Posts Tagged ‘global trade’

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Putting International Trade at the Local Level

January 30, 2013

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Elías González is an intern in the International Trade Administration Office of Public Affairs, and is a former West Point Cadet and graduate from the University of Pennsylvania.

Should local governments pay attention to international trade? American trade leaders think so and they’re helping city leaders take a bite out of the export pie.

International trade was a hot topic at the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Winter Meeting in Washington, DC this month, and representatives from the International Trade Administration (ITA) used the opportunity to illustrate how U.S. competitiveness depends on local communities.

Francisco Sánchez, Under Secretary for International Trade, emphasized the importance of the president’s National Export Initiative (NEI).  He said that 95 percent of consumers live outside the U.S., and that the NEI is instrumental in helping American businesses access those foreign markets. He also lauded its success, citing that U.S. exports reached a record $2.1 trillion in 2011 and that data when available next month will likely show that 2012 was even higher.

In a separate task force meeting, Walter Bastian, Deputy Secretary for the Western Hemisphere here at ITA, reaffirmed the importance of international trade, pointing out that trade with Mexico alone produces an average of $1 million a minute for the U.S. economy.

Bastian emphasized the importance of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade agreement among several Asian, Pacific, and North American countries, and how it will strengthen trade with Mexico. He said that it will help reduce the cost of doing business, potentially making that million-dollar-a-minute figure higher.

Sánchez and Bastian were quick to note that the economic benefits from trade are not felt only by the U.S. as a whole, but by local communities as well.

In a cooperative effort to help local communities enter the exporting business efficiently, ITA has partnered with the Brookings Institution on the Metropolitan Export Initiative (MEI). Several metropolitan areas in the U.S. are already participating, and the Under Secretary urged the mayors to utilize the tools the ITA provides. The MEI is one of many tools in place to remedy inefficiency. Inefficiency at the border—issues like long wait times for trucks—cost upwards of $6 billion per year.

Initiatives like the MEI help local communities gain greater control over their exports and create more efficient and beneficial trade partnerships.

Under Secretary Sánchez concluded his discussion at the conference by emphasizing that cities need to prioritize exports, reach new markets, and draw new investments. He reiterated what he and Bastian deemed crucial, that as cities succeed the country succeeds, and that ITA is here to help.

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Expanding Trade through Services

May 21, 2012

John Miller is an International Trade Specialist for retail, direct marketing and cold chain issues in the Export Facilitation Services Team of the Office of Service Industries.

Services are critical to trade and the U.S. economy; they provide the design, development, implementation and distribution functions critical to the manufacturing sectors in the U.S. that are expanding the country’s export capabilities and to U.S. competitiveness in the global economy. In 2011, services activities in the U.S. accounted for nearly 80 percent of private sector Gross Domestic Product and 82 percent of all private sector employment. Employment in the U.S. services sectors is very diverse and can range from architecture and other professional services to education and media, from express delivery and logistics to business process services on a global basis, to name just a few. Global trade in services is growing rapidly. Services comprised 29 percent of total U.S. exports and totaled $608 billion in 2011, posting a trade surplus of $178 billion. The U.S. is both the top exporter and the top importer of services in the world. Pie chart showing shares of U.S. private sector GDP in 2011. Services is 79% of GDP, while Manufacturing is 14%, Construction is 4%, Mining is 2% and Agriculture is 1%

As an advocate for the development of U.S. service industries in international trade, the Commerce Department’s Office of Service Industries works closely with the private sector to expand their exports and with other U.S. government agencies to improve foreign market access for U.S. companies. We provide Commerce and Government agencies expert guidance on industry analysis, competitiveness, trade policy and negotiations across a broad range of service industries. We provided critical industry information for the development of the Colombia, Panama, and Korea trade promotion agreements, and our active engagement in trade talks like the Trans-Pacific Partnership ensures that the market access interests of the services sector are taken into account.

Currently, we have a number of projects under way to expand services trade worldwide. Our Export Facilitation Services Team is putting the finishing touches on a senior-level advisory committee on supply chain competitiveness issues. The committee will advise the Secretaries of Commerce and Transportation on issues involving freight policy development to reduce congestion delays and lower costs for U.S. businesses operating within the U.S. and trading goods and services worldwide.

We are also working with manufacturers, operators and users of temperature-controlled warehousing, transportation and distribution to expand safe exporting of temperature-sensitive products to emerging economies including China, India and Brazil.  This project has the potential to increase demand for U.S. manufactured cold transportation and warehouse equipment while doubling agriculture exports.  Find out more about the Export Facilitation Services Team and how we are working to increase U.S. services exports through our website.

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