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.
Ocean transport carries more U.S. international merchandise than air cargo, trucks, railroads, and pipelines combined. This new partnership with America’s seaports will expand U.S. exports through increased education and outreach to U.S. businesses, creating a win/win situation for everyone.
The partnership will assist U.S. seaports leverage federal and local resources to help small- and medium-sized firms to achieve export sales. The AAPA and the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration will help interested ports develop and host industry-led workshops, seminars, and other events that provide exporters with a basic knowledge of export requirements.
More than 75 percent of U.S. merchandise trade by volume – and more than 36 percent by value – leaves the United States by water making U.S. seaports a critical component of our national and global economy..
For more information about the new seaports partnership, please visit www.export.gov/ports .