Under Secretary of Commerce For International Trade Francisco SÁnchez
The 2010 International District Export Council Conference
Tuesday , October 26, 2010
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
As prepared for delivery
I am delighted to be here in Canada as part of the International District Export Council Conference. Thank you, Mike, for your kind remarks, and, Minister Pupatello, for your gracious attendance here tonight. And Jeff Watson, whom all of you know represents Essex, Ontario, in the Parliament, thank you for being here.
It is so fitting that the organizers of the DEC conference incorporated this day of events in the agenda. How, really, could it have been otherwise? Beyond this region -- which is so inextricably interlinked -- Canada and the United States are tied together in the most productive relationship possible between any two countries in the world. The two-way trade that crosses the Ambassador Bridge between these two cities equals all U.S. exports to Japan.
When we speak of economic integration, no Canadian or American has to travel here to the Detroit-Windsor area to see how close our two countries are. Our connection permeates deeply within our two economies and across thousands of miles of opportunities. The Canadian-American economy exists in Los Angeles and Miami. The American-Canadian economy exists in Edmonton and Quebec. It exists in each other’s mountains and plains.
Canada is the leading export market for 36 of the 50 U.S. States, and ranked in the top three for another 10 States. In fact, Canada is a larger market for U.S. goods than all 27 countries of the European Community combined.
Windsor and Detroit, then, are an appropriate place for me to talk about the future of our relationship and about how President Obama’s National Export Initiative fits within the already successful economic ties that bind our countries together. I want to make plain, too, how the District Export Councils fit into the NEI and with expanding trade with Canada.
I am confident that we have turned the corner on the economic recession. It is slow going, but we are digging ourselves out of the problems that began in 2007.
Amidst the many changes occurring within the world economy, Canada remains our most important trading partner, and the impact of the North American Free Trade Agreement is testament to the power of a market that with Mexico stretches across an entire continent. The GDP of all NAFTA countries was over $16.4 trillion in 2009, approximately 28 percent of the world’s total GDP.
To increase the growth of the American economy as it recovers from the global recession, President Obama organized the NEI to increase exports that create jobs. Nowhere would the success of the NEI be more evident than here, the nexus of the manufacturing base of out two countries. Increasing trade would increase economic production and activity that benefits all.
The logic behind the NEI is simple: America must reset its economy in which a global market will dominate the world’s economic future. The rise of a global middle class throughout the world, especially in the world’s most populous nations, is forming a consumer class whose appetites can fuel economic production and create jobs.
The President’s initiative seeks to double exports during the next five years. As part of the NEI, the President assembled an Export Promotion Cabinet to coordinate government-wide trade promotion within global trading rules.
The Export Promotion Cabinet Includes Secretary of Commerce Locke, Secretary of State Clinton, Secretary of the Treasury Geithner, Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, Trade Representative Kirk and other senior officials. The NEI is a priority for the Administration and it should be a priority for this region.
The NEI consists of five components: Improving advocacy efforts on behalf of U.S. exporters; increasing access to export financing; reinforcing efforts to remove barriers to trade and to open new market opportunities for American exporters; and promoting polices leading to strong, sustainable and balanced economic growth.
What this is, really, is the beginning of the creation of an expanded national export platform for the United States so that we can begin to pull even with other major economies whose share of GDP is higher. Compared to other nations, we are way behind and even marginal increases as a percent of GDP could make a huge difference in the economies of both of our countries.
The share of GDP generated by exports in the United States is slightly more than 10 percent. By contrast, almost half of Germany’s GDP, 30 percent of Great Britain’s and 28 percent of China’s GDP are generated by exports.
Our objective and our intention should be clear: Exports must be a part of how we go forward, and the DEC’s are part of a system that can underpin the national export platform that the country needs to build to increase exports that create jobs. The DEC’s throughout the country already are essential to local businesses that have begun to see how exports will influence the bottom line.
The DEC’s, our Export Assistance Centers and our domestic and international offices constitute the network which we must re-enforce and on which we can construct a national export strategy that allows us to reset the American economy for the future.
NAFTA, the NEI and a new export platform that includes improvements in infrastructure and in creating new electronic systems by which we can manage, facilitate and administer trade are all components of an economic policy which you and I should support and work together to make real.
If you are not yet part of a DEC or if you think of a way that one of our USEAC’s can help, I encourage you to be part of the consolidating effort that we are undertaking to remake the American economy. If I leave you with one message it is to look at our experience at this conference not as a series of seminars, speeches and side-trips but as a cohesive rethinking of how we perceive our future.
Most recently, to bring private sector attention to the NEI, the President re-launched the President’s Export Council, the principal national advisory committee on international trade. This team of business and labor leaders, led by Boeing CEO James McNerney and Xerox CEO Ursula Burns, understand, like all of us, that when American businesses succeed, America succeeds and the world is better for it.
That, of course, includes Canada, our trusted neighbor with whom we share a thousand-mile commercial border. Eight million U.S. jobs depend on our trade with Canada. We share an integrated electricity grid. Canada supplies the largest amounts of oil and gas to the United States.
I seldom think of Canada as that much of another place. Canada is as much a home to many Americans and the United States is to many Canadians. We are blessed that when we have disagreements they are discussed and meshed out in ways that many other countries simply cannot see their way to do.
Other countries, therefore, cannot see the opportunities in clean, green and alternative technologies as well that could benefit our countries in our shared futures. I am heartened to see the focus that was put on this new, explosive sector that so evidently is necessary for us to maintain our economic lifestyles and for our planet to survive.
The members of the DEC’s who do tremendous work and without which we could not move forward could be the prime movers in this area, for the need to retrofit the nation and the world and their industries is an imperative. No region of the country is exempt, and no idea is too small. Local industries can target local projects as easily as they can tap into the global market.
This DEC conference is an example of how we can move forward together. Times are tough but our imagination, hard work and vision will get us to the next chapter of our long and historic relationship. And I am glad to do what I can to make the NEI a success, build up the DEC’s and strengthen the economies of our two countries.
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