Under Secretary of Commerce For International Trade Francisco SÁnchez
Customs and Border Protection Trade Symposium Panel
"U.S. Trade, A Top Priority"
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
As prepared for delivery
Opening question for Under Secretary Sánchez will be on the role of the National Export Initiative in strengthening the economy.
Thank you, Ambassador Hills, for your kind introduction earlier. I would also like to thank Commissioner Bersin for his invitation to be here today. The Departments of Commerce and Homeland Security are working closely together on the implementation of the President’s economic recovery initiatives.
President Obama announced the National Export Initiative in his 2010 State of the Union address and set the ambitious goal of doubling U.S. exports over a 5-year-period to support millions of jobs here at home.
The NEI is the Obama Administration’s commitment to serve as a full partner with U.S. businesses to promote American-made goods and services worldwide, within global trading rules. The NEI is focused on (1) improving trade advocacy and export promotion efforts; (2) increasing access to credit, especially for small and midsize businesses; (3) removing barriers to the sale of U.S. goods and services abroad; (4) robustly enforcing trade rules; and (5) pursuing policies at the global level to promote strong, sustainable, and balanced growth.
In the first year of the NEI we reorganized how the various aspects of the federal government can support American commerce. We have not done so alone. We have engaged the business community. From the President’s Export Council, to the 600 companies that are members of the Industry Trade Advisory Committees, we have been listening, and already we have seen benefits for all.
As an example, ITA’s Strategic Partnership Program developed and executed a New Market Exporter Initiative. The initiative leverages our strategic partners, such as FedEx, UPS, the US Postal Service and National Association of Manufacturers, to identify their customers who sell to at least one international market and helps those customers expand to additional markets. Initial reports from our partners indicate a significant increase in export-related sales. To date the partners have touched more than 24,000 companies and almost 1,000 of them are actively engaging with the US Commercial Service’s international trade specialists to enter additional foreign markets. Plans are in development to include new strategic marketing partners in 2011.
In the past year we have also had success in many other areas. We are only halfway through the fiscal year and ITA has already managed 25 trade missions, 3 of which I had the pleasure of leading. In the coming months, ITA will lead a biotech trade mission to China (October), a water technology trade mission to Australia (September) and a renewable energy/manufacturing equipment trade mission to South Africa (September). I encourage you to think about taking advantage of these opportunities.
And in the actions that we have taken against those who would dump their products in our markets and would prohibit our entry into theirs, we see these actions as a record of an Administration that not only gets business but has been very busy moving the ball forward. We are in the business of business development here and abroad.
The Commerce Department through the International Trade Administration, which is my responsibility, already leads many of the federal government’s trade promotion efforts. Through our U.S. Commercial Service, we provide products and services that can be tailored to meet an American company’s export needs. These may be basic or in-depth market research, full background reports on potential agents or distributors, or tailored promotional events.
Simultaneous with these marketing and trade promotion efforts, we also work to eliminate trade barriers and help make sure that foreign business environments are transparent and equitable. We work directly with American companies on market access cases, helping them resolve issues that arise when regulatory, technical or other trade barriers hamper their ability to succeed in a market.
The NEI is intended to concentrate additional government attention on promoting exports, including how we might help your firm export. Most of you in this room operate in the global marketplace. Still, if you are like me, as hard as you try, you cannot be everywhere at once.
ITA has a booth in the exhibit hall and I encourage you to stop by and talk with one of our trade specialists to learn more about the how we can help your company or clients. You can also contact one of our domestic U.S. Export Assistance Centers or overseas Commercial Service posts for additional information about resources available.
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