Francisco Sánchez is the Under Secretary for International Trade
While Commerce has undertaken many new initiatives and directives, few have been as personally enriching for me as the “Commerce Comes to Your Town” initiative. Launched in May, the program focuses on expanding business and trade opportunities in local American communities. And the best way to do that is through outreach with local business owners.
Commerce makes a wide variety of resources available to help businesses of all sizes. And it is crucial that every business person in America knows they have options, expertise, and tools at their fingertips. All they have to do is ask and we will do everything in our power to support them.
Raising awareness about these resources is an important part of my job. It is paramount that manufactures know what tools and resources are available to them. We can help them grow their businesses and break into new markets abroad.
I’ve spent much of this past month traveling across the country as part of the “Commerce Comes to Your Town” initiative in an effort to connect with local businesses on a personal level.
In Youngstown, Ohio, I attended TechBelt Export Summit where I met with local business owners and heard about the ongoing innovations that have helped the region survive this tough economy. Youngstown is a stunning example of export success. According to the Brookings Institution, out of the 100 metropolitan areas studied, the Youngstown-Warren metropolitan area had the highest rate of export growth from 2009-2010, at 30 percent.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is an innovation hub and home to Aquatech, a successful and growing local exporter of purification technology. This one facility alone anticipates adding 20-30 jobs in the coming year to meet demand for their products.
I also visited Long Island, NY to meet with local business owners and tour Enecon, which designs, produces, and exports advanced polymers all around the world. Like New York City, Long Island is home to a population with diverse backgrounds, and its businesses are no different. Several hundred high-technology companies have their headquarters in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Even better, these are industries with high export potential. Sectors such as information technology, biotechnology, and avionics are pillars in the local economy, accounting for well more than half of all export sales from the region.
And in Chicago, I spoke at one of the nation’s largest supply chain conferences. The success of U.S. exporters depends in part on U.S. businesses being able to quickly and efficiently get their products to market. So it was fitting that I gave these remarks in Chicago, home to some of America’s most important freight and transportation corridors, the same corridors that ensure the efficient transportation of American exports.
At the Department of Commerce, we work every day to help U.S. manufacturers and businesses identify new opportunities for exporting in order to expand their businesses and support their communities. As I continue to travel around the country and meet with local business leaders, I am always inspired by their can-do attitude. That attitude is just one of the reasons Americans are known around the world for the innovation and entrepreneurship.
Our “Commerce Comes to Your Town” efforts are helping produce new opportunities for U.S. businesses, community by community. This is a crucial step in our efforts to help American firms build their products here and sell them everywhere. I for one will do everything I can to help American businesses create jobs and support our economic recovery – and hope to come to your town soon.