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New report highlights objectives of National Export Initiative

Job creation, small business focus at the forefront of goals to double U.S. exports in the next five years
By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
September 20, 2010

The push from Washington to act on President Obama’s goal of doubling exports in the next five years gained additional momentum with the White House recently issuing a report to Obama on the National Export Initiative (NEI).

The NEI, according to the United States 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.

The report offers up a detailed summary of NEI progress, with detailed information on how to hit the goal of doubling exports within the next five years to support job growth at a time when the nation desperately needs it. It was developed by the Export Promotion Cabinet, which includes the Secretaries of Commerce, State, Treasury, Agriculture, and Labor and the heads of all trade-related U.S. government agencies, according to Commerce Department officials.

“As American consumers spend a little bit less and save a little bit more, it has never been more important to connect those U.S. businesses to the 95 percent of consumers who live outside of borders of America,” said Commerce Secretary Gary Locke on a conference call. “And today thanks to the strength of an improving economy and efforts at the Commerce Department—and across the federal government—that is increasingly happening.” 

Among the myriad facets the detailed report hits on for expediting U.S. export processes outlined by Commerce are: ways in which the U.S. government can win more foreign government contracts, find global buyers, participate in more missions and trade shows, receive more export funding and, learn new ways to sell products and services overseas. And a major push is being made to provide additional assistance to small- and medium-sized businesses in an effort to drive job creation.

On this front, the report is calling for a National Outreach Campaign led by the U.S. Small Business Administration and other Trade Protection Coordinating Committee agencies to raise awareness for exporting opportunities and government export assistance for small and mid-size companies.

Other efforts include Federal Export Assistance to drive support for international buyers to U.S. trade shows and encourage more U.S. companies to participate in major international trade shows in conjunction with rolling out a government-wide export promotion for what the report described as “next-tier” markets, including Colombia., Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, and Vietnam.

Exports, noted Secretary Locke, are leading the U.S. economic recovery over the first four months of 2010, with exports up 18 percent over the same period last year at roughly $620 billion compared to $508 billion for a 22 percent increase.

Agriculture exports, said Locke, have a $30 billion surplus this year compared to $25 billion last year, and are on pace to be the second highest in U.S. history.

“These exports are having an impact on the economy, with exports accounting for more than 1 percentage point of GDP growth in each of the four quarters of the recovery…and is a larger contribution to the recovery than domestic activity,” said Locke.  “The more American companies export, the more they produce and the more they produce the more people they hire.”

With such a large manufacturing base for exporting goods and services, there is an emphasis on creating jobs directly related to this effort so when the U.S. lends money to foreign buyers, the money remains in the U.S. and supports domestic job growth, said Fred Hochberg, chairman and president of the Export-Import Bank.

Hochberg noted that 85 percent of the loans the Export-Import Bank makes are for small businesses and noted it is important to realize this bank operates at no cost to taxpayers.

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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