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Blog Category: International trade

New Friendships and New Opportunities to Do Business in Brazil

Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco J. Sánchez inaugurating the U.S. Pavilion at the Offshore Technologies Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Guest blog post by Francisco Sánchez, Under Secretary for International Trade, International Trade Administration

Today I had the honor of inaugurating the U.S. Pavilion at the Offshore Technologies Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The pavilion is giving more than 80 U.S. firms the opportunity to exhibit their products and services to potential buyers in Brazil and elsewhere in the Western Hemisphere.  The pavilion also supports a Department of Commerce–certified trade mission that was organized by the state of Louisiana along with that state’s Committee of 100 for Economic Development.

Why Brazil? There are a lot of reasons for U.S. companies to look for business here, especially in the energy sector. Economically, Brazil is on the rise. It is the world’s seventh largest economy and in 2010 posted a real GDP growth rate of 7.5 percent. This strong growth is sure to continue in the long-term. One factor in that growth will be Brazil’s oil and gas sector, buoyed by the recent discovery of offshore oil reserves in the Santos Basin. The discovery of these reserves is good news for the United States—both for the potential market it represents for U.S. sellers of energy products, technologies, and services as well as for the likelihood that that it will make Brazil a stable and secure source of energy for the United States in the future.

U.S. Seaports Join ITA in New Partnership to Increase Exports

Department of Commerce and American Association of Port Authorities sign memorandum of intent

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

Just this week I traveled to the Port of Oakland to launch a new and exciting partnership.  The International Trade Administration (ITA) and the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) have entered into a new partnership to promote exports. During an event hosted by the Port of Oakland, Kurt Nagle, President of the AAPA and I signed a joint memorandum of intent to collaborate to help expand the reach of our export education efforts. This effort supports the National Export Initiative, President Obama’s goal of doubling exports by 2014. 

This was my first visit to the Port of Oakland and it is very memorable. The Port is the primary point of exit for exports from Northern California and its agricultural industries. Notably, it is the largest U.S. export port for wines handling over 52 percent of all U.S. wine exports (by value) in 2010.

On top of that, Oakland is the third-largest U.S. West Coast port for containers.  It is the United States’ 17th-largest export port overall and Oakland is one of the few U.S. seaports whose exports exceed their imports; nearly fifty-five percent of Oakland’s total cargo tonnage is exports. 

U.S. seaports are a critical conduit for most U.S. merchandise trade, with more than $455 billion in exports flowing through America’s sea ports in 2010.

The US-India Economic Partnership – a 21st Century Partnership Built on Innovation and Collaboration.

Assistant Secretary Camunez with one of the Research Directors at the GE Jack Welch Technology Center in Bangalore, India.

Guest blog by Michael Camuñez, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Market Access and Compliance.

President  Obama has observed that “The relationship between the United States and India-- bound by our shared interests and values -- will be one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century.”

This week, my first trip to India has focused on deepening the economic and trade dimensions of our bilateral partnership. I began in Mumbai, passed through Bangalore, and ended in Delhi.

The stunning growth of the Indian economy is well known.  India has embraced global trade and competition, cutting its top applied tariff rates on industrial goods from more than 100% before liberalization to about 10-12% currently. Today, annual growth rates in excess of eight percent percent have become commonplace. 

As part of this story, the US-India partnership has been hard at work, with great success. The United States is the largest source of foreign investment in India. In 2009, total U.S. FDI in India was $18.6 billion, up 12 percent from 2008.

American corporations who’ve set up shop in India are partnering with leading local companies and professionals to do great things.

Tariff Tool Demystifies U.S. Trade Agreements for Manufacturers

Guest blog by Justin Hoffmann, International Economist in the Office of Trade Policy Analysis.

Manufacturers who are looking to expand into new markets are often faced with myriad questions about tariffs and barriers to these new markets. Figuring out which products have what tariffs can be a very frustrating and time consuming process. That is why the International Trade Agency has developed a Free Trade Agreement Tariff Tool to help manufacturers quickly find the information they need.

For manufacturers, America’s Free Trade Agreement (FTA) partners can be an attractive markets because these negotiated agreements eliminate tariffs, remove non-tariff barriers, and secure non-discriminatory treatment for U.S. goods and services.

While these agreements bring many benefits for manufacturers, they can be confusing. For example, in the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement, the tariff schedules alone for that agreement go on for nearly a thousand pages. If a manufacturer is dedicated enough to slog through the pages to find out where his specific product is in the tariff schedule, he will learn, for example, that the tariff charged on his product before the agreement went into effect is 20 percent. Additionally, after some further digging around the agreement text, the exporter would also learn that the tariff on his product “shall be removed in ten equal annual stages beginning on the date this Agreement enters into force, and such goods shall be duty-free, effective January 1 of year ten”.

It is pretty clear that these lengthy documents are crafted by trade negotiators and lawyers and are really not written for U.S. manufacturers who are simply trying to export their goods to new markets.

The good news is that the FTA Tariff Tool provides this information instantly and almost effortlessly.

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FTA Tariff Tool Transcript

The Southwest Border Is Open for Business

El Paso now has one of the lowest crime rates among big American cities.

Posted by Secretary Janet Napolitano and Secretary Gary Locke

This op-ed appeared in The Wall Street Journal on April 4, 2011

Over the last few weeks, mayors, sheriffs, business leaders and citizens have joined together with a simple but powerful message: America's Southwest border communities are open for business. This is a message the American people need to hear.

Unfortunately, there is a widespread misperception that the Southwest is wracked by violence spilling over from Mexico's ongoing drug war. The facts tell a different story. Some of America's safest communities are in the Southwest border region, with crime rates in cities along the border staying steady or dropping over the past decade. For example, the crime rate in Tucson, Ariz., fell 15% between 2008 and 2009 and 21% in Brownsville, Texas, over the same period.

In the last two years, the Obama administration has made historic deployments of manpower, technology and infrastructure to help secure our Southwest border. These efforts—along with the heroic work of our Border Patrol agents—are paying off.

Between fiscal years 2009 and 2010, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement seized 81% more currency, 25% more drugs, and 47% more weapons along the Southwest border than they did between fiscal years 2007 and 2008. Border Patrol apprehensions of illegal aliens—the best indicator of illegal immigration—have dropped by 36% over the past two years to less than a third of its all-time high.

U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) Concludes in Washington

China Agrees to Significant Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Initiatives, Market Opening, and Revisions to its Indigenous Innovation Policies That Will Help Boost U.S. Exports at the 21st Session of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade

Wang and Locke shaking handsToday marked the end of the 21st session of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) in Washington, D.C. The JCCT was co-chaired by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk along with Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack also participated in the discussions. Today’s outcomes will make U.S. businesses more competitive in China, help boost U.S. exports and jobs, and increase market access for U.S. businesses, creators, innovators, entrepreneurs, farmers and ranchers seeking to do business in China.

Specifically, China agreed to significant initiatives in several areas, including intellectual property rights enforcement, open and neutral technology standards, clean energy, and government procurement.  Importantly, on indigenous innovation, China agreed not to discriminate in government procurement based on the origin of intellectual property or to use discriminatory criteria to select industrial equipment.  China also agreed to resume talks on beef market access.  Press release  |  Fact sheetSigning fact sheet | Closing remarks and links to JCCT content  |  JCCT photos

21st Annual U.S.-China JCCT Photos

U.S. and Chinese Delegations at JCCT

The U.S. and China delegations pose for photos prior to the start of the 21st annual U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) on December 15, 2010.

This morning, delegations from the United States and China began the 21st annual U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT), which is our most important bilateral dialogue for resolving trade and investment issues between the two nations. As co-chairs of the JCCT, the delegations are stewards of the U.S.-China trade relationship, which is robust, supports millions of jobs for our people and is growing in both opportunity and complexity. The discussions between the delegations will help determine how well Chinese and US scientists discover together; how well our businesses collaborate; and how well our governments deal with the growing challenges of the 21st century.

Additional photos attached.

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Secretary Locke Sets the Stage for U.S.-China JCCT at Georgetown Policy Conference

This week, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke will convene the 21st annual U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT), which is our most important bilateral dialogue for resolving trade and investment issues between the two nations.

To help set the stage for this meeting, Secretary Locke recently convened a full-day policy conference at Georgetown University exploring the U.S.-China Commercial relationship -- with most discussion panels focusing on finding ways to resolve the trade disputes that animate so much of the coverage of U.S.-China commercial interaction. 

It is an important discussion. China is the United States’ second-largest trading partner, with our bilateral trade in goods alone amounting to $365 billion last year. And U.S. exports to China are up more than 24 percent since 2008. Moreover, China and the U.S. are currently partnering to find solutions to some of the world's most pressing problems, including climate change and energy security.

For that reason, Secretary Locke made clear that the U.S. government welcomed continued strong growth in China as a way for China to improve the well-being of its citizens. As more and more Chinese move into the middle class, they will want world-class, American-made goods and that will mean more jobs here in the U.S. as our companies work to meet that demand.  

Exports Can Spur Our Economy

UPS CEO Scott Davis and Secretary Gary LockePost co-authored by Scott Davis, UPS Chairman and CEO, and Secretary Gary Locke

Robust and global trade drives the world’s economic engine.  And it’s the quickest and surest way we know to accelerate economic growth, create new jobs and improve living standards. 

Now we freely admit that UPS has an interest here.  At any given moment, UPS handles 6 percent of the U.S. GDP and moves 2 percent of the global GDP.  So global trade is important to the future of UPS, and that holds true for its workers, and for workers across America.  Every 22 packages per day that cross a border supports one job in UPS’s package operation.

That’s why UPS is so supportive of President Obama’s recent announcement of a landmark trade deal with South Korea, which is estimated to increase American economic output by more than the last nine trade agreements combined.

UPS’s logistics and lending services empower businesses of all sizes to export their goods and services virtually anywhere in the world, and with the impending passage of this agreement, there will be a lot more businesses to work with. 

Stepping Up Trade Between the U.S. and India Will Mean More Jobs in America and a Better Quality of Life for People in India

Secretary Locke is signing the Energy Cooperation Program MOU with Indian Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia. The ECP is a partnership that brings together U.S. and Indian companies and both two governments to focus on specific projects and initiatives that will develop the clean energy marketplace and help realize its potential within India.

[Upon return from Asia, Secretary Locke wrote this blog post about the importance of the upcoming trade mission to India in February.]

President Obama and members of his Cabinet, including myself, have completed a trip to India to take the relationship between our two countries to a new level. We were there because we see real opportunities -- both for American workers and businesses and the people of India. U.S. firms can work with Indian companies to help meet the ambitious economic and social goals laid out by its government. And we can do that by increasing trade between our nations, selling more of America’s world-class goods and services to businesses and consumers in India.

Two-way trade between our nations last year was $38 billion, and exports to India have quadrupled in the last seven years. I expect this upward trend to continue. But we have to do more to connect U.S. companies with Indian consumers and partner firms. To that end, President Obama and I announced a high-tech trade mission to India in early February, making stops in Mumbai, New Delhi and Bangalore. Companies interested in participating can visit www.trade.gov/IndiaMission2011 for more information.

As Secretary Chu noted during his trip to India last year, due to the increasing demand for energy by India’s emerging middle class, India could become a major export destination for solar panels and wind turbine components manufactured in the United States. That’s why I’m proud we announced the launch of the Energy Cooperation Program. This partnership brings together U.S. and Indian companies and our two governments to focus on specific projects and initiatives that will develop the clean energy marketplace and help realize its potential within India.

Stepping up trade and collaboration between the U.S. and India will mean more jobs in America and a better quality of life for people throughout this fast-growing democracy at the heart of the Obama administration’s renewed engagement in Asia.