DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR EUROPE & EURASIA
Challenges & Opportunities in 2011, National Foreign Trade Council
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
As prepared for delivery
Thank you, Barry and Jake. I would like to acknowledge the National Foreign Trade Council for organizing this event and Duane Morris for hosting it. It is a privilege to speak to this distinguished group. We begin 2011 at an historic moment—of both challenges and opportunities—that will determine if U.S. and European companies gain the upper hand in the global economy—or if they fall behind. Today, I will give my perspective on these issues. I will discuss: (1) how my office helps U.S. exporters to Europe; (2) the importance of the transatlantic trade relationship to the Obama Administration; (3) some challenges I see ahead in 2011; and, (4) why the National Export Initiative represents a unique opportunity for U.S. exporters.
MAC/Europe's Role in Helping U.S. Exporters
The International Trade Administration, or ITA, is the Commerce Department's key international trade unit, with 1,400 employees that work in four sub-units, three of which work on exports.
To understand my office's role, think of the steps a U.S. company takes to export its goods abroad. First, it researches various markets and best prospect sectors; ITA's Manufacturing and Services unit provides these analyses. Next, it looks for specific opportunities in a market; ITA's U.S. Foreign and Commercial Service helps them to identify such opportunities. Finally, once it has a presence in a foreign market, the company may encounter situations where it feels that it is subject to unfair barriers or an uneven playing field. My unit, Market Access & Compliance, or MAC, helps them on this front.
MAC ensures that our trading partners provide a level playing field for U.S. companies to compete in their markets. We also work to ensure that other countries honor and enforce their commitments under international trade agreements. MAC is divided into four regional offices. My office—the Office of Europe—includes a European Country Affairs Office, a Russia and Eurasia Office, and a European Union Office.
Europe Key Priority for the Obama Administration
The Obama Administration has made Europe a priority and has demonstrated that commitment—and for good reason. Despite the attention often focused on Asia and emerging economies, it is the United States and Europe that drive the global economy. The U.S. and European Union (EU) produce half of global GDP—30 trillion dollars per year—and trade over $3 billion each day across the Atlantic. We also are each other's largest foreign direct investors. Perhaps you may not know that U.S. investments in tiny Ireland exceed $166 billion—that's nearly four times the $45 billion in U.S. investments in all of China and nine times the $19 billion we invest in India.
Economic recovery and job creation are the top priorities for this administration and a stronger European economy is essential to our recovery.
Challenges Ahead In 2011
I will now highlight some issues I believe we must focus on in 2011 to strengthen Transatlantic trade and investment. First, we must continue working to reduce non tariff barriers, especially ones resulting from the different approaches of the United States and EU toward developing standards and regulations.
Second, innovation in emerging sectors—e.g. nanotechnology and e-health—is critical to our competitiveness in a globalizing world. Third, the United States and EU must become more partners than competitors in developing green technologies that cut greenhouse gas emissions. It is a matter of intensity and speed—not of direction.
Fourth, the United States and EU face the same challenges in other markets, whether it is lack of intellectual property protection in China or barriers to entering India's electronics market. Therefore, we must work together in "third market collaboration" to encourage level playing fields and fertile investment climates abroad for our companies.
Fifth, we must continue working to advance Doha negotiations. There is much to be done, but substance and real market-opening outcomes must drive progress in the negotiations.
Finally, in the past, the United States and EU became "stuck" on certain issues, which frankly squandered opportunities for progress. Now more than ever, we must work together as partners. Together, the United States and the EU can strengthen own economies and promote open, free trade around the world.
If we don't, other nations and regions will leave us behind.
Opportunities Through the National Export Initiative
Finally, I wish to highlight the President's National Export Initiative, or NEI, which is an unprecedented U.S. Government-wide effort to double exports. The Commerce Department is leading the Administration's implementing the NEI, and we are helping U.S. exporters through a number of means, including providing technical assistance and financial resources, and also helping to open new markets and remove trade barriers and unfair treatment abroad for U.S. companies.
Part of our NEI strategy is to expand the number of U.S. companies that export, which is only 1 percent. Only 60 percent of U.S. exporters send their products to more than one country. We hope to increase that.
Our starting point for us to help U.S. companies is market intelligence. We need to hear from you, the private sector, real-time information of market barriers that you encounter as you export to Europe. We want to know about all of your challenges, no matter how large or small and, whether you are a small, first time small to medium size exporter or a veteran multinational corporation.
The bottom line is that we need to hear from you. This helps us to identify new cases and successfully resolve them on your behalf.
Let me conclude by saying that it is no coincidence that world's most important innovations—from the steam engine to electricity, computers to the Internet, critical medical breakthroughs and financial innovation—originated in the United States or Europe.
But that was yesterday's news. Past performance is no guarantee of future success.
I will conclude where I began—2011 is historic moment for the United States and Europe. We can see each other as competitors and we will fall behind. Or, as I hope, we can work together on common interests so that our companies and workers gain the upper hand.
The United States and Europe are forever linked. Allow me to paraphrase two great American leaders on this very same issue.
President John F. Kennedy once said that "Change is the law of life, and those who look only to the past or the present… are certain to miss the future…." Both the United States and Europe are ready to work together not to miss the future.
Or, as Benjamin Franklin once said during our country's struggle for independence, "If we (and Europe) do not hang together, surely we will hang separately."
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