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Blog - February 2010

  • 02/25/2010 1:30 PM

    Today, Deputy United States Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis gave the keynote address at the Georgetown University International Law Center's International Trade Update. Ambassador Marantis spoke about the importance of international trade, U.S. trade policy, and touched on President Obama's new National Export Initiative. Read excerpts from his speech below, and the full speech here.

    "We all see our trade policy in quiet realities of our daily lives - the jam we spread on our toast, the computers we use, the cars we drive, and the movies we see. But most importantly, I also see it the law students in the audience and at this university. The law students here are thinking about what awaits them not just at the end of their day, but at the end of their educational experience. They need jobs. They may have a spouse to support or a family to feed and clothe. With their diploma in hand, they may want to work for a big firm, help their family's business, or start their own practice. Whatever they choose, in a world more integrated and economically interdependent, their future paycheck has a good chance of depending on the international trade and economic policies this nation pursues.

    "American jobs are the driver of the Obama Administration's policies - through trade policy, health care reform, and financial reform. Creating more well-paying jobs in America is the singular focus of President Obama, every member of his Cabinet, and every official in this Administration.

    "American exports will be critical to the creation and support of new American jobs. President Obama has set a goal of doubling U.S. exports in the next five years - an increase that will support another 2 million jobs in America. Advancing new trade agreements and negotiating new market access will be central to reaching this goal as well as monitoring and enforcing the agreements we already have so that we obtain the market access benefits we have been promised. Also key is the new National Export Initiative the President announced in his State of the Union address. The President's National Export Initiative includes a newly created Export Promotion Cabinet, more funding for key export promotion programs, the mobilization of government officials to engage in export advocacy activities, the launch of export tools for small and medium sized businesses, the reduction in barriers to trade, and the opening of new markets.

    "But here again, this important trade policy is part of a greater challenge. For no policy of global economic engagement can succeed without Americans engaged with the world. No program to create jobs will succeed if students do not learn everything you can to become as competitive and knowledgeable as you can be. No nation's policy that seeks to understand and navigate international economic challenges will succeed if its citizens do not seek to understand and embrace the world and the bigger picture as well.

    "The reach of America's trade policy touches Swaziland, Malaysia, China, Indonesia, and Japan, and more than 100 other nations around the world. Our trade policy's significance touches many of the daily realities we take for granted. But trade policy's future successes begin and end with all of us - the students, the teachers, the policymakers, experts, and advocates."

  • 02/25/2010 11:05 AM

    Ambassador Kirk last night arrived in Tampa, Florida to tour the Port of Tampa and meet with local government and business leaders. During his visit to Tampa, Ambassador Kirk will have an opportunity to learn more about the largest, most diversified seaport in Florida and how a growing component of the port's business is its container trade, which links Tampa directly with Asia and providing connections across the globe and play a role in the Port of Tampa's economic success. Ambassador Kirk will also meet with Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio's Economic Development Team and participate in a small business roundtable to discuss why trade is good for the U.S. economy and how trade can help local business owners create jobs in Florida.

    Across Florida, one in nine manufacturing workers depends on exports for his or her job, and export-supported jobs accounted for an estimated one in 100 private-sector jobs in Florida. Last year, export-sector workers helped produce $4.9 billion worth of goods for shipment to Brazil, Florida's top export destination. In total, Brazil accounts for 9 percent of all Florida exports, followed by Venezuela, Canada, Mexico, and Colombia.

    Florida's leading export category is computers and electronics, which together accounted for $12.7 billion in export sales in 2008. Other top exports included transportation equipment, worth $9.2 billion, and chemical manufactures, worth $7.7 billion - all of them made by Florida workers, helping to sustain and create good-paying jobs even in the middle of an economic crisis.

    Job-creating export opportunities are not limited to one part of the state, but extended to workers all across Florida. In the first half of 2008, the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area exported $3.3 billion in goods, while the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Miami Beach metropolitan area exported $16.2 billion, and Jacksonville exported $981 million.

    Keep checking for more information on his trip.

  • 02/24/2010 6:40 PM

    As part of his visit to Florida, Ambassador Kirk joined Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer to tour the University of Central Florida (UCF) Center for Emerging Media today. The Center for Emerging Media brings together teachers, students and professionals in a creative environment focused on strengthening the existing industries in Orlando - digital media, film, military simulation and the emerging bio-medical cluster. USTR is working to protect intellectual property like that created at the Center for Emerging Media through enforcement of trade agreements and the promotion of intellectual property laws. According to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the U.S. motion picture industry has a $13.6 billion trade surplus and is responsible for 2.5 million American jobs (2007 data). MPAA reports that the motion picture and television industry comprises more than 115,000 businesses around the country; 81 percent of which employ fewer than 10 people.

    UCF's Center for Emerging Media features one of the largest motion-capture studios on the East Coast. During Ambassador Kirk's tour a USTR staffer tried on a motion-capture suit as part of a filmmaking demonstration. The suit records actions of actors allowing filmmakers to capture the movement and create character models in two or three-dimension character animations.

    See the picture of the suit and how the motion-capture process looks on camera below.

    USTR Staffer in Motion-Capture Suit

    Ambassador Kirk is in Florida this week to meet with local business leaders and talk about how trade can help support well-paying jobs through the increase of exports. He gave a keynote address this morning at the Retail Industry Leaders Association Logistics Conference, and tomorrow he will tour the Port of Tampa. Check back at for more information on his trip.

  • 02/24/2010 4:06 PM

    President Obama spoke to the Business Roundtable today about the importance of exporting more of our goods overseas and opening new markets. Read the excerpts of his speech below, and check back for video later.

    "...So in all of these areas -- in infrastructure, in research, in education, and in government reform -- we're making investments that will lead to new products and services that will help America compete on the world stage. It means increases in productivity and increases in efficiency, and that's where we're going to need to be competitive.

    Now, winning that competition also means we need to export more of our goods and services to other nations -- something that supports more jobs here in the United States of America. Unfortunately, the federal government has not done a great job advocating for companies' exports abroad.

    That's why, in the State of the Union, I set a goal of doubling our exports over the next five years, an increase that will support 2 million jobs. And to help me meet this goal, Gary Locke recently announced that we're launching a National Export Initiative where the federal government will significantly ramp up its advocacy on behalf of U.S. exporters. We're substantially expanding the trade financing available to exporters, including small and medium-sized companies. And while always keeping our security needs in mind, we're going to reform our export controls to eliminate unnecessary barriers. So some of the sectors where we have a huge competitive advantage in high-tech areas, we're going to be able to send more of those products to markets overseas. And we're going to pursue a more strategic and aggressive effort to open up new markets for our goods.

    Now, I know that trade policy has been one of those longstanding divides between business and labor, between Democrats and Republicans. To those who would reflexively support every and any trade deal, I would say that our competitors have to play fair and our agreements have to be enforced. We can't simply cede more jobs or markets to unfair trade practices. At the same time, to those who would reflexively oppose every trade agreement, they need to know that if America sits on the sidelines while other nations sign trade deals, we will lose the chance to create jobs on our shores. In other countries, whether China or Germany or Brazil, they've been able to align the interests of business, workers, and government around trade agreements that open up new markets for them and create new jobs for them. We must do the same. And I'm committed to making that happen.

    That's why we launched the Trans-Pacific Partnership to strengthen our trade relations with Asia, the fastest-growing market in the world. That's why we will work to resolve outstanding issues so that we can move forward on trade agreements with key partners like South Korea and Panama and Colombia. And that's why we will try to conclude a Doha trade agreement -- not just any agreement, but one that creates real access to key global markets."

  • 02/24/2010 3:58 PM

    In her first official visit to Brussels, the "capital" of the European Union (EU), Deputy United States Trade Representative Miriam Sapiro met on February 22 with a wide range of senior officials from the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, with EU Member State trade officials, with representatives of U.S. and European-based companies and trade associations, and with European journalists. During the visit, she emphasized the importance of the U.S.-EU transatlantic relationship - with trade and investment flows totaling $3.3 billion per day - and explored ways in which this relationship can be strengthened. She also emphasized the Administration's commitment to a successful conclusion of the Doha Round of WTO negotiations, stressing that the agreement must be balanced and ambitious, creating new economic opportunities, trade flows and jobs.

  • 02/24/2010 1:27 PM

    This afternoon, President Obama will address Business Roundtable's 2010 First Quarter Meeting. In his remarks, the President will discuss the importance of exporting more of our goods overseas and opening new markets.

    Watch the speech live here at 1 p.m. and check back for more updates.

  • 02/24/2010 1:02 PM

    Today Ambassador Kirk will addressed the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) Logistics Conference. He spoke about how U.S. trade policy can help to create and increase export opportunities for American companies in the global marketplace and grow well-paid jobs for American workers.

    RILA is a trade association of more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.

    Read excerpts from the speech below, and the full speech here.

    "We know you depend on our trade preference programs - from GSP to ATPA to AGOA to HOPE - for critical sourcing. These preference programs expand the choices available to American industries and consumers while also promoting economic opportunities in developing countries.

    We know these programs are important to you. And we also know that it has been difficult for American companies to plan ahead when it is unclear when and how all these programs will be renewed. So we are working closely with Congress as they consider legislation on a number of these programs.

    There are, of course, many different opinions on how these programs should be run - which products and countries should be covered, and how long their benefits should last. These are all important issues. And I look forward to working with you as we move towards the renewal and reform of these programs.

    We know you are bursting with ideas. We are eager to hear them. And when we hear a good idea, we are eager to act.

    For example, when a number of U.S. textile and apparel companies, brands, and retailers - a few of them RILA members - came to USTR to ask us what they could do to support Haiti in the wake of the earthquake, we put our heads together and came up with a new program that I announced just last week. That program, called Plus One for Haiti, will encourage new growth in Haiti and support efforts to rebuild by encouraging participating companies to source at least one percent of their products from Haitian textile manufacturers.

    That program just goes to show, when we put our heads together, we can achieve the kinds of results that we can all get behind - programs that uplift American businesses and American workers and leverage the power of trade to support global development."

  • 02/24/2010 11:59 AM

    USTR and partners across the Obama Administration are working to protect intellectual property rights for American businesses and workers here at home through intellectual property laws and global enforcement.

    On Tuesday Victoria Espinel, the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, asked for your input on how to effectively shape the Federal Government's intellectual property enforcement strategy.

    Read the announcement here for more information and to submit your ideas.

  • 02/24/2010 10:41 AM

    United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk arrived in Orlando, Florida last night to give a keynote speech to the Retail Industry Leaders Association Logistics Conference. During his visit to Orlando, Ambassador Kirk will meet with Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and tour the University of Central Florida Center for Emerging Media. Ambassador Kirk will also meet with local business leaders to discuss President Obama's new National Export Initiative (NEI), how the NEI can help small businesses grow and create more jobs and how Florida can build a brighter future through exports.

    Every day in Florida, businesses are exporting home-grown oranges, custom-made plastics, electronic equipment, and a wide variety of other products to markets all over the globe. Those sales are building local opportunities from Orlando to Tallahassee and all across the Sunshine State.

    In 2008, exports of American goods totaled more than $1.2 trillion, and $54.2 billion of those exports came from Florida. That makes Florida the 5th highest exporter among the 50 states.

    More than a quarter of a million U.S. firms export goods. In 2007, more than 33,000 of them were right here in Florida, and more than 31,000 of those were small- or medium-sized firms with fewer than 500 employees. In fact, that same year small- and medium-sized businesses produced nearly two-thirds of Florida's goods exports, the highest percentage of any state.

    Read more about trade in Florida in this week's "Weekly Trade Spotlight" and check back for more information on Ambassador Kirk's trip.

  • 02/22/2010 5:36 PM

    Michigan welcomed Ambassador Ron Kirk on Friday as he visited the cities of Detroit and Warren to talk about how U.S. trade policy can support well-paying jobs in Michigan. Read some of the news coverage of his visit.

    From the Daily Tribune:

    "The Obama administration's top trade official visited Warren Friday and heard a series of disturbing stories about difficulties encountered by small businesses trying to compete overseas with companies from China, India and Russia.


    Kirk, a former Dallas mayor, said he is working with the Commerce Department to ease the path toward export deals for American firms, particularly small and medium-sized companies. The trade representative said that commerce officials, who have established a global presence, act as a "matchmaker" that pairs U.S. products with overseas customers.

    Those American business owners who doubt the impact that free trade and exporting can have on their individual enterprises should realize that 95 percent of the world's consumers live outside of the United States.

    In Michigan, exporting is a $50 billion a year industry and federal officials say that more than 500,000 Michigan workers owe their paycheck to international trade.

    Kirk, who spoke at the Tech Center forum after delivering a speech to the Detroit Economic Club, said exporting is the fastest way for small companies, such as those with 10 employees, to double or triple their income and work force."

    From Michigan Radio:

    "U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk says the country needs to export "technology and innovation" to compete in the world economy.

    Kirk spoke to small business owners and labor representatives in Warren Friday.

    Kirk was joined by Governor Granholm and Congressman Sander Levin. He talked about the need to ramp up U.S. exports, and says small businesses will play a crucial in making that happen."

  • 02/22/2010 11:52 AM

    This week, United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk is traveling in Florida. This Weekly Trade Spotlight focuses on the how trade can help support well-paying jobs in the Sunshine State.

    From Milton to Miami, hard-working Floridians are benefitting from the job creating opportunities that trade has brought them. In the agricultural sector alone, over 20,000 jobs have been created to support international demand for Florida citrus, sugar and other agricultural commodities. And over 10 percent of jobs in the Florida manufacturing sector have been created thanks to trade. In 2008, more than $54 billion dollars of goods were exported from Florida - making it the fifth highest exporting state in the nation.

    In 2007, nearly 29,000 businesses located in Florida exported their products overseas. Over 95 percent of these businesses are small- and medium-sized enterprises consisting over 500 of fewer employees. For hard-working Floridians, this figure indicates tremendous potential for more opportunities. Across America, small- and medium-sized enterprises have been a driving force in job creation.

    Over the past 20 years, small- and medium-sized enterprises have accounted for 65 percent of all new private sector jobs created in the United States. Companies like a Fort Lauderdale computer equipment manufacturer have created new jobs for more workers by finding new markets - such as Southeast Asia - for their hardware.

    Further north, a Vero Beach company is benefitting from the abundance of citrus grown throughout the region by exporting delectable oranges and grapefruits to countries in Latin America and Europe. Other companies in the Sunshine State have expanded their businesses and supported jobs for Floridians by exporting innovative technologies ranging from green energy sources to bio-technology.

    Florida's seaports are busy every day handling goods such as textiles and machinery from countries ranging from Morocco to the Malaysia. The Florida Ports Council recognizes 14 major ports throughout the state - from Tampa to Jacksonville and Pensacola, trade is thriving in Florida. At Port Everglades, over 156,000 jobs have been created to support the function of the movement of goods, generating nearly $18 billion in economic value for the state of Florida. A high percentage of Floridian exports, such as aerospace technology, manufactured goods in addition to agricultural products reach Brazil, Venezuela, Canada, Mexico, and Colombia accounting for a total of $17.7 billion dollars worth of exported goods in both North and South America.

    Foreign investment is also an essential component to Florida's economy. Nearly 250,000 Florida workers were employed thanks to foreign investment in Florida and its workers.

    The Office of the United States Trade Representative is working to ensure that Floridian families and businesses benefit from trade. Trade has the potential to create new, higher paying jobs and make goods such as groceries and school supplies cheaper for everyone. It is through the expansion of these opportunities that Florida residents can, and will, continue to benefit from trade.

  • 02/19/2010 6:35 PM

    Today Deputy United States Trade Representative Miriam Sapiro met with officials in the French Prime Minister's office and the Ministry of Economy in Paris, France. Ambassador Sapiro delivered a strong message of support for an ambitious and balanced conclusion to the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations. She also underscored common areas of interest between France and the United States, and called for closer cooperation in multilateral fora between the two longtime trading partners. Ambassador Sapiro discussed with French officials common challenges in enhancing the impact of trade on economic growth and job creation.

    During a lunch hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce and attended by representatives of firms in the information technology sector (including AT&T, Verizon, Ebay France, and Alcatel-Lucent), Ambassador Sapiro listened to industry views and answered questions on net neutrality, telecommunications market access, intellectual property rights, and data privacy.

    Ambassador Sapiro also met with Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Secretary General Angel Gurria, stressing again the U.S. commitment to a successful conclusion of the Doha Round and the need for the round to achieve significant new market access for all core areas.

    Ambassador Sapiro and Secretry General Angel Gurria
    Ambassador Sapiro with OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria.

    Ambassador Sapiro at AMCHAM in Paris
    Ambassador Sapiro meets with Industry Leaders at the American Chamber of Commerce in Paris.

  • 02/19/2010 5:34 PM

    This afternoon in Warren, Michigan, Ambassador Kirk toured the GM Tech Center with Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm and House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Chairman Sander Levin (MI-12). GM opened a large, technologically advanced vehicle battery lab on its Technical Center campus in June.

    After the tour, the Ambassador, the Governor, and the Chairman spent an hour in a roundtable discussion with International Representatives of United Auto Workers (UAW) and Regional UAW Representatives of Local 160, economic development experts, and more than a dozen Michigan small business leaders. Invited businesses manufacture everything from equipment that processes raw materials into "green" fuels to components from industrial lasers to feed, seed, and fertilizer for Michigan farms. Businesses discussed export challenges from the threat of intellectual property theft in trading partner countries to the difficulty of financing global trade efforts and navigating regulations around the world. The businesses in attendance stressed their desire to put their products in emerging markets, but said that a lack of respect for intellectual property rights in some countries forces them to retreat from exporting in order to protect their products. Ambassador Kirk emphasized USTR's commitment to safeguarding American intellectual property through efforts like the current Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) negotiations. He also responded with information about many other ways USTR and partner agencies like the Export-Import Bank and the Department of Commerce can work to break down trade barriers, solve challenges, and open markets to U.S. exports from businesses small and large.

    USTR has focused in recent months on expanding export opportunities for America's small and medium-sized businesses. You can read more on our Small Business page here at


    Ambassador Kirk in Michigan
    Ambassador Kirk and Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm (D) listen during a tour at GM's Tech Center in Warren, MI.

    Ambassador Kirk in Michigan
    Ambassador Kirk and House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Chairman Sandy Levin (MI-12) chat at GM's Tech Center.

    Ambassador Kirk in Michigan
    Governor Granholm, Ambassador Kirk, and Chairman Levin lead a roundtable discussion with small business leaders in Warren, MI.

  • 02/19/2010 2:05 PM

    As he continued his Friday visit to Detroit, Michigan, Ambassador Ron Kirk spent time speaking with students from Henry Ford High School, Lincoln Park High School, Northwood University, and Schoolcraft College before giving remarks to a distinguished audience of the Detroit Economic Club.

    Ambassador Kirk in Michigan
    Ambassador Kirk chats with Henry Ford High School students Dontee Battles (left) and Gianni Brown before speaking to the Detroit Economic Club.

    In his speech, Ambassador Kirk talked about the Administration effort to grow 2 million well-paying jobs here at home by increasing American exports to the world. He also frankly addressed concerns that many Michigan residents have about international challenges for American auto exports.

    Ambassador Kirk in Michigan
    Detroit Economic Club Chief Operating Officer Steve Grigorian (left) and Club board member Tarik S. Daoud of Long Family Auto Center in Warren, Michigan, look on as Ambassador Kirk begins his remarks.

    You can read an excerpt of Ambassador Kirk's speech now; read the full text, as prepared for delivery, here.

    "...when more Americans can do more business in more places, it creates more jobs in American cities like Detroit - and Lansing, and Grand Rapids, and Ann Arbor.

    But it is not enough to just open new markets. USTR is also charged with keeping markets open - making sure that the level playing fields and the rights we've negotiated in our global trade agreements aren't just written on paper, but are real engines of economic growth and job creation at home.

    So we are enforcing the trade rights we've negotiated for American workers. We are challenging unfair practices wherever they exist. We are working hard to keep global trade flowing smoothly despite the economic recession.


    USTR's efforts to - expand American trade opportunities through new market openings and enforcement of our rights around the world are paying off, not only for American exporters but also for the Americans who are ready and waiting to fill export-sector jobs.

    Beyond anything that this Administration does, those men and women are going to be the real success stories as we all walk out of this recession together. When those fathers and mothers come home to their families and say, "I got a job. They were hiring," we can all breathe a sigh of relief, and celebrate together.

    Trade policies that can bring jobs to American families and economic growth to our country are trade policies we can all support. At USTR, we are working for those kinds of trade policies every day."

  • 02/19/2010 12:03 PM

    Ambassador Kirk is in Detroit, Michigan today to talk about growing American jobs by increasing American exports. Last night, Ambassador Kirk had dinner with minority business owners from the Detroit community; this morning, he met with Rep. John Dingell (MI-15) and constituents, sat down with editors and writers for the Detroit Free Press, and met with Jeep CEO Mike Manley. At all of these meetings, he talked about the President's new National Export Initiative and how Michiganders can benefit from this Administration-wide jobs effort.

    Many Michiganders have jobs supported by exports. Last year, Michigan export-sector workers helped produce $24 billion worth of exports for shipment to Canada, Michigan's top export destination. In total, Canada accounts for 53 percent of all Michigan exports, followed by Mexico, Germany, Japan, and China.

    Michigan's leading export category is transportation equipment, which accounted for $21.1 billion in 2008. Other top exports included machinery manufactures, worth $4.2 billion, and chemical manufactures, worth $4 billion - all of them made by Michigan workers, and all helping to sustain and create good-paying jobs in the middle of an economic crisis.

    Job-creating export opportunities were not limited to one part of the state, but extended to workers all across Michigan. In the first half of 2008, the metropolitan area of Detroit-Warren-Livonia exported $23 billion in goods, while the metropolitan areas of Grand Rapids-Wyoming, Holland-Grand Haven, Kalamazoo-Portage, Ann Arbor, Lansing-East Lansing and Saginaw-Saginaw Township North all exported hundreds of millions of dollars worth of goods.

    For more on Michigan businesses that export, read the current "Weekly Trade Spotlight" here on Ambassador Kirk will speak about Michigan exports and efforts to increase them in remarks to the Detroit Economic Club today.

    Ambassador Kirk in Michigan
    Ambassador Kirk meets with Rep. John Dingell (MI-15) and constituents in Detroit on Friday morning.

    Ambassador Kirk in Michigan
    Ambassador Kirk is greeted in Detroit by Rep. Dingell, Dearborn Mayor Jack O'Reilly, and United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger.

    Ambassador Kirk in Michigan
    Ambassador Kirk also met today with Mike Manley, President and CEO of Jeep and Chrysler's Lead Executive for International Organization.

  • 02/18/2010 5:18 PM

    This Friday, Ambassador Kirk will be in Detroit, Michigan to talk with Wolverine State exporters about what USTR can do to help them create jobs by succeeding in the international marketplace. While in Michigan, Ambassador Kirk will meet with auto industry leaders and tour the GM Tech Center in Warren, Mich., with Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D-Mich.), Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.), and International Representatives of UAW and Regional UAW Representatives of Local 160. Following the tour, Ambassador Kirk and other participants will hold a roundtable discussion with local small business leaders.

    Already, businesses and workers across Michigan are growing exports and growing jobs - from 2004 to 2008, state exports increased by more than $9 billion to $45 billion. That made Michigan the eighth largest state exporter, and a leader in the international marketplace.

    There is no one type of Michigan exporter - from Detroit to Grand Rapids, businesses of every size and shape are succeeding in the international marketplace. In fact, of the more than 11,000 businesses exporting in Michigan, ninety percent are small- or medium-sized firms with less than 500 employees.

    In Hudsonville, one small business is manufacturing safety lighting for school buses, police, and commercial vehicles. And they sell those lights to customers across Europe, Asia and the Middle East. In Lansing, another business is producing recyclable plastic for export to Latin America and the Caribbean.

    Those businesses and others like them are supporting jobs all across the state. In fact, exports support more than 200,000 Michigan jobs just in the manufacturing sector. USTR is working hard to support those American jobs and others like them through continued market-opening efforts to help Michigan exporters succeed.

    Keep checking the USTR blog for more information on Ambassador Kirk's trip.

  • 02/18/2010 3:40 PM

    Today Ambassador Kirk spoke at the 2010 Agricultural Economic Outlook Forum at the Department of Agriculture. Ambassador Kirk higlighted the importance of agricultural exports and the new National Export Initiative.

    Ambassador Kirk and Sec Vilsack

    Ambassador Kirk at 2010 Agricultural Outlook Forum

    Read an excerpt from the speech below, and the full speech here.

    "...But today, international trade is commonplace. Almost anywhere in the world, you can walk into a store and purchase something not just from a nearby town, but from another country - household items, textiles, even food products.

    In communities around the world, families rely on food from American ranches and farms thousands of miles away. Busy Mexican mothers make tortillas from American corn. Japanese children munch on American oranges.

    And here in America, our supermarket shelves are stocked with wholesome, varied foods year-round, because we are able to import those foods from growers around the world.

    The global flow of agricultural goods - from harvesting nations to hungry families - is a valuable slice of international trade. Last calendar year, the United States exported more than $100 billion worth of agricultural products, supporting a $30 billion agricultural trade surplus.

    Now, like almost every other kind of trade, agricultural exports have suffered during the global economic downturn. But this year, American agricultural exports are expected to begin to grow again. USTR is committed to supporting that growth.

    Here's why: in his State of the Union Address, the President set a goal to support two million new American jobs by doubling American exports in the next five years. And to achieve that goal, the United States must work to increase every kind of export - from goods to services to home-grown agricultural products. Because this country can't afford to leave any jobs on the table."

  • 02/16/2010 6:24 PM

    Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Ranking Member Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) have weighed in with their support on today's announcement of the new Plus One for Haiti program. Read the release here.

  • 02/16/2010 6:14 PM

    Ambassador Kirk and Representative Dina Titus (D-NV) today toured the MAGIC Marketplace textile and apparel show in Las Vegas, Nevada today, stopping at booths highlighting products that enter the United States duty-free under preference programs such as the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity for Partnership and Engagement (HOPE II) Act and the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA).

    Ambassador Kirk also met today with more than two dozen Nevada business leaders, including small business owners and green technology innovators. In a roundtable discussion organized by the office of Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV.), Ambassador Kirk talked about President Obama's new National Export Initiative - a commitment to grow two million jobs here in the United States by doubling American exports over the next five years.

    Nevada has a positive story to tell on trade and jobs. From 2004 to 2008, Nevada more than doubled its exports, making it one of the ten fastest growing state exporters over that time. Nevada businesses export gold and copper ore, electronic processors, circuits, and aircraft parts. 2,300 Nevada firms export goods, and 2000 are small- or medium-sized firms. One in seven Nevada manufacturing workers depend on exports for their jobs, and export-supported employment accounts for one in every 100 private-sector jobs in Nevada.

  • 02/16/2010 5:54 PM

    In case you missed the Plus 1 for Haiti program announcement, read excerpts from a Reuters article regarding the initiative below, and the full article here.

    "U.S. government and industry leaders urged clothing manufacturers and retailers on Tuesday to help rebuild Haiti by importing 1 percent of their apparel production from the earthquake-ravaged country.


    Haiti's clothing sector accounted for about 75 percent of the country's exports and employed more than 25,000 Haitians before the massive earthquake on Jan. 12, which killed more than 200,000 people.

    U.S. trade officials hope a vigorous response to the "Plus 1 Percent" program would encourage investors to get Haitian clothing factories back into operation as quickly as possible.

    President Barack Obama's administration will support the program by working with U.S. and Haitian companies to remove roadblocks to Haitian apparel exports, Kirk's office said."

  • 02/16/2010 5:44 PM

    Today, in Kampala, Uganda Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis led the U.S. delegation for the United States-East African Community (EAC) Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Council meeting. The TIFA Council meeting provided a forum for advancing cooperation on trade and investment issues between the United States and the five EAC member states - Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda.

    During the TIFA meeting, Ambassador Marantis examined U.S. and EAC work on implementation of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and issues related to market access, trade capacity building, the financial sector, agricultural trade, and the business environment.

    In addition to the TIFA Council meeting, Ambassador Marantis held bilateral meetings with Ugandan government officials and Ugandan and U.S. private sector representatives to discuss ways to strengthen the U.S.-Ugandan trade relationship.

    During his visit, Ambassador Marantis delivered a well-received speech on U.S.-African trade and investment at Uganda's prestigious Makerere University. Following the speech, Ambassador Marantis held an active discussion and answer session with students and faculty from the university. The full text of the speech can be read here.

  • 02/16/2010 3:49 PM

    In Las Vegas, Nevada, this morning, Ambassador Kirk met with more than a dozen leaders of America's top textile and apparel brands and retailers. Ambassador Kirk and industry leaders discussed trade concerns for the U.S. textile and apparel sector, including ways to grow jobs in these sectors here at home, and international trade preference programs important to these companies. He also discussed the importance of U.S. exports by small and medium-sized businesses - and noted that some large companies successfully source from these American firms.

    Many of the same industry leaders accompanied Ambassador Kirk to his next event - a press conference unveiling a new program to help Haiti's economy recover through increased apparel exports. Read the USTR release with the full story of the Plus One for Haiti program here.

  • 02/16/2010 3:10 PM

    This week, United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk is traveling in Nevada. This Weekly Trade Spotlight focuses on the potential of Nevada exports.

    From Las Vegas to Carson City to Reno, Nevadans are mining, manufacturing, and growing goods for sale around the world. In fact, last year exports of gold and copper ore, electronic process, circuits, aircraft parts, and other goods totaled more than $6 billion, supporting high-quality jobs across the state.

    From 2004 to 2008, Nevada exports more than doubled. That makes the Silver State one of the ten fastest growing state exporters over that time period. And today, Nevada's exporters are continuing to seek out new opportunities for growth.

    In Eureka, one family-owned business has grown from a home operation to a globally competitive company by seizing the potential of exports. In McCarran, workers at another business make a living producing environmentally-friendly plastics for export to India, South Africa, and other global destinations. In Fish Lake Valley, Nevada farmers are growing animal feed for export to Europe and Asia. And that's just a small sampling of Nevada's global dealings.

    In fact, more than 2,300 Nevada businesses are exporters and more than 2,000 of them are small- or medium-sized enterprises. And they are keeping Nevada workers busy. In total, more than one in every 100 private-sector jobs in Nevada is supported by exports.

    The bottom line is that Nevada exports and exporters can help to support new jobs and new growth all across the state. And during his trip to Nevada, USTR Ron Kirk is meeting with Nevada business leaders and green technology innovators to figure out how the Office of the United States Trade Representative can support that goal. So stay tuned, and check out USTR's blog for updates.

  • 02/16/2010 12:39 PM

    United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk is in Las Vegas, Nevada to visit the 2010 Magic Marketplace.  MAGIC is the preeminent trade event in the international fashion industry, hosting global buyers from every U.S. state and over 80 countries, including  sellers of men's, women's and children's apparel, footwear, accessories and sourcing resources.  It is expected that over 90,000 attendees from every state and over 80 countries will be present this year representing over 3,500 companies and 4,800 brands.  Attendees at MAGIC represent over $195 billion in U.S. consumer apparel sales and Private label marketers with $35 billion in purchasing power.

    During his time in Las Vegas, Ambassador Kirk is meeting with leaders of major U.S. brands and retailers and will announce a new initiative aimed at helping Haiti recover economically through increased apparel exports.  Ambassador Kirk will also visit a booth dedicated to manufacturers who have factories in Haiti.

    Ambassador Kirk is also meeting with Nevada business leaders and green technology innovators, in part to discuss President Obama's new National Export Initiative. USTR's role in this new initiative will focus on removing trade barriers to help American businesses double exports in five years. By increasing exports, American businesses can hire more workers and support well-paying jobs.

    You can read more about the National Export Initiative and USTR's role here.

  • 02/16/2010 11:23 AM

    Today's hearing on the petitioned CNL waiver for certain tires from Thailand will begin at 3:00 pm, instead of at the previously scheduled time of 1:30 pm.

    Because of the two-hour delay in opening today, the International Trade Commission (ITC) will not start its hearing until 11 am. Since the witnesses participating in the ITC hearing are the same as those testifying in the hearing at USTR, USTR will delay the opening of the USTR hearing until 3pm.

    The updated start time for each panel is:

    3:00p: Hearing starts
    3:10p: Petitioners' panel starts
    4:30p: 10-minute break
    4:40p: United Steel Workers

    The hearing at USTR will be in rooms 1 and 2, 1724 F Street NW and is anticipated to conclude by 5:30 pm.


  • 02/12/2010 7:21 PM

    This morning, United States Trade Representative was interviewed by José López Zamorano, host of Epicentro Politico. During the interview, Ambassador Kirk and José talked about his recent trip to Mexico, meeting with Mexico's Secretary of the Economy Gerardo Ruiz Mateos, Mexican trucks, the importance of the U.S.-Mexico trading relationship, and NAFTA. Epicentro Politico is a weekly, national Spanish-language radio program that focuses on news analysis and political debate. It is part of the Hispanic Communications Network and is the only Spanish-language news program currently being aired on both commercial and public radio stations throughout the country.

    Click here to hear the entire interview.

  • 02/12/2010 2:51 PM

    House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Chairman Sander Levin has weighed in on this week's signing of a U.S.-Canada government procurement agreement. Read the release here.

  • 02/12/2010 12:41 PM

    Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis concluded his two day visit to the Kingdom of Swaziland by examining the competitive challenges Swaziland's textile and apparel industry face when exporting to the United States under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

    Today, Ambassador Marantis toured a Swazi-owned textile factory, Far East, and conducted a roundtable with the Swaziland Investment Promotion Authority, representatives of Swaziland's textile and apparel sector, and Technoserve - an NGO building trade capacity. Ambassador Marantis also visited Swazi Candle, which exports candles to the United States under AGOA.

    He now heads to Uganda to meet with trade ministers and other officials of the five East African Community (EAC) countries.

    Ambassador Marantis in Swaziland

    Ambassador Marantis in Swaziland

    Ambassador Marantis, AUSTR Florie Liser and Ambassador Earl Irving meet with Prime Minister Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini and Minister of Commerce is Ms. Jabulile Mashwama.

    Ambassador Marantis in Swaziland

    Ambassador Marantis in Swaziland

    Ambassador Marantis, AUSTR Florie Liser and Ambassador Earl Irving visited Eswatini Kitchen and were met by the Managing Director Pablo Garrido.

  • 02/11/2010 2:58 PM

    On the first day of his visit to the Kingdom of Swaziland, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis underscored President Obama's desire to use trade as a means of promoting economic development in sub-Saharan Africa.

    With Swazi Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini, Marantis discussed how Swaziland could make better use of its trade preferences under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which provides duty free access for 97 percent of Africa's exports to the United States. He also underscored the importance of making progress in meeting AGOA eligibility criteria, particularly internationally recognized worker rights. Ambassador Marantis also met with Swaziland's Trade Minister Jabulile Mashwama, members of the U.S. and Swazi business communities, and representatives of Swaziland's labor groups.

    Ambassador Marantis also visited Eswatini Kitchens, which produces jams, chutneys, and chilies for export to the United States under AGOA. Eswatini is a highly successful recipient of technical assistance from USAID's Southern Africa Trade Hub. The tour of the plant, which employs disadvantaged Swazi women, was an opportunity for Ambassador Marantis to see AGOA in action.

  • 02/10/2010 10:24 PM

    Due to snow-related closures two changes have been made in the upcoming Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) events:

    The February 11, 2010, public hearing on the competitive need limitation (CNL) waiver petition concerning tires from Thailand has been cancelled. The public hearing has been rescheduled to occur on Tuesday, February 16, beginning at 1:30pm. It will be held in rooms 1 and 2, 1724 F St NW, Washington, DC.

    The deadline for comments on the petitioned removal of certain sleeping bags from the list of GSP-eligible items (USTR-2010-0004) has been changed to Friday, February 19, 2010, at 5 pm. All non-confidential and business confidential comments (as well as public, redacted versions of confidential submissions) must be submitted to (docket USTR-2010-0004).

  • 02/10/2010 1:53 PM

    Yesterday Ambassador Ron Kirk concluded his two day trip to Mexico. During his final day in Mexico City, Ambassador Kirk met with Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Mexican Secretario de Economia Gerardo Ruiz Mateos. During both meetings topics discussed included the importance of using trade to create jobs and improve competitiveness, intellectual property, transportation, tuna and the Doha Round of world trade negotiations.

    Ambassador Kirk and Secretary Ruiz

    Ambassador Kirk and Secretary Ruiz also participated in a joint press conference and answered questions from reporters about U.S.-Mexico trade, Mexican trucks, NAFTA and Buy American.

    Ambassador Kirk and Secretary Ruiz

  • 02/09/2010 4:59 PM

    USTR, in coordination with the Executive Office of the President, is pleased to announce the launch of has been created pursuant to President Obama's Open Government Directive announced on December 8, 2009. The Open Government Directive requires all Federal agencies to "to implement the principles of transparency, participation, and collaboration." allows for the American public to ask USTR questions, to review Annual Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) reports, and to contact USTR officials.  As USTR works to create trade policy that benefits American workers and families, our Open Government initiative is a vital tool in maintaining an open dialogue with the American people.

    You can access the page through a button on the bottom center of the front page of, as well as from the URL or here:

  • 02/09/2010 4:23 PM

    On Tuesday, February 9, United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk is meeting with Mexican Secretary of Economy Gerardo Ruiz Mateos in Mexico City. This week the Weekly Trade Spotlight highlights the U.S.-Mexico trade relationship.

    Today, Mexico is America's third largest trading partner - and it is the number one trading partner for 22 American states. In 2008, $367 billion dollars worth of imports and exports crossed the Mexican-American border - that's more than $1 billion dollars every single day.

    That trade supports countless American jobs and businesses all across the country. There's the Mobile, Alabama company with 150 American employees that contracts with the Mexican dredging industry. There's the West Texas tire retreading company with 1,200 employees and strong annual sales in Mexico. There's the Louisiana company with 125 employees that caters to the Mexican market for hearing aids. And there are many more.

    Since the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994, U.S. exports to Mexico have more than doubled to $160 billion in 2008 alone. In 2007, the U.S. maintained an $8.2 billion dollar services trade surplus with Mexico. Mexico was the number one market for US exports of rice, beef, soybean meal and dry beans according to the USDA. In 2008, the U.S. also exported $353 million in rice to Mexico.

    As Ambassador Kirk said last month at the inauguration of the U.S.-Mexico Anzaldúas border crossing, "That trade makes us all stronger."

  • 02/08/2010 11:03 PM

    Today United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Deputy United States Trade Representative Miriam Sapiro arrived in Mexico City, Mexico to meet with Mexican government officials, business leaders and business owners. This morning Ambassador Sapiro met with SAGARPA International Affairs Director Kenneth Smith Ramos and Trade Under Secretary Beatriz Leycegui. During the meeting, Ambassador Sapiro stressed the importance of our bilateral relationship with Mexico and how the U.S. and Mexico can strengthen its trading relationship.

    Ambassador Kirk in Mexico

    This afternoon, Ambassadors Kirk and Sapiro met with representatives from General Electric to learn more about GE's activities in the Mexican energy sector and how GE is using technology to address environmental concerns. Ambassadors Kirk and Sapiro also participated in a roundtable with small and medium-sized business owners who export to Mexico. The roundtable gave the business owners an opportunity to highlight the benefits and the challenges they experience when exporting to Mexico.

    Ambassador Kirk in Mexico

    Ambassador Kirk in Mexico

    Ambassador Kirk completed his day by conducting an interview with Dow Jones Newswires in the Biblioteca Benjamin Franklin (the Benjamin Franklin Library). Biblioteca Benjamin Franklin is open to the public and is a place where people can go to check out books, study, use the Internet and even learn more about the U.S.-Mexico trading relationship.

    Ambassador Kirk in Mexico

  • 02/08/2010 11:40 AM

    During his final day in Jakarta, Deputy United States Trade Representative Marantis held a series of meetings on trade, investment, and environmental issues. Focusing on bilateral trade and investment, Ambassador Marantis met with the chair of Indonesia's Investment Coordinating Board, Gita Wirjawan, the Minister of Health, Dr. Endang Rahayu Sedyaningsih, and senior officials of the Ministry of Communications and Information.

    Turning to the environment, Ambassador Marantis had a positive and productive discussion of ways to combat illegal logging and associated trade with Forestry Minister Hasan. They agreed on the importance of working with other countries to address the trade aspects of illegal logging, and both confirmed plans to convene a regional dialogue meeting in the United States in April or May.

    Finally, on regional trade issues, Ambassador Marantis met with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretary General Dr. Surin. The ten member country ASEAN collectively represents the fifth largest U.S. trading partner, and has its secretariat in Jakarta. Ambassador Marantis and Dr. Surin explored new topics they could address in the ASEAN-United States Trade and Investment Framework Arrangement.

    Tonight, Ambassador Marantis departs Indonesia for Africa.

    Ambassador Marantis and Pitsuwan

    Ambassador Marantis with ASEAN) Secretary General Dr. Surin.

    Ambassador Marantis and Forestry Minister Hasan

    Ambassador Marantis with Forestry Minister Hasan.
  • 02/05/2010 5:12 PM

    Ambassador Kirk announced a tentative agreement on government procurement with Canada this morning. The agreement will give American businesses access to a wide range of contracts across Canada.

    Read excerpts from a Dow Jones article about the agreement below, and read the full article here.

    The U.S. and Canada, its largest trading partner, reached a preliminary deal to settle what had become an acrimonious dispute over "Buy American" provisions in the U.S. stimulus package.

    The deal, if approved, will give companies on both sides of the border access to government procurement contracts at the state and local levels. U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said the increased access for U.S. firms in Canada would be worth billions of dollars in contracts.


    Under the deal, countries agreed to permanently give reciprocal treatment in the Canadian territories and provinces and 37 U.S. states covered by the WTO's procurement agreement.

    Canadian suppliers would receive access to state and local public-works projects in a range of stimulus programs on a temporary basis through September 2011, when the U.S. stimulus funds are set to expire. U.S. suppliers would also get temporary access to a range of construction contracts in some Canadian provinces and municipalities not covered by the WTO pact.

    The agreement is subject to review in both countries before it can be signed, with a target date of Feb. 16.

    The two countries also agreed to start talks within a year to explore making some of the temporary procurement deals permanent, according to Canada's statement. They plan to establish a fast-track process to deal with any Buy American provisions in future funding programs, as well.

    Trade between the two countries was on track to approach $430 billion last year, based on data through November.

    ..."We're positive about the agreement," said Chris Braddock, senior director of procurement policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "It demonstrates the economic linkages between the U.S. and Canada."

  • 02/05/2010 3:31 PM

    As part of our commitment to establishing a new partnership with Congress on trade, USTR staff is briefing key Congressional trade committees as we begin developing U.S. negotiating positions for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, which are aimed at advancing U.S. interests and expanding U.S. exports in the dynamic Asia-Pacific region. USTR is seeking input as it prepares for the first round of negotiations, to be held in mid-March in Australia.

    USTR updated the House Ways and Means Committee on January 29 and the Senate Finance Committee on February 3 on our briefings to date with USTR's 28 trade advisory committees and other stakeholders, and provided a summary of the public comments USTR received though the Federal Register notice, which closed on January 25. USTR staff also discussed the "horizontal" or cross-cutting issues being pursued for the first time in the context of the TPP negotiations, including ways to promote innovation and competitiveness, to encourage new technologies and emerging economic sectors, to increase the participation of small- and medium-sized businesses in trade, and to support the development of efficient production and supply chains that include U.S. firms. On February 5, USTR held a second set of briefings with the Ways and Means and Finance Committees on services-related issues. We reported on initial input we had received from stakeholders on the services, investment, financial services, telecommunications, and e-commerce chapters of the agreement and explored ways we might use these chapters to promote new and emerging industries in the United States. Next week, we will discuss more with key congressional committees and other interested leaders on the Hill; topics will include the rules chapters of a potential TPP agreement and opportunities and challenges posed by specific TPP countries.

  • 02/05/2010 12:21 PM

    Today, Deputy United States Trade Representative Marantis arrived in Jakarta, Indonesia and held a full day of meetings with senior Indonesian economic officials. He met with Coordinating Economic Minister Hatta Rajasa, Trade Minister Pangestu, and senior officials at the Ministries of Agriculture and Culture and Tourism.

    In his meetings, Ambassador Marantis briefed his Indonesian counterparts on the Obama Administration's trade strategy in the Asia-Pacific. He welcomed the discussions of a Comprehensive Partnership with Indonesia as a vehicle for expanding and deepening the bilateral relationship and resolving problems when they arise. He also raised specific bilateral issues related to the investment climate, agricultural and goods trade, intellectual property rights, and services. Ambassador Marantis also explored with this Indonesian counterparts new avenues for bilateral cooperation, including in the area of trade and the environment.

    Ambassador Marantis in Indonesia
    Ambassador Marantis with Trade Minister Pangestu and Deputy Chief of Mission in the United States Embassy in Jakarta Ted Osius.

  • 02/04/2010 5:23 PM

    This afternoon, Ambassador Kirk spoke to members of the New Democrat Coalition in Washington, DC.  The Ambassador's remarks highlighted USTR's role in meeting President Obama's goal of doubling exports over the next five years and focused on USTR's ongoing efforts to shape job-creating trade policy.

    USTR is working with Congress to make trade work better for all Americans. Click here to view a press release from the Coalition, and read excerpts of Ambassador Kirk's remarks, as prepared for delivery, now:

    "As you all heard in President Obama's State of the Union address, this Administration is taking trade seriously.  The President laid down a challenge: support two million jobs by doubling our exports in five years.  As we all know, that's a big goal.  But it's not out of reach.  And we are not going to leave a single job on the table.  So I want to talk to you today about a few of the things this Administration is doing to jump-start American exports.

    "Through the newly-created National Export Initiative, this Administration will seize the job creating potential of trade.  Specifically, this Administration will increase exports by working to remove trade barriers abroad, helping firms - especially small businesses - overcome the hurdles to entering new export markets, assisting with financing, and, in general, pursuing a whole-of-government approach to export advocacy abroad

    "To that end, USTR will be teaming up with the Commerce Department, the Small Business Administration, and other federal agencies to help more Americans succeed through trade.

    "...Already, USTR is working hard to make the world's markets more open to American goods and services - both by enforcing our existing trade rights and moving forward with new trade deals.

    "...For example, this year we will begin negotiations with the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  USTR aims to conclude a high-standard 21st century trade agreement that can deliver new opportunities to American businesses and create new jobs for American workers.

    "...95 percent of the world's consumers live outside America's borders, and Americans should be able to compete for their business no matter where they live.  So USTR is going to continue to think strategically about how we can help Americans to do businesses in more places.

    "At the same time, we're working to ensure that whatever opportunities USTR creates are accessible to American businesses and workers of every size and type.  On that count, USTR launched a Small- and Medium-Sized Business Initiative.  And as part of that initiative, we named a new Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Small Business.

    "For the last 30 years, small businesses have created nearly two-thirds of all new jobs.  And though trade, we can help these big job creators become huge job creators.  Because businesses that export grow faster, add jobs faster, and pay higher wages - and this Administration is not going to leave a single job on the table."

  • 02/04/2010 4:04 PM

    Ambassador Kirk attended the Texas State Society breakfast this week to talk about "smart and balanced" trade policy. While at the breakfast, Ambassador Kirk spent some time talking to the Dallas Morning News about the potential for American businesses to increase exports overseas. Read excerpts from the article below and the full article here.

    ... The former Dallas mayor, on the job for about nine months as U.S. trade representative, took an hour Wednesday with 50 or so members of the Texas State Society, a club for expatriates in Washington that Kirk first took part in when he was a young aide to Sen. Lloyd Bentsen.

    ...President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech last week included a fresh emphasis on U.S. exports and a renewed push to complete long-stalled trade deals with South Korea, Colombia and Panama.

    Kirk doesn't claim that export growth would be a silver bullet, but with 95 percent of the world's consumers outside the United States, the potential is clear.

    "As my old police chief used to say: That's a clue," he said. "Having a smart export strategy is stimulus that's not part of the budget."

  • 02/04/2010 3:30 PM

    Ambassador Kirk commented today on USTR's role in the President's new National Export Initiative. Details of the initiative were shared by Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke in a speech at the National Press Club today. Ambassador Kirk, Secretary Locke, and other Administration officials are teaming up to help reach the President's goal of doubling U.S. exports over the next five years to support 2 million well-paying jobs here at home. From Ambassador Kirk today:

    "The link between increased exports and high-quality jobs is significant enough to demand a smart, concerted effort to maximize this economic opportunity. We aren't going to leave any jobs on the table," said Ambassador Kirk. "The U.S. Trade Representative's mission is to tear down foreign barriers to American exports and to open up new markets for U.S. goods and services. And with our partners across the government, we'll work to ensure that job-creating export opportunities are available around the world to American businesses of every size and type."

    Here's the USTR news from Secretary Locke's speech:

    "...the National Export Initiative is going to sharpen the government's focus on the barriers that prevent U.S. companies from getting free and fair access to foreign markets.

    The Office of the United States Trade Representative is working towards an ambitious and balanced Doha Round that provides our exporters new market access opportunities.

    And USTR is going to be opening markets in key growth areas such as Asia with the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) - an agreement that could set a new standard for trade agreements with strong labor, environmental and market access standards.

    At the same time, USTR will improve enforcement of existing international trade law and address the outstanding concerns we have with pending free trade agreements.

    The United States is the most open major economy in the world...

    ...And that's not going to change!

    But that commitment is coupled with an ongoing focus to ensure the competitiveness of U.S. companies in foreign markets.

    Free trade only works in a system of rules where all parties live up to their obligations.

    The United States is committed to a rules-based trading system where the American people - and the Congress - can feel confident that when we sign an agreement that gives foreign countries the privilege of free and fair access to our domestic market, we are treated the same in their countries.

    That means:

    • Enforcing our trade laws;

    • Combating unfair tariff and non-tariff barriers; and

    • Cracking down on practices that blatantly harm U.S. companies, like the theft of our intellectual property.

    Despite America's remarkable dependence on innovation for future growth, the current system for protecting U.S. intellectual property is fraying at the seams.

    Every year, American companies in fields as diverse as energy, technology, entertainment and pharmaceuticals lose between $200 billion-$250 billion to counterfeiting and piracy.

    This theft is especially damaging for U.S. companies selling abroad, as more than 50 percent of our exports depend on some form of intellectual property like software or complex technology.

    And that is why our partners at USTR are committed to remedying this problem and actively pursuing IP enforcement."

    The full text of Secretary Locke's remarks, with important details about the National Export Initiative is on the Commerce Department website.

  • 02/04/2010 2:58 PM

    Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Marantis had a second productive day of meetings today with senior Malaysian officials including Economic Planning Unit Minister Yakcop, Minister of Domestic Trade Ismail, Minister of Finance II Husni, and Chief Secretary of the Malaysian Government Sidek today in Kuala Lumpur.

    In all of his meetings, Ambassador Marantis discussed ways to strengthen trade and investment ties between the United States and Malaysia. Ambassador Marantis explained the Obama Administration's plans for expanding trade ties in the Asia-Pacific region and for promoting economic growth and job creation through trade. He continued his briefings for senior Malaysian officials on the launching of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. Malaysian officials emphasized the importance of trade to their economy and their government's efforts to promote high-technology knowledge-intensive industries. With Minister of Domestic Trade Ismail, Ambassador Marantis discussed the progress being made by Malaysia in improving intellectual property rights protection and enforcement.

    On Friday, February 5, Ambassador Marantis will be in Jakarta, Indonesia.

    Ambassador Marantis in Malaysia
    Ambassador Marantis with U.S. Ambassador James Keith and Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

  • 02/04/2010 12:16 PM

    Assistant USTR for Intellectual Property and Innovation Stan McCoy wrote the Financial Times this week to set the record straight on U.S. efforts to negotiate an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement to protect American intellectual property and shield consumers from counterfeited and pirated goods that may be harmful to their health and well-being. Read Stan's letter to the editor here.

  • 02/03/2010 2:45 PM

    President Obama joined Democratic Senators at the Newseum today for the Senate Democratic Policy Committee Issues Conference. During the question and answer time, Senator Arlen Specter from Pennsylvania asked the President about relations with China, trade and creating more jobs through the increase of exports. Read the transcript below.

    "SENATOR SPECTER: Mr. President, I begin by applauding your decision to place the economy at the top of the agenda, to put America back to work and provide jobs, jobs, jobs.

    I have a two-part question, and just a brief statement of the issue. We have lost 2.3 million jobs as a result of the trade imbalance with China between 2001 and 2007. The remedies to save those jobs are very ineffective -- long delays, proceedings before the International Trade Commission, subject to being overruled by the President. We have China violating international law with subsidies and dumping -- really, a form of international banditry. They take our money and then they lend it back to us and own now a big part of the United States.

    The first part of my question is, would you support more effective remedies to allow injured parties -- unions which lose jobs, companies which lose profits -- by endorsing a judicial remedy, if not in U.S. courts perhaps in an international court, and eliminate the aspect of having the ITC decisions overruled by the President -- done four times in 2003 to 2005, at a cost of a tremendous number of jobs on the basis of the national interest. And if we have an issue on the national interest, let the nation pay for it, as opposed to the steel industry or the United Steel Workers.

    And the second part of the question, related, is when China got into the World Trade Organization, a matter that 15 of us in this body opposed, there were bilateral treaties. And China has not lived up to its obligations to have its markets open to us, but take our markets and take our jobs. Would you support an effort to revise, perhaps even revoke, those -- that bilateral treaty, which gives China such an unfair trade advantage? Thank you."

    "THE PRESIDENT: Arlen, I would not be in favor of revoking the trade relationships that we've established with China. I have shown myself during the course of this year more than willing to enforce our trade agreements in a much more serious way. And at times I've been criticized for it. There was a case involving foreign tires that were being sent in here, and I said this was an example of where we've got to put our foot down and show that we're serious about enforcement. And it caused the usual fuss at the international level, but it was the right thing to do.

    Having said that, I also believe that our future is going to be tied up with our ability to sell products all around the world, and China is going to be one of our biggest markets, and Asia is going to be one of our biggest markets. And for us to close ourselves off from that market would be a mistake.

    The point you're making, Arlen, which is the right one, is it's got to be reciprocal. So if we have established agreements in which both sides are supposed to open up their markets, we do so and then the other side is imposing a whole set of non-tariff barriers in place, that's a problem. And it has to be squarely confronted.

    So the approach that we're taking is to try to get much tougher about enforcement of existing rules, putting constant pressure on China and other countries to open up their markets in reciprocal ways.

    One of the challenges that we've got to address internationally is currency rates and how they match up to make sure that our goods are not artificially inflated in price and their goods are artificially deflated in price. That puts us at a huge competitive disadvantage.

    But what I don't want to do is for us as a country, or as a party, to shy away from the prospects of international competition, because I think we've got the best workers on Earth, we've got the most innovative products on Earth, and if we are able to compete on an even playing field, nobody can beat us. And by the way, that will create jobs here in the United States.

    If we just increased our exports to Asia by a percentage point, by a fraction, it would mean hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of jobs here in the United States. And it's easily doable.

    And that's why we are going to be putting a much bigger emphasis on export promotion over the next several years. And that includes, by the way, export promotion not just for large companies but also for medium-size and small companies, because one of the challenges -- I was up in New Hampshire yesterday, and you saw this terrific new company that had just been started up -- it's only got 13, 14 employees at this point. But it has a new manufacturing technique for the component parts in LED light bulbs, potentially could lower the price of LED light bulbs, cut them in half.

    And these folks, they potentially could market not just here in the United States, but this is a technology that could end up being sent all around the world. But they don't have the money to set up their own foreign office in Beijing to navigate through the bureaucracy. They've got to have some help being over there. And so that's one of the things that we really want to focus on in this coming year, is making sure that our export-import banks, our trade offices, that we are assisting not just the big guys, although we do want to help them, but also the medium-sized and small businesses that have innovative products that could be marketed if they just got a little bit of help and a little bit of push from the United States government."

  • 02/03/2010 1:05 PM

    Today Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis met in Kuala Lumpur with Malaysian government and business leaders to discuss the importance of U.S. trade and investment relations with Malaysia and U.S. plans for economic engagement with the fast-growing markets of the Asia-Pacific.

    Malaysia is currently the United States' 17th largest goods trading partner with $43.7 billion in total (two ways) goods trade during 2008. The United States' top exports to Malaysia are machinery, medical instruments, iron and steel, and aircraft as well as dairy products, soybeans and other agricultural products, totaling $15 billion in exports during 2008.

    In meetings with senior Malaysian officials, including Trade Minister Mustapa and Deputy Governor Ooi of Bank Negara, Ambassador Marantis discussed ways to expand cooperation with Malaysia bilaterally, regionally, and multilaterally. He updated his counterparts on U.S. participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, a platform for economic integration across the dynamic Asia-Pacific region, and he explained that the eight-member initiative could grow by attracting other partners committed to seeking an ambitious and comprehensive agreement. He also discussed joint activities in APEC, the WTO, and in the workplan of the ASEAN-U.S. Trade and Investment Framework Arrangement.

    Ambassador Marantis echoed these themes in his meetings with local business leaders, including the American Chamber of Commerce and the Malay Chamber of Commerce. He stressed the importance of the administration's trade agenda in increasing exports, creating jobs, and promoting the engagement of small- and medium-sized enterprises in the global economy.

    Another full day of meetings in Malaysia is planned for Thursday, February 4, before Ambassador Marantis departs for Jakarta, Indonesia.

    Ambassador Marantis Meets with Malaysian Chambers of Commerce
    Ambassador Marantis meets with the Malaysian Chambers of Commerce

    Ambassador Marantis at the AMCHAM
    Ambassador Marantis gives remarks at the American Chamber of Commerce in Malaysia

  • 02/03/2010 10:57 AM

    On Thursday, January 28, staff from the Office of the United States Trade Representative, the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Department of State, and USAID, met with their counterparts in the Peruvian Government to discuss labor issues in accordance with the United States-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement. This Weekly Trade Spotlight highlights the benefits of U.S.-Peru trade for American workers and families.

    One year ago this month, the United States-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (USPTPA) went into effect, immediately eliminating tariffs on more than three-quarters of American exports to Peru. As a result, American farmers are now selling home-grown American produce to Peruvian customers without having to pay tariffs at the Peruvian border. American textile makers are selling duty-free American yarns and fabrics. American suppliers can bid on equal terms for Peruvian government contracts. And that is not all. Americans in almost every economic sector have access to new job-creating trade opportunities in Peru.

    The USPTPA is not just a boon to American workers and families. It is also making a difference to families in Peru. For example, the USPTPA reinforces America's and Peru's mutual commitment to a cleaner, greener environment. Today, a Boulder, Colorado company is working to build Peru's alternative energy capacity with a new wind farm that will generate power in Peru. Such efforts supports development and jobs in America and Peru alike. The USPTPA's Environment Chapter and Annex on Forest Sector Governance require Peru to effectively enforce its environmental laws and strengthen its forest sector through improved laws, regulations and other measures. Peru has already made important changes to its legal and regulatory structure, including increasing criminal penalties for illegal logging, poaching and trafficking in illegally obtained timber or wildlife species.

    Even as the USPTPA increases trade opportunities for American businesses and workers within Peru, it ensures that Peruvian workers have internationally-recognized labor rights. The USPTPA requires Peru to adopt and maintain laws upholding fundamental labor rights. In their meeting on January 28, USTR officials again underscored the importance of labor protections with their Peruvian counterparts.

    In 2008, $12 billion of goods were traded between the United States and Peru. American exports to Peru were up more than 50% from 2007 to 2008. With the USPTPA in place and remaining duties continuing to fall, the outlook for growth in US- Peru trade is positive.

  • 02/02/2010 6:37 PM

    Ambassador Kirk met with German Federal Minister of Economics and Technology Rainer Bruederle this afternoon to discuss U.S.-German bilateral and U.S.-EU trade relations. Ambassador Kirk and Minister Bruederle are working together to remove barriers to exports and create new opportunities for transatlantic commerce that support well-paying jobs here at home.

    Ambassador Kirk and Rainer Bruederle

    Germany is the United States' fifth largest single-country trading partner with $152 billion in total two way goods trade during 2008. The U.S. economic relationship with the EU is the largest and most complex in the world, generating trade and investment flows of about $2.7 billion a day and supporting 14 million jobs. Visit the European Union page for more information on U.S.-EU trade.

  • 02/02/2010 6:26 PM

    This afternoon Ambassador Kirk and Export-Import Bank President Fred Hochberg co-hosted a follow-up call with CEOs across the country to further discuss the December 3 Jobs and Economic Growth Forum panel entitled "Expanding Job Opportunities for America's Workers Through Exports." During the call, Ambassador Kirk discussed the work that USTR is doing to remove trade barriers, help increase exports and create well-paying jobs, including the recent USTR conference on helping small- and medium-sized businesses export.

  • 02/01/2010 3:07 PM

    Ambassador Marantis is in Tokyo, Japan to meet with his counterparts responsible for economic and trade issues in Japan's government. In meetings on Monday, February 1, he emphasized to Japanese officials the importance of expanding the economic and trade relationship between the United States and Japan, including key areas such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum and on intellectual property rights protection. Ambassador Marantis also stressed a desire to expand bilateral work in ways that will further open markets and improve the business climate in Japan for U.S. exporters.

    Ambassador Marantis particularly urged Japan to address U.S. concerns in several priority areas, including the automotive, beef, and insurance sectors. On beef, he specifically urged Japan to further open its market in a manner that is both based on science and commercially viable. He stressed the importance of Japan ensuring that Japan Post is put on a level playing field with private companies in the insurance, banking, and express delivery markets. And on autos, Ambassador Marantis underscored the importance of Japan moving forward with implementation of its recent decision to allow U.S. autos imported under the Preferential Handling Procedure import certification. He urged Japan to implement its decision in a manner that is smooth, transparent, and as inclusive as possible of U.S. autos.

    Ambassador Marantis also met with senior U.S. executives in the American Chamber of Commerce in Tokyo to underscore the importance USTR is placing on our ongoing engagement with Japan and to coordinate with business leaders there.

    Tomorrow, Ambassador Marantis will travel to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

    Ambassador Marantis Tokyo InterviewAmbassador Marantis holds an interview with NHK in Tokyo, Japan.

    Ambassador Marantis Tokyo Roundtable
    Ambassador Marantis holds a roundtable with Japanese press in Tokyo, Japan.