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Short Takes: News from the International Trade Administration

 

21 Companies and Organizations Honored for Their Export Achievements

Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke presented the prestigious 2009 Presidential “E” and “E Star” awards on November 5, 2009, to 21 U.S. companies and organizations in recognition of their export achievements. The awards ceremony took place in Washington, D.C., during the National District Export Council Conference held at the Department of Commerce.

“We’re here today to honor the people, firms, and organizations that produce and promote U.S. goods and services that support American jobs,” said Locke in making the presentations. “Trade has always been crucial to American prosperity. But, in today’s difficult economic times, with other drivers of growth like consumer spending flagging, it’s even more important for American industry to take advantage of every opportunity for export-driven growth.”

The Presidential “E” Award was created by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 to recognize people, firms, or organizations that contribute significantly to increasing U.S. exports. This year, 14 companies and three organizations were given the award.

A companion award, the “E Star,” was authorized by the secretary of commerce in 1969. It is given to companies and organizations that have already received an “E” Award and have continued to show superior performance in increasing or promoting exports. Three companies and one organization received the award this year.

The International Trade Administration manages the Presidential “E” Award program. More than 2,500 firms have been recognized since its inception. A full list of the 2009 recipients is available on the Department of Commerce’s Web site.

 


India and the United States Sign Investment Promotion Memorandum

A memorandum of intent to collaborate on promoting investment in the United States and India was signed in Washington, D.C., on November 23, 2009, during the state visit by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The memorandum calls for the two countries to undertake relevant activities through their respective investment programs, Invest in America and Invest India; to strengthen bilateral investment ties; to expand business cooperation between U.S. and Indian enterprises; and to enhance economic growth opportunities. Michelle O’Neill, acting under secretary of commerce for international trade, and Ajay Shankar, Indian secretary of the department of industrial policy and promotion, signed the memorandum.

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Ajay Shankar (L), Indian secretary of the department of industrial policy and promotion, and Michelle O’Neill (R), acting under secretary of commerce for international trade, sign a memorandum of intent in Washington, D.C., on November 23, 2009. Under the terms of the memorandum, India and the United States will jointly collaborate on investment promotion activities. (U.S. Department of Commerce photo)
Ajay Shankar (L), Indian secretary of the department of industrial policy and promotion, and Michelle O’Neill (R), acting under secretary of commerce for international trade, sign a memorandum of intent in Washington, D.C., on November 23, 2009. Under the terms of the memorandum, India and the United States will jointly collaborate on investment promotion activities. (U.S. Department of Commerce photo)

 

“We’re very pleased that we are able to enter into this partnership with India during Prime Minister Singh’s visit,” said O’Neill. “[This] agreement will enhance promotion of foreign direct investment that leads to increased exports of our manufactured goods and services, playing an integral role in getting Americans back to work.”

The memorandum calls for Invest in America and Invest India to be central points of contact for new and existing foreign investors who are seeking opportunities for investment, to exchange information on investment promotion activities and services, to provide information about policies related to direct investment, to share data on bilateral investment flows, and to assist visiting investors from one country in contacting investment and industry experts in the other country.

U.S. subsidiaries of foreign firms employ more than 5.5 million workers in the United States, pay on average 25 percent higher wages and salaries than U.S. establishments (totaling more than $404 billion in wages in 2007), and generate nearly 19 percent of all U.S. exports.

For more information about foreign direct investment or the Department of Commerce’s Invest in America program, visit http://investamerica.gov.

 

Industry Trade Advisory Committees Recruiting New Members

The Department of Commerce and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) are seeking representatives of exporting businesses and industry organizations who want to play a role in developing U.S. trade policy to serve on the Industry Trade Advisory Committees (ITACs).

The ITACs, which were established by the Trade Act of 1974, give business leaders an opportunity to work side by side with U.S. government officials and trade negotiators in advising the secretary of commerce and the U.S. trade representative on industry-specific issues related to market access and customs matters, technical barriers to trade, and the protection of intellectual property rights. Currently, 350 members serve on 16 ITACs.

A new ITAC charter term begins in 2010, and the Department of Commerce and USTR are recruiting new members on all of the ITACs for the new term. Candidates for ITAC membership must represent a U.S. manufacturing or service entity that trades internationally or an association of such entities. They must also demonstrate knowledge of their industry sector and the trade policy issues relevant to the work of the ITAC to which they are applying, and they must be U.S. citizens who are not full-time employees of a government entity, registered with the Department of Justice under the Foreign Agents Act, or federally registered lobbyists.

Candidates should send a nomination letter to the Department of Commerce, along with a current resume, a company or organization profile, and a statement affirming that the candidate meets the criteria. Candidates who represent trade associations must provide a membership list and identify all foreign members, including U.S. subsidiaries of foreign firms. Consultants or legal advisers need to identify a sponsoring company or organization to be represented on an ITAC.

Nominations should be sent to: Director of the Industry Trade Advisory Center, U.S. Department of Commerce, Room 4043, Washington, DC 20230. Nominations can also be sent by e-mail to advisory_center@trade.gov. Additional information on the ITACs can be found on the International Trade Administration’s Web site at www.trade.gov/itac or by calling (202) 482-3268.

 

Contributors to this section include Chris Clements of Invest in America and Brian Brothman of the International Trade Administration’s Manufacturing and Services unit.