Commerce.gov is getting a facelift soon. See the new design.
Syndicate content

Blog Category: International Trade Administration

Winning the Future Through Education and Commerce

Undersecretary Sanchez

Guest blog post by Francisco J. Sánchez who is Under Secretary for International Trade in the Commerce Department's International Trade Administration.

When we think about the vast work the Commerce Department does with exports, what do we picture? Food, perhaps. Textiles. Cutting-edge technologies. But what many don’t consider are the legions of international students who attend American colleges and universities. It might sound odd, but they are considered “exports.” Indeed, education plays a critical role in the work we do every day in the International Trade Administration.

That’s why I’m so pleased to announce that starting April 2, 2011, I will lead the largest education and services trade mission in the history of the U.S. Department of Commerce.  Accompanied by 56 U.S. colleges and universities, we will travel to Indonesia and Vietnam to expand U.S. educational opportunities for international students.

America is home to the best opportunities for higher education in the world.  More students come to the U.S. to study than any other country on the planet. International students’ tuition and living expenses alone brought almost $20 billion to the U.S. economy in the 2009-2010 academic year.

Our goals for this trip are extensive. Expanding U.S. educational opportunities for international students will have some direct benefits to our national economy.  By increasing domestic jobs and aiding innovation and research while strengthening our relations and ties abroad, the fact is that sharing our colleges with foreign-born students will make America that much more rich and robust.

Spotlight on Commerce: Michelle O'Neill, Deputy Under Secretary for International Trade

Michelle O'Neill, Deputy Under Secretary for International Trade

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 O'Neill has been serving as Deputy Under Secretary for International Trade since November 2005.

I started my career in ITA as an intern in 1983 -- looking up tariff rates in Latin American countries for companies that called in.  Many of you are probably amazed that anyone could spend so many years in one organization, but during this course of time, I have moved around quite a bit across ITA – at least eight official jobs spanning our five business units.  These experiences have given me a deeper appreciation of what we can do as an organization to advance U.S. business interests globally.  Five Administrations, 11 Secretaries of Commerce, and 12 Under Secretaries of International Trade later, I am still as passionate for advancing fair and free trade today as when I first arrived in Washington.  (And I never imagined that I would be part of the organization’s leadership team!)

When I started my career in international trade, U.S. exports were $205 billion. Today, we export more than five times that amount, totaling more than $1 trillion worth in goods and services exports.  While we remain the number one exporter of goods and services, the volume of global trade has grown substantially over this period of time, and with that comes some challenges – and in many ways, the same challenges.  Back in the 1980s, the big concern was the $58 billion trade deficit and what we could do about it; today our trade deficit is nearly $380 billion – still a concern.  It’s been very interesting for me as a career civil servant, implementing and shaping trade policy across five Administrations. In many ways, I think the importance of international trade has stood the test of time with bipartisan support for increased trade liberalization, to varying degrees, across every Administration in my career. When I officially started ITA in 1987, the Uruguay Round had just begun; now we are in the midst of trying to bring a close to the Doha Round.  There was only one Free Trade Agreement in place with Israel. Now we have 17 FTAs in force – and hopefully three more in the horizon.  While the issues we debated have evolved -- reflecting changes in industry, new business models, and future technologies -- there has been general agreement that an open and competitive global marketplace is good for citizens, consumers, businesses, and governments.

Last Day to Apply for Commerce Department Trade & Investment Program to HANNOVER MESSE 2011

Hannover Messe

From April 3-8, 2011, the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration (EDA) and International Trade Administration (ITA) will travel to Hannover, Germany to help lead a U.S. Trade & Investment Program to HANNOVER MESSE 2011, the world's largest industrial technology showcase.  By leading regional business clusters abroad, the Department of Commerce is supporting the Obama administration’s National Export Initiative (NEI) and working to attract U.S. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), by giving participating communities the opportunity to promote their regions as ideal locations to do business.

HANNOVER MESSE 2011 will provide the industrial community the opportunity to promote business initiatives in 13 industries – Industrial Automation; Motion, Drive & Automation; Energy; Power Plant Technology; Wind; MobiliTec; Digital Factory; ComVac; Industrial Supply; CoilTechnica; SurfaceTechnology; MicroNanoTec; and Research & Technology.

U.S. program participants will consist of state and local government officials focused on economic development, university officials engaged in economic development, and other non-profit economic development practitioners.  Today is the last day to apply to participate in the program. 

Get additional information about registration fees and how to apply for the U.S. Trade & Investment Program to HANNOVER MESSE 2011.

Commerce Department Supports Puerto Rico as part of President’s Interagency Task Force

Guest blog post by Rick Wade, senior adviser to Secretary Locke, deputy chief of staff, and member of the President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status

Today the President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status submitted a report to President Obama and Congress that provides recommendations for addressing Puerto Rico’s political status and economic climate. The report identifies specific proposals for boosting economic development, building competitive industries, and improving the quality of life for the people of Vieques – a Puerto Rican island-municipality in the northeastern Caribbean.

These recommendations, along with plans for their implementation, follow two public hearings held in San Juan, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., as well as meetings with island officials and other stakeholders to gather input directly from a broad cross section of voices on the issues of Puerto Rico’s status and economic development.

The report underlines the fact that Puerto Rico’s political status continues to be of great importance to its people. Its economy – like many others – has also faced significant challenges in recent years, driving the need for a greater focus on economic progress in the U.S. territory. Per capita income in Puerto Rico remains at less than one-third of that in the United States, due in part to its low employment rate and persistently low rate of labor force participation.

The U.S. Department of Commerce will be intensely involved in implementing the recommendations of the Task Force’s report. Six of the department’s 12 bureaus will lead projects in support of economic growth in Puerto Rico. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration will help develop an interagency team that works to connect Puerto Ricans to broadband Internet. The International Trade Administration’s U.S. Export Assistance Center in San Juan will help Puerto Rico increase its exports. And the department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis will help Puerto Rico update its methodology for calculating gross domestic product so it aligns with U.S. standards and better captures economic conditions there.

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