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Outline of Testimony by
Secretary Don Evans
before the Senate Banking Committee
Concerning the Bush Administration's National Export Strategy
May 14, 2002

For Immediate Release—

(The following comments can be directly attributed to Secretary Evans)

  • President Bush and I both start from the proposition that American farmers, workers, and businesses already compete in a global economy.  The only real question is whether we will give the President the tool he needs to shape that global economy to our advantage, or leave others to write the rules of the road.
  • The question before the Senate is whether U.S. farmers, workers, and entrepreneurs will get a chance to compete for a slice of the expanding global economic pie, or find their goods and services increasingly locked out of markets around the world.  The President needs Trade Promotion Authority now.
  • While Trade Promotion Authority is a necessary condition for defending America’s trade interests, it is not sufficient.  That is where our export promotion strategy and the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee (TPCC) comes in.
  • After 30 years of experience in the private sector, I can tell you that, if you can’t measure your progress, you won’t make progress. That is why I will insist that our first step in implementing the recommendations set out in the President’s report will be to define the results we want to achieve and develop the means to measure our progress toward those goals. 
  • The guideposts I intend to use to measure our progress include (1) whether we have expanded the number of U.S. exporters, particularly small- and medium-sized businesses; (2) whether we have increased the number of exports that take place as a result of our efforts, (3) whether we have met our customers’ expectations.  That will ensure that our export promotion programs remain grounded in what our customers want, which is the surest way to guarantee results.
  • The role that the TPCC will play in implementing our export strategy is straightforward.  I intend to adopt what my friends in business would call a “total quality” approach to export promotion, with the TPCC serving as the auditor of our progress toward that goal.  The TPCC agencies will meet at least once a month at the cabinet or sub-cabinet level to take stock.  The TPCC will produce quarterly reports so that we can check our progress throughout the year -- rather than waiting for the annual report.  
  • In the process, I expect the TPCC process to ensure that the agencies involved are, to name only a few of the recommendations contained in the report:

    o Working together to discover projects sooner, and bringing the prospect of U.S. financing early on, in order to help U.S. companies take full advantage of these opportunities;

    o Presenting a single face to the exporter -- tailoring agency programs to meet the exporter’s needs by functioning as “one-stop-shops” or account managers to help a firm navigate the full array of government export promotion programs;

    o Combining the marketing efforts of the Small Business Administration, Export-Import Bank and the Commercial Service to make sure lenders know how these programs can help their small business clients;

    o Enhancing our use of the Internet as a communications tool, particularly our primary portal, Export.gov, so that exporters can find the government’s best information on trade leads in one place, in real-time; and

    o Reaching out to our state and local partners, elected officials, and private sector representatives as a means for reaching small- and medium-sized companies as multipliers of our services. 

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