Posts Tagged ‘FTA’

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How New Legislation will Support Our Textile Industry

October 9, 2012

Kim Glas is the deputy assistant secretary for textiles and apparel within the International Trade Administration’s Import Administration division.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Kim Glas and Under Secretary Francisco Sanchez tour Unifi's sewing thread manufacturing facility in Yadkinville, North Carolina on October 9, 2012.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Kim Glas and Under Secretary Francisco Sanchez tour Unifi’s sewing thread manufacturing facility in Yadkinville, North Carolina on October 9, 2012.

I am visiting North Carolina today with the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez to see first-hand two state of the art textile companies – Unifi and A&E. Recently, President Obama signed into law an important set of technical fixes to the U.S.-Dominican Republic-Central America (CAFTA-DR) Free Trade Agreement that will have a direct impact on jobs at these two companies and sewing thread manufacturers across this state and country.

When the Agreement with our Central American neighbors was negotiated in 2003, there was a definitional loophole that incentivized the use of non-U.S. sewing thread in the assembly of textile and apparel products. As a result of this loophole, U.S. sewing thread manufacturers have seen their business and employment shrink. The Obama Administration immediately set out to address a problem that severely impacted U.S. sewing thread manufacturers.

After years of hard work, President Obama recently signed legislation to close a loophole that has jeopardized businesses and jobs in the U.S. As a result, on Saturday, October 13th, these fixes will be implemented and will have a direct impact on many sewing thread manufacturers in North Carolina. We have every expectation that once the legislation is implemented that U.S. sewing thread producers like Unifi and A&Ewill be able to recapture market share in the critical market.

This is a prime example of what can be accomplished when industry, Congress, and the Administration work toward a common goal.

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Quick Approval of Trade Agreements is Good News for the American Economy

October 12, 2011

Francisco J. Sánchez is the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade

Earlier tonight, the millions of Americans concerned about jobs got some good news: Congress approved trade agreements with Korea, Colombia and Panama.

It’s been a long journey to this moment, so let me cut right to the chase: Opening new doors of opportunity for U.S. firms to sell their products in these three markets will strengthen our economy and sharpen our competitive edge in the global economy.

It will also support jobs.

Ford Motor Company employees at the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, MI assemble a 2012 Ford Focus.

Ford Motor Company employees at the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, MI assemble a 2012 Ford Focus, one of the vehicles targeted for the Korean market under the U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement. Photo by: Sam VarnHagen/Ford Motor Co. Used with permission.

For every billion in U.S. goods exported overseas, more than 5500 jobs are supported here at home.  In total, the three agreements will support tens of thousands of jobs and add billions to the U.S. GDP — reasons for all Americans to cheer.

I commend President Obama for his leadership in creating a balanced trade agenda.  He has worked tirelessly to get the best possible deal for businesses and workers.  Congress also deserves credit.  These measures were passed with bipartisan support.  That both parties were able to find common ground on these issues speaks to positive economic impact that these agreements will have on communities across the nation.

I also applaud the President and Congress for renewing the Trade Adjustment Assistance program.  Why?  Because whenever there is change, there are some who are negatively impacted; some Americans, through no fault of their own, have lost their jobs because of foreign competition.  But all is not lost: TAA will help them retrain and retool for success in the 21st century economy.

The world is rapidly changing, and we must change with it to succeed in this economic environment. That’s why these three trade agreements are so important; they’ll create new opportunities across all regions and sectors.   Take the auto industry, historically a backbone of the middle class:

In 2010, the U.S. exported approximately $1.5 billion in vehicles and parts to the three prospective markets despite facing relatively high average tariffs.  Because the agreements have passed, the tariffs on these products will ultimately fall to zero, expanding opportunities for growth in exports for U.S. companies.

This is a big deal.  As President Obama said in his speech to Congress outlining the American Jobs Act:

“If Americans can buy Kias and Hyundais, I want to see folks in South Korea driving Fords and Chevys and Chryslers. I want to see more products sold around the world stamped with three proud words: “Made in America.”

With the passage of these three trade agreements, chances are we will indeed see more U.S. products sold around the world.  That’s a victory for us all.

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Strengthening the U.S. Economy by Strengthening Trade Relationships

October 7, 2011

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

Greg Bell is a writer in the Intenrational Trade Adminsitraiton’s Office of Public Affairs.

“Products stamped with the words ‘Made in America’ are still in demand around the globe.  We must seize these opportunities.”

That’s what Under Secretary for Commerce, Francisco Sánchez, wrote in an op-ed that appeared in today’s Miami Herald.  In it, he stressed the important role that exports play in strengthening the economy and supporting jobs for American workers.  In fact, for every billion in goods exported abroad, more than 5500 jobs are supported here at home.

Sánchez’s opinion piece comes on the heels of President Obama’s announcement earlier this week that he has sent three pending trade agreements to Congress for approval.  If ratified, the agreements – with South Korea, Colombia and Panama – would support tens of thousands more jobs, and increase the U.S. GDP by billions of dollars.

The agreements would also have a huge impact on the South Florida economy.  Sánchez writes that “as a native Floridian, I know how important trade is to the state. Take a look at the most recent numbers: In 2008, nearly 40,000 companies exported goods from Florida locations; 96 percent of these businesses were small and medium-sized enterprises, the very companies that serve as the backbone of our middle class … I expect these numbers to grow as our trade increases, especially throughout the Western Hemisphere.”

The full article is available at The Miami Herald.

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Making it Easier to Sell Products “Made in America”

October 3, 2011

Francisco J. Sánchez is the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade.

It was a good day for American businesses and workers.

Earlier this afternoon, President Obama submitted three free-trade deals — with Korea, Colombia and Panama — to Congress for consideration.  If passed, these agreements would be a big boost to our economy, providing new opportunities for U.S. companies abroad, while strengthening our economy here at home.

As the President said: “These agreements will support tens of thousands of jobs across the country for workers making products stamped with three proud words: Made in America.”

President Obama has long said that exports are a key to the nation’s economic recovery.  Nearly two years ago, he launched the National Export Initiative with the goal of doubling U.S. exports by the end of 2014.  And, last month, in a speech before Congress where he unveiled the American Jobs Act — a bipartisan proposal to put Americans back to work — he stressed the economic benefits of these free-trade agreements.

The President has correctly recognized that exporting provides U.S. businesses with new opportunities to sell their goods and services in markets overseas.  The pending FTAs before Congress would ensure that this trade — with three important markets — is both free and fair.

This is important.  Consider that, in 2010, the United States enjoyed a $9.9 billion non-oil trade surplus with our FTA partners, as compared to a $371 billion non-oil trade deficit with the rest of the world.  In addition, last year, 41 percent of U.S. goods exports went to our FTA partners, even though those countries only account for 9 percent of global Gross Domestic Product.

Clearly, fair trade is good for our economic health and future.  If passed, the pending FTAs are sure to enhance these benefits.  Now, there have been a lot of misconceptions about these FTAs.  To set the record straight, here are some basic facts:

Korea

The U.S. –Korea trade agreement will:

  • Support at least 70,000 American jobs, and boost annual exports of American goods by up to $11 billion through tariff reductions alone.
  • Create new opportunities for U.S. exporters in Korea’s $1.5 trillion economy, the 12th largest in the world in 2010, based on purchasing power parity exchange rates.

Colombia

The U.S. – Colombia trade agreement will:

  • Generate new possibilities in the 3rd largest economy in Central and South America.
  • Reduce barriers to U.S. exports, spurring new opportunities for our businesses, workers, farmers and ranchers, thereby supporting more and better jobs for Americans.

Panama

The U.S. – Panama trade agreement will:

  • Provide new possibilities with one of the fastest growing economies in Latin America, expanding 6.2 percent in 2010, with similar annual growth forecast through 2015.
  • Enhance U.S. competitiveness by eliminating tariffs and other barriers to U.S. exports and expanding trade between our two countries.

Bottom line: By ensuring that the American people have a level-playing field to compete on in these three important markets, the FTAs would spur billions in economic activity, support tens of thousands of American jobs, and sharpen the United States’ competitive edge moving into the future.

The President has worked hard to strengthen these agreements to, in his words, “get the best possible deal for American workers.”

Now, I join his call in urging Congress to pass the FTAs without delay.

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Be Brief, Be Bright, Be Gone

June 10, 2009

Walter Bastian is Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for the Western Hemisphere, a part of Market Access and Compliance.

From June 1 to June 5, I had the opportunity to lead a group of U.S. business executives on a trade mission to Santiago, Chile and Lima, Peru.  The mission was comprised of executives pursuing business opportunities across a wide range of manufacturing and service sectors.  The results were impressive.

Chile and Peru were selected as target markets for a variety of reasons, including market potential and ease of doing business.  These factors were enhanced by the existence of free trade agreements each has with the United States.  Besides the eventual elimination of all tariffs on U.S. products entering these markets, these agreements establish clear and transparent rules for the conduct of business with U.S. firms.  These agreements have worked.  In the case of Chile, U.S. exports in 2008 were up 49.4 percent over the year before and in Peru, U.S. exports were up 51 percent over the same period.  U.S. exports to Chile are up 345 percent since 2004 when the agreement went into effect.  Last year, Peru was the fastest growing export market in the Western Hemisphere.

Daycare center funded by U.S. companies and United Way Chile.

Daycare center funded by U.S. companies and United Way Chile. (Department of Commerce photo)

The heart of the mission is the business matchmaking service provided by the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service in both countries.  Each company had appointments each day with prescreened local companies.  The mission participants also had the opportunity to meet and talk to members of the U.S. and local business communities at events hosted by the embassies.  The days were full.  Meals became business meetings.  The business days lasted well into the night.

Chris Hood of Coastal International Logistics, LLC, noted that his business philosophy was to “be brief, be bright, be gone.”  He had a contract before leaving the first stop.  He and the other mission members seemed to adhere to the same philosophy and contributed to a highly successful trade mission.

While mission members were busy developing new clients and pursuing commercial opportunities, I met with government officials to pursue issues which would further enhance the competitiveness of U.S. firms in these markets.  I met with customs officials, economy and energy ministers, business groups and NGOs.  I also visited examples of U.S. corporate social responsibility and highlighted the value of partnerships with the U.S. private sector.

The mission was truly representative of a public/private sector partnership.  In the end, the public and private sectors accomplished their mutual objectives of contributing to the economic growth of the United States and creating U.S. jobs through exports.

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