Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

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U.S. Medical Center Partners with Kuwaiti Institution and U.S. Embassy for World Diabetes Day

November 29, 2012

Steve Miller is an International Trade Specialist in the International Trade Administration’s Office of Service Industries where he is responsible for knowledge economy issues including health services, research and development services, and university commercialization.

Ambassador Tueller (left) and Dr. Kazem Behbehani, Director General of the Dasman Diabetes Institute at the "Diabetes 101: Understanding Diabetes Worldwide" Digital Video Conference on November 14, 2012.

Ambassador Tueller (left) and Dr. Kazem Behbehani, Director General of the Dasman Diabetes Institute at the “Diabetes 101: Understanding Diabetes Worldwide” Digital Video Conference on November 14, 2012.

On November 14 the U.S. Ambassador to Kuwait, Matthew Tueller, along with representatives from U.S. and Kuwaiti healthcare institutions participated in a Digital Video Conference (DVC), Diabetes 101: Understanding Diabetes Worldwide to provide education on this healthcare challenge and create linkages between clinicians in both countries. The event was hosted by Kuwait’s previer diabetes research and treatment facility, Dasman Diabetes Institute, the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait and San Antonio’s Methodist Healthcare Systems. Methodist is one of over 30 U.S. academic medical centers that comprise the United States Cooperative for International Patient Programs (USCIPP), a joint program between the University HealthSystem Consortium and the International Trade Administration, through its Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP).

Nearly 60 doctors, nurses, clinicians, diabetes educators and nutritionists from Dasman’s multinational staff were in attendance in addition to several Kuwaiti health care professionals and a number of local journalists from print and television. Opening the event, Ambassador Tueller highlighted the important role that medicine has played in the U.S.-Kuwait relationship, beginning with the establishment of the first hospital in Kuwait, the Amrikani Hospital, by American missionaries in 1912. The Ambassador further noted that, just like in Kuwait, Type 2 diabetes is also a problem in the U.S. and that events such as this DVC illustrate how Americans and Kuwaitis can come together to address mutual concerns and share best practices and experiences to move toward a common goal.

Following the Ambassador’s remarks, Ms. Sara Villegas, a veteran diabetes educator from Methodist Healthcare Systems, gave an overview of diabetes in the U.S., primarily focusing on Type 2 diabetes. Her presentation not only addressed the current situation in the U.S., but also highlighted prevention and disease management strategies. After a brief look at the global scope of the disease, she turned the stage over to Dasman Diabetes Institute Director Dr. Kazem Behbehani, who discussed the rampant increases in Type 2 diabetes in Kuwait over the last twenty years, and the challenges that the country will potentially face if the disease is not checked. In their presentations, both speakers stressed the importance of prevention and awareness activities in combating the disease.

The DVC received widespread and favorable media coverage, with stories appearing in many of Kuwait’s daily Arabic and English newspapers, and reports carried on several local television stations.

Additional events are planned between healthcare institutions in the U.S. and the region. More on ITA’s MDCP program can be found at http://www.trade.gov/mdcp.

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A Note of Thanks: Celebrating Walter Bastian’s Lifetime of Achievement

November 2, 2012

Francisco Sánchez serves as the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade. Follow him on Twitter @UnderSecSanchez.

Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Western Hemisphere Walter M. Bastian

Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Western Hemisphere Walter M. Bastian

Walter Bastian embodies the best of public service.  He doesn’t measure success by how well he does, but by how well he can help others.  And during his decades at the Department of Commerce, he has indeed helped others and made great contributions to the global community.

In recognition of his accomplishments, last week, Walter was one of nine recipients of the 2012 Americas Award for his lifetime of achievement.  Having had the chance to work with him closely in recent years, I must tell you: he is very deserving of this honor.

As Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Western Hemisphere, Walter has developed programs, policies and strategies to strengthen the United States’ commercial position in the region — the destination for roughly 40 percent of U.S. exports.  And in doing so, he’s also committed himself to expanding opportunity and prosperity throughout the Americas.

One of Walter’s greatest accomplishments was playing a central role in founding the Americas Competitiveness Forum (ACF).  The initial idea for a meeting of Western Hemisphere commerce ministers was offered by President George W. Bush at the 2005 Summit of the Americas.  Walter helped make that idea a reality.

Walter saw beyond what was being asked and instead focused on what more could be accomplished. He understood that competitiveness is not just a national issue, but a hemispheric one.

For that reason, he set about creating a forum to motivate the region’s government leaders to work in partnership with the private sector, academia, and civil society to improve the economic prosperity of their own countries, and ensure a brighter future for the people of the region.

Since its inauguration in 2007, the ACF has become the preeminent economic and commercial event in the Americas, attracting hundreds of participants from the Western Hemisphere’s public and private sectors.  It has helped to create and strengthen the kinds of partnerships that are necessary for regional integration and future growth.

Bottom line: progress is achieved by people who want to make a difference.  And Walter Bastian has made a difference.  He has dedicated his time, talent and passion to bringing the Americas closer together through commerce. And we have all benefited.

On behalf of the International Trade Administration, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and our partners throughout the region — thank you, Walter.

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The U.S. Aerospace Industry: Fueling Economic Growth

October 9, 2012

Francisco Sánchez is the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade.

Photo caption: Under Secretary Sanchez helps cut the ribbon to officially open the Farnborough International Air Show in the U.K. in July.

Photo caption: Under Secretary Sanchez helps cut the ribbon to officially open the Farnborough International Air Show in the U.K. in July.

We recently celebrated National Aerospace Week, which is a time to look back and appreciate all the pioneers from this industry whose vision and determination literally helped our nation reach new heights — names like Wright, Earhart, Armstrong and Jemison.

This is also a time to enjoy the contributions this great industry makes today. Every time an aircraft is built, it benefits a wide-range of stakeholders, from the businesses that make the parts, to those who assemble and fly the planes. And it’s critical that public and private representatives partner together to maintain our global leadership in this industry by helping American aerospace companies export their products to markets all over the world.

This is important work because U.S. exports are playing a central role in our economic recovery. When a sale is made abroad, it brings back revenue to hire workers here at home. Last year, U.S. exports supported nearly 10 million jobs, an increase of 1.2 million since 2009. Exports also accounted for nearly half of our increase in GDP in 2011.

The aerospace industry played a big part in this growth; it had nearly $87 billion in export sales in 2011. Notably, it had the largest positive trade balance of any U.S. manufacturing industry: $66 billion.  It’s also played an important role in our nation’s economic recovery, which includes 31 straight months of private sector growth, resulting in roughly 5.2 million jobs.

Exporting also has a significant positive impact on wages, resulting in an average increase of 18 percent across U.S. manufacturing industries.  So increasing exports translates to stronger economic security for middle class families. We want to build on that momentum by continuing to push forward with the President’s National Export Initiative, which aims to double U.S. exports by the end of 2014.

We need to do this in a number of ways. One is to get the word out to businesses – both small and large – that agencies like Commerce’s International Trade Administration are ready to help them seize these overseas opportunities.

Another way is to push for more federal investments in research and development and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education, as well as for federal policies to ensure that U.S. industry continues to have a competitive edge in aerospace and aviation.

Finally, we must continue to raise awareness abroad, and showcase how products that are “Made in America” represent quality and value. That’s why earlier this summer I attended Farnborough Airshow in the U.K. where the U.S. pavilion showcased the best of the best of America’s aerospace industry. And in August, I met with aerospace companies in Arizona and Colorado to highlight the benefits of strengthening American manufacturing and expanding U.S. exports in order to create jobs.

When new opportunities arise, we need to make sure that this industry can compete on a level playing field. We can’t afford to leave any jobs on the table.  That’s why the Administration has continuously engaged Congress over many months, on both sides of the aisle, urging support for legislation to repeal Jackson-Vanik and extend permanent normal trade relations with Russia because it will help our economy.

Already, the American aerospace industry exports hundreds of millions of dollars in aircraft and parts to Russia each year. If Congress takes action, we’ll not only see the tariff reductions that are already on-track with Russia’s accession, but we’ll also have more tools that we currently lack to address non-tariff issues like intellectual property rights and to raise concerns if there are disputes and problems in Russia’s adherence to World Trade Organization rules.

Such actions will also reward the innovation that defines American companies – and America’s aerospace industry. It is why you see international airlines around the world flying planes built here in the United States.

This industry is part of what defines America – leadership, innovation, competitiveness and strength. Let’s build on that strength – and maintain our edge in the global economy – by continuing to support the industries that employ hard working Americans.

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Russian Entrepreneur Touts ITA Training Program ‘Life-Changing’

September 12, 2012

Justyna Kottke and Tracy Perrelli are International Trade Specialists at the U.S. Department of Commerce

At a reception honoring alumni of ITA’s Special American Business Internship Training (SABIT) Program held in St. Petersburg, Russia on August 2, Dr. Oleg Prokhorenko, a Russian entrepreneur and small business owner, told Under Secretary for International Trade Francisco Sánchez that participation in a SABIT internship “changed his life and career.”

(L-R) U.S. Consul General Bruce Turner, Under Secretary Sánchez, and Oleg Prokhorenko during the SABIT Alumni event held in St. Petersburg, Russia August 2. (Photo Vladimir Grigoryev)

(L-R) U.S. Consul General Bruce Turner, Under Secretary Sánchez, and Oleg Prokhorenko during the SABIT Alumni event held in St. Petersburg, Russia August 2. (Photo Vladimir Grigoryev)

Dr. Prokhorenko grew his company, Laboratory of Glass Properties, after participating in a SABIT internship in the United States in 1995 to learn about glass manufacturing at Ford Motor Company’s Scientific Research Laboratory.

His company provides testing and data analysis of glass and glass material qualities, and has invented a system to check energy efficiency methods used during the manufacturing of windows, car glass, and optical glass. Dr. Prokhorenko attributes the growth of his small business to the knowledge and experience gained during his SABIT Program internship.

“I built this business based on what I learned during my SABIT internship.  I now employ more than 60 people and my company is growing,” he told Sánchez.

Earlier that day, Prokhorenko participated in a training seminar on corporate leadership ethics for SABIT alumni.  The attendees for the training included past SABIT program participants and leaders of small and medium enterprises; both groups found the training very useful for their businesses.

SABIT Program Impacts Small Business Development

Since the SABIT Program was founded over 20 years ago, the program has trained more than 5,000 mid-to-senior level professionals and business leaders from the countries of the former Soviet Union. These participants are selected through a highly competitive application process for industry-specific technical assistance programs, which bring them to the United States for three to four weeks during which they meet with federal, state, and local government, associations, academia, large corporations and small and medium businesses.  These programs typically begin in Washington, DC, and then take the delegations to various locations in the continental United States, chosen for best fit with their industry.

Upon returning to their home countries, SABIT Program participants have reported many successes, including the establishment and growth of industry associations, cooperation with participants from their countries and other regions, opportunities to make positive improvements to the protection of intellectual property, promotions to decision-making positions within their government, and development of new business relationships with U.S. companies that they met during their training.

In fact, the SABIT Program has facilitated over $850 million in U.S. exports over the last 20 years. These types of outcomes are very beneficial to both the SABIT participants and their countries and to U.S. companies, many of which are small and medium firms that interact with the SABIT trainees during and after their training.

For small and medium companies, the opportunity to meet with SABIT Program delegations is very appealing as a chance to learn about their industry in a different geographic area, and meet with industry leaders and potential business partners without having to travel to these countries.

The SABIT Program provides valuable benefits to U.S. companies and organizations and to its alumni. Dr. Prokhorenko is a great example of one of the thousands of SABIT Program alumni who have been able to significantly better their businesses and lives thanks in part to ITA.

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The Asia-Pacific: Important for America’s Economic Future

April 3, 2012

Francisco Sánchez is the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade

I’ve spent a lot of time as Under Secretary for International Trade focused on the Asia-Pacific region — and for good reason.

As President Barack Obama has said, “no market is more important to our economic future than the Asia-Pacific.”

He’s right.

The market represents 55 percent of global GDP and 44 percent of world trade.  It’s also the fastest-growing region in the world, presenting incredible opportunities for U.S. businesses to sell more products that are “Made in America.”

Case in point: the recent deal in which Lion Air, an Indonesian airline, ordered 230 Boeing airplanes valued at more than $22 billion.  It’s the largest commercial aircraft order in the history of the company, and its impact goes way beyond the numbers.

Under Secretary Sanchez in Tokyo, Japan March 2 as a keynote speaker at the Asia-Pacific Council of American Chambers of Commerce (APCAC) U.S.-Asia Business Summit.

Under Secretary Sanchez in Tokyo, Japan March 2 as a keynote speaker at the Asia-Pacific Council of American Chambers of Commerce (APCAC) U.S.-Asia Business Summit.

This deal benefits all those who make and transport the parts that make up these aircraft. It helps the workers who assemble the planes.  In short, it supports good-paying American jobs and benefits entire communities.

There is great potential for more U.S. businesses — both large and small — to have a similar impact, and I am determined to help fulfill this promise.  During my tenure, I’ve probably spent more of my time abroad in the Asia-Pacific than any other area of the world.

For example, last year, I led the largest-ever higher-education mission to Indonesia.  I also visited Hong Kong with 19 American businesses on a biotech mission.  Our work in this region is a priority for us, and good things are happening.

U.S. goods exports to the broader Asia-Pacific totaled nearly $900 billion in 2011, a 15 percent increase from 2010.  This is equal to 60 percent of total U.S. goods exports to the world.

These are positive signs, and as you’ll read in this International Trade Update, the Obama Administration is committed to building on this progress by opening new doors of opportunity for U.S. businesses.

One way is through policy.  We are working to advance the Trans-Pacific Partnership, one of the most ambitious trade agreements ever crafted.  It holds great potential for U.S. businesses to sell their products in a region with nearly three billion consumers, and we continue to talk with our TPP partners with the goal of finalizing the terms.

Another important policy milestone took place on March 15th, when the U.S. – Korea Trade Agreement took effect.  I highlighted the importance of this development in publications like The Tampa Tribune.  It will provide big benefits for U.S. businesses.

Before, in a variety of sectors, U.S. companies had to pay a tariff rate to sell their goods and services in Korea.  Now, many of these same companies can enter the market duty-free.   Almost 80 percent of American exports of industrial products to Korea will enter without getting taxed.  Estimates are that this will lead to roughly $11 billion in additional U.S. exports.  The trade agreement will also provide new opportunities in the 12th-largest economy in the world.

The International Trade Administration is committed to linking U.S. businesses with these and other opportunities throughout the Asia-Pacific.

Earlier this month, I was in Japan doing just this by advancing commercial relations.  I gave a keynote address to the Asia-Pacific Council of American Chambers of Commerce, a group of 27 member-chambers from across the region.

These organizations are on the frontlines, working on the ground to help U.S. businesses succeed in a variety of markets.  I pledged to work with them to “ensure that the next chapter in the U.S. – Asia story is better than any we’ve ever had, bringing new opportunities and prosperity to people across this region and back home.”

I also participated in the Asia-Pacific Business Outlook Conference, where U.S. businesses met with 16 of our Foreign Commercial Officers from the area to explore new possibilities for doing business abroad.  It was a tremendous success and will go a long way in helping American companies succeed in the Asia-Pacific.

There is an old Chinese proverb: “Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still.”

Despite the nearly 4 million private-sector American jobs created in the past 24 months, our nation can’t stand still. We can’t be satisfied.

Accordingly, ITA is committed to taking steps forward — both large and small — in the Asia-Pacific that will bring a more prosperous future for American workers, businesses and the overall economy.

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Thousands of Eyes Trained on Us

March 29, 2012

Cory Churches is a Communications Specialist with the Office of Public Affairs at the International Trade Administration

Social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and this blog you’re reading now have become as ubiquitous as email, the Internet, and mobile devices. And these channels collectively connect us to all of you and you to one another.

Nearly three years ago, we launched this blog (April 23, 2009 to be exact) and our Twitter feed @TradeGov followed soon after. Our Facebook page http://facebook.com/tradegov took a bit more time to launch but now has 3,000 fans. International Facebook Page

This week we achieved some milestones in our social media networks, reaching 5,000 followers and 1,000 tweets on Twitter, and nearly 300 entries on our blog with more than 1,200 comments. And just today we converted our Facebook page to timeline. Check it out!

Much of the information contained within our blog Tradeology comes from around the globe, written by Commercial Service officers serving in Manila, Philippines or in Fargo, North Dakota. We’ve covered major events such as the U.S. hosting of APEC in 2011 and the launch of the National Export Initiative as well as the Paris Air Show, and Pow Wow, travel and tourism’s largest global trade event.

Some of our best stories have been about clients and the success stories they’ve shared with us. These first person accounts of small and large businesses finding success in exporting show both the breadth of businesses going abroad and the depth of government services that support them in their endeavors.

Moving forward you will see more interaction from our office as well as from our Under Secretary Francisco Sánchez who recently launched his own Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/TradeUnderSecretary.

We are looking forward to continuing the conversation we’ve started with you and enjoy your comments and feedback on our efforts to expand exporting to more businesses.

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The U.S.-Mexico Border is Open For Business

January 30, 2012

Michael C. Camuñez is Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Market Access and Compliance.

“The U.S.-Mexico border is open for business.” That is the refrain I and others who work on border issues tirelessly deliver wherever we can. But with the media’s relentless focus on immigration, drug-trafficking, and cartel violence, we know that we must provide and promote objective evidence to support our message. A report recently released by Arizona State University’s North American Center for Transborder Studies (NACTS) and NDN’s New Policy Institute (NPI), entitled “Realizing the Value of our Cross Border Trade with Mexico” does both.

The report only confirms the overwhelming evidence that the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA) has assembled conclusively establishing that Mexico and, by extension the U.S. Mexico border, is vital to the long-term health of the U.S. economy. However, all of that evidence is for naught if Americans are not made aware of it, but instead are distracted by the media’s focus on more controversial issues.

That is why I was pleased to join the effort to promote and further publicize the NACTS /NPI report at an event hosted by the New Democrat Network (NDN), where I was joined by one of the authors of the report, NACTS Director D. Rick Van Schoik. I am convinced that it is through this kind of collaboration—that between public and private sector—that we will change the national conversation about the border.

Particularly in tough economic times we must not allow ourselves to be distracted by ancillary issues. As President Obama made clear in his State of the Union address, our focus must be on growing jobs and strengthening the American economy. Mexico and the U.S. Mexico border are essential to that effort. Mexico is the U.S.’s third largest trading partner and second largest export market. Last year, we did nearly $400 billion in two-way trade, translating to more than $1 billion dollars a day on average. Notably, even goods imported from Mexico support U.S. jobs. That is because 64% of the content of Mexican goods sold in the U.S. are made from U.S. inputs.

As in any relationship, there are challenges, but we are working hard to address them. The ITA has launched a Border Export Strategy, seeking ways to further facilitate cross-border trade. We have placed a senior director on the border full-time to increase our awareness and responsiveness to challenges U.S. companies face in the region. The ITA has also sent half a dozen trade missions to Mexico in a variety of sectors, including green energy/energy efficiency and health care, with more planned this year, such as the one I am leading this week. These missions serve to showcase the ingenuity and know-how of U.S. companies.

An “America Built to Last” is an America that plays to its strengths and leverages its most important resources. Chief among those strengths is the commerce flowing across the US-Mexico border—an asset that is, as the recent NACTS /NPI study affirms, “hidden in plain view.”

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Russia’s WTO Accession: What it Means for the United States

December 16, 2011

Justin Hoffmann and Rebecca Gudicello are International Economists in the Office of Trade Policy Analysis.

Map of Russia in Blue

Image © Frank Ramspott/iStockphoto.com

During today’s session of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Eighth Ministerial Conference, trade Ministers approved the terms of Russia’s accession and formally invited Russia to join the WTO as its 155th Member. As the largest economy outside of the WTO, not only is today’s formal invitation the culmination of Russia’s 18-year effort to join the WTO, but it is also a meaningful occasion for us and our colleagues who have spent significant portions of our careers working to ensure that Russia’s WTO membership produces the maximum benefit for U.S. companies, farms, and workers.

We have all worked hard to ensure that Russia’s WTO membership will directly benefit U.S. economic interests by providing new market access opportunities for U.S.-produced goods and services. Additionally, integrating Russia into a rule-based trading system and providing the means to enforce those rules will further strengthen U.S. commercial interests in Russia.

To highlight the benefits of Russia’s WTO accession, ITA has produced a series of Sector Opportunity Reports outlining the tariff and non-tariff commitments Russia is undertaking in key U.S. export sectors. In addition, ITA’s State Opportunity Reports highlight the opportunities and benefits for Russia’s WTO accession for all 50 states, their companies, farms, workers, and ranchers.

Russia is a large and growing market that offers a huge potential for U.S. exporters, and until today, it was the largest economy outside of the WTO. In 2010, Russia imported $10.7 billion in goods from the United States making it Russia’s fourth largest source of imports. Companies from across all 50 states export a wide variety of goods and services to Russia.

Russia’s accession to the WTO provides new market access for U.S. exports of goods and services. Russia is making important tariff commitments in key U.S. export sectors, such as information and communications technologies, agricultural equipment, aerospace, and chemicals. In addition, Russia has undertaken market access and national treatment commitments in a wide array of commercially significant services sectors. U.S. service suppliers will benefit, in particular, from more open access in infrastructure services sectors such as telecommunications (including satellite services), computer and related services, express delivery, distribution, financial services, and audio-visual services.

By joining the WTO, Russia also has agreed to abide by WTO rules, including specific commitments on issues such as non-discrimination, standards, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, and the protection of intellectual property rights. The United States will also have access to WTO mechanisms, including dispute resolution, to ensure Russia’s compliance with international trade rules and protect U.S. commercial interests.

For U.S. industry to realize the full benefits of Russia’s WTO accession, the Russian parliament must ratify its accession package enabling Russia to formally join the WTO (which is expected to occur during the first half of 2012) and the United States must establish Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with Russia.

For additional information about Russia’s WTO Accession, please visit ITA’s Russia WTO Accession page and USTR’s website.

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Sánchez: We Can’t Wait

December 9, 2011

Laura Marquez is the Director of the Border Export Strategy at ITA and advises the Under Secretary on matters relating to cross border trade. 

Francisco Sánchez, the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, is one of the nation’s highest ranking Latino officials. And as a Florida native, he knows firsthand the challenges faced by America’s Latino community as our economy recovers and as we put hard-working Americans back to work.

That is why I wanted to share with you a blog post from the Under Secretary that was recently featured by the White House. In the article, he lays out the challenges facing our community. He shares what he has heard at recent White House Hispanic Community Action Summits – including one last week in Miami. And perhaps most importantly, he lays out what the Obama Administration is doing to support American businesses, American workers, and to ensure that the American Dream is a reality not just for his generation, but for generations to come.

Americans can’t wait. They need jobs now. They need opportunities now.

Here at ITA, we are proud of Under Secretary Sánchez’s leadership within the Administration, and on behalf of our community.

Read Francisco’s article on the White House Blog here.

En Español.

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The ITA’s Work to Keep Americans Working: A Message from Under Secretary Francisco Sánchez

December 7, 2011

Francisco J. Sánchez is the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade.

Our focus at the International Trade Administration is on supporting American jobs, creating new opportunities for U.S. businesses and strengthening our partnerships abroad to bolster our economy here at home.

Francisco Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade

Francisco Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade

As you’ll read in this issue of International Trade Update, we are working every day — from the community level to the international level — on behalf of the American people to achieve these goals. And, as we look out at the landscape, it’s clear that one area that will be a key to our economic future is the Asia-Pacific.

President Obama recently said that “there’s no region in the world that we consider more vital than the Asia-Pacific region. And, we want, on a whole range of issues, to be working with our partner countries around the Pacific Rim in order to enhance job growth, prosperity, and security for all of us.”

That’s why the recent Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum held in Honolulu, Hawaii was so important. I was proud to participate in this conference with President Obama, Commerce Secretary John Bryson, a host of other Administration officials and Asia-Pacific leaders. And, it’s safe to say we all left energized by the incredible possibilities and opportunities.

The 21 APEC member economies represent 2.7 billion consumers and generate 55 percent of the world’s GDP. In fact, the region is home to six of our top ten trading partners. Despite these stunning numbers, however, there is room for even more growth.

As this year’s APEC host, the United States has worked to fulfill this promise, and a great deal of progress has occurred. For example, APEC leaders agreed in Honolulu to:

  • Help small and medium-sized businesses by establishing business ethics principles and simplifying the customs process to make it faster, easier and cheaper to trade goods;
  • Reduce tariffs and other barriers that hinder the global exchange of environmental goods, one of the world’s most promising sectors; and
  • Reform the regulatory environment to level the playing field, enhance transparency and lessen unnecessary burdens on businesses.

ITA has been a valuable asset to this work, and we look forward during the APEC 2012 Russia host year to building on these results to strengthen the economy worldwide, for both our partners and the United States.

We seek to do this in other ways as well.

For example, as you’ll read in this newsletter, the ITA’s U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service is helping businesses — like Amarr Garage Doors, which is featured in this month’s issue — sell their products and services in overseas markets.

I also was proud to join Secretary Bryson in announcing the Advisory Committee on Supply Chain Competitiveness to ensure that U.S. companies can ship their products efficiently and compete effectively in the global marketplace.

And, I continue to advocate for U.S. firms abroad. In November, I led a transportation infrastructure trade mission to Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, which have announced plans for hundreds of billions in new projects. I also headed a clean technology trade mission to India, which has set ambitious renewable energy goals to support its rapidly growing economy.

Through it all, those of us at ITA have been proud to give American businesses and workers new opportunities at this critically important time in our nation’s history. And, we are so happy to have partners around world helping us turn our plans into progress. This is important work.

As the President said in Honolulu, “behind all the different languages and some very long names, we all share the same hopes, the same struggles, and the same aspirations. And we’ve learned that we’re more likely to realize our aspirations when we pursue them together.”