Posts Tagged ‘Trans-Pacific Partnership’

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President Obama Prescribes Increase in U.S. Exports to Support Economic Growth

February 13, 2013

Francisco Sánchez serves as the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade. 

Archived photo showing Congress during 2011 State of the Union Address.President Obama made it clear in his State of the Union address that American exports will play a part in America’s economic success. This requires creating free access for American goods to more markets, enforcing trade laws, and ensuring a level playing field in which American companies can compete.

These initiatives have and will continue to support business and create jobs. Over the last 35 months, they’ve already contributed to the creation of 6.1 million private-sector jobs. We at the International Trade Administration are proud to be a part of that success and we know that continuing these initiatives will lead to further economic growth.

The President specifically mentioned completing the Trans-Pacific Partnership and entering into a trade agreement with the European Union. Trade agreements like these proved effective in 2012, when we set a new record for U.S. exports. Recently released data show that almost half of the growth in U.S. exports in 2012 was to countries with which we have similar agreements. In fact, U.S. exports to the 20 countries with which we have trade agreements comprised almost half of American goods exports in 2012.

We achieved record levels of exports to 11 of our trade agreement partners in 2012. Five of them – Australia, Canada, Chile, Mexico and Peru – will all be a part of the TPP and accounted for more than $550 billion in U.S. exports. Completing this partnership will further develop our trade with these countries and help our exports continue to grow.

As Deputy Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank explained today, a trade agreement with the EU “will support good-paying American jobs and will expand our trade and investment relations, strengthen our economy, and create new opportunities on both sides of the Atlantic.”

President Obama also mentioned the importance of enforcing trade regulations and ensuring a level playing field in which American exporters can compete. We accomplish this mission every day at ITA, and we are proud to help American exporters compete as a lead member of the President’s Interagency Trade Enforcement Center.

The President has set a clear path to use export growth to help grow the American economy. We at the International Trade Administration are ready to do what it takes to continue to support President Obama’s mission and help support a thriving American economy.

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Under Secretary Sánchez to Speak on Panel for Technology-Based Global Innovation

January 31, 2013

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Tyler Braswell is an intern for the International Trade Administration’s Office of Public Affairs. He is studying International Business and attends George Washington University.

The Digital Age is upon us. The effect of digital technology on the global market has been well documented as technology-based companies continue to supply the world with innovative methods and products that increase the quality and efficiency of American lives and businesses.  The creation of jobs due to new technology as well as the continued financial success of technology-based firms has made the promotion of technology-based innovation a top priority for any economy looking to compete internationally.

President Obama’s plan to make high-speed wireless services available to 98% of Americans will make technology-based software and products even more accessible to American consumers. As technology is integrated more deeply into society, the U.S. is working to ensure that these integrations directly translate to domestic economic growth.

On Feb. 4, Francisco Sánchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, will participate in an event hosted by the Information Technology Innovation Foundation (ITIF). The ITIF is a non-partisan think tank whose mission is to help American policymakers better understand the nature of a new innovation-driven economy.

The ITIF discussion panel will focus on the increase in global competition to host technology-based firms and the benefits that hosting such companies can have on a country’s economy. The event will also feature information on how countries attract technology-based firms and what the U.S. has done to improve its appeal to those firms. The Under Secretary will be joined on the panel by the general counsels for NCR and Qualcomm.

Sánchez and the panel will answer questions from industry participants concerning the advantages currently offered to firms that choose to do business within the United States.

The Under Secretary will also provide information on certain policies the U.S. has enacted to promote technology-based industry within the U.S. as well as trade agreements designed to benefit American companies.

The U.S. is actively advancing trade agreements and initiatives to broaden market access. Technology-based firms will be among the primary beneficiaries. Trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will help technology-based firms by expanding access to key Asian markets and removing bans on border crossing data-flows.

American leaders—both in government and business—appreciate that supporting technology-based firms is necessary to achieve President Obama’s goal of increasing our exports and re-balancing our economy, which are embedded in the National Export Initiative. This event will reaffirm the International Trade Administration’s commitment to increase exports, further the global expansion of domestic businesses, and attract new technology-based industries to the U.S. economy.

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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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Making the Asia-Pacific Region a Top Priority for U.S. Trade

December 7, 2011

At the annual meeting of senior economic leaders from the 21 member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum held in Honolulu, Hawaii, this November, the United States reaffirmed its trade ties with the region and looked to pursue even more opportunities through the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

John Ward is a writer in the International Trade Administration’s Office of Public Affairs.

The Pacific Rim, which includes trading partners both large (China and Russia) and small (Brunei Darussalam), plays a vital part in the overall health of the U.S. economy and especially its export position. In 2010, the economies that make up the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, which includes 21 members from throughout the region, accounted for 61 percent of U.S. exports of goods ($775 billion) and more than 37 percent of U.S private services exports ($205 billion). About 5 million U.S. jobs are supported by these exports.

President Obama noted this economic reality when he spoke recently at the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, which was held on November 13, 2011, in Honolulu, Hawaii. “The United States is, and always will be, a Pacific nation. Many of our top trading partners are in this region. This is where we sell most of our exports. … And since this is the world’s fastest growing region, the Asia Pacific [region] is key to achieving my goal of doubling U.S. exports.”

James McNerney, Jr., president and CEO of The Boeing Company (left) and President Barack Obama (right) at the APEC 2011 CEO Summit that was part of this year’s APEC events held in Honolulu, Hawaii (photo courtesy APEC)
James McNerney, Jr., president and CEO of The Boeing Company (left) and President Barack Obama (right) at the APEC 2011 CEO Summit that was part of this year’s APEC events held in Honolulu, Hawaii (photo courtesy APEC)

Ease of Doing Business

To enhance bilateral efforts already underway, the U.S. strategy to reach this goal in the Asia-Pacific region has been focused most recently on APEC. Established in 1989, APEC is the premier forum in the region to advance free and open trade and investment. As articulated in the organization’s 1994 Leaders’ declaration, the so-called Bogor Goals commit APEC to working toward building “a dynamic and harmonious Asia-Pacific community by championing free and open trade and investment, promoting and accelerating regional economic integration, encouraging economic and technical cooperation, enhancing human security, and facilitating a favorable and sustainable business environment.”

In order to make concrete progress toward its goals, APEC holds working meetings and workshops throughout the year. These often include private-sector participants and on such topics as standards, environmental goods, and electronic commerce.

In 2009, APEC launched its Ease of Doing Business Action Plan. It identified five priority areas for improving the business environment in APEC economies: (a) starting a business, (b) getting credit, (c) trading across borders, (d) enforcing contracts, and (e) dealing with permits. The action plan set an APEC-wide aspirational target to make it 25 percent cheaper, faster, and easier to do business within the APEC region by 2015, with an interim target of a 5 percent improvement by 2011.

APEC’s efforts are already meeting with success: According to a recent study conducted by APEC’s independent research unit, between 2009 and 2010 improvement in the five key areas was 2.8 percent, exceeding the organization’s benchmark of 2.5 percent, and putting it well on the way to achieving its interim goal for 2011.

Related: ITA’s Anti-Corruption Efforts at APEC

2011: U.S. Host Year

The annual APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting was chaired this year by President Obama in Honolulu. It was the culminating event of a year-long series of meetings hosted by United States. At four main clusters of meetings during 2011, delegates from each of APEC’s 21 member economies participated in various committee meetings, workshops, and ministerial meetings, focusing on three main areas set forth by the United States in its role as the host economy: (a) strengthening regional economic integration and expanding trade, (b) expanding regulatory cooperation and advancing regulatory convergence, and (c) promoting green growth.

The United States also led broad initiatives at APEC this year, including ones on women and the economy, food security, travel facilitation, cross-border privacy rules, and good governance and business ethics. The Department of Commerce played a key role in all of the initiatives that were led, or supported, by the U.S. government.

Trans-Pacific Partnership

One development with far-reaching potentials for trade in the region was the announcement by leaders of the nine Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries of the broad outlines of the TPP agreement. TPP is intended to be a regional trade agreement. Unlike the voluntary nature of agreements negotiated among APEC members, commitments in the TPP will be binding.

TPP is currently being negotiated among the United States and eight other partners: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. The United States announced its intention to undertake TPP negotiations in November 2009, and since 2010, nine rounds of negotiations have been held.

TPP addresses a range of issues not covered by past agreements in APEC. These include making regulatory systems of TPP countries more compatible and helping small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to participate in the international marketplace. TPP countries are discussing elements for a labor chapter that will include commitments on labor rights protection and effective provisions on trade-related issues that would help to reinforce environmental protection.

The great potential that the TPP negotiations hold for the United States was noted by President Obama. “The TPP will boost our economies, lowering barriers to trade and investment, increasing exports, and creating more jobs for our people, which is my number-one priority. Along with our trade agreements with South Korea, Panama, and Colombia, the TPP will also help achieve my goal of doubling U.S. exports, which support millions of American jobs.”

Lynn Costa, Anita Ramasastry, and Kelsey Scheich of the ITA’s Market Access and Compliance unit assisted with this report.

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