Dominique Griffith is an intern for the International Trade Administrations’ Office of Advisory Committees. He is a rising senior at American University, studying International Relations.
Last week, staff representatives of the President’s Export Council (PEC) along with administrative officials held staff briefings on Captiol Hill on the role of the PEC and its recent work. The PEC is the principal advisory committee on international trade to the executive branch. These briefings, which were done separately for the House of Representatives and the Senate, addressed the PEC’s background (the administration, the private sector, and the congressional role), trade policy, export assistance, small business and workforce assistance, and success measuring for U.S. businesses.
Our staff representative for Xerox pointed out that when, the CEO of Xerox, Ursula Burns, was asked to be the Vice Chair of the PEC she wanted make sure this particular PEC focuses on “measurement and accountability.” In other words, she did not want the PEC to only discuss ideas on how to help U.S. exporters, she wanted to see action. She also wanted to have this action recorded and measured. The PEC has requested this measuring trend so that the Administration can truly see action and progress on policies for which businesses have been advocating.
As an intern for ITA’s Office of Advisory Committees, I assist staff members with tasks such as writing briefing papers and industry research. That being said, one of the most rewarding projects I’ve had a chance to work on has been the “balanced score card” for the PEC’s recommendations. The score card included the PEC’s recommendations, polices that have been implemented thus far, and what actions the Administration will be taking to be responsive to the recommendations. Some of the recommendations included advocating for the passage of the pending Free Trade Agreements, visa reform, enhancement of our transportation infrastructure, and better coordinated export assistances for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The PEC’s recommendation on transportation infrastructure was particularly interesting to me because it outlined how reliable transportation and infrastructure can help the flow of exports which are essential to our economy. For example, the Department of Transportation’s second round of TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grants focused on financing infrastructure projects that would enhance exports. Another recommendation that is being implemented is on Export Control Reform. Just yesterday, White House Chief of Staff Daley discussed how critical these reforms are so I’m looking forward to see how the PECSEA (the PEC subcommittee that focuses on export controls) moves forward on it’s ideas to strengthen national security through reforming the U.S export control system.
After reading through the recommendations and seeing how the Administration has responded, I soon began to realize how implementing the PEC recommendations will lead to an increase in exports and get our economy back to where it needs to be. Last week’s Hill briefings were a success and although I am only an intern, I know that the work we do with the PEC is vital to the Administration and especially to businesses across the country.