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  • 02/26/2011 3:25 PM

    Today, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis completed two productive and exciting days in Liberia. On Thursday, Liberian Trade Minister Miatta Beysolow met Ambassador Marantis to go through the status of the U.S.-Liberia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA). Minister Beysolow and her colleagues updated Ambassador Marantis on Liberia’s plans to accede to the World Trade Organization and take greater advantage of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

    After their meeting, both officials toured the Liberian government’s new standards testing laboratories. Once operational, these laboratories will help Liberia apply international standards to all aspects of their economy.

    Later that morning, Ambassador Marantis made remarks at a public forum hosted by the U.S. Embassy, in which he highlighted the AGOA apparel visa that U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk recently granted to Liberia. The apparel visa is a major positive development in our bilateral trade relationship and will allow Liberian apparel producers, for the first time, to export to the United States duty free under AGOA. Ambassador Marantis also discussed Liberia’s investment climate in meetings with major American investors, as well as key Liberian officials at the Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs and the National Investment Commission.

    On Friday, Marantis saw up close the actual and potential benefits of Liberian exports to the United States. First, he visited Africa Hot Foods – a producer of Liberian pepper sauce. The facility uses locally grown peppers and serves as a great example of possible value added agricultural exports from Liberia. Later that morning, Ambassador Marantis toured the Liberian Women’s Sewing Project, a cooperative established by Liberian-American entrepreneur Chid Liberty that produces and exports apparel to the United States under AGOA.

    The project is the first to take advantage of the AGOA apparel visa.

    Finally, Ambassador Marantis and Minister Beysolow visited the village of Brewerville, outside Monrovia, and site of a production facility for Falika’s Fashions. Owned by Rebecca Falika, a Liberian-American producer of high-end apparel, Falika’s has a showroom in Falls Church, Virginia, and sales throughout the United States. The village of Brewerville welcomed Ambassador Marantis with traditional song and dance, as well as a “gowning” ceremony presided over by village elders.

  • 02/25/2011 5:25 PM

    During his second day in Austin, Ambassador Kirk made remarks to members of the Austin Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Development Council. He spoke about the importance of trade in supporting good Texas jobs.

    “Here in Austin you’re well on your way to winning the future with world-class universities, strong infrastructure, and an entrepreneurial spirit that encourages innovators to take big ideas and turn them into blockbuster products. As a result high-tech businesses both large and small continue to thrive and create jobs in your community. And increasingly those jobs depend on trade.

    "Texas companies like yours are tackling the challenges of global competition, and winning. Your international businesses contributed to Texas’ total $206 billion of goods exports last year, making it the number one exporting state in the country. These totals are especially impressive when you consider that behind every trade number is the story of at least one business whose employees’ jobs depend on trade.

    "For example, this morning I toured Formaspace Technical Furniture, which designs and manufactures custom technical furniture, accessories, and services. With about 50 employees right now, Formaspace has been ranked as one of Austin’s fastest growing small businesses on the Inc. 5000 list. In fact, they just moved into a bigger facility.

    "Formaspace CEO Jeff Turk estimates that 20 to 25 percent of their products right now are being exported overseas, with about half of that figure going to Asia-Pacific markets. And he told me that getting more access to foreign markets, especially in the Asia-Pacific, will have a big impact on their ability to continue growing steadily.”

    Read Ambassador Kirk’s full remarks here.

  • 02/24/2011 5:32 PM

    Ambassador Kirk is in Austin today meeting with local business leaders, ranchers, and farmers to discuss how the Obama Administration’s trade initiatives will help boost Texas’ economy.

    Ambassador Kirk co-hosted a roundtable with Texas Commissioner of Agriculture Todd Staples. Farmers and ranchers from Travis County and across Central Texas joined the roundtable to discuss their successes, challenges, and goals related to selling agricultural goods to customers around the world. Ambassador Kirk shared how the U.S.-Korea trade agreement will increase export opportunities and support jobs on Texas farms and ranches. Texas’s agricultural exports already support roughly 38,000 jobs, and the U.S.-Korea trade agreement will help increase Texan exports even further. The U.S.-Korea trade agreement will provide America’s farmers, food processors, and the businesses they support with improved access to Korea’s $1 trillion economy and 49 million hungry consumers. Ambassador Kirk also emphasized the importance of the Trans-Pacific Partnership in providing new market opportunities for Texas producers exporting to the rapidly growing Asia-Pacific region.

    After the roundtable, Ambassador Kirk met with business leaders at the Austin Chamber of Commerce and discussed ways to help Texas businesses increase exports in support of local jobs. Outreach to and feedback from local business leaders are critical elements of President Obama’s National Export Initiative – which aims to double exports by 2014 in support of two million American jobs.

  • 02/23/2011 4:24 PM

    After arriving in Monrovia, Liberia this afternoon, Ambassador Marantis had the honor of meeting Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Liberia’s Commerce and Foreign Ministers joined Johnson Sirleaf and Ambassador Marantis for a frank discussion of our bilateral trade and investment relationship. President Sirleaf and Ambassador Marantis talked about ways Liberian entrepreneurs could export valued-added products to the United States under the African Growth and Opportunity Act, opportunities for technical assistance through the USAID-funded West Africa Trade Hub, and Liberia’s interest in attracting U.S. investment. President Sirleaf expressed a strong commitment to growing trade and investment ties with the United States and resolving concerns as they arise.

    Before his departure from Accra, Ghana, Ambassador Marantis met early this morning with Ghana’s Vice President John Dramani Mahama. The two discussed how the United States and Ghana will bring to bear trade and investment policy under the newly launched Partnerships for Growth initiative, including the possibility of launching Bilateral Investment Treaty negotiations.

    Ambassador Marantis will meet with American investor and business leaders in Monrovia, Liberia tomorrow.

  • 02/23/2011 2:22 PM

    Ambassador Demetrios Marantis is in Africa this week. One country he’s visiting is Ghana, where he’s meeting with government officials and private business owners to discuss strengthening our bilateral trade and investment relationship.

    The United States has a growing trade relationship with Ghana. In 2010, two-way trade between the United States and Ghana was valued at nearly $1.3 billion. Goods exports from the United States to Ghana grew by 55 percent from 2009 to 2010, to $983 million. Primary U.S. exports to Ghana include mineral products, machinery, and vehicles.

    U.S. imports from Ghana have also increased dramatically in recent years, growing by over 100 percent between 2009 and 2010, to $274 million. Ghana is a beneficiary of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), a preferential market access program that allows most products produced in sub-Saharan Africa to enter the United States duty free. Top Ghanaian products entering the United States include cocoa, vegetables, fruits, precious metals, baskets, and apparel. Through the U.S.-Ghana Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), the United States and Ghana have a strong framework in place for high-level dialogue on trade and investment issues.

  • 02/22/2011 5:42 PM

    On Tuesday, Ambassador Demetrios Marantis continued his visit to Accra, Ghana, meeting this morning with Ghanaian Deputy Trade Minister Mahama Ayariga. Ambassador Marantis and Ayariga discussed the encouraging 48 percent increase in bilateral goods trade last year and explored how Ghanaian companies could diversify their exports to the United States and take greater advantage of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

    Ambassador Marantis with Minister Mahama Ayariga
    Ambassador Marantis with Minister Mahama Ayariga

    Recognizing that stronger investment ties contribute to economic growth and export opportunities, both officials discussed the possibility of the United States and Ghana beginning Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) talks.

    Discussion of the BIT carried over into Ambassador Marantis’s meeting with George Aboagye, the CEO of the Ghana Investment Promotion Center (GIPC). GIPC is charged with attracting and facilitating investment in Ghana. Ambassador Marantis said concluding a BIT with the United States would make Ghana stand out among countries seeking U.S. investment and would attest to a high-quality investment climate.

    Following his bilateral meetings, Ambassador Marantis spoke to an audience of Ghanaian students, business leaders, and officials at U.S. Ambassador Donald Teitelbaum’s residence. His remarks covered a broad range of important bilateral issues, including the Obama Administration’s selection of Ghana as one of four Partnerships for Growth (PFG) countries. The PFG is a signature effort of the Obama Administration to promote broad-based economic growth through trade and investment with a select group of countries with a demonstrated commitment to development and democratic governance. After a lively question and answer session, Marantis held a press roundtable with local journalists. The full text of his remarks can be found here.

    Ambassador Marantis departs for Liberia tomorrow.

  • 02/22/2011 12:50 PM

    On Sunday, Ambassador Marantis completed the first full day of a two-day visit to Accra, Ghana. Marantis is traveling to Ghana and Liberia this week to meet with Ghanaian and Liberian officials and private sector stakeholders to discuss strengthening our bilateral trade and investment relationship with these countries.

    After arriving in Accra from Washington, D.C., Saturday night, Ambassador Marantis participated in a roundtable discussion with American and Ghanaian business representatives, including African banks and U.S. infrastructure and energy companies. The conversation ranged from the investment climate in Ghana to the effectiveness and future of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) trade preference program. Participants discussed the growing role of Chinese investment in Africa, the competitiveness of Ghanaian textiles and agriculture exports and incentives to greater U.S. private sector involvement in Africa.

    On Sunday, Ambassador Marantis visited the West Africa Trade Hub (WATH), a USAID-funded initiative to provide technical assistance and training to export-ready firms in 21 West African countries. Since 2007, WATH has trained over 2,000 people from 15 countries in business, facilitated over $23 million in investment and at least $62 million in exports. Ambassador Marantis learned about WATH’s recent projects to facilitate West Africa trade, including “Borderless,” which promotes free movement of goods between West Africa countries by documenting and highlighting road harassment like bribes and other delays. Marantis also heard directly from companies benefitting from WATH’s technical assistance, including exporters of textiles, shea, and cashews.

    Ambassador Marantis visits the West Africa Trade Hub
    Ambassador Marantis visits the West Africa Trade Hub

    Following his visit to WATH, Ambassador Marantis visited two WATH-supported exporters. The first, 1888 Lucky Mills, a U.S. invested textile factory, exports aprons and scrubs to the United States. He also visited Tekura, a Ghanaian producer of handicrafts. Tekura exports its goods to U.S. retailers like Target and TJ Maxx with assistance from WATH.

    Ambassador Marantis visits Tekura
    Ambassador Marantis visits Tekura

    On Monday, Ambassador Marantis meets with Ghanaian government officials and delivers public remarks.

  • 02/19/2011 2:30 PM

    In Georgia on Friday, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis discussed the importance of America’s efforts to out-build, out-innovate, and out-educate global competitors as he visited the University of Georgia's (UGA) program on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The University of Georgia is working with educators from kindergarten to college to make science and math programs more accessible. The program is dedicated to training teachers – especially at a grade school level – how to teach better. UGA is also developing animated technology, modeled on gaming technologies, to help teach biology to students. To invest in our future, President Obama has announced plans to train 100,000 STEM teachers and dedicate $100 million to support this goal.

    On Thursday, Ambassador Marantis met in Atlanta with a group of local business and government officials to discuss the President's trade initiatives in Asia, especially the U.S.-Korea trade agreement and ongoing negotiations to complete the nine-country Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. In particular, he emphasized the job and export opportunities of the U.S.-Korea agreement in a keynote speech at the University of Georgia. Ambassador Marantis noted that congressional passage and implementation of the U.S.-Korea trade agreement will generate an additional $10-11 billion in annual goods exports and support an estimated 70,000 additional jobs.

  • 02/18/2011 2:16 PM

    Ambassador Kirk visited Minneapolis, Minnesota today to meet with local business leaders and kick-off the National Export Initiative (NEI) Small Business Tour. Ambassador Kirk co-hosted a conference entitled “New Markets, New Jobs,” that began with a breakfast plenary session at the University of Minnesota. Small Business Administration Administrator Karen Mills, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan and University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks joined Ambassador Kirk at the morning event.

    During the plenary, Ambassador Kirk focused on how USTR is working to open markets around the world for American businesses of all sizes through trade agreements. Specifically, he highlighted how helping small- and medium-sized businesses increase international sales is a priority for USTR. Only one percent of U.S. small businesses currently export – and many of those only export to one country. USTR’s work, paired with the National Export Initiative, is making it possible for these businesses to sell more abroad and support well-paying jobs here at home.

    Later, Ambassador Kirk toured the 3M Innovation Center and met with 3M executives. Ambassador Kirk spoke about the importance of innovation in making America’s businesses more competitive abroad. He also discussed how the U.S.-Korea trade agreement and the Trans-Pacific Partnership can help 3M increase their revenue from exports.

    Visit to learn more about USTR and the National Export Initiative. And be sure to check back for more information on the NEI Small Business Tour.


  • 02/18/2011 11:10 AM

    On Thursday, the United States and its negotiating partners in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement wrapped up a fourth day of talks in Santiago, Chile. Negotiating groups continued to make progress in the areas of goods market access, investment, rules of origin and intellectual property, and began discussions on labor, services, sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures, government procurement and competition policy.

    Round 5 wraps up on Friday. Chief negotiators will take stock of progress made during the week and agree on a plan for the sixth round in Singapore in late March.

  • 02/17/2011 10:49 AM

    Negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement continued on Wednesday in Santiago, Chile. Negotiators from the TPP countries continued their discussions on goods market access, trade remedies, technical barriers to trade (TBT), environment, legal and institutional issues and intellectual property, and began discussions on investment, e-commerce, rules of origin and capacity building. In addition, negotiators took part in several seminars designed to facilitate communication with public and private sector stakeholders.

    Labor delegations joined in a seminar on Chilean Labor Law and Practice, in which Chilean experts from government, trade unions, and industry presented information on the application and enforcement of Chilean labor laws, inspection procedures, and administrative and judicial institutions. Similar exchanges, which help to inform the negotiations on labor provisions, have taken place in other countries on their labor laws during previous negotiating rounds.

    TPP experts on sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures also took part in a seminar focused on electronic certification and risk-based inspection programs in their respective countries. Presentations were made by regulatory officials from Australia, Chile and the United States.

    Finally, the TBT negotiating group participated in a seminar that addressed technical barriers to trade in a range of areas, including the organic sector.

    All seminars were well-attended by government officials and non-governmental stakeholders from industry and civil society.

  • 02/16/2011 2:52 PM

    This morning, President Obama stopped by a meeting of the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations (ACTPN) to thank the committee members for their valuable input, and to speak about trade's place in the Administration's effort to ensure that a more competitive America can win the future. Ambassador Kirk co-chaired the meeting with Acting ACTPN Chairman Bill Frenzel of the Brookings Institute. National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling and Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors Austan Goolsbee also joined the meeting to discuss the link between the economy and trade. This was the first meeting of these members of ACTPN under the Obama Administration.

    Ambassador Kirk, Mr. Sperling and Mr. Goolsbee held a robust dialogue with the ACTPN members, updating the advisors on various trade issues. Ambassador Kirk spoke about the U.S.-Korea trade agreement, as well as the ongoing negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Doha Development Agenda. He also briefed the committee on this Administration’s commitment to the U.S.-Colombia and U.S.-Panama trade agreements, and enforcing our existing agreements with countries such as China.

    The ACTPN is appointed by the President of the United States and is the principal trade advisory committee which provides overall policy advice on trade matters to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). Established by Congress under the Trade Act of 1974, the committee provides information and advice with respect to U.S. negotiating objectives and bargaining positions before entering into trade agreements, on the operation of any trade agreement once entered into, and on other matters arising in connection with U.S. trade policy. The ACTPN considers trade policy issues in the context of the overall national interest. The Committee consists of not more than 45 members representing key sectors and groups of the economy broadly affected by trade, including representatives of non-federal governments, labor, industry, agriculture, small business, service industries, retailers, consumer and public interests. Members of the Committee are appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the President for a period not to exceed the duration of the Charter.

  • 02/16/2011 11:17 AM

    On Tuesday, the United States and its negotiating partners completed the second day of negotiations at Round 5 of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement in Santiago, Chile. Negotiators held meetings on trade remedies and business mobility, and continued discussions on goods market access, financial services, intellectual property, technical barriers to trade, customs cooperation, legal and institutional issues and the environment.

    TPP negotiators also took part in a full day of presentations by civil society and industry stakeholders from Chile and elsewhere in Latin America, New Zealand and the United States. Stakeholder presentations covered a wide range of issues, including environmental protection, investment, agricultural exports, the financial sector and freedom of expression on the internet. In addition, civil society and industry stakeholders expressed a broad range of perspectives on intellectual property issues.

    Broad stakeholder outreach has been an important feature of the TPP negotiations since they began and constructive input from the business community and civil society groups remains a valuable resource for TPP negotiators.

  • 02/14/2011 8:16 PM

    Today the United States and negotiating partners Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam launched Round 5 of negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement in Santiago, Chile.

    Jorge Bunster, Chile`s Director General of International Economic Relations, welcomed the delegations from the TPP countries and encouraged negotiators to continue the progress achieved in previous rounds and strive to significantly advance the negotiations in Chile. The United States joined the TPP negotiations in late 2009 with the goal of a broad, 21st-century regional trade agreement that addresses the issues American businesses and workers face today, and gives them better access to the growing markets of the Asia-Pacific.

    Negotiators started the week with meetings on market access for goods, telecommunications, customs cooperation, financial services, technical barriers to trade, legal and institutional issues, and environment. In addition, TPP countries continued discussions on new cross-cutting themes that will feature in the TPP Agreement, such as helping small and medium-sized enterprises participate more actively in international trade, promoting connectivity and deepening linkages to the emerging production and distribution networks in the Asia-Pacific; and making the regulatory approaches of TPP countries more compatible so U.S. companies can operate more seamlessly in TPP markets.

    Over the coming week, negotiators will meet on the full range of issues to be included in the TPP and will engage with the more than 60 public and private sector stakeholders attending the negotiations.

  • 02/14/2011 10:48 AM

    Ambassador Kirk will travel this week to Minneapolis, Minnesota to co-host a one-day conference, entitled “New Markets, New Jobs.” The Ambassador and members of the Obama Administration will talk to small business owners about how to break into international markets. This week’s trade spotlight focuses on how Minnesota businesses and workers benefit from exporting.

    All across the Land of 10,000 Lakes, business owners, workers, farmers and manufacturers rely on trade. In 2009, goods exports from Minnesota totaled more than $15 billion, supporting 155,000 local jobs.

    In the past decade, Minnesota’s exports of manufactured products increased by more than 50 percent. Goods such as computer and electronic products, machinery, and transportation equipment were exported across the world.

    Small businesses like Mattracks, Inc. in Karlstad benefit from various international trade opportunities. A rubber-track manufacturing firm, Mattracks sells its track system models to customers in more than 70 countries. Exports account for almost half of the company’s revenue and support more than 45 employees.

    Minnesota is also a leading producer of agricultural products. Local farms and ranches are known for exporting high-quality soybeans, feed grains and wheat. These exports support more than 60,000 jobs both on and off the farm.

    USTR is working to open markets around the world, helping to increase exports and support well-paying jobs for more Minnesotans.

  • 02/11/2011 4:07 PM

    Today, Ambassador Kirk hosted a leadership discussion with 16 Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) fellows. He began the conversation by sharing his experience of being a member of President Obama’s Cabinet as the United States Trade Representative.

    Ambassador Kirk and Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Fellows
    Ambassador Kirk with CHCI fellows

    The questions and answers covered a variety of trade topics including the pending U.S. trade agreement with Korea. Ambassador Kirk and the fellows also discussed the value of education and how it will lead to more American innovation. That innovation will help the U.S. create the goods and services that the rest of the world wants to buy, which will increase our exports and support well-paying jobs here at home, the Ambassador said.

  • 02/10/2011 6:25 PM

    Today, Ambassador Kirk met with the Vice President of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, to discuss the pending U.S.-Panama trade agreement. In testimony before the House Committee on Ways and Means yesterday, Ambassador Kirk announced the Obama Administration’s plans to intensify engagement with Panama to address outstanding issues relating to the agreement as soon as possible this year. Excerpts of his testimony are available here.

    Ambassador Kirk and Panamanian Vice President Varela
    Ambassador Kirk and Panamanian Vice President Varela

    The United States had a $3.99 billion trade surplus with Panama in 2009. Between 2004 and 2009, U.S. exports to Panama grew 142 percent from $1.8 billion in 2004 to $4.3 billion in 2009. The top exports from the U.S. in 2009 were mineral fuel (oil), machinery, and aircraft. The United States is Panama’s largest trading partner.

  • 02/10/2011 4:54 PM

    This morning, Deputy United States Trade Representative Miriam Sapiro delivered remarks on “The Transatlantic Trade Relationship – Achieving its Full Potential” at an event hosted by the European Policy Centre in Brussels, Belgium. Ambassador Sapiro underscored the fundamental strength of the U.S.-EU trade relationship which, with trade flows exceeding $3.5 billion each day, is the world’s largest. She also presented her vision for a more deeply integrated transatlantic economy.

    Ambassador Sapiro Speaks at the European Policy CentreAmbassador Sapiro Speaks at a European Policy Centre Event

    Ambassador Sapiro encouraged closer cooperation on a range of issues including dispute resolution, regulatory cooperation, innovation, and bringing the Doha Round to a successful conclusion. She also highlighted the successes of the Transatlantic Economic Council, which met in Washington in December, and provided an update on several initiatives which were launched at that meeting.

    She closed with a call for action:

    “It is indeed time to seize the opportunities before us, for that is the surest way we can maximize our competitive advantage and ensure that all of our people can share more fully in the benefits of a strong transatlantic partnership on trade.”

    The full text of her remarks is available here.

  • 02/09/2011 4:20 PM

    This week, Deputy United States Trade Representative Miriam Sapiro traveled to Tel Aviv, Israel to attend the 11th Annual Herzliya Conference. This Conference is traditionally launched by the President of the State of Israel and concluded by the Prime Minister, and brings together senior Israeli and international participants from the highest levels of government, business and academia to address policy issues in this region and around the world.

    Ambassador Sapiro spoke on a panel entitled “Challenges to Global Economic Governance: Trade and Monetary Aspects,” where she highlighted the U.S. – Israel trade relationship, which consists of nearly $80 million in bilateral trade per day and is centered on the 25-year-old U.S. – Israel Free Trade Agreement. Noting that the U.S.-Israel economic partnership is “as critical as ever,” she called for renewed efforts to enhance our trade relationship and realize the FTA’s full potential. She also focused on regional and global efforts to expand trade and support jobs.

    She said, “The need to grow our economies, create more jobs and resist the temptation to retreat into protectionism is more important than ever before. The modern G-20 was born of this crisis, but global economic governance is no longer the purview of any one organization, or in the hands of just a few countries. Rather, we have a joint responsibility to work together in different fora – globally, regionally and bilaterally – to find ways to enable all economies to grow and prosper, and to ensure that we have the right tools to do that.” The full text of her remarks is available here.

    Other participants in Ambassador Sapiro’s session included Professor Stanley Fischer, Governor, Bank of Israel; Dr. José de Gregorio, Governor, Central Bank of Chile; Dr. Yossi Bachar, Chairman, Board of Directors, Bank Discount; and the Honorable Professor Giulio Tremonti, Minister of Finance and Economy of Italy. Participants were introduced by Major General Danny Rothschild, Director of the Institute for Policy and Strategy at IDC Herzliya, and Chair of the Annual Herzliya Conference Series. Mr. Guy Rolnick, Founder and Editor-in-Chief, TheMarker, and Deputy Publisher of Haaretz, moderated.

  • 02/09/2011 10:10 AM

    This morning Ambassador Kirk is testifying before the House Ways and Means Committee regarding Obama Administration trade policies. You can watch the testimony live on the House Ways and Means Committee’s website here starting at 10:00 a.m. EST.

    Be sure to check back at for Ambassador Kirk’s written testimony.

    UPDATED: This event has ended. You can watch the full hearing here.

  • 02/08/2011 5:51 PM

    Ambassador Kirk met with University of Houston President Renu Khator this morning to discuss the Obama Administration’s work to win the future through education and American innovation. They discussed USTR’s work to open markets around the world and support job creation here at home for young workers.

    Ambassador Kirk and University of Houston Leadership Delegation
    Ambassador Kirk with leadership from the University of Houston including Chair of the Board of Regents Carroll Ray, President Renu Khator and Former Chair of Board of Regents Welcome Wilson

  • 02/08/2011 4:01 PM

    Ambassador Kirk met with the European Union (EU) Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Dacian Cioloş today. They discussed U.S.-EU agricultural trade issues, the continued efforts to open the EU market to more American agricultural products, and the Doha Round negotiations.

    Ambassador Kirk and EU Commissioner Dacian CiolosAmbassador Kirk and EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Dacian Ciolos

    The EU is the fifth largest market for U.S. agricultural products, with exports reaching $7.5 billion in 2009. Leading categories of exports include tree nuts, soybeans, processed fruit and vegetables, wine and beer, and tobacco.

  • 02/08/2011 10:48 AM
    America's Quarterly recently interviewed Ambassador Kirk about moving forward with trade liberalization. Read his response here.
  • 02/04/2011 3:56 PM
    Today, the White House released “A Strategy for American Innovation: Securing Our Economic Growth and Prosperity,” an update to the administration’s innovation report from September 2009. The report outlines the importance of investing in innovation to grow our economy, create jobs and win the future. You can read the full report here.
  • 02/04/2011 2:49 PM

    Last week, Ambassador Marantis sat down with Voice of America to discuss the United States’ trade relationship with China, including President Hu Jintao’s recent State Visit and the successful Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade meetings in December. Watch the interview here. The introduction to the interview is in Chinese , while the interview is in English. Watch the interview here.

  • 02/04/2011 11:27 AM

    National Export Initiative LogoOn Thursday, February 17, Ambassador Kirk will join Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Small Business Administration Administrator Karen Mills, Chairman of the Export-Import Bank of the United States Fred Hochberg, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan, Governor Mark Dayton and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to kickoff the National Export Initiative Small Business Tour. Ambassador Kirk will co-host a one-day conference, entitled “New Markets, New Jobs.” This forum is designed to help connect small- and medium-sized Minnesota businesses with the resources they need to sell more products around the world and create more jobs for American workers.

    America’s small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy, and the primary source of new American jobs. However, these businesses face many hurdles in getting their products to new global markets. The lack of readily available information about exporting and market research, accessing export financing and strong competition from foreign companies and governments are challenges for these businesses. The National Export Initiative Small Business Tour is designed to address these issues as part of President Obama’s goal of doubling exports by 2014 to support the creation of several million new jobs.

    Sign up to attend the conference here, and keep checking back at for more information on the tour.

  • 02/02/2011 3:36 PM

    Ambassador Kirk met with five members of the Technology CEO Council (TCC) today. Ambassador Kirk and representatives from IBM, Micron Technology, Xerox, Applied Materials and Dell, held a constructive dialogue regarding the importance of opening global markets to American innovation, increasing U.S. competitiveness abroad and creating services-related jobs here at home. Specifically, Ambassador Kirk talked about the access American service companies will receive as part of the U.S.-Korea trade agreement. He also spoke about the importance of increasing U.S. exports and jobs through the Trans-Pacific Partnership and President Obama’s National Export Initiative.

    During the meeting, Ambassador Kirk reiterated President Obama’s commitment to win the future. He highlighted USTR’s work to open markets and increase U.S. competitiveness so that Americans can do what they do best - innovate using their creativity and imagination- to create the jobs and industries of the future.

    Services accounted for $873 billion in total (two way) trade during 2009, making the United States the largest services trading country in the world.

    Ambassador Kirk meets with members of the Technology CEO Council
    Ambassador Kirk with members of the Technology CEO Council

  • 02/01/2011 6:20 PM

    This morning, Deputy United States Trade Representative Miriam Sapiro met with 15 members of the Manufacturing Action Council (MAC). Ambassador Sapiro discussed the critical role that manufacturing plays in the American economy and in the President’s National Export Initiative (NEI). This was the inaugural meeting of the MAC, a new trade coalition which focuses on increasing American manufacturing exports.

    Ambassador Sapiro updated the group on USTR’s work to open markets around the world through the Doha Development Agenda, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the U.S.-Korea trade agreement. She also answered questions on a variety of trade issues.

    Ambassador Sapiro highlighted the recent news that U.S. exports of goods and services were up 17 percent in 2010 (based on January-November data). This is above the 15 percent growth threshold necessary to double exports by the end of 2014 as part of the NEI. Shipments of manufactured durable goods in December increased $2.8 billion or 1.4 percent over the previous month, and have been on the rise for three of the last four months. In 2010, every billion dollars of goods exports supported more than an estimated 6,000 jobs.

    Ambassador Sapiro meets with the Manufacturing Action Council
    Ambassador Sapiro meets with the Manufacturing Action Council

  • 02/01/2011 3:12 PM

    This week’s trade spotlight is on recent efforts by the United States and trading partners in Davos, Switzerland, to move the long-running Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations into an end game during 2011.

    The Doha Round of negotiations at the World Trade Organization has the potential to open markets and strengthen global commerce for the coming decades as it fulfills the goal set out in 2001 of integrating the WTO’s poorest developing members more fully into the world’s trading system. However, the talks have been stalled for some time. United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk met with key fellow trade ministers on the margins of last week's World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to seek solutions.

    In bilateral and multilateral meetings, Ambassador Kirk stressed the need for key emerging economies such as Brazil, China, and India to agree to open their markets further, so that the outcome of the talks will make a real difference for developing and developed countries alike. The United States remains committed to a successful, ambitious conclusion of the round, but Ambassador Kirk cautioned that if the talks are to be completed in 2011, real give-and-take negotiations must begin immediately. He said that the United States will engage on difficult issues, but that it is essential for all partners to do the same.

    Many trading partners agreed that now is the time to make real progress in the Doha trade negotiations so that the promise of these world trade talks can be brought home to businesses and workers in America and around the world. The United States has its sleeves rolled up, and is willing to make every effort in coming weeks.

    Ambassador Kirk and key trade ministers from around the world discussed the future of the Doha Round at meetings in Davos, Switzerland.
    Ambassador Kirk and key trade ministers from around the world discussed the future of the Doha Round at meetings in Davos, Switzerland.
    (Photo courtesy of the European Commission)

    Chinese Minister of Commerce Chen Deming
    Ambassador Kirk meets with Chinese Minister of Commerce Chen Deming in Davos to discuss the Doha Round.

    Ambassador Kirk and Minister Sharma
    Ambassador Kirk meets with Indian Minister of Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma in Davos to discuss the Doha Round.

    Ambassador Kirk and Brazilian Minister of External Relations Antonio Patriota
    Ambassador Kirk meets with Brazilian Minister of External Relations Antonio Patriota in Davos to discuss the Doha Round.