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Build things here—sell them everywhere, top Commerce official says

By John D. Schulz, Contributing Editor
June 28, 2012

American businesses are on track to double exports by 2014, meaning million of new U.S. jobs that are fueling the overall economic recovery, according to a top Commerce Department official.

American-made products totaled $2.1 trillion in exports last year, an all-time record. These export businesses support more than 10 million jobs.
 
That’s the word from Francisco J. Sanchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade at the Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration. He spoke at the SMC3 annual meeting in Chicago.
 
“We want to build things here—and sell them everywhere,” Sanchez said.
 
Recent trade agreements could boost American exports by $10 billion annually, according to the U.S. International Trade Commission. The Obama administration estimates that U.S. exports will double from 2009 to 2014, creating more than 2 million American jobs.
 
In order to double exports during that five-year span means about 14 percent annual growth. The U.S. accomplished that goal in 2010 and 2011, but may not quite hit that level this year, Sanchez disclosed. Still, he was optimistic that U.S. exports would double within than five-year period.
 
The U.S. is the largest trading partner in the world with more than 327 ports of entry (including water, air and land terminals). Sanchez says he wants to expand global trade through those ports, airports and truck terminals.
 
Speaking before several hundred people at the SMC3 gathering, Sanchez thanked the logisticians and other transport experts for helping the U.S. economy.
 
“You are doing very important work at a very important time,” Sanchez told the SMC gathering that included 55 CEOs, as well as other leading transport providers, third-parties and technological companies.
 
American-made products are in “huge demand” around the globe, Sanchez said. He said U.S. manufacturers are competing with worldwide companies and says this is a great opportunity, noting that 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside the U.S.
 
“I consider myself a trade evangelist,” Sanchez said. “These are opportunities we cannot continue to avoid.”
 
When U.S. businesses make an overseas sale that means more revenue which means more jobs. But only 1 percent of U.S. businesses are in the export business. And even a lion’s share of that 1 percent export to just one country—often Canada or Mexico.
 
“Exports fuel growth,” Sanchez said. “Manufacturing matters. It supports good, stable jobs that pay on average 17 percent more than non-manufacturing jobs.”
 
Sanchez said the U.S. manufacturing sector “is the strongest it’s been in since the 1990s,” nothing that the sector has created more than 500,000 new jobs in the last few years.
 
President Barack Obama recently signed free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panana, allowing U.S. companies unprecedented access to those markets. Tariffs were eliminated. In South Korea alone, Sanchez said the free trade agreement means billions of dollars in new trade and an estimated 70,000 new U.S. jobs.
 
Emerging economies in Brazil, India, Indonesia, Qatar and other fast-growing nations are ripe for increased levels of U.S. exports, according to Sanchez.
 
Sanchez said the administration is pushing for an amended tariff agreement with Russia.

“Congress should take action and they should take action soon,” he said. “American companies deserve a fair shot at that market.”
 
The U.S. is pushing for tariff enforcement to help provide a level playing field for American companies.
 
“We will always have your back,” Sanchez told representatives of U.S. logistics companies and other transportation-related businesses.
 
Sanchez said the U.S. must improve its infrastructure, especially in areas of port and intermodal improvements that aid in international supply chains. He said the Commerce Department is working closely with the Department of Transportation in working on improved infrastructure spending around the country.
   
“We recognize that logistics and transportation is key to improvements that make the supply chain hum more smoothly,” Sanchez said. “We have a laser-beam focus on these issues.”

About the Author

image
John D. Schulz
Contributing Editor

John D. Schulz has been a transportation journalist for more than 20 years, specializing in the trucking industry. He is known to own the fattest Rolodex in the business, and is on a first-name basis with scores of top-level trucking executives who are able to give shippers their latest insights on the industry on a regular basis. This wise Washington owl has performed and produced at some of the highest levels of journalism in his 40-year career, mostly as a Washington newsman.


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Article Topics

News · Trade · Department of Commerce · SMC3 · All topics

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