United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk Holds Roundtable Discussions During His Trip to Maine
United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk met with Maine International Trade Center Vice President Janine Cary and other local trade stakeholders yesterday in a roundtable discussion. The group convened at The Seadog Microbrewery and Restaurant in the Bangor-area, and Ambassador Kirk answered questions on topics ranging from the National Export Initiative and the enforcement of trade agreements to the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the U.S.-Korea trade agreement.
More than a quarter of a million U.S. firms export goods, 1,390 of them right here in Maine, and 85 percent of those were small- or medium-sized firms with fewer than 500 employees. By accessing global markets through trade, Maine’s businesses can continue to be competitive and create jobs.
Today, Ambassador Kirk continued his visit in Maine, meeting with the state’s 2nd district Congressman Michael Michaud, agricultural leaders, and labor officials in another roundtable discussion. Congressman Michaud is a leader of the House Trade Working Group. As the President’s trade agenda moves forward, Ambassador Kirk continues to regularly consult with House and Senate committees of jurisdiction and with other members of Congress, including members of the House Trade Working Group. Participants gathered at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Bangor office to discuss the importance of Maine’s agricultural exports in reviving the state’s economy.
Ambassador Kirk also emphasized USTR’s dedication to enforcing our trade agreements and labor standards abroad, specifically referring to last week’s announcement that the U.S. will file a case against Guatemala under the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) for apparent violations of obligations on labor rights. This is the first labor case the United States has ever brought against a trade agreement partner. By stepping up our enforcement efforts, USTR and the Obama Administration can create a level playing field with our trade partners and support the jobs of workers here in Maine.
Ambassador Kirk speaks with participants from Thursday's roundtable at Seadog
Ambassador Kirk speaks at Friday's roundtable at USDA State Office in Bangor