term business-development strategies.|
“This investment in the American Institute of Architects will help boost exports, which means more jobs,” said Blank.
One ‘Trade Mission’ Complete
The award announcement comes on the heels of the first architectural services trade mission to India, organized by the AIA and Commerce Department.
During the week of Oct. 15, AIA members, including representatives from leading small and medium-sized U.S. architecture firms, participated in what was the first of three scheduled missions to India and Sri Lanka.
The mission visited Chennai, Kolkata (Calcutta) and Bangalore, where participants received market briefings and participate in customized meetings with key Indian officials and prospective partners, AIA said.
Mission participants also had the option of making additional stops at Mumbai, Ahmedabad and New Delhi, where the International Trade Administration’s U.S. Commercial Service arranged meetings with both private-sector developers and state and local government officials.
About the MDCP Awards
The MDCP award program offers financial and technical assistance from the International Trade Administration to support well-defined business plans aimed at increasing exports and U.S. competitiveness within certain industries.
An MDCP award establishes a partnership between ITA and nonprofit industry groups to help strengthen global competitiveness and create jobs through exports.
Since 1993, the program has issued 121 awards. In an average year, MDCP projects generate $372 million in U.S. exports, according to the AIA.