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Blog Category: International Trade Administration

Secretary Locke Discusses the U.S.-Turkey Trade Relationship

Secretary Locke Delivers a Keynote on Strengthening Turkish-American Economic Relations

Today, Secretary Locke delivered keynote remarks at an event jointly hosted by the Center for American Progress and the Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists of Turkey (TUSKON).  He discussed the U.S.-Turkey trade relationship and its importance for the strategic partnership between the two countries. Turkey and the United States conducted nearly $15 billion in bilateral trade last year – an almost 40% rise from the previous year, and the most trade ever between Turkey and the U.S. This trade was helped along by Turkey's impressive resilience in the wake of the global financial crisis. Last year, Turkey posted economic growth of over 7%.

To further our trade relationship, In December 2009, President Obama and Prime Minister Erdogan launched a new strategic framework to strengthen our economic bonds, the Framework for Strategic Economic and Commercial Cooperation. The framework elevates the responsibility for increasing our economic dialogue to the highest levels of both our governments.

That framework has focused on enhancing our business-to-business ties and how we can promote innovation in both Turkey and the United States.  Particularly on issues like:

  • Promoting renewable energy;
  • Incentivizing more entrepreneurship;
  • Helping Istanbul fulfill its role as a European and global financial center; and
  • Empowering small and medium-size enterprises

To help meet those goals, the Department of Commerce plans to schedule two trade missions to Turkey later this year – one with U.S. oil and gas companies and another with renewable energy companies.

Read Secretary Locke’s full remarks.

Secretary Locke Addresses APEC Events in Washington

 Jim Thomas, President of ASTM International and Locke study the agenda

Today, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke delivered remarks at the APEC Automotive Dialogue and the “Green Buildings for Green Growth” seminar, held in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, as part of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)’s Senior Officials’ Meetings of 2011. At the Green Buildings seminar, which seeks to improve trade and investment in the APEC region for green building products, materials and services, Locke spoke about the importance of standards for building efficiency. And at the Auto Dialogue, which seeks to help U.S. automotive companies gain wider market access in the Asia-Pacific region and to advance U.S. commercial and regional strategic interests in the sector, he  underlined the importance of green technology in the automotive industry.

The next key APEC meetings this year will be held in May in Big Sky, Montana, where the Commerce Department will host the APEC Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Ministerial and related meetings. In November, the United States will host APEC 2011 – the group’s annual meeting – in Honolulu.  |  Green Buildings, Green Growth remarks  |  Auto Dialogue remarks

Spotlight on Commerce: Michelle Duff- Mitchell, Deputy Director for the International Trade Administration's National Export Initiative

 Michelle Duff-Mitchell, Deputy Director for the International Trade Administration's National Export Initiative

Ed. Note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series, which highlights members of the Department of Commerce who are contributing to the President's vision of winning the future through their work.

Michelle Duff- Mitchell is the Deputy Director for the International Trade Administration's National Export Initiative at the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Last year, President Obama launched the National Export Initiative (NEI) during his State of the Union Address, as a key component of his economic recovery agenda, setting the ambitious goal of doubling U.S. exports by 2015 in order to support and sustain millions of American jobs.

In my role as Deputy Director for the NEI, I have the distinct pleasure of working on an issue that is very dear to me: ensuring America's competitiveness today and in the future.  And it's important to remember that at the center of this ability to compete are the contributions of African-American inventors, entrepreneurs, and intellectuals -- who we celebrate and honor during Black History Month and every month.

Today as the global marketplace expands and takes shape, it gives me great pleasure to continue in the legacy of my African-American forefathers and mothers through my work on the NEI.   As Deputy Director, I have the ability to help American companies find new and innovative ways to grow their sales in international markets and create employment opportunities for American workers.  As Secretary Locke often says, “As American companies sell more of their goods and services abroad, they will need to produce more, which means more good-paying American jobs for our workers.”  With only 1 percent of American companies exporting and only 58 percent of those businesses exporting to just one market, there is tremendous opportunity for America to strengthen our economic footing through the expansion of exports—meaning we aggressively compete for every contract and every job.

Secretary Locke Kicks Off 'Compete to Win' Address Series in Columbus

Locke at podium with large projection screen behind him

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke traveled to Columbus, OH, today to deliver the keynote address at the 2011 Columbus Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting.  This event launches Locke’s “Compete to Win” address series – an ongoing outreach effort to Chambers of Commerce across the country in which Locke will listen to the ideas and concerns of members of the business community and highlight Obama administration economic policies that are designed to spur growth and support job creation.

During his address, Locke highlighted President Obama’s plans to strengthen the economic recovery, create jobs, help businesses succeed, and position America to win the future by out-innovating, out-educating and out-building our global competition.  He specifically discussed the administration’s focus on infrastructure and research and development investments, tax code reform and export promotion as top priorities that will help American businesses become more innovative, more competitive and more successful.  Locke also talked about Columbus’ own regional economic development strategy, Columbus2020!, and how administration policies will support and complement this initiative.   
 
Locke is scheduled to address the Dallas Regional Chamber on March 8 and the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce on April 12.  Remarks

New Investment by Embraer in Florida Creates New Opportunities and New Jobs

Participants in ribbon-cutting ceremony

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

Yesterday I was honored to participate in the opening ceremony for the new Embraer assembly facility in Melbourne, Florida. Embraer is a Brazilian manufacturer of commercial, general aviation, and defense aircraft, and this new plant will employ up to 200 people from the area.

The ceremony embodied what I believe in about the future:

  • Exports create jobs;
  • The key to the future of the American economy is international trade; and
  • Economic integration among the nations of the hemisphere is how all of us remain competitive in the face of rising global competition.

The aircraft assembled in the new facility symbolize the growth of the hemispheric market and represents how international trade brings the economies of the hemisphere closer to each other.

Brazil and the United States understand that hundreds of millions of new consumers are giving birth to a new global market that will demand quantity as well quality.  Quantity and quality almost define Embraer itself.

Defining the future, too, are the United States and Brazil, which is why President Obama will be travelling to Brazil next month.  The gathering of dignitaries yesterday in many ways can be looked upon as part of the President’s visit to Brazil, for it incorporates the spirit and intention of the journey.

The United States is also interested in launching an Aviation Cooperation Program with Brazil.  We see this as a way of elevating and deepening our relationships with the Brazilian government and industry. 

All of us should embrace Embraer’s decision to build this assembly plant in Florida.  It foreshadows the greater future that lies before us and Florida – and before the United States and Brazil as well.

Build It Here: American Manufacturing

During the course of our economic recovery since the end of the Great Recession in 2009, domestic manufacturing has been a star. In the past, manufacturing output and job growth have typically lagged behind the economy’s overall recovery in the United States. But this time, manufacturing has led the way.

Manufacturing activity expanded in January at its fastest pace in seven years, recording its 18th month of growth, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s January manufacturing index. As Commerce Department Chief Economist Mark Doms noted recently in his new blog, manufacturing jobs are associated with relatively high wages, hence the commonly used phrase “good jobs” in reference to those created in the industry.

In the video below, U.S. companies from a wide range of industries from health care to plastics talk about why they manufacture their goods in America. The United States offers a highly educated workforce, strong intellectual property protections, and a business climate that supports and encourages innovation. For ET Water, Labcon, Supracor and others, manufacturing in America just makes smart business sense.

See video

Secretary Locke Kicks Off New Markets, New Jobs Export Tour in Minneapolis

Locke on podium at tour event

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke traveled to Minneapolis, MN, today to launch the inaugural New Markets, New Jobs National Export Initiative Small Business conference.  Joined by U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, Small Business Administration Administrator Karen Mills, Export-Import Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, Locke discussed the importance of exports to America’s economic recovery and job creation, and the resources that the government is providing to connect small- and medium-sized businesses with foreign buyers in order to help them sell more overseas and hire more at home.

Announced on the one-year anniversary of President Obama’s National Export Initiative, New Markets, New Jobs is a year-long, interagency, multi-city outreach campaign designed to proactively bring government services to businesses across the country that are interested in exporting.  After Minneapolis, the tour will make stops in Los Angeles, Louisiana, and Wilmington, DE.  Remarks

The Commercial Service Will Find You the Perfect Partner this Valentine’s Day

U.S. Commercial Service Logo

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Commercial Service can help businesses find their perfect match in each of more than 80 countries in just 15 business days. Our trained staff helps companies increase their sales by connecting them with strategic international partners through its International Partner Search.

It’s simple - companies provide background and marketing materials about what they do, and the Commercial Service uses its worldwide network and extensive contacts in the appropriate target markets to identify potential business opportunities. The result is a detailed description of up to five prequalified prospects. Working only with prequalified international partners that best meet each company’s business needs saves time and money. Commercial Service customers receive information on the marketability and sales potential of their products and services, as well as background on their prospective international partners.

For businesses that prefer face-to-face meetings, the Commercial Service offers the Gold Key Service, a tailored program where companies travel to a target business market and meet with potential agents, distributors, sales representatives, and other business partners. Before traveling, companies can get customized briefings by U.S. Commercial Service staff on industry sector market research and guidance with travel, accommodations, interpreter services, and clerical support. Following the trip, participants share their experiences with U.S. Commercial Service staff and together develop appropriate follow-up strategies. Businesses short on time also have the opportunity to use the Video Gold Key Service, which uses video conferencing in lieu of travel.

Ready to get started? Find your local Commercial Service specialist to schedule a meeting!

Successful Trade Mission to India Wraps Up Today

Secretary Locke Meets a Member of the Dabbawala Association Organization

After the final day in Mumbai, Secretary Locke and delegates from the 24 U.S. businesses who travelled to India on the six-day high-tech trade mission to India wrapped up their business.

Secretary Locke said, “This trade mission was a resounding success.  For some companies on our trip, ‘success’ was an initial meeting or consultation with Indian government or business leaders that will lead to deals down the road. For others, success was more immediate with some companies leaving India on the cusp of making multimillion dollar sales.  Either way, these companies have made important inroads into one of the most promising high-technology markets in the world.”

On Friday morning, Secretary Locke met with the executive committee of the U.S- India Importers’ Council, an initiative developed to support Indian companies that import goods and services from the United States.  The mission of this Council is to advance President Obama’s National Export Initiative, and to support the efforts of Indian companies that import products from the U.S.
 
Locke then visited Mumbai’s legendary Dabbawala Association organization to learn about their unique logistics operation that delivers home-cooked food to hundreds of thousands of people daily.  Association president Raghunath Medge provided Locke with an overview of the organization’s labeling and sorting methodology and the dispatch process. Dabbawala’s lunch delivery service has been cited as a model of entrepreneurship and supply chain management at the grass-roots level. In the afternoon, Locke engaged in multiple bilateral meetings with Indian officials.

India Trade Mission Has Been a Success for Pelican Products

Scott Ermeti, VP Marketing and International Business, Pelican

Guest blog post by Scott Ermeti, Vice President, Marketing and International Business at Pelican Products.

Ed note: Pelican Products is a manufacturer of watertight protective cases, submersible flashlights and ATEX certified torches.

We are nearing the end of Secretary Locke’s weeklong “India High Tech Business Development Mission” and by nearly all measures it has been a success for Pelican Products.  As a mid-sized American manufacturer of high-performance protective cases & packaging solutions and portable lighting equipment, it would have been very difficult for us to have received such a fine and rapid indoctrination to the Indian market elsewhere. 

Multiple meetings and presentations have educated us on the enormous opportunities that exist here:

  • The Indian “middle class” is made up of more than 300 million persons; larger than the entire U.S. population
  • The Indian economy is forecasted to grow at a rate of 7-9% for the next five years.
  • The Indian government is forecasted to spend:
    • $50 billion dollars in Aerospace and Defense improvements in the next five years
    • $1 trillion in infrastructure improvements such as roads, bridges, and airports in the next five years.
  • Currently manufacturing makes up only 16% of Indian GDP, but the goal is to increase that percentage to 25% over the next 10 years.