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

Remarks at UPS Global Operations Center, Louisville, Kentucky

Printer-friendly version

AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

CONTACT OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS

202-482-4883

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke
Remarks at UPS Global Operations Center, Louisville, Kentucky

Jerry, thank you so much for that introduction, and for sharing your experience with our local Export Assistance Center here in Louisville.

CECO’s story is a textbook example of how the private sector can work collaboratively with the U.S. government to grow our exports.   

Here you’ve got a company with world-class air pollution control technology – the type of technology that countries around the world are clamoring for. 

And the Commerce department is opening doors by facilitating credit and by connecting CECO with new customers and partners.

This is the type of success we want to duplicate hundreds and thousands of times over all across America as part of President Obama's National Export Initiative, which aims to double American exports over the next five years.

And there's no question that a lot of those growing exports will be coming through the facility we are gathered in today.

UPS is a longtime and valued partner of the Commerce Department. 

In fact, last year they partnered with our U.S. Commercial Service on 65 export promotion activities like trade shows, seminars and newsletters that reached over one million U.S. businesses.

Recently, we have expanded our partnership, with something called the New Market Exporter Initiative, where UPS will join with Commerce to help existing exporters identify new markets.

The rationale behind this program is simple.  Companies that are already exporting can more quickly scale up their exports than a company that has never sold to a foreign market.  That's going to lead to more immediate job creation.

And there is so much untapped potential.  Consider the fact that less than one percent of America’s 30 million companies export. 

And of U.S. companies that do export, 58 percent export to only one country. 

Under the New Market Exporter Initiative, UPS has already identified over 7,000 customers as potential candidates to expand their export sales through U.S. Department of Commerce assistance.

This partnership with UPS is just one of many initiatives the Commerce Department, and other agencies throughout the federal government, are taking under the National Export Initiative, or NEI.

The NEI is an unprecedented effort, and it was designed with one overriding goal in mind:

To put Americans back to work in jobs that provide security, dignity and a sense of hope for the future.

Consider that over one in three manufacturing jobs and almost one in five agricultural jobs are tied directly to exports.  These are good jobs that provide good wages. . . .

. . . The type of jobs we need a lot more of.

And with traditional drivers of American economic growth like consumer spending facing headwinds, it has never been more important to connect U.S. businesses to the 95 percent of the world's consumers who live outside our borders

Let me just briefly explain how the NEI is going to help grow exports and create jobs.

Number one is expanding the U.S. government's export promotion efforts in all its forms.

This can mean a lot of different things.

It can be:

  • Commerce Department officials doing the tough shoe leather work to find a company new customers in Brazil;
  • Agriculture Department personnel helping a farmer navigate local rules and regulations as he tries to sell his wheat into Germany; or
  • State Department officials making sure a U.S. company gets a fair shake for a government procurement contract in China.

To put it another way, prior to the NEI, export promotion may have been a “some of the time” focus for many U.S. cabinet agencies and departments.

The NEI makes it an “all the time focus.”

The NEI is also going to help improve access to credit, especially for small- and medium-sized businesses that want to export.

In fact, the Export-Import Bank has already more than doubled its loan authorizations in the first half of the current fiscal year over the same period last year; growing from $5.9 billion to $13.2 billion.

Finally, under the NEI, we’re going to increase the government's focus on knocking down barriers that prevent U.S. companies from getting free and fair access to foreign markets.

The American people can feel confident that when we’re party to an agreement that gives foreign countries the privilege of free and fair access to our domestic market, we are treated the same.

From the day I joined the Commerce Department last year, we identified growing American exports as one of our key priorities.

But when President Obama announced the NEI, it kicked our activities into overdrive.

Since the NEI was announced earlier this year:

  • Our commercial service officers stationed around the world have helped more than 2,000 companies generate $3.8 billion worth of exports;
  • Our Advocacy Center has assisted American companies competing for export opportunities and supported $11.4 billion in exports and an estimated 70,000 jobs;
  • We have led 18 trade missions with over 160 companies to 24 countries;
  • And we have knocked him down trade barriers, including reopening the Chinese market to U.S. pork and pork products; and Russian market to U.S. poultry products, which in sum, is worth $1 billion to our meat industry

And our export goals are on track.

Exports in the first quarter of 2010 rose almost 17 percent from the same period last year.  

In fact, over the last nine months, exports have contributed as much as domestic consumption to America’s growth.

Credit goes to an improving global economy and American companies that provide the best products and most sought-after services in the world.

But our companies have also been helped along by a federal government that is for the first time, fully mobilized to help them break into new markets.

I am confident we are moving in the right direction -- but I also know that this is a constant learning process.

The businesses here today have a proven track record of success in selling to foreign markets.

You know what works and what doesn't, and you know how policy cooked up in Washington is going to play out on the front lines.

So I am looking forward to hearing about the challenges you're facing in the global marketplace, and how you think the federal government can help you overcome these challenges.

Thank you.