Michael Masserman is the Executive Director for Export Policy, Promotion & Strategy for the International Trade Administration
With World Trade Week now upon us, the momentum from this past week has kept a clear spotlight on exports. We started with the re-authorization of Ex-Im Bank last Tuesday, which included an increase in the limit on total financing the bank can guarantee borrowers, from $100 billion to $140 billion. This is great news, since the bank’s loans support 200,000 jobs at big and small companies nationwide. That same day, the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement went into force, which means that 80 percent of U.S. exports of consumer and industrial products to Colombia are now duty-free. Additionally, more than half of U.S. exports of agricultural commodities to Colombia became duty-free. This agreement also provides significant access to Colombia’s $180 billion services market – check the FTA Tariff toolto see the tariff lines on your goods and services.
Last Thursday, 41 companies and organizations joined Commerce Secretary John Bryson at the White House for the presentation of the “E” Awards, honoring those that have made a significant contribution to increasing American exports this past year. The “E” Award recipients were from all across the country, with 35 of them being small or medium businesses and 20 being manufacturers. They are the critical players in helping us achieve record successes in exports, and are the ones contributing to the President’s National Export Initiative (NEI) goal of doubling U.S. exports by the end of 2014 to support American jobs.
We know that with exports, the action lies outside of Washington, D.C. That’s why we’ve partnered with the Brookings Institute to localize the NEI through the Metro Export Initiative, piloted in Los Angeles, Syracuse, Portland and Minneapolis. Key businesses from Syracuse came to Commerce last week to discuss the implementation of their Metro Export Plan, and I was in Minneapolis to meet with their core team along with the District Export Council.
I also had the chance to visit Datacard, which manufactures high-tech machines that print secure government ID cards, credit cards, microchip-laden smart cards and passports. Through the help of our U.S. Export Assistance Center and our Advocacy Center, Datacard’s sales hit a record $450 million in 2011, with 70 percent coming from outside of the U.S. That is the model for export success.
As the President says in his World Trade Week proclamation, “As we work to expand economic opportunity here at home, we are reminded how three proud words, ‘Made in America,’ will ensure our next generation inherits an economy built to last.”