Under Secretary of Commerce For International Trade Francisco SÁnchez
DHL Public Policy Forum
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
As prepared for delivery
Thank you Wolfgang (Pordzik) for your kind introduction.
And, my thanks to DHL for hosting this event and inviting me to speak today.
I am pleased to be here, in the presence of so many people who are instrumental in the success of U.S. businesses expanding their product overseas.
As one of the world’s leading international shipping specialists - to exporters and importers- DHL promotes and aides the International Trade Administration – ITA- in its goals to strengthen the competitiveness of U.S. industry and promote trade through our strategic partnership, and DHL’s extensive shipping services.
Understanding the firm’s knowledge of international trade and ability to connect with U.S. businesses, ITA’s U.S. Commercial Service formed a partnership with DHL in 2012 in order to promote exports.
Through this partnership, DHL and our Commercial Service have been able to promote international trade through various educational events and through significant outreach plans.
Not only has DHL actively promoted international trade through this partnership and its extensive client list, but, DHL has also provided comments to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative on its negotiations and outreach on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
As U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said last week at the start of negotiations, “…with TTIP, we have the opportunity to accomplish something very significant for our economies, spur growth, complement a great alliance, and work together to establish and enforce international norms and standards.”
I couldn’t agree more and I know that DHL has provided input regarding important points of these negotiations related to the shipping industry.
To strengthen the global competitiveness of U.S. exports, in addition to trade promotion, we must also address foreign trade barriers that impede U.S. supply chains in the global marketplace.
Transportation is key to moving goods in and out of the United States.
By one estimate, transportation costs can account for as much as 10% of the total cost of a product. I am sure this audience has a good sense of those costs.
A recent study by the World Economic Forum and World Bank states that, an investment in freight transportation infrastructure that reduces direct transportation costs by 10% will result in supply chain improvements that will help companies reduce their operating costs by 1%.
On its own, this may not sound like much, but you all know how meaningful such savings can become.
As I’ve noted, ITA plays an important role in trade promotion and ensuring fair trading practices.
We also work closely with the U.S. trade negotiators to advocate for provisions during our trade negotiations, such as the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and TTIP, that reduce or eliminate barriers and can help U.S. companies, including express delivery companies, deliver an expanded volume of products at reduced costs.
In particular, we are working to build into both the TISA and the TTIP negotiations coverage of trade facilitation and supply chain services, including the improvement of customs processing.
And, enhancing the capacity of the supply chain is a key topic in regional bodies such as APEC and ASEAN.
While we are working in these fora to address trade barriers, we also must address the domestic conditions that impede the flow of our goods into the global marketplace.
To do so, we are working together with U.S. industry and supply chain stakeholders and experts to find ways to improve domestic policies that impact the nation’s supply chains.
In late 2011, the Department of Commerce formed the Advisory Committee on Supply Chain Competitiveness (ACSCC), which Commerce’s International Trade Administration helps to facilitate.
The ACSCC, composed of 40 senior-level private-sector supply chain industry and stakeholder representatives and experts, provides detailed policy and technical advice, information, and recommendations to the Secretary of Commerce.
I have spoken to this group more than once and have been impressed with the interest and dedication of its members to improving our nation’s competitiveness.
The ACSCC was formed to provide detailed advice on the elements of a comprehensive national freight infrastructure and freight policy to support U.S. supply chain and export competitiveness.
We also are counting on them to provide technical advice, information, and recommendations to the Secretary regarding those issues, as well as emerging trends in goods movement that affect our supply chain competitiveness and metrics that can be used to quantify supply chain performance.
The Secretary of Commerce will use this committee’s advice, information, and recommendations in interagency discussions to promote the development of a national freight policy.
We are lucky to have a President committed to international trade.
President Obama understands that exports and trade are a key component of our economic recovery and long-term prosperity.
President Obama also knows that a strong export economy will create and support millions of jobs on our shores.
This is why President Obama launched the National Export Initiative in 2010, a whole-of-government effort designed to double U.S. exports while supporting millions of new jobs here at home.
Last week, we released the 2012 export data by metropolitan area.
I am pleased to say that the news was very positive.
The 50 U.S. metropolitan areas that achieved the greatest levels of exports in 2012 sent more than $1 trillion in merchandise all around the world, an increase of nearly $43 billion from 2011.
29 of the top 50 metro areas set records in 2012.
We are encouraged by this new data and with our record $2.2 trillion in exports in 2012.
And we are very focused on reaching President Obama’s NEI goals.
In today’s global economy, if you’re not exporting, you’re falling behind.
But, picking your markets wisely is obviously important.
Naturally, the United States has some very important markets right here in our hemisphere.
Our first and third largest trading partners are our North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners – Canada and Mexico.
Strikingly, total goods and services trade between the United States and our NAFTA partners has nearly quadrupled during the NAFTA’s first 20 years and total merchandise trade (between the United States and Canada, and the United States and Mexico) has grown from $293 billion in 1993 to more than $1.1 trillion in 2012, an increase of 279 percent.
Each day the United States conducts $3.4 billion in goods and services trade with our NAFTA partners, translating to $2.4 million dollars of trade conducted every minute.
With regards to our southern neighbor, the U.S.-Mexico High-Level Economic Dialogue and its focus on a 21st Century border and improvements in cross-border transportation, similarly have the potential to support growth in the express shipping business.
More broadly, since 2009, U.S. goods exports to the Western Hemisphere have grown to nearly $700 billion, an increase of 56 percent… and supported nearly 3.7 million U.S. jobs in 2012.
Of the 20 countries with which the United States has free trade agreements (FTAs), 12 are in the Western Hemisphere.
The Western Hemisphere was the destination for approximately 45 percent of U.S. exports in 2012, more than any other region across the globe.
Clearly, the Western Hemisphere is a great starting place for businesses looking to begin their expansion overseas or a place to use as a spring board for businesses with export experience.
One of our most important jobs at the Commerce Department is to assist U.S. businesses with expanding overseas.
We have more than 260 trade specialists in more than 100 cities throughout the United States dedicated to helping U.S. companies, particularly small and medium-sized firms, to identify priority markets and to take advantage of opportunities in those markets.
We also have 150 professionals based in embassies and consulates in 14 countries in the Western Hemisphere whose expertise lies in identifying potential agents and distributors and helping American businesses navigate in overseas markets.
At ITA, it is our job to help companies succeed, to expand their customer base, which means they need to increase production and therefore create and sustain jobs here at home.
We take this role very seriously; our team works tirelessly to help American businesses succeed.
I know I am being followed by Assistant Secretary of Transportation Susan Kurland.
She has been a great partner in promoting international trade.
I served in that capacity during the Clinton Administration, so I am familiar with what she is doing in the transportation space.
She is doing a terrific job.
Once again, thank you to DHL for your partnership and efforts to promote international trade and your assistance to U.S. businesses exporting their products abroad.
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