Seizing Opportunities Across the Globe: A Message from Under Secretary Francisco SánchezNovember 1, 2011
By Francisco J. Sánchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade.
This month brought good news for the U.S. economy.
President Obama signed legislation approving the free trade agreements with Korea, Panama, and Colombia. These measures, when implemented, will support tens of thousands of American jobs, add billions to our gross domestic product and help provide a level playing field for U.S. firms in three significant international markets.
All of us at the International Trade Administration are committed to helping businesses seize these opportunities—in these three markets and across the globe. That’s why I’ve been engaged with various international representatives from the public and private sectors to strengthen our commercial relationships.
I want to highlight two significant trips:
In early October, I traveled to the Dominican Republic for the fifth Americas Competitiveness Forum. More than 1,000 attendees gathered from across the Western Hemisphere to exchange ideas and experiences. The region is vital to our economy; it’s the destination of more than 40 percent of U.S. exports.
Participants gathered to discuss ways to build on this success. One result of these talks: the Santo Domingo Consensus, a set of policy objectives designed to strengthen economic integration. You can read more about the Santo Domingo Consensus in this issue, but I can tell you that participants left the conference energized, and considering newer and greater possibilities.
From there, I went on to China, where I led a trade mission delegation of 19 U.S. biotechnology companies to both Beijing and Hong Kong. There is enormous potential in the market; China’s biotech sector is growing roughly 25 percent a year. Its market is huge in terms of sales and clinical trial opportunities, as well as potential investment that presents opportunities for U.S. companies here at home.
Case in point: DiaCarta, LLC, a California-based company that was a part of our delegation. During the mission, the firm signed a $2 million sales agreement to sell its cervical cancer testing products in China. Representatives of DiaCarta say that this deal will allow them to hire American workers—in short, their exports are generating economic activity. That is a trend we’re seeing all over.
Take Hong Kong, where I was privileged to present the Peace through Commerce Award—which was created by Thomas Jefferson—to Fred Lam, executive director of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council. Lam spearheads the Pacific Bridge Initiative (PBI), the first set of policy objectives developed by a foreign government to promote President Obama’s National Export Initiative on a bilateral basis.
Since its inception, the PBI has helped triple the number of export transactions to Asia by new-to-market U.S. firms. It’s a significant achievement, which is why I presented Mr. Lam with the award, and am looking forward to our continued partnership in the years ahead.
In total, my travels through different regions of the world were centered on the goals of increasing U.S. exports to support American jobs and businesses. I can tell you from firsthand experience abroad that the words “Made in America” mean something special. Products stamped with that phrase represent quality and value, which is why they are in great demand all over the world.
Let’s work together to turn these possibilities into progress for the American economy.
Until next time,
Francisco J. Sánchez