Short Takes: News from the International Trade Administration
ITA’s Coaching Program Garners Award
On January 30, 2009, Michelle O’Neill, acting under secretary for international trade, accepted the International Coach Federation Metro D.C. Chapter’s 2008 Prism Award. The International Trade Administration (ITA) was recognized for its Leadership Coaching Program, which it initiated as part of a comprehensive plan to develop the leadership skills required to meet ITA’s changing needs. The program’s primary goal was to improve the leadership skills that support increased employee engagement. Coaches provided tools to ITA leaders to improve employee productivity, encouraged participants to become more aware of their individual strengths and weaknesses, and discussed how leaders could become most effective in their roles. The Prism Award annually recognizes an organization that makes the most of its opportunities to benefit from coaching initiatives by understanding the positive influence that coaching relationships can have on employees and, consequently, the mission of the organization.
|Michelle O’Neill (center), acting under secretary for international trade, along with Ron Glaser (right), director for the Office of Strategic Resources, and Ruben Pedroza (left), senior operations officer for the Office of Strategic Resources, accepted the International Coach Federation’s 2008 Prism Award. The award recognized the International Trade Administration’s Leadership Coaching Program. (U.S. Department of Commerce photo)
Report Highlights Efforts to Curb Foreign Manufacturing Subsidies
The International Trade Administration’s Import Administration (IA) Subsidies Enforcement Office and the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) have issued their annual report to Congress that details the government’s accomplishments in disciplining foreign manufacturing subsidies. The “Subsidies Enforcement: Annual Report to Congress” highlights activities to combat subsidies in China and pledges to intensify those efforts in 2009.
“American industries, workers, and consumers can best enjoy the benefits of an open and competitive global economy only if world markets are free of the most trade-distorting types of subsidies,” said Ronald Lorentzen, acting assistant secretary for IA. “This report demonstrates the U.S. government’s commitment to identifying and challenging those unfair foreign government subsidy practices. As we have shown, if our interests cannot be adequately addressed through advocacy and negotiation, we will not refrain from initiating litigation to ensure that international trade remains open and fair for American workers and companies.”
The report recounts IA’s and USTR’s 2008 antisubsidy activities, from working to strengthen international rules that govern subsidies to addressing worldwide structural problems in heavily subsidized foreign sectors, such as the steel industry. It also contains a special section that describes efforts to address China’s subsidy practices by investigating countervailable subsidies to China’s steel, textile, tire, and chemical industries, by filing a World Trade Organization (WTO) case against a wide range of WTO-prohibited export subsidies, and by using a U.S.–China working group to address structural issues in China’s economy. The Department of Commerce has also been actively engaged in the WTO Subsidies Committee, as well as in other multilateral forums, to address China’s prohibited subsidies and industrial policies that benefit state-owned enterprises.
The report also describes the Department of Commerce’s decision to post officials in Beijing, China. This decision enables the government to deploy expert staff members who can conduct on-the-ground research and actively engage foreign officials on subsidy issues.
As required by the Uruguay Round Agreements Act, the report details extensive engagement to address prohibited subsidies in China. It describes the efforts by the Department of Commerce and USTR, in close cooperation with other executive branch agencies, to monitor and challenge unfair foreign government subsidy practices worldwide. The department and USTR remain committed to eliminating or equalizing foreign governments’ use of unfair trade practices when they hurt U.S. workers and jobs.
The report is available at http://ia.ita.doc.gov/esel/index.html.
International Visitors up 8 Percent through Third Quarter of 2008
According to the International Trade Administration’s Office of Travel and Tourism, more than 39 million international visitors traveled to the United States during the first nine months of 2008. Those visitors represent an 8 percent increase over the same period in 2007. International visitors spent $108.4 billion from January through September 2008, an increase of 22 percent over the same period in 2007. During September 2008, 4.1 million visitors spent $12.4 billion, an increase of 16 percent over the previous September.
The United States recorded gains in Canadian visitors through the first three quarters of last year—12 percent more visitors. But Mexican visitors to the United States were down 6 percent.
Visitation from overseas markets continued its 17-month trend upward, with arrivals increasing by 5 percent in September 2008 and by 9 percent through the first nine months of the year.
The United States enjoyed overall increases in visitors through September from Western Europe (17 percent), Africa (16 percent), Eastern Europe (15 percent), South America (14 percent), the Middle East (10 percent), and the Pacific (5 percent). In fact, Western European visitors accounted for 48 percent of all overseas arrivals.
The list of Western European countries that registered increased visitors to the United States includes France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. The increased results from Germany (20 percent), France (28 percent), and Italy (29 percent) continued growth trends from 2007.
Although the number of overall visitors from Asia dropped by 1 percent through September, visitors from India and the People’s Republic of China grew by 9 percent and 28 percent, respectively.
For more information about the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, visit their Web site.
Contributors to this section include Christopher Cassel of the International Trade Administration’s Import Administration, and Richard Champley of the International Trade Administration’s Manufacturing and Services unit.