U.S. export promotion strategy makes progress

09:04, July 08, 2010      

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U.S. President Barack Obama said on Wednesday that the export promotion strategy has borne fruit since introduced in January, on track to reach his goal of doubling exports and supporting millions of new jobs over the next five years.

But the progress the administration has made to stimulate economic recovery and job growth "isn't nearly enough to undo the enormous damage that the recession visited on people and communities across our country," the president said in a speech at the White House.


U.S. exports grew almost 17 percent over the first four months of this year compared to the same period last year, according to the Progress Report on the National Export Initiative (NEI) released by the White House on Wednesday.

The initiative was announced by Obama during his January State of the Union address as part of a broad economic plan to drive economic and job growth.

"Part of this, of course, is due to the global recovery. But we 're also moving forward on improving conditions for America's exporters," said Obama.

The U.S. believed that its economic imbalance resulted from long-term trade deficit and over-consumption is in part responsible for the worst recession since the Great Depression in the 1930s, and was working to make a change by putting more emphasis on export.

"Export growth leads to job growth and economic growth," said Obama. "So at a time when jobs are in short supply, building exports is an imperative."

He noted that in 2008, American exports accounted for nearly 7 percent of the country's total employment, one in three manufacturing jobs, and supported 10.3 million jobs in all.

An analysis by Obama's Council of Economic Advisers suggested that an increase in U.S. exports over the past nine months has contributed more than one percentage point to the growth rate.


"Since we launched the National Export Initiative, we've made progress across its five objectives," said Obama.

The objectives outlined in the initiative include improved advocacy efforts on behalf of U.S. exporters; increased access to export financing; reinforced efforts to remove barriers to trade; enforcement of trade rules; and international promotion of policies leading to strong, sustainable and balanced economic growth.

"America would be a stronger partner and better advocate in the international marketplace for its businesses and workers," said Obama, noting that the Commerce Department has coordinated 18 trade missions with over 160 companies that compete in 24 countries.

With respect to export financing, the president said the administration is increasing access to export financing for small and medium-sized businesses, and the Export-Import Bank has more than doubled its loans in support of American exporters since last year.

Obama also noted that the administration has been working to resolve outstanding issues with the free trade agreements with key partners.

The U.S. reached an agreement with China in March to reopen the Chinese market to U.S. pork and pork products, and agreed with Russia in June to reopen the Russian market to U.S. poultry exports.

The president touted progress on enforcement of trade rules to ensure free and fair market access, along with coordination with other nations around the world to promote strong, sustainable, and balanced economic growth.


Obama also appointed a group of business and labor leaders to the President's Export Council, which will offer advice and expertise on trade issues from outside of the administration.

Obama announced in March that he would re-launch the President' s Export Council to serve as the principal national advisory committee on international trade. At that time, he named Jim McNerney, President and CEO of Boeing; and Ursula Burns, CEO of Xerox, as chair and vice chair of this council, while leaving other membership vacant.

He appointed the remaining 18 members of the council during a speech at the White House, expecting them to "offer their unfiltered advice and expertise on how best to promote American exports."

The new appointees include Scott Davis, Chairman and CEO of UPS; Robert A. Iger, President and CEO of Walt Disney; Jeff Kindler, Chairman and CEO of Pfizer; Andrew N. Liveris, President, Chairman and CEO of Dow Chemical, among others.

The president also announced plans to hold his Export Promotion Cabinet meetings quarterly to ensure the NEI is properly implemented and pursued.

The cabinet, created by the president in March, was made up of the Secretaries of State, Treasury, Agriculture, Commerce and Labor, along with U.S. Trade Representative, Small Business Administrator, the Export-Import Bank President, and other senior officials whose work impacts exports.


"Our economy has now grown for three consecutive quarters and created nearly 600,000 private sector jobs in the first half of this year -- a stark contrast to the 3.7 million we lost over the first half of last year," said Obama. "Still, the progress we've made to date isn't nearly enough to undo the enormous damage that the recession visited on people and communities across our country. "

"Our businesses are hiring again, but there are still five unemployed workers for each job opening. The economy is growing, but empty storefronts still haunt our Main Streets. And the truth is, the middle class families that are the backbone of our economy have felt their economic security eroding since long before the recession ever hit," he added.

According to the Labor Department's monthly unemployment report released last week, the unemployment rate dropped to 9.5 percent in June, the lowest level in almost a year. But that lower overall jobless rate merely reflected that many people gave up looking for work, as employers cut 125,000 jobs last month, the first month of new job decline in six months.

The Commerce Department's latest revised data showed that the U. S. economy grew at 2.7 percent in the first quarter in 2010, lower than the 3.0 percent previously reported.

"So we have much more work to do to spur stronger job growth and keep the larger recovery moving," said the president.

Source: Xinhua


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