Author Archive

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FDI Supporting the U.S. Economy

February 10, 2014

Felicia Pullam is the Director of Outreach for the SelectUSA Program.

We’re excited to announce the release of SelectUSA’s report on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the United States: Drivers of U.S. Economic Competitiveness

The paper takes a closer look at the impact of FDI on the U.S. economy. Included in the report is an analysis of the competitive advantages that make the United States an attractive destination for investors and trends in FDI by geography and industry sector.

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Foreign direct investment is a prime source of capital, job creation, innovation, and cross-border trade. FDI has continued to flourish in the United States because firms worldwide recognize the United States as an innovative and stable market executed in the world’s largest economy. The United States offers an unmatched opportunity for success due to its renowned educational institutions, growing industry clusters, first-class research and development centers, protection for intellectual property rights, an entrepreneurial environment, access to global markets, a predictable regulatory climate, and increasingly competitive cost factors.

Key takeaways include:

  • The United States is both the largest recipient and source of FDI in the world. FDI has long been an integral part of our economy. In 2012, the total stock of direct investment in the United States was $2.7 trillion and FDI inflows totaled $160.1 billion.
  • FDI creates jobs:  As of 2011, the most recent data available, majority-owned subsidiaries of multinational firms with U.S. operations employ more than 5.6 million workers and pay an average annual compensation of $77,600.
  • FDI contributes to U.S. innovation and helps drive exports:  These firms also spent more than $45 billion in research and development here and accounted for 20.5 percent of U.S. goods exported in 2011.
  • The five largest country sources of FDI in the United States are the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, Canada, and France, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.  The latest estimates of FDI stock by ultimate beneficial owner reveal that Together, these economies account for nearly 61.5 percent of total FDI stock.  In addition, markets across Asia, Latin America, and Europe have substantially grown their FDI position in the United States in recent years.
  • The United States wins out in investment climate according to the June 2013 FDI Confidence Index, A.T. Kearney awarded the United States the top spot.  The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitiveness Index ranks the United States among the top ten economies based on strengths in innovation, education, and overall size of economy.

Download the report here: Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the United States: Drivers of U.S. Economic Competitiveness.

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Gold Key Matchmaking Service helps Indiana firm to “Look South”

February 7, 2014

Conner Moore recently completed an internship in the International Trade Administration’s Office for Export Policy, Promotion, and Strategy.

Even though the Look South initiative is just getting started companies like Indiana-based Escalade Sports are already looking south by using Mexico as a stepping stone to other Latin American markets. Escalade is an internationally known manufacturer and distributor of sporting goods brands. Back in 2005, National Account and International Sales Manager Marla Fredrich targeted sales to Mexico as a springboard to Latin America.

After teaming up with Dusan Marinkovic, a trade specialist with the International Trade Administration’s U.S. Commercial Service (CS) in Indiana, Escalade benefitted from export counseling and the CS Gold Key Matchmaking Service.

This service helps U.S. companies find potential overseas business opportunities by arranging business meetings with pre-screened contacts representatives, distributors, professional associations, government contacts, and/or licensing or joint venture partners.

Through the Gold Key, Fredrich traveled to Mexico and met with pre-screened prospective business partners arranged by CS trade professionals at the U.S. Embassy.

As a result of ongoing CS assistance, Escalade made its first sale to Mexico and continues to increase its sales to the country. Having established a foothold in Mexico, Escalade has since looked south and started exporting to other parts of Latin America, including Colombia and the U.S.-Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement countries of El Salvador and the Dominican Republic.

Fredrich is upbeat about the region, and sees a lot more opportunity.

“We are now reaping the fruits of our hard work in making new sales to world markets, and Latin America has become a key focus of our international business strategy,” she says. “There’s no doubt that learning the ins and outs of selling to Mexico and working with the Commercial Service gave us more confidence in expanding our sales to other parts of Latin America.”

Fredrich also said that Escalade’s involvement in exporting and international diversification has enabled it to weather the changes in the global economy, and to grow and become more internationally competitive. As a result, the company has been able to sustain and support many new jobs in the United States.

Whatever and wherever your business is, the International Trade Administration can help any company that is ready to start exporting, expand to new markets, and begin to “Look South.”

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Another Year, Another Export Record

February 6, 2014

Ken Hyatt is the Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade. Mark Doms is the Under Secretary of Commerce for Economic Affair

Data from the Department of Commerce show that total annual US exports have increased by 44 percent since 2009.

2013 U.S. exports totaled $2.3 trillion, a record amount.

Four years ago, President Obama made export promotion a national priority, launching the National Export Initiative to renew and revitalize American exports.

That initiative is working.

Today, the Department of Commerce announced that for the fourth year in a row, the United States has set a record for annual exports. Total U.S. exports for 2013 reached $2.3 trillion.

There were record highs in both goods and services exports. Goods exports totaled $1.58 trillion, with records in a number of important sectors, including industrial supplies, consumer goods, and capital goods.

Service exports hit an all-time high of $682 billion, with records in several major service sectors. Travel and tourism was one record sector, as international visitors contributed $139.6 billion to the American economy.

Mexico was a particularly bright spot for U.S. exporters, as we saw a 4.7 percent increase to $226 billion in exports to our southern neighbor. Commerce Secretary Pritzker is currently leading a business development mission in Mexico, helping even more American companies find new opportunities and qualified business partners in one of our most important export markets.

More important than the numbers we released today, though, is what lies behind them.

More and more businesses are exporting, which is leading to growth and innovation.  More and more jobs are supported by exports – nearly 10 million jobs according to the latest data. That’s an increase of 1.3 million jobs since President Obama launched the National Export Initiative in 2010.

We are looking forward to American companies finding new success in the global marketplace in 2014 – expanding to new markets and reaching more customers. This time next year, we want to announce a fifth U.S. export record, more jobs supported by trade, and continued economic recovery here at home.

Keep up with us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook as we share highlights from today’s data release. You can find the full data report here.

Make sure to check back in on Feb. 11, when we’ll highlight how states across the country also saw record exports in 2013.

You can read Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker’s statement on the data here.

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Look South Campaign Focuses on U.S. Export Potential

February 5, 2014

Moshtayeen Ahmad recently completed an internship in the International Trade Administration’s Office for Export Policy, Promotion, and Strategy.The Look South campaign is encouraging companies to seek export opportunities in Latin America.

Favorable market trends in Latin America make the region an excellent potential market for your business’s products and services. These countries all enjoy open and regionally integrated economies and growing middle classes.

That’s why Commerce Secretary Pritzker is in Mexico on a business development mission – Mexico can be a great destination for your products and services, and a launching pad into more markets in the region.

The Department of Commerce’s Look South campaign is helping even more U.S. companies enter these markets and identify new opportunities in high demand industries.

Bilateral trade data shows that there is tremendous unmet potential for diversifying U.S. exports to Latin America. These countries are rapidly modernizing their industries and broadening their consumer base.

For small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), there are many opportunities in sectors where U.S. goods and services are highly desired. Some are highlighted in our most recent Country Commercial Guides, including medical equipment, agricultural equipment, franchising, and environmental technologies. SMEs have the opportunity to become globally competitive in many of these industries, but often are the least likely to be aware of opportunities beyond Mexico.

The Look South campaign takes advantage of already existing resources like local U.S Export Assistance Centers and commercial experts in each Look South market. Services include assistance in picking the right market for your business, getting your goods ready to ship, and understanding regulations in each country. Businesses can attend trade events that bring U.S. companies and foreign buyers together to expand on opportunities. The U.S. Commercial Service also offers guidance on trade financing assistance.

To get more detailed information on the best prospects and market intelligence for each sector in the Look South countries, visit our website.

You can also visit the Market Research Library (MRL) for a complete collection of all our market research, including our Country Commercial Guides, Best Market Reports and Market Research Reports.

Our team is standing by to help your business find success in Latin America. Find out how we can help!

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U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Begins First Official Trade Mission in Mexico

February 3, 2014

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.Infographic shows that current trade in goods with Mexico is eight times what it was in 1990

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker officially began her five-day trade mission to Mexico today, starting the trip in Mexico City. She is joined by representatives from 17 U.S. companies looking to expand partnerships and develop effective strategies for accessing and doing business in the Mexican market.

The focus of this trade mission is to promote U.S. exports to Mexico by helping export-ready U.S. companies launch or increase their business in a number of key industry sectors including advanced manufacturing, information and communications technology, and health IT and medical devices. The companies joining the Secretary address the demand of these growing industries in Mexico.

“The 17 companies who have joined me on this important mission represent the best of American business. These outstanding and innovative companies understand that selling American products overseas is a crucial component to growing and creating jobs,” U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker said.  “I am delighted we can help these companies expand their presence in Mexico through this business development mission.”

The U.S.-Mexico bilateral relationship is among the United States’ closest and most extensive in the world and one of the reasons it was selected by Secretary Pritzker as the destination for her first trade mission. Mexico is the United States’ third-largest trading partner, and approximately $1.3 billion of merchandise trade and one million people cross the 2,000 mile shared border daily. In addition, deeply integrated supply chains in North America and an established free trade agreement make it easy for Mexico and the U.S. to do business with one another.

The Department of Commerce recognizes that there is incredible potential for both countries to deepen their economic relationship and for U.S. and Mexican companies to do business together. With common values and shared aspirations for prosperity, it is a crucial relationship for both nations, and with Canada’s involvement, it can help make the North American platform the most competitive in the world.

During her trade mission to Mexico, the Secretary will meet with U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Tony Wayne, Secretary of Finance Luis Videgaray, Secretary of Economy Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal, Secretary of Communications and Transportation Gerardo Ruis Esparza, Minister of Health Mercedes Juan Lopez, state and city government officials, and CEOs of Mexican and U.S. companies.

Additional details about the Secretary’s mission to Mexico City and Monterrey will be announced in the coming days.

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Make Your Summer Count with an ITA Internship

January 31, 2014

Chris Higginbotham is a Public Affairs Specialist in the International Trade Administration’s Office of Public Affairs (he used writing samples from his internship to get this job).

Our office in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City is looking for interns with a variety of backgrounds and experience. Image shows the Statue of Liberty.

Our office in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City is looking for interns with a variety of backgrounds and experience. (photo courtesy U.S. National Park Service)

I’ve been there. Many of us have.

It’s January and you’re a college student. Maybe you’re a junior; or maybe you are already in grad school . Either way, there’s a nagging thought in the back of your head:

What am I doing at the end of the semester?

You’re friends are talking about internships and they probably sound cooler than anything you’ve thought of, so you make a list…

“Things I want in my 2014 summer internship:

  • Work someplace cool;
  • Make a difference;
  • Get some real-world experience;
  • Utilize and improve my skillset;
  • Work toward getting a job.”

Good news: the International Trade Administration (ITA) can hit all of those bullets.

Want to work someplace cool and help make a difference? We have 108 offices around the country and in 72 countries around the world. We have offices on both sides of the equator and in both hemispheres. If you like the beach, you can apply to work with our teams in Miami, Honolulu, or Lisbon. There’s also always the headquarters here in Washington, D.C., where you could work in offices like the Advocacy Center, the Trade Compliance Office, or  the Office of Public Affairs (I’m biased, but public affairs can be pretty awesome).

Whatever your major is, it probably fits in with a part of the ITA mission. We support U.S. businesses in the global marketplace, so we need students who are studying business, international relations, marketing, communication, foreign languages, regional studies, economics, and more. That means you’ll be able to apply what you’re learning in school to what you’ll be doing on our team.

Perhaps more importantly, an internship with us means you’ll be supporting the U.S. economy. Exports support nearly ten million American jobs – one of which may be your future job. Your work could help a business find a new market to sell its product or services, or could help a company overcome a trade barrier.

So how do you find out all of the internship opportunities ITA has to offer? Our website is a good place to start. Check out all of our office locations, many of which have pages explaining how to apply for internships.

You should also follow us on social media, where we’ll be sharing a lot of specific internship opportunities during the next few weeks. We’re on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. If you have questions, those platforms are great places for you to ask!

Best of luck to all of you this semester. We offer internships throughout the year, so keep ITA in mind as you look for a great place to start your career!

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Commercial Service Helps New Jersey Company Transition to Global Market

January 30, 2014

This post contains external links. Please review our external linking policy.

Doug Barry is a Senior International Trade Specialist in the International Trade Administration’s Global Knowledge Center. 

Adsorptech is a New Jersey-based small business that began as a consulting firm. After choosing to get involved in equipment production, the company sought guidance from the International Trade Administration’s U.S. Commercial Service.

The Commercial Service team, partnering with the New Jersey Business Action Center, determined that the prime markets for Adsorptech’s products were actually outside of North America. This encouraged the company’s leaders to begin looking outside the United States for its next group of customers.

Adsorptech CEO Jim Flaherty spoke with Doug Barry of ITA’s Global Knowledge Center about how support from the Commercial Service ultimately helped the company through its transition into production and the global marketplace.

Barry:  What specifically did the U.S. Commercial Service offer?

Flaherty: When we first met they were actually willing to do work specific to our needs. We are a small business. We have families to feed, our business to run, customers that already existed. We couldn’t dedicate the majority of our time to exploring these new markets only on a website.

The Commercial Service took time to understand what our product was, how it worked and where it might fit. They went out and did the actual market surveys and came up with what geographies in the world would represent the most likely benefit in the shortest amount of time.

Barry: And then what happened?

Flaherty: Then, we took them up on their offer for doing a Gold Key Service (buyer finding) and we chose two markets. With their help, we chose Turkey and Colombia as the two markets that our product would sell the quickest. They helped us find and interview potential distributors in those two geographies. As a small business we can’t afford to set up shop anywhere, so going through distributors is the best route for Adsorptech.

Barry: How long did it take to get rolling in new international markets?

Flaherty: We’re very aggressive. We already have our first international sale — six months within putting together the strategy, so to me that’s light years. If anyone said what’s the greatest benefit of working with the Commercial Service — it’s speed. They cut off at least three years to the process of understanding how to get the first export to market. We’re off to the races, and it will be a wonderful problem to manage our time.

Barry: Were you intimidated about going outside of the United States to make these sales?

Flaherty: Scared to death! The world is so enormous. The first concern was “My goodness, where do we go?” And it was that help that elevated our comfort level immediately because we had tangible information upon which we could make a decision, instead of just guess. We’re engineers!

Barry: Are you better because of your international experience?

Flaherty: Absolutely. And we’re also better focused. Before as a small business that didn’t have a very specific strategy and target market, we were like the blind squirrel looking for the nut. Eventually you’ll find one, but that’s not going to create a sustained business. The support has helped us see how we can be sustainable. If we’re not going to be around in two to three years, why would anybody want to do business with us?

Barry: You seem optimistic about the future.

Flaherty: Exhilarated more than optimistic. The Commercial Service has shown me and Adsorptech how we can actually accomplish something. The first steps we took were tangibly accurate. As an engineer, proof is in the pudding. 

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Commerce Partnership to Benefit Minority-Owned Exporters

January 24, 2014

Antwaun Griffin is Deputy Assistant Secretary for U.S. Field Operations with the International Trade Administration’s U.S. Commercial Service.

Antwaun Griffin is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Domestic Operations within the International Trade Administration’s U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service, helping oversee all aspects of the Department’s trade promotion and export assistance services.

Antwaun Griffin is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Domestic Operations within the International Trade Administration’s U.S. Commercial Service.

This post originally appeared on the Minority Business Development Agency’s blog.

Did you know that according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data, minority-owned firms are twice as likely to export as other U.S.-owned businesses? The data indicates that minority-owned firms are best positioned to succeed and expand in the growing global economy. With 95 percent of the world’s consumers outside of the United States, exporting enables businesses to boost their bottom line while building their international competitiveness. For many U.S. firms, international diversification has enabled them to weather changes in the economy much better than if they had been selling only in their backyard.

That said, many more minority-owned firms could be exporting more. Many business owners that I meet don’t export, in part because they believe exporting is too burdensome, or they’re unaware of the various resources available to assist them. However, expanding your business through exporting is more viable today than ever before. If you have a good track record of selling in the United States, one of the most open and competitive markets in the world, you are likely a good candidate to make overseas sales.

In 2010, President Obama launched the National Export Initiative (NEI), aimed at expanding federal government-wide efforts to assist exporters while supporting millions of U.S. jobs.  These efforts have helped contribute to record U.S. exports culminating in an all-time high of $2.2 trillion in 2012. As a result of the NEI, more and more businesses are taking advantage of key export tools and resources to expand their global market share.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker has made expanding exports, including for minority-owned businesses, a key part of the trade and investment priority in the Commerce Department’s “Open for Business Agenda.” Specifically, the Agenda calls for Commerce to lead NEI 2.0 – the next phase of the successful National Export Initiative – to develop a long-term strategy for orienting more American businesses toward the global marketplace, set new export goals, and coordinate federal activities to support these goals.

A prime example of this effort is a strategic partnership between my agency, the International Trade Administration (ITA), and the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). With a network of 40 MBDA Business Centers across the United States, MBDA has unique relationships and is well-positioned to support NEI 2.0. ITA’s worldwide network of international trade professionals offers a depth of technical expertise in more than 100 U.S. cities and over 70 countries worldwide. Under this active partnership, both agencies will look to complement and build on each other’s domestic and global relationships.

Together, the two agencies already counsel thousands of U.S. businesses each year, and through this partnership, businesses looking to identify new foreign markets or expand their exports will be better positioned to access the services of both agencies through cross referrals, enhanced sharing of information, and joint trade promotion efforts. For example, MBDA clients can gain exposure and greater insight early on about the benefits of developing an international business plan and information on various federal programs for exporting, such as ITA’s U.S. Commercial Service market research—valuable assets when it comes to long-term strategic planning. Many MBDA clients pursuing government contracts abroad might also be interested in learning more about U.S. Commercial Service Advocacy Center efforts, which last year helped facilitate billions of dollars in overseas opportunities for U.S. companies bidding on foreign government contracts. Likewise, U.S. Commercial Service minority business clients might benefit from MBDA’s broad technical assistance, export financing options, and an array of specialized services available to minority-owned business concerns.

So whether your business is a startup or more established, I encourage you to visit www.export.gov to learn more about our programs and people.

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America is Open for Investment

January 22, 2014

Vinai Thummalapally is the Executive Director of the SelectUSA Program. This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog. 

Ambassador Vinai Thummalapally is the Executive Director of the SelectUSA Program.

Ambassador Vinai Thummalapally is the Executive Director of the SelectUSA Program.

In 2011, President Obama launched SelectUSA, the first-ever U.S. government-wide initiative to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States, with the hopes that the Department of Commerce would help facilitate both foreign and domestic business relationships and make FDI a diplomatic and foreign policy priority.

We took an enormous step forward three months ago, when the Commerce Department hosted the first-ever SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington, DC. The summit was such a success that it sold out, and more than 1,300 business and government leaders from nearly 60 countries and economic development organizations from 48 states, the District of Columbia and three territories gathered to learn about the advantages of doing business in the United States and to explore investment opportunities. Perhaps most importantly, the Summit helped match potential investors with economic development organizations to help revitalize American communities and create new job opportunities.

Thankfully, we can continue to build upon the success of the Summit, now that the budget deal has been approved.  The agreement will allow up to $7 million to expand and enhance the program, and we at the Commerce Department are pleased to have this extra support to bring more companies to our shores.

In fact, the U.S. has welcomed investment to our shores for centuries. Our market has provided long-term stability and unmatched returns for investors. Today, the United States is the largest recipient of FDI in the world, and in 2012 alone, more than $160 billion dollars of FDI flowed here. Total foreign stock and assets are measured not in billions, but in the trillions of dollars. Clearly, FDI is an important contributor to our economy.

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But don’t take my word for it – SelectUSA has already helped bring jobs to the U.S. and foster many business relationships, both foreign and domestic.

For example, the Southern Idaho Economic Development Organization (SIEDO) approached SelectUSA for assistance as they worked with Frulact, a Portugal-based producer of fruit-based ingredients for food. SelectUSA advised SIEDO on the issues that would be critical for the company to consider, while also connecting them directly with our team on the ground in Portugal. After utilizing our advice, SIEDO and Frulact announced plans in October for a state-of-the-art 200,000 square foot facility in Rupert, Idaho, that is expected to employ at least 100 people.

We’re hearing plenty more success stories like this, and the SelectUSA program has proven to be a great “bang for the buck.”

We’re excited to continue enhancing SelectUSA with more congressional funding, and the Department of Commerce is ready to do all it can to connect investors with communities…and to open all avenues to guarantee that American is Open for Business.

After all, as President Obama said in his keynote address at the summit a few months ago, “When you bet on America, that bet pays off.”

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Secretary Pritzker Highlights Strong Economic Partnership Between USA and Canada

January 22, 2014

Data from the Department of Commerce show trade in goods with Canada has tripled since 1990.This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

Today, Secretary Penny Pritzker and Canada’s International Trade Minister Edward Fast spoke about the future of the U.S.-Canadian economic relationship at a luncheon hosted by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. The United States and Canada share a long-standing partnership based on history, geography, and the world’s largest bilateral trading relationship. It is the biggest bilateral trade relationship in the world with more than $1 million in trade crossing our border every minute.

In 2011, President Obama and Prime Minister Harper announced the U.S.-Canada Beyond the Border Action Plan and the U.S.-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council, with initiatives aimed at enhancing economic competitiveness. Canada is the United States’ largest trading partner – and vice versa. With more than $700 billion in two-way trade of goods and services annually and more than $600 billion in direct investment on both sides of the border, millions of jobs in each country depend on shared economic competitiveness. Canada is the number one export market for 36 of our 50 states and is among one of the top five export markets for another ten states.

Those stats reflect the threefold growth of trade in goods since 1990. The total value of goods traded between Canada and the United States in 1990 was $174 billion. By 2012, that had grown to more than $600 billion. Top exports to Canada include transportation equipment, machinery, chemicals, computers and electronics products and food products. The Department of Commerce has been working hard to ensure that number continues to climb.

What’s clear is that the two countries don’t just trade with each other, they build things together.  In addition to aerospace, the auto supply chains are intertwined. Automotive components often cross the border many times before a final product is ready to be sold. In addition, investors pour hundreds of billions of dollars into both economies to build new facilities and to create new jobs. Literally millions of people in both countries rely on the trade and investment relationship for their livelihoods.

On a broader level, the competitiveness of the two countries is becoming more and more tied to the competitiveness of the entire North American region. Canada, Mexico, and the United States are working together to grow the trilateral relationship.  They have pledged to continue helping businesses grow and workers succeed through enhanced regulatory cooperation, and coordinated efforts to facilitate increased trade through many initiatives, including the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. Each country has committed to ensuring that the competitive advantages of the continent are maintained and enhanced.

By demonstrating that increased trade drives job creation and economic growth, Canada, Mexico and the United States have set a valuable example globally and have built a solid foundation upon which North American competitiveness can continue to be enhanced to the benefit of all citizens.

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