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Fact Sheet: National Export Initiative

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FACT SHEET
Friday, May 24, 2013
CONTACT OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS
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Fact Sheet: National Export Initiative

To strengthen America’s economy, support additional jobs here at home, and ensure long-term, sustainable growth, President Obama launched a government-wide strategy to promote exports. The National Export Initiative (NEI) is one essential component of that strategy.

The Obama administration has made it a top priority to improve the conditions that directly affect the private sector’s ability to export, working to remove trade barriers abroad, help firms of all sizes and farmers overcome hurdles to entering new markets, and assist with financing. In addition, we have renewed and revitalized our efforts to promote American exports abroad.

These efforts are paying off–and helping to change the way America does business. Now more than at any time in our history, Americans are selling more U.S. goods and services to the 95 percent of consumers who live outside of our borders.

We continue to make progress toward the President’s goal of doubling exports by the end of 2014.  U.S. exports for the first quarter of 2013 were nearly $555 billion, the highest quarterly total on record.  In 2012, U.S. exports hit an all-time record of $2.2 trillion. Particular successes included the growth of exports to America’s free trade agreement (FTA) partners, record exports for the motor vehicle industry and for agricultural products, and a robust travel and tourism sector.  

American jobs supported by exports increased to 9.8 million in 2012, up 1.3 million since 2009. This puts us ahead of schedule to meet the President’s goal of adding two million export-supported jobs by the end of 2014. 

There is still more work to do. U.S. businesses faced global economic headwinds in 2012. That is why the Obama administration continues to do everything possible to support American farmers, workers, and businesses as they compete in the global marketplace.

Updates in this fact sheet include first quarter 2013 trade data, 2011 data regarding small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) exporters, and trade data as of the first anniversary of entry into force of the United States-Korea trade agreement.

EXPORTS MATTER: The World Wants What America Makes

  • U.S. exports set another record in 2012, reaching $2.2 trillion despite significant economic headwinds from abroad. 
  • Growth in exports of goods and services outpaced the growth of imports of goods and services in both dollar and percentage terms for the first time since 2007, with exports growing by $92.6 billion or 4.4 percent. 
  • Exports as a share of U.S. GDP were 13.9 percent in 2012, tying the record set in 2011.
  • The U.S. also saw record levels of merchandise exports to more than 70 countries.
  • The growth in exports came despite a slowdown in the world economy and in world trade volumes.  
  • Export growth continued during the first three months of 2013. In the first quarter of 2013, exports of goods and services reached $554.7 billion, the highest quarterly total on record. 

Administration Efforts: A Commitment to U.S. Companies

  • The administration continues to support U.S. companies selling their goods and services abroad by helping to create opportunities and to level the playing field. Ongoing efforts include:
    • Continuing to build our trade advocacy and export promotion efforts–including through initiatives such as the Doing Business in Africa Campaign;  
    • Promoting the availability of export financing;
    • Educating U.S. companies about markets opened by our  FTAs, including the three that went into effect in 2012 with South Korea, Colombia and Panama;
    • Negotiating and concluding new trade agreements–such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, the Trade in International Services Agreement, and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement–to address existing and newly emerging obstacles to U.S. exports in markets of opportunity;
    • Enforcing U.S. trade rights under international agreements; and
    • Aggressively investigating unfair trade practices affecting U.S. exports or imports into the U.S. market.

EXPORT SUCCESSES:  SECTOR SPOTLIGHTS

Manufacturing

  • Exports are boosting the U.S. manufacturing sector. Manufactured goods exports increased by 47 percent between 2009and 2012, reaching a record $1.35 trillion for 2012.
  • U.S. manufactured goods exports to FTA partners grew 6.8 percent in 2012, compared to 2011.
  • The manufacturing sector has added roughly half a million jobs over the last three years, the most for any such period since 1996.
  • Aerospace: 
    • U.S. exports of civilian aircraft were up by more than one-third in 2012 from 2011. This sector remains a strong area for export growth to emerging markets in Asia and the Middle East.
  • Motor Vehicles and Parts:
  •  
    • After recovering from the recession, the U.S. automotive industry has continued to be a strong area of growth for U.S. exports.
    • U.S. motor vehicle and parts exports [1] in 2012 totaled $132.7 billion, up by more than 10 percent, compared to 2011, and up nearly 80 percent from the $74.2 billion of these goods exported in 2009.
    • When President Obama took office, the American auto industry was shedding jobs by the hundreds of thousands, and GM and Chrysler faced the possibility of liquidation–which would have caused at least one million additional jobs to be lost. The president made the tough choice to help provide the auto industry the temporary support it needed to grow and prosper.

Services

  • The United States remains the largest exporter of private commercial services in the world.
  • In 2012, U.S. services exports totaled $630.4billion, up 4 percent from 2011. With U.S. services imports growing at only 1.7 percent, the trade surplus in services grew by $17.3billion, leading to an overall reduction in the U.S. trade deficit from last year.
  • In April, the United States formally entered into negotiations with 21 other parties for a new Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) aimed at promoting international trade in services.
  • The TiSA parties together account for nearly two-thirds of global trade in services.  Expanding America’s services industry through trade is a smart effort, because three out of four American jobs are already in the services sector, and in 2012 every additional $1 billion in U.S. services exports supported an estimated 4,000 additional American jobs.

Travel and Tourism

  • Travel and tourism is our largest category of services exports. In 2012, more than 66 million international tourists visited the United States, generating an all-time record of $168 billion in revenue–an increase of 10 percent from 2011.
  • In 2012, travel and tourism accounted for 8 percent of all U.S. exports and 27 percent of all service-exports.
  • International travel and tourism also helped contribute to the record surplus the U.S. holds in services exports, which hit $195.3 billion in 2012.
  • Our momentum continues from 2012’s record-setting year. International visitors spent $43 billion on travel to, and tourism-related activities within, the United States during the first quarter of 2013, up 6 percent from last year.
  • This sector’s economic potential continues to grow. That is why the President announced new initiatives in 2012 to attract and welcome international visitors to the United States.
  • The National Travel and Tourism Strategy is a blueprint for expanding travel to and within the United States, setting the goal of attracting more than 100 million international visitors annually by 2021. These international visitors are projected to spend an estimated $250 billion per year, creating jobs and spurring economic growth in communities across the country.

Agriculture

  • In 2012, agricultural exports reached a record $145.4 billion – an increase of 38 percent from 2011, helping to support more than almost 925,000 jobs on and off the farm. This increase was achieved while farmers weathered the worst drought in decades.
  • The agricultural trade surplus in 2012 also reached a record of $42.2 billion.
  • China became the largest market for U.S. agricultural exports in 2012 at $26 billion, a 38 percent increase over last year backed by strong sales of soybeans, cotton, and corn.  U.S. agricultural exports to China were just $8.3 billion in 2007.
  • In 2012, agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico also reached a record $39.5 and comprised 28 percent of all agricultural exports. [2]
  • The primary driver of U.S. agricultural exports in 2012 was soybeans.  U.S. exports of soybeans increased from $17.6 billion in 2011 to $24.7 billion – a 41 percent increase.  Export volume also increased significantly by 27 percent in 2012, as U.S. soybean producers capitalized on weaker South American competition, strong Chinese demand, and higher prices.

EXPORT SUCCESSES:  COUNTRY AND REGION SPOTLIGHTS

  • The United States reached record levels of exports for 2012 with more than 70 trading partners, including major emerging markets and 11 FTA partners (Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Jordan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Oman, Panama, and Peru).
  • U.S. merchandise exports to Canada and Mexico achieved record levels in 2012.

Emerging Markets

  • The United States achieved record levels of goods exports in 2012 to the major emerging markets of Brazil ($43.7 billion), China ($110.6 billion), India ($22.3 billion), Russia ($10.7 billion) and South Africa ($7.6 billion). In fact, despite lagging growth in these countries, exports to Brazil, India, China, and South Africa have grown by 60 percent (or $73 billion) since 2009.

 China

    • China has accounted for about 10 percent of the total U.S. goods export increase in 2012. In fact, for the second year in a row, exports to China passed the $100 billion mark, totaling $110.6 billion, a 59 percent increase from 2009.
    • SME exporters are sharing in this success in exporting to China.  After Canada and Mexico, China was the third most important market by goods export value for U.S. SMEs in 2011.

Russia

  •  
    • U.S. goods exports to Russia reached record levels in 2012–$10.7 billion. 
    • Major sectors for U.S. export growth to Russia in 2012 included aircraft, motor vehicles and parts, and bovine animals.
    • Russia became a Member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in August 2012 and, as of December 21, 2012, the WTO agreement applies between the United States and Russia.  American businesses and workers now will be able to benefit from improved market access for U.S. exports of goods and services, and Russia must abide by a system of established, enforceable, multilateral trade rules.
    • The United States has already, on a number of occasions, used the WTO Committee system to raise concerns about Russia’s implementation of its WTO obligations and to seek to enforce Russia’s market access commitments.

 Sub-Saharan Africa

  • U.S. goods trade to and from sub-Saharan Africa has tripled over the past decade.
  • The International Monetary Fund has estimated economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa will be 5.8 percent in 2013 5.7 percent in 2014.
  • That’s why in June 2012, the President issued the U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa, committing the United States to elevate our efforts to spur economic growth, trade, and investment in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • The administration launched the Doing Business in Africa (DBIA) Campaign in November 2012 to support the President’s vision and help U.S. businesses and farmers take advantage of the many export and investment opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa.  The DBIA Campaign reflects an unprecedented, whole-of-government approach to increase the level of U.S. trade promotion to the region and expand the availability of trade financing for U.S.-Africa trade.

Free Trade Agreement Partners

In 2012, the United States entered into trade agreements with three new partner countries: Colombia, Panama, and South Korea after concerted efforts to ensure the agreements better serve American workers and businesses and better reflect American values. As a result, the United States now has FTAs in effect with 20 countries, and these agreements helped to bolster U.S. exports throughout 2012. 

  • Exports to these 20 countries represented nearly half of all U.S. goods exports in 2012. 
  • In 2012, U.S. goods exports to FTA partners grew nearly twice as fast as exports to the rest of the world.
  • SMEs stand to benefit from new FTAs.  Even in the year prior to the entry into force of the U.S. FTAs with South Korea and Colombia. [3]  SME exports to these dynamic markets were increasing faster than the national average of 14 percent.
  • The known value of merchandise exports from U.S. SMEs to South Korea were up 22 percent in 2011 compared to the previous year.  Known merchandise SME exports to Colombia in 2011 were up 24 percent.
  • Since SMEs are typically less able than larger enterprises to deal with burdensome customs procedures, non-transparent regulatory regimes and other barriers to market access, SMEs stand to benefit even more from the lowering of these barriers achieved by the FTAs.

Korea

  • The United States-Korea trade agreement, in force as of March 15, 2012, provides significant new access for exports of U.S. goods and services to Korea’s $1 trillion economy.  Once fully implemented, it is estimated that this agreement will support at least 70,000 American jobs.
  • The trade agreement with South Korea sought to level the playing field for U.S. exports by reducing Korea’s high tariffs on manufactured goods and agricultural products, opening its $530 billion services market, as well as addressing non-tariff barriers.
  • As of the first anniversary of the entry into force of the United States-Korea trade agreement, significant benefits already are accruing to American businesses and workers.
  • Notable U.S. export increases occurred in the transportation sector, which experienced a 24 percent increase to $5 billion; sales of “Detroit 3” cars in Korea increased 18 percent, and overall U.S. passenger vehicle exports to Korea increased 48 percent.
  • Exports of private services–such as legal services, and travel services, and royalties and licensing fees for innovative American products have seen significant increases.
  • U.S. exports of a large number of American agricultural products including fruits, nuts, juices, and wine, also have seen significant increases as well.
  • In 2012, U.S. exports of machinery and other capital goods to Korea  also grew tremendously, which includes exports of aerospace products and parts, semiconductors, industrial machinery, pharmaceuticals and medicines, motor vehicles, and other general purpose machinery.
  • All of which helps to bring home the agreement’s promise to boost exports that support American jobs.

Colombia

  •  
    • The trade agreement with Colombia, in force as of May 15, 2012, is providing new access for U.S. exports to the third-largest economy in Central and South America, and one of our most important strategic partners. Once the agreement is fully implemented, it is estimated that it will support thousands of additional American jobs.
    • In 2012, U.S. goods exports to Colombia reached record levels–$16.4 billion.
    • Export growth to Colombia was led by increases in exports of petroleum and coal products, aerospace products and parts, communications equipment, and architectural and structural metal products.
    • Since the agreement has been in force (May 2012) to March 2013, U.S. goods exports to Colombia totaled $15.9 billion, up 20 percent from May 2011 through March 2012.
    • In terms of agricultural exports, Colombia was already the second largest purchaser of U.S. agricultural products in South America, but the improved access afforded by the trade agreement has opened the market even further. From May 2012 through March 2013, U.S. exports of agricultural products to Colombia were up nearly 62 percent from the comparable preceding 11-month period.

Panama

  •  
    • In addition, the new trade agreement with Panama, in force as of October 31, 2012, is providing access to one of the fastest growing economies in Latin America.
    • In 2012, U.S. goods exports to Panama also reached record levels–$9.9 billion. 
    • Export growth to Panama was led by increases in exports of petroleum and coal products, communications equipment, agricultural and construction machinery, and computer equipment. 
  • For the first five months since the Panama trade agreement has been in force (November 2012–March 2013), U.S. goods exports to Panama increased by more than $770 million, nearly 20 percent, compared to the same previous time frame (November 2011 – March 2013).  Total two-way goods trade between the United States and Panama grew by $820 million, roughly 21 percent, over the same time periods. 

EXPORT SUCCESSES AT THE SMALL BUSINESS AND LOCAL LEVEL

Small Businesses

  • Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have played a critical role in driving record export growth. 
  • A record 295,000 U.S. SMEs exported goods in 2011, accounting for 98 percent of all identified exporters and helping demonstrate the export potential of small businesses. [4]
  • In 2011, SMEs accounted for 33 percent of the overall value of U.S. merchandise exports–up from 27 percent nine years ago.
  • The Administration has focused its efforts on increasing the number of U.S. SME exporters and making it easier for them to access federal export assistance. We’re working to accomplish this by expanding access to small business trade financing and ensuring the most efficient delivery of services to small businesses.
  • The Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank helped more than 3,300 small businesses expand their export sales in 2012.  More than 650 small businesses worked with the Ex-Im Bank for the first time in 2012, and Ex-Im authorized a record amount in export financing for small businesses: 6.1 billion. Ex-Im estimates 85 percent of Bank transactions benefit small businesses.
  • From the launch of the NEI through 2012, the Small Business Administration (SBA) backed more than 2,400 loans to 3,500 small businesses through its financing programs, supporting a combined $3.4 billion in small business sales during that period.
  • All federal agencies involved in export financing collaborate to ensure small businesses experience a no-wrong-door approach and easily receive information about the financing that fits their needs.
  • The Obama administration is committed to ensuring that SME exporters are aware of export opportunities and federal resources that are readily available to help them increase exports, establish a foothold abroad, compete on a level playing field, diversify their markets, and support additional good-paying American jobs.

States and Metropolitan Areas

  • The continued growth of exports from cities and communities across the country are supporting additional American jobs and helping grow our economy.
  • 29 states set new records for export sales in 2012.
  • In total, 35 states achieved merchandise export growth in 2012, and 20 of those states experienced growth of at least five percent or more. Eleven states experienced double-digit growth.
  • Cities across the United States play a critical role in fueling national export growth. Exports from U.S. metropolitan areas make up 88 percent of the U.S. total merchandise exports.
  • Metropolitan area exports increased nearly 40 percent since 2009 to total $1.31 trillion in 2011.
  • Eleven metropolitan areas exported merchandise worth more than $25 billion in merchandise in 2011. One hundred and fifty U.S. metropolitan areas exported more than $1 billion in merchandise in 2011.
  • The U.S. Government is leveraging its interagency field network and partners, such as the Brookings Institute Metropolitan Export Initiative, to ensure cities and states have the tools they need to incorporate local export promotion into their economic development and long-term planning.
  • Note:  Specific data for states and metropolitan areas can be accessed at: http://www.trade.gov/mas/ian/statereports/ and http://www.trade.gov/mas/ian/metroreport/.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE

  • Export Counseling and Advocacy: Since the launch of the NEI in January 2010, the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA) has helped more than 16,000 U.S. companies achieve a verified export sale for a total of $164 billion in exports supported.  In 2012 alone, the Commercial Service helped U.S. companies achieve $63.3 billion in exports, supporting more than 310,000 U.S. jobs.  In 2012, 5,200 American companies working with ITA’s U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service – including more than 4,000 small- and medium-sized enterprises–were able to export for the first time or increase their exports by selling to new markets.  The Commercial Service, ITA’s trade promotion arm, works in more than 70 countries to connect U.S. businesses with buyers overseas.  Through Partnership Posts, the Department of State delivers Commercial Service branded support services in an additional 60 countries. 
    • Advocacy Center: The Commerce Department’s Advocacy Center serves to level the playing field on behalf of U.S. companies competing for international government contracts.  From 2010 through 2012, the Advocacy Center coordinated an interagency group in support of the National Export Initiative to assist hundreds of businesses win foreign government contracts totaling approximately $112 billion in U.S export content.  In 2012, advocacy wins totaled approximately $36.6 billion in U.S. export content, almost double the amount in 2010.  By instituting an aggressive new client outreach program, the Advocacy Center has nearly doubled the number of active cases from 326 on January 1, 2010, to 657 at the end of 2012, operating at an all-time record level. Agencies throughout the federal government are coordinated and engaged in the Advocacy effort – for example, the Department of State assisted with more than $2.5 billion worth of deals in the fourth quarter of 2012 alone.
  • Export Financing: Ex-Im Bank provides financing for U.S. businesses and their customers in foreign markets where the private sector is not readily willing or able to provide financing.  During fiscal year 2012, Ex-Im supported about 255,000 U.S. jobs and reported a fourth-straight record-breaking year with $35.7 billion in authorizations and more than $50 billion in sales supported. During the past four years, Ex-Im has supported nearly 1 million jobs, all at no cost to the American taxpayer. 
  • Financing for SMEs: Since the launch of the NEI, SBA has trained 273 Small Business Development Center (SBDC) counselors across the country to counsel small businesses new to exporting.  An additional 136 SBDC counselors have achieved advanced Certified Global Business Professional accreditation.  SBA also has trained more than 11,000 loan officers in SBA’s export financing programs; significantly increased the number of commercial lenders active in its Export Working Capital, International Trade Loan and Export Express programs; and provided financing to more than 3,500 small business exporters.
  • Export growth from U.S. investments:  When American companies establish a direct physical presence overseas, U.S. exports often follow that investment.  The Overseas Private Investment Corporation has assisted in this process, and OPIC-supported projects have resulted in more than $2.1 billion in U.S. exports to developing countries from fiscal years 2010 to 2012.
  • Global Business Solutions: In an effort to ensure there is no wrong door within the federal government to help SME exporters, the Export-Import Bank, SBA, Foreign Agricultural Service, and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation are collaborating to create U.S. government financing packages to meet the need of exporters and lenders alike.
  • Opening the World to U.S. Businesses: Since the launch of the NEI, the Department of Commerce has coordinated 135 trade missions to 55 countries with more than 1,463 companies participating. These companies have secured more than $22 billion so far in export sales as a direct result of these trade missions. From 2010 through 2012, USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service has led 164 agribusinesses on Agribusiness Trade Missions, resulting in $38 million in sales, though numerous other negotiations remain ongoing.
  • Bringing Foreign Buyers to the United States
    • Since the launch of the NEI, the ITA’s International Buyer Program has recruited over 38,000 foreign buyers to visit major U.S. trade shows and directly connect with U.S. companies.  The amount generated by export successes attributed to this program totals more than $2.3 billion so far. 
    • The U.S. government also has brought foreign buyers to the United States through reverse trade missions, allowing buyers to observe the design, manufacture, and operation of U.S. equipment and services.  The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) has consistently increased its investment in reverse trade missions, supporting 79 missions that connected more than 450 foreign buyers with 3,400 U.S. company representatives from January 2010 to December 2012. 
  • Opening Markets through Trade Agreements: The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has negotiated, put into effect, and enforced trade agreements, eliminating or reducing other countries’ tariffs and other trade barriers, making it easier for American businesses of all sizes to export, supporting additional high-paying jobs, and helping to grow the U.S. economy. 
  • The United States has negotiated and put into effect free trade agreements with 20 different countries.  The United States is working with its FTA partners to monitor the operation and implementation of these agreements, which provide improved market access opportunities for U.S. exporters.
  • Our 2013 trade agenda builds on these successes. We have laid out a bold strategy to boost further our exports as we continue to pursue greater economic growth and support more jobs.  In addition to launching the Trade in Services Agreement negotiations (as described above under “Services”) and negotiating improved market access in Russia for U.S. exports of goods and services (as described above under “Emerging Markets”, we are undertaking comprehensive trade negotiations focusing on Asia-Pacific and Europe:
    • The United States is negotiating with Asia-Pacific nations an ambitious, state-of-the-art Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement that will create significant new opportunities to increase U.S. exports that support higher-paying jobs in the United States.  The Asia-Pacific region includes some of the world’s most-dynamic economies and is already a key destination for U.S. manufactured goods, agricultural products, and services accounting in 2012 for more than 60 percent of U.S. industrial goods exports and nearly three-quarters of U.S. total agricultural exports.
    • Canada and Mexico’s October 2012 entry into the TPP negotiations will generate even further opportunities for U.S. export growth, allow U.S. companies to leverage their existing North American supply chains by exporting goods to other TPP countries, and help fulfill President Obama’s pledge to improve NAFTA.
    • The United States announced on April 12, 2013 that we have concluded bilateral consultations with Japan on its entry into TPP negotiations.  Those discussions focused on Japan’s readiness to meet the TPP’s high standards and to address specific bilateral issues of concern in the automotive and insurance sectors, as well as other non-tariff measures that Japan maintains.
    • As a result, with a consensus agreement among the current TPP members reached on April 21, the United States is pleased to welcome Japan’s participation in the TPP negotiations, pending completion of each TPP member’s respective domestic processes.  These are the same steps followed when Canada and Mexico joined the negotiations last year. 
    • Japan’s participation will help deliver significant economic benefits to the United States, Japan, and the entire Asia-Pacific region, further distinguishing TPP as the most promising platform for a Free Trade Area of the Asia- Pacific. 
    • Later this year, the administration plans to launch negotiations with the European Union (EU) on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement, a comprehensive trade and investment agreement that will seek to make the U.S.-EU economic relationship, already the world’s largest, an even stronger driver of U.S. trade, growth and competitiveness.  A U.S.-EU agreement that achieves ambitious reciprocal market opening in goods, services, and investment, and that enhances the compatibility of regulatory regimes, could generate new business and employment by significantly expanding trade and investment opportunities on both sides of the Atlantic; pioneer rules and disciplines that address challenges to global trade and investment that have grown in importance in recent years; and further strengthen the extraordinarily close strategic partnership between the United States and Europe.
    • The Obama Administration reached a landmark agreement by Leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) on a commercially and environmentally meaningful APEC List of Environmental Goods, on which APEC economies will cut tariffs to 5 percent or less by 2015.  This marks the first time that trade negotiations have produced a list of environmental goods for tariff cuts.  More than $1 billion in U.S. exports of these goods currently face tariffs above five percent in the Asia-Pacific region; thus, the tariff cuts on these products will contribute significantly to the Obama administration’s goal to double exports by the end of 2014.
  • Trade Agreements Compliance Program: The Department of Commerce’s Trade Agreements Compliance Program actively monitors trade agreement operation, market access conditions, and intellectual property rights protection; investigates problems; and engages in commercial diplomacy with foreign governments to seek removal or mitigation of foreign trade barriers adversely affecting U.S. exports and investment, in a commercially-meaningful timeframe.  Since the inception of the NEI, the Program has raised with foreign governments more than 980 complaints regarding compliance issues and market access cases challenging government-imposed barriers in markets large and small, and successfully influenced foreign governments to remove more than 400 specific non-tariff barriers affecting a broad range of industries.  More than 37 percent of these cases have been undertaken to support SMEs.
  • Interagency Trade Enforcement Center: In February 2012, President Obama signed an Executive Order creating a new Interagency Trade Enforcement Center (ITEC) to enhance the administration’s ability to aggressively challenge other countries’ unfair trade practices that affect U.S. exports, as well as imports into the United States.  The ITEC has gotten off to a strong start, enlisting staff with a variety of substantive and language expertise from numerous government agencies to enhance the United States’ ability to enforce our trade rights and providing critical assistance in the launch of several WTO disputes.
  • Enforcement:  Through vigorous enforcement of our rights under trade agreements, the administration has ensured that more Americans saw the benefits promised by those pacts.  Such vigorous enforcement helps American farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, and service providers remain globally competitive even in today’s difficult economic environment.  USTR has been very active in pursuing enforcement of our trade rights under various agreements affecting a variety of sectors and industries. Specific enforcement wins and initiatives include:
  • Winning at the WTO against EU subsidies to Airbus, and initiating compliance proceedings due to the EU’s failure to comply to date.  EU compliance would result in more opportunities for U.S. workers and let our aircraft manufacturers compete on a more level playing field.
  • Challenging various trade restrictive measures applied by Argentina to all goods imports, including the broad use of non-transparent import licensing requirements that have the effect of unfairly restricting U.S. exports.  This dispute will protect the rights of American companies and their workers to sell their products without such burdensome restrictions.
  • Prevailing, in February 2012, in a challenge to China’s export restraints on raw material inputs for the steel, aluminum, and chemicals sectors and initiating a follow-on challenge in March 2012 to China’s export restraints on rare earths, tungsten, and molybdenum–key inputs for the clean energy and other industrial sectors.  Both of these disputes assert the rights of American manufacturers and workers to a level playing field with regard to the market for the downstream products at issue.
  • Winning a WTO challenge in August 2012 against Chinese restrictions and requirements pertaining to electronic payment services (EPS) for payment card transactions and the suppliers of those services that discriminate against U.S. EPS suppliers. The outcome confirms American credit and debit card companies’ right to fair access to China’s market for EPS.
  • Prevailing in a case challenging China’s application of antidumping and countervailing duties on American grain-oriented electrical steel (GOES).  This dispute will help U.S. steel companies and workers compete on a level playing field for sales of their specialty steel products and holds China accountable for failing to abide by its substantive and procedural WTO obligations.
  • Initiating, in September 2012, a WTO dispute challenging an export subsidies program that appears to provide extensive export-contingent subsidies to auto and auto parts enterprises in China that severely distort markets. This dispute will protect the right of U.S. auto and auto parts companies and U.S. workers to compete on a more level playing field.
  • Challenging Indonesia’s non-automatic import licensing requirements for horticultural products and animals and animal products that have the effect of unfairly restricting U.S. agricultural exports. This dispute will protect the rights of U.S. farmers and ranchers to sell their products without these market access barriers.
  • Launching a WTO dispute, in February 2013, challenging domestic content requirements under India’s national solar program that prevent companies in India from using American solar equipment. This dispute will give American workers and manufacturers an equal opportunity to sell their high-quality products in India’s booming solar market.
  • Investing in Infrastructure: The U.S. Department of Transportation is making it easier for American companies to export goods and services to consumers around the globe through its TIGER–Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery–competitive general infrastructure grant program.  Through four rounds of TIGER grants, the administration has invested $953 million in U.S. freight transportation infrastructure. TIGER grant awards have gone to 50 freight-related projects on significant freight corridors, including rail, port and highway projects.  More than a third of that funding–$354 million–went to 25 U.S. port projects from coast to coast. These freight-related projects will help speed delivery of products from American factories, farms, and businesses to customers across the United States and around the world. The Department of State also hosted an Infrastructure Best Practices Exchange with the five countries participating in the Lower Mekong Initiative (Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos). This two-day event brought together eight U.S. government agencies, representatives from the five regional governments, and nearly 100 private sector business representatives to ensure U.S. firms can engage effectively in infrastructure development in these markets with significant growth potential.
  • Assistance to Minority Businesses: The Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency has a long history of promoting the growth and competitiveness of minority-owned enterprises, which are twice as likely to export than non-minority owned firms. Through its network of 40 centers across the country, MBDA is engaging businesses in minority communities to leverage their cultural and ancestral ties in order to start or continue exporting. 
  • Export.govIn January 2013, the International Trade Administration began previewing New.Export.Gov, which streamlines assistance, matching information to an exporters needs. At New.Export.Gov, exporters can join communities of trade experts and exporters to get the latest information, create their own profiles, and get quick answers to their questions, among other enhanced services. For general business assistance, U.S. companies can visit www.BusinessUSA.gov.


[1] Motor vehicles and parts consists of NAICS 3361, 3362, 3363.

[2] Country- and industry-specific data is based on domestic exports only.

[3] SME export data to Panama in 2011 is not currently available.

[4] More than 302,000 U.S. companies exported goods in 2011.