Yesterday, Secretary John Bryson met with the President’s Export Council (PEC) with two goals in mind: to discuss further ways to strengthen the U.S. economy; and to update PEC members on the actions taken by the Department and the administration to increase exports.
As the principal national advisory committee on international trade, the PEC provides a forum for public-private interaction at all levels of government and business. It is responsible for advising the president on government policies and programs affecting U.S. trade performance, covering topics that range from export promotion to deliberations over specific trade challenges in various industries and sectors.
Since the PEC last met, the Obama administration has made great strides in creating jobs, increasing exports and growing the economy. For example, the U.S.-Korea and U.S.-Colombia free trade agreements were implemented earlier this spring, and will drive billions of dollars in additional annual exports and create tens of thousands of American jobs.
The administration also recently announced the first-ever National Travel and Tourism Strategy, acting on an early PEC recommendation. The Strategy will bolster the travel and tourism industry, our number one services export, to support millions of American jobs. Commerce recently announced that international spending on U.S. travel and tourism-related goods and services set an all-time record of $153 billion in 2011, an 8.1 percent increase from 2010, and helps support a total of 7.6 million industry jobs.
The Obama administration also advocated for the successful reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, and acknowledged the important role played by the private sector in raising awareness about how critical a player the Bank is for providing both small and large business export financing.
During yesterday’s meeting, the PEC adopted five letters of recommendation addressing federal, state, and local coordination efforts on export promotion; the establishment of permanent normal trade relations with Russia; provisions of the International Trafficking in Arms Regulations agreement; travel and tourism; and the importance of the Transatlantic Partnership Agreement. Through these letters, the Council hopes to help further focus the efforts of the Obama administration on priority areas of U.S. exporters to help strengthen the American economy and achieve the goals of the National Export Initiative (NEI).
Announced by the president in 2010, the NEI is a whole of government effort to double U.S. exports by the end of 2014, supporting millions of jobs. The Department of Commerce leads that initiative and, to date, we’ve seen great progress: in 2011, the value of U.S. exports exceeded $2.1 trillion for the first time in U.S. history. Data shows investments in export relationships and production bring some of the most lucrative returns for domestic growth, supporting approximately 9.7 million jobs in 2011, an increase of 1.2 million since 2009.
Secretary Bryson yesterday recognized the invaluable service the PEC provides as an advisor to the government on how to continue the momentum to help businesses build things here and sell them everywhere. The PEC next meets on December 6 and, until that time, Secretary Bryson and the Department will continue their efforts to do just that.
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