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Blog Category: International Trade Administration

Assistant Secretary for Trade Promotion and Director General of the U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service Suresh Kumar to Return to the Private Sector

After two years leading the Commerce Department’s U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service (USFCS), Assistant Secretary for Trade Promotion Suresh Kumar announced his decision today to return to the private sector.

The USFCS, which is part of Commerce’s International Trade Administration, is a global network of trade specialists with offices across America and in more than 70 countries around the world. The organization’s job is to help connect U.S. companies looking to sell their products overseas with foreign buyers.

On Kumar’s watch, the Commercial Service has gotten better results with fewer resources. It’s also gone from an organization that tended to measure its progress with difficult-to-quantify anecdotes to one that’s metrics driven – a change that’s been critical in helping determine what’s working and what isn’t in the Department’s efforts to meet President Obama’s National Export Initiative goal of doubling U.S. exports by the end of 2014.

“Ultimately, leaders are measured by whether they leave an organization better than they found it,” U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson said. “With the changes Suresh helped usher in, the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service is, without question, in a better position to succeed today.  “Improvements to the technology available to USFCS staff and the repositioning of Commercial Service Officers to markets with the best potential for U.S. export growth will benefit American businesses eager to export for years to come.”

Just a few statistics illustrate how the organization has grown stronger and more effective during Kumar’s tenure:In 2009, 158 U.S. companies went on Commerce-organized trade missions. Last year, there were 527.In 2009, there were 8,900 participants in Commerce’s International Buyers Program, which recruits qualified foreign buyers, sales representatives and business partners to U.S. trade shows. Last year, there were 15,600.

“Those measurements tell a good story, but the statistic that’s most important to me and to the President is 303,000; that’s the number of jobs supported last year by the exports the USFCS helped facilitate,” Bryson said.That figure has more than doubled since 2009. “We wish Suresh the best in his future endeavors, and I know he’ll continue to support the expansion of global trade in the private sector.”

Kumar has agreed to stay on until March 2 to help with the transition.

North Carolina Manufacturing is Supporting an Economy Built to Last

Sanchez tours manufacturing plant in North Carolina

Guest blog post by Francisco J. SánchezUnder Secretary of Commerce for International Trade

Good things are happening here in North Carolina.  

Today, I’ve had the pleasure of spending some time in the Tar Heel state, visiting companies, meeting with business and community leaders, and seeing up close just how a thriving manufacturing sector is positively impacting jobs and the economy.

The morning began with a tour of Parkdale Mills, a yarn company that was founded nearly a century ago with one mill and less than 200 employees.

In the years since—despite all the changes that have occurred in the industry—Parkdale has done more than survived. It’s thrived. The numbers are staggering.

Federal Government Help for Manufacturing Companies: How Commerce Contributes

US-Made Auto Parts

In last night's State of the Union address, President Obama laid out proposals for how to bring about a new era of American manufacturing, with more good jobs and more products stamped Made in the USA.  A few of the proposals are:

  • Reward companies for bringing jobs back to America.
  • Lower tax rates for companies that manufacture and create jobs in the United States.
  • Get tough on trade enforcement.
  • Create more jobs and make us more competitive by rebuilding America using half of the savings from ending foreign wars.

These proposals build upon the efforts already underway by the White House.

At the Department of Commerce, we support manufacturers in a multitude of ways:

Secretary Bryson Welcomes New Travel and Tourism Advisory Board Members

Secretary Bryson Swearing in the Travel and Tourism Advisory Board

As our economy continues to recover from the worst recession in memory, families in communities across America remain focused on what else can be done to spur job creation. Today was an important day for them.

This afternoon, President Obama announced a task force to develop a National Travel & Tourism Strategy, which will be co-chaired by Secretary Bryson, and he signed a corresponding Executive Order that will make it easier for international visitors to travel to America. That’s important because those visitors help create jobs by spending money in our stores, eating in our restaurants and visiting U.S. tourist destinations that are famous all around the world.

Following this announcement, Secretary Bryson met with and conducted a swearing-in ceremony for 32 newly appointed members of the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, an advisory body of industry executives that provides vital input on government policies and programs affecting the travel and tourism industry.

Exporting Products “Made in America” Supports Jobs Here at Home

Under Secretary Sánchez jwith representatives from U.S. companies who have partnered with the Department of Commerce on its New Market Exporter Initiative

Guest blog post by Francisco J. SánchezUnder Secretary of Commerce for International Trade

It’s been called the beginning of a manufacturing renaissance. 

As President Obama noted at yesterday’s “Insourcing American Jobs” forum, 334,000 manufacturing jobs have been created in the past two years. And, in the third quarter of 2011, manufacturing profits were up more than 7 percent compared to the first quarter.

These positive trends are very good news because manufacturing is a key to our economy. As the Department of Commerce’s report—“The Competitiveness and Innovative Capacity of the United States”—recently highlighted, in 2009, manufacturing made up more than 11 percent of GDP.

It employed nearly 12 million workers. And, these are good jobs. In the manufacturing sector, total hourly compensation is, on average, 22 percent higher than the services sector.

That’s why the Obama administration is firmly committed to working with the manufacturing industry to keep this momentum going.

Today, I had the honor of serving as the keynote speaker at the National Association of Manufacturers’ Council of Manufacturing Associations (NAM CMA) winter meeting.

I talked about the work we are doing at the International Trade Administration to support their efforts. Exports and manufacturing are intimately linked. U.S. businesses produce the best and most innovative products in the world. But, what good is a product if it sits on a shelf? Businesses need to sell them.

The International Trade Administration’s Four Big Numbers for 2011

New York Harbor

This has been a very eventful year for the International Trade Administration (ITA). We are very proud of our efforts to improve the lives of our fellow Americans. We have accomplished a great deal by working diligently on the President’s National Export Initiative (NEI) goal of doubling exports by the end of 2014, supporting well-paying jobs tied to exporting, helping U.S. service companies find new markets, and pursuing new venues for U.S. companies to connect with overseas buyers.  While we have plenty to be proud of, we have compiled our Four Big Numbers to highlight our biggest successes.

  • 25 – The percentage of growth in exports since the launch of the National Export Initiative in January 2010. Just in 2011, we’ve seen six record-breaking months of exports (Jan, March, April, July, Aug and Sept). This is a trend that will continue as long as American companies are finding buyers and partners in markets such as Brazil, India, Korea, and Russia.
  • 9.2 million – The number of jobs supported by U.S. exports in 2010. This represents seven percent of total non-farm employment in the United States. Additionally, exports contribute, on average, an additional 18 percent to workers’ earnings in the U.S. manufacturing sector.
  • $148.1 billion – Our U.S. trade surplus in services through October 2011. In dollar terms, through the first ten months of 2011, growth of U.S. services exports are double the growth of our services imports. Through October, services exports are up 10.6 percent or $48.2 billion from the same period last year. In 2010, travel and tourism accounted for 26 percent of our services exports and business, professional, and technical services combined for 24 percent.
  • 15,555 – The number of foreign buyers who traveled to the United States to participate in 35 designated International Buyer Program (IBP) trade shows. The IBP recruits thousands of qualified foreign buyers, sales representatives, and business partners to attend U.S. trade shows each year, giving exhibitors excellent opportunities to expand business globally.

2012 looks like another great year for ITA. Moving forward with the newly approved trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea will open new opportunities for U.S. businesses to export. Stay on top of the latest and greatest from ITA and learn about what we have planned and how we can help you improve your business with these programs by visiting www.trade.gov.

Secretary Bryson Promotes U.S.-Iraq Trade Opportunities at U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Bryson, al-Maliki promote trade (photo: U.S. Chamber of Commerce)

Today, Commerce Secretary John Bryson delivered remarks at a luncheon hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce honoring Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Washington. In his remarks, Secretary Bryson pointed out a variety of resources available to U.S.businesses already in place to encourage and create ongoing trade and investment in a new area of relations between the two countries. These include the U.S.–Iraq Business and Investment Conference, Commerce-led trade missions to Iraq, the Iraq Task Force and Commerce’s Advocacy Center.

Commerce's Under Secretary for International Trade Francisco Sánchez led a historic business development mission to Baghdad in October, 2010. The trade mission brought together representatives from 14 U.S. companies with key Iraqi public and private sector decision-makers, including nearly 200 match-making meetings, to pursue investment and sales opportunities. The Department of Commerce had key involvement at the Baghdad International Trade Fair. There, the U.S. participated for the first time since 1988, showcasing 85 American businesses and organizations at the U.S. Pavilion–the largest foreign presence at the event.

“Working together we can continue to strengthen ties between our nations’ business communities," Bryson said. "For example, on Wednesday, we are facilitating a match-making event for U.S. firms to meet with the Iraqi companies visiting Washington with the Prime Minister. . . .  And, of course, we will continue working through the U.S.-Iraq Business Dialogue and with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S.-Iraq Business Council, as Iraq continues to emerge as a promising market in the region.”

Al-Maliki highlighted the growing commercial ties with the United States and called for the U.S. business community to seize the investment and trade opportunities available in Iraq. Iraq is a promising and important emerging market–one that’s set to grow faster than China–and has needs that encompass everything from infrastructure to small consumer goods. Last year, Prime Minister al-Maliki announced Iraq’s five-year National Development Plan. The plan includes more than 2,700 projects worth about $186 billion and is aimed at diversifying Iraq’s economy away from oil. Meeting those needs can help create jobs here in the U.S.

Working with Florida’s Construction Leaders to Build New Opportunities for Communities

Sánchez speaking at LBA event in Miami

Guest blog post by Francisco J. Sánchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Secretary, Department of Commerce

Entrepreneurs are a major key to U.S. economic growth. Their ideas, creativity and pioneering spirit are among our nation’s greatest resources, and are helping to pave the road to recovery. 

That’s why the Commerce Department, under the leadership of Secretary John Bryson, is firmly committed to supporting American business owners in every way we can.  And, our partnership with the private sector is essential to this work which is why I traveled to Miami, Florida earlier today to meet with the Latin Builders Association (LBA).

Founded in 1971, the LBA is the largest Hispanic construction association in the United States. They have shaped skylines, built neighborhoods and made a significant impact on the South Florida area. And, every day, leaders like them are doing great work on the ground to do more than just rebuild our communities; they are committed to building a better and stronger America.

America on its Way to Hitting Administration’s Exporting Goals, Blank Tells ITAC Leaders

Michael C. Camuñez addresses the business leaders of the ITAC

Today, Acting Deputy Secretary Rebecca Blank participated in an event in the Department of Commerce that thanked business leaders for their service in Industry Trade Advisory Committees while also noting that their hard work was greatly aiding the private sector to export in record numbers.

Blank told ITAC representatives that while traditional drivers of U.S. economic growth – like consumer spending – are currently facing headwinds, exports remain a vital avenue to get Americans back to work. ITACs, public-private partnerships managed by the Commerce Department and the U.S. Trade Representative,  work tirelessly to help U.S. companies and employees across the country compete and win in the global economy by engaging business leaders in formulating trade policy.

Honoring Individuals Who Help Promote Peace and Commerce

Steve Calderia and Jack Earle with Acting Deputy Secretary Blank and Under Secretary Sanchez

Cross post by Cory Churches is a Communications and Outreach Specialist with the Office of Public Affairs in the International Trade Administration.

Today we recognized a few of the recipients of a unique award bestowed by the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez. Eight individuals and organizations received the International Trade Administration’s Peace through Commerce Medal Award for 2011.

Jerry Levine, President of Mentor International, Steve Calderia, CEO of the International Franchise Association and Jack Earle, CEO of the International Franchise Association were on hand to receive their awards and spoke highly of the efforts of the Commerce Department and partners in promoting exports and jobs across America.

The award, reintroduced by Sánchez, recognizes an individual, group, or organization, either domestic or abroad, whose actions have significantly promoted and developed U.S. export initiatives, encouraged innovative approaches, and improved overall U.S. trade relations.