- Table of Contents
- Full Issue in PDF
- Winning the Future Through Exports
- Helping U.S. Manufacturers Expand Exports
- Freight Forwarders Support Push to Grow Exports
- ITA Win in Kenya
- Short Takes
- Trade Calendar
- Featured Trade Event: Clean Technologies Trade Mission to India
Helping U.S. Manufacturers Expand Exports
U.S. exports of goods grew from $1.1 trillion in 2009 to $1.3 trillion in 2011. Sustaining this growth will require continued efforts to help more U.S. companies begin exporting. (photo © Alex Potemkin/iStock)
The U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service is actively helping U.S. manufacturers be more competitive and realize their growth potential through exports. With a push from the National Export Initiative and the potential embodied in pending free trade agreements, there is room for yet more growth.
by Suresh Kumar
On June 27, 2011, I had the opportunity to travel to West Virginia to discuss progress on President Barack Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI) and to promote U.S. manufacturing exports. As you probably know, the NEI, announced in 2010, aims to double U.S. exports by the end of 2014. I am glad to report that the NEI is off to a good start. Exports last year composed 12.5 percent of gross domestic product, which is up from 11.2 percent in 2009.
In West Virginia, exports of merchandise grew 34 percent in 2010—double the national growth rate of 17 percent for goods and services. Thus far for 2011, the United States remains on pace to achieve the NEI goal.
The NEI is critical because we need more U.S. companies to export so that the United States can bolster its economy and support new jobs at home. Of the 30 million companies in the United States, less than 1 percent export, and of those, 58 percent only sell to one market. The NEI helps creates deep market links and connects innovation to the marketplace. It also works to inform U.S. companies of their export potential and shows them the U.S. government and private-sector services available to help them export.
Export Assistance at Work
For More Information
If your company is looking for help to begin or expand exporting, the Department of Commerce offers a variety of services. To find out more, contact the Trade Information Center at 1-800-USA TRAD(E) (1-800-872-8723) or visit the U.S. government’s export portal at www.export.gov to locate your closest U.S. Export Assistance Center.
The U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service (USFCS), a unit of the International Trade Administration, operates a global network of 108 domestic offices as well as locations in more than 75 countries. These centers employ more than 1,400 trade specialists who provide U.S. businesses with comprehensive services and programs.
West Virginia is an excellent example of how the USFCS’s counseling and collaboration with businesses and state and local governments are resulting in many export sales for U.S. companies. In 2010, the USFCS offices in West Virginia recorded 53 export successes, which totaled more than $11 million in sales.
One of those export successes was from Kanawha Scales and Systems of Poca, West Virginia, a world leader in batch loading systems for the mining industry. USFCS trade specialists worked with Kanawha and helped facilitate an agreement with an Indian coal mining company. This work then led to another order worth $3.5 million with a large Indian steel and coal company. New full-time jobs were created within Kanawha to support its growing exports to India.
Kanawha is just one of thousands of U.S. companies that benefit from USFCS assistance every year. In 2010, the USFCS helped facilitate 12,300 export successes worth $34.8 billion in U.S. export sales.
Moving forward with the NEI
Obama recognizes that increasing global trade provides opportunities for growing U.S. small and medium-sized enterprises, which is why the pending free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea are a priority. At stake are more than $10 billion in increased exports of goods that will support more than 70,000 American jobs.
U.S. manufacturing companies will see increased competitiveness and growth in exports because of the trade agreements. Their passage and implementation will significantly reduce tariffs, which in some cases will be eliminated within 10 years. In a state such as West Virginia, this change will spur growth and significantly improve the state’s chemical and primary metal manufacturers’ competitiveness in the global marketplace.
The trade agreements will better the economy and add jobs, but the United States also has an obligation to retrain and reposition its workers. Although trade positions U.S. companies for success in the global marketplace, it also requires adjustments for a U.S. worker. The Obama administration is committed to a strong and robust renewal of the Trade Adjustment Assistance program and supports workers who need training and other services when their jobs are adversely affected by trade.
Suresh Kumar is the assistant secretary of commerce for trade promotion and director general of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service. A version of this article appeared on the Department of Commerce’s blog on June 27, 2011.
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