Five Critical Questions About What’s in the 2023 National Export Strategy 

July 10, 2023

By Uma Menon, Office of Public Affairs, International Trade Administration 

The 2023 National Export Strategy (NES) was released on June 29. This is the first blog in a new series to explore trade promotion topics within the NES.

International trade is an undeniably important part of the U.S. economy—it allows businesses to exchange goods and services with people across the globe. It’s no surprise, then, that promoting U.S. exports has been a major focus of the Biden-Harris Administration. As part of the Investing in America agenda, the Administration has made historic investments to boost U.S. competitiveness and ensure equitable place-based development.

Last week, the Administration released the 2023 National Export Strategy (NES), a U.S. government-wide plan to support American businesses through export promotion activities. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo emphasized that, “The NES is an essential element of the Department’s mission to advance U.S. leadership in the industries of the future, revitalize domestic manufacturing, and create quality jobs across the country. It sets forth a cohesive strategy and a robust toolkit to support U.S. exporters and to channel the power of exports into economic progress, growth, and security on behalf of the American people.”

In this blog series, we will take a deeper look at the various sections of the NES. Read on to learn more.

Question 1: What are the objectives and priorities of the NES?

The 2023 NES aims to foster U.S. business innovation and enhance inclusive economic growth for American businesses and workers. The NES provides a framework to align U.S. government export promotion activities and trade financing to help exporters grow global sales and support good-paying jobs. The NES is also focused on promoting export-led growth that is equitable by helping small businesses and underserved communities increase their international competitiveness.

The NES is particularly timely right now as we face a myriad of global challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic caused declines in international trade, so U.S. government efforts are critical to facilitating a complete recovery. Other challenges, such as climate change and Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine, also underscore the importance of promoting America’s economic security and competitiveness on the global stage.

Question 2: Why is export promotion important?

The data are clear: businesses that export on average earn higher revenues, support good-paying American jobs, pay better wages, and bring revenue to regional and local economies. U.S. exports comprise over 10% of our annual GDP, and in 2021, the strongest year on record, exports of goods and services brought $2.6 trillion into our economy. Approximately 97% of goods-exporting companies are small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and during pre-pandemic times, exports supported around 9.9 million jobs annually. As these figures show, promoting exports is vital to unleashing economic opportunity and providing a pathway to growth, diversification, and resiliency for American businesses,  including SMEs, businesses from underserved communities and those new to exporting.

Question 3: What sectors are covered in the NES?

The NES covers a broad range of industries that can benefit from export promotion. Areas of focus include climate and clean technologies, manufacturing, travel and tourism, international education, global infrastructure development, agriculture, fish, and forestry and seafood. The NES addresses key policy areas within these sectors, in addition to initiatives to strengthen trade financing, improve outreach, promote sustainability, and support innovation. The NES also includes a section dedicated to export assistance for small businesses and underserved communities.

Question 4: What are the top U.S. exports?

International trade is central to our economy—the United States is the world’s largest exporter of services and second-largest exporter of goods. America’s top five exports are refined petroleum, petroleum gas, crude petroleum, cars, and integrated circuits. In 2021, we were also the world’s largest exporter of medical instruments, gas turbines, and corn. American companies export goods and services in a variety of sectors—from electronics, to healthcare, to food—and this diversity is crucial to ensuring a strong and resilient economy that can withstand shocks like COVID-19.

Question 5: How does the NES benefit global economies?

While the NES aims to bolster the competitiveness of American businesses and workers, it also promotes innovation and strengthens economic cooperation globally. For example, it includes strategies to position the climate and clean technology sector to help reduce global emissions. These include supporting research and development, expanding manufacturing facilities that support U.S. exports, and helping innovative technologies gain market acceptance. Another section of the NES is dedicated to global infrastructure development, which envisions how the U.S. government can help American companies meet the needs of emerging economies that face an infrastructure deficit by improving interagency coordination to support early stage and active deals and promoting commercial advocacy. The NES will help U.S. exporters identify opportunities to address meaningful global challenges.

To learn more about the NES, visit our webpage, and stay tuned as we highlight more features in the months ahead!

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