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Logistics business: Commerce, USPS expand NEI collaboration

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
July 12, 2010

Following a February announcement in which the Department of Commerce and the United States Postal Service (USPS) said they would expand their partnership to support Commerce’s National Export Initiative (NEI), the concerns said today they are taking their partnership to the next level.

Commerce and USPS officials said they are leveraging their strategic partnership to launch a business plan geared towards empowering American businesses interesting in growing through increased export activity.

The NEI was established by President Barack Obama earlier this year during a State of the Union Address, with the goal to double the number of U.S. exports in five years and support several million new jobs.

The NEI, according to the Commerce Department, is focused on three main areas: a more robust effort by the Administration to expand trade advocacy in all forms, especially for small- and medium-sized businesses, which educates U.S. companies about global opportunities and connects them with new customers; improving access to credit, with a focus on small- and medium-sized businesses that want to export; and continuing the rigorous enforcement of international trade laws to help remove barriers that prevent U.S. companies from free and fair access to foreign markets.

Both Commerce and the USPS will work together to provide foreign market expertise to small and medium-sized enterprises looking to expand into new markets and provide simplified access to the free resources and tools available through a nationwide network of international trade experts and global shipping specialists, according to USPS officials.

In February, USPS said its Global Business team will leverage its alliance partnership with the Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration (ITA), a Commerce Department unit focused on promoting trade and investment and ensuring fair trade and compliance with trade laws and agreements, to “encourage and support small- and medium-sized businesses interested in establishing or expanding exports of their products to global markets.”

“The goal here is to attack the issues out there and make things a little brighter for these small- and medium-sized businesses,” said USPS spokesman Dave Lewin in an interview. “There is a lot of opportunity for the USPS and Commerce here to work together and share information and feed back to one another in terms of moving businesses along in their interest with exporting. This whole process is designed to make things a little less intimidating for the smaller businessperson out there. It is a tremendous opportunity and could go a long way towards helping the U.S. address its economic woes and unemployment issues out there.”

The next steps: Going forward, USPS and Commerce will focus on businesses currently shipping into one foreign market through the USPS. And in subsequent phases, they will work with businesses to identify key markets, build market entry strategies and provide guidance to take high-quality products and services from the U.S. to global export markets.

“We know that American businesses produce world-class goods and services. What we can improve on is connecting those businesses to the 95 percent of the world’s consumers living outside our borders,” said Commerce Secretary GaryLocke in a statement. “This partnership with the Postal Service will be an important part of the solution.”

If U.S. export numbers through the first four months of 2010 are any indication, then this endeavor may be successful. Last week, President Obama said that U.S exports increased by nearly 17 percent from January-April year-over-year, according to media reports. Reasons cited by Obama for this uptick included the global economic recovery, improving conditions for America’s exporters, an increase in trade missions, better access to export financing, and the removal of various trade barriers.

About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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