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“Buy American” is a Deal Killer


The Americas Competitiveness Forum (ACF) is the most relevant event for leaders from the 34 countries in the Western Hemisphere to exchange knowledge on the issues and challenges facing the world today. Pictured: Scott Davis, UPS’s chairman and CEO, who spoke at the ACF in Atlanta.

By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
November 16, 2010

A boost in exports is the catalyst that the U.S. economy needs to rebound, according to Scott Davis, UPS’s chairman and CEO.

“In my view, global trade is the quickest and surest way to accelerate global growth, create new jobs and improve living standards,” Davis said in remarks yesterday at the American Competitiveness Forum in Atlanta, Georgia.

“We’ll have to regain prosperity the old fashioned way, not by household borrowing and spending but instead by earning it through innovation, increased production and aggressive marketing in other countries.”

More than 95 percent of the world’s potential customers are located outside the United States, the CEO told the audience.  “Frankly, given the massive scale of this world economy, I’m astonished that U.S. businesses aren’t more vocal in demanding better access to this huge wave of global consumers.”

Davis, a member of the President’s Export Council, expressed deep concern about Congress’ failure to approve negotiated trade agreements with South Korea, Columbia and Panama, which the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says has cost the U.S. some 380,000 jobs at a time when there is 9.6 percent unemployment.

“In the halls of Congress, compelling arguments for trade get overwhelmed by noisy heated attacks on globalization,” Davis said, referring to recent mid-year election campaigns.

“For the economy’s sake, we need to stop the foot dragging and move quickly on these pending deals.”

The UPS CEO also criticized recent “Buy America” provisions that block foreign firms from bidding on major contracts with the federal government. “These provisions put very important trade partnerships at risk - an outright deal killer” for U.S. companies seeking to sell internationally, he added.

Unilateral constraints on trade by the U.S. ultimately cost American businesses, Davis continued.

Davis urged American businesses to “defeat the tyranny of protectionism” by promoting free trade barriers.

For more Logistics Management coverage on UPS click here.


About the Author

Patrick Burnson
Executive Editor

Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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