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  • 01/27/2011 5:29 PM

    Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Environment and Natural Resources Mark Linscott and Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs Dr. Kerri-Ann Jones and co-led the fifth meeting of the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) Environmental Affairs Council (EAC) held in Washington, D.C. earlier today. Environment Ministers and Vice Ministers from the Central American parties and the Dominican Republic also participated in the one-day meeting.

    During the meeting, the Dominican Republic, the Central American parties, and the United States reaffirmed their strong commitment to work together to preserve and protect the environment through implementation of the CAFTA-DR Environment Chapter and the Environmental Cooperation Agreement. The success of this joint work is a tangible demonstration of good trade policy accelerating the success of environmental initiatives while mutually reinforcing the objectives of sustainable development and environmental conservation and protection.

    The Environment Ministers and Vice-Ministers also met with representatives from civil society during a half-day Public Session to hear their concerns and interests. The Council shared progress on the implementation of obligations under the Environment Chapter and on important results achieved under the Environmental Cooperation Agreement. The CAFTA-DR Secretariat for Environmental Matters explained how to file submissions on enforcement matters under the CAFTA-DR Environment Chapter. The Council meeting and public session also underscored that increased trade and stronger environmental protection are mutually supportive.

    To date, the United States has dedicated more than $64 million to support environmental cooperation in the CAFTA-DR Region. The main areas of CAFTA-DR environmental cooperation are strengthening implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, protecting biodiversity, increasing market-based conservation, and improving private sector environmental performance. The CAFTA-DR Free Trade Commission will meet for the first time on February 23, 2011, in El Salvador, to discuss the agreement’s administration and implementation and expanding and broadening the benefits of trade under the agreement.

    You can read the joint communique from today's meeting here.

  • 01/24/2011 6:40 PM

    Earlier today, Ambassador Kirk met with Colombian Vice President Angelino Garzón. The two discussed a range of matters of mutual interest, including issues related to the United States – Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement. Vice President Garzón is leading efforts in the Colombian government to address labor-related concerns.

    Ambassador Kirk and Colombian Vice President Garzon

    The United States exported $9.5 billion worth of goods to Colombia in 2009. Topping the list of exported goods were machinery, mineral fuel, and electrical machinery. The U.S. also exported almost $907 million in agricultural goods to Colombia. These goods include coarse grains, wheat, and soybeans. Two-way goods trade between the United States and Colombia totaled $20 billion during 2009.

  • 01/20/2011 12:26 PM

    Ambassador Sapiro met with Chilean Director General of International Economic Affairs Jorge Bunster this morning to discuss the progress of implementation for the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

    The U.S.-Chile FTA entered into force on January 1, 2004. It eliminates tariffs and opens markets, reduces barriers for trade in services and provides protection for intellectual property. The FTA ensures regulatory transparency, guarantees nondiscrimination in the trade of digital products and commits the Parties to maintain laws that prohibit anticompetitive business conduct. It also requires effective labor and environmental enforcement.

    The Agreement provided U.S. businesses an opportunity to increase sales to Chilean customers, and businesses across the country took advantage. Companies like the potato processing facility in Oregon that ships its dehydrated potato products to customers in that country helped increase U.S. exports to Chile by almost 250 percent. And a labeling manufacturer in Idaho relies on this Agreement to maintain a competitive edge in Chile and grow its business here at home.

    Ports across the country have experienced an increased in goods going to and from Chile, with the Port of Tampa seeing increases of over 200 percent. This increase in merchandise traveling to and from the port supports well-paying jobs in the local community.

    Over the past seven years, total trade between the two countries has grown by 138 percent to $15.3 billion in 2009. In 2009, U.S. exports to Chile totaled $9.3 billion. U.S. services to Chile also increased by over 75 percent, totaling almost $2 billion in 2008.

  • 01/20/2011 10:31 AM

    To be able to export their goods and services to the world – and support well-paying jobs here at home – American businesses have to be able to compete with companies around the world. The Office of the United States Trade Representative works every day to sharpen American businesses’ competitive edge and expand job opportunities for American workers. The Affordable Care Act – the historic health insurance reform passed by Congress in 2010 – is an important part of improving America’s competitiveness in the global marketplace, and an important part of keeping our economic recovery going.

    Slowing the growth of health care costs frees up resources that American businesses big and small can use to grow. Reducing small firms’ health insurance premiums helps to level the playing field for them as they compete to do business around the world. And better options for health insurance will encourage more American entrepreneurs – and potential exporters – to start their own businesses, increasing opportunities for workers here at home.

    “The Affordable Care Act is essential to the strength of the bottom line of our nation’s businesses and to the health of their workers,” said Ambassador Ron Kirk today. “Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies no longer have free rein to raise premiums on small businesses by huge amounts and to deny coverage to American workers and their families. American companies and entrepreneurs can take better advantage of job-creating trade opportunities when our health care system isn’t draining their resources. Continuing the Affordable Care Act is a trade priority.”

    To learn more about how just how vital the Affordable Care Act is to America’s economic recovery and job growth, visit here. And to find out how the Affordable Care Act can make a difference for your business or your family, visit

  • 01/19/2011 2:31 PM

    Deputy United States Trade Representative Miriam Sapiro traveled to Los Angeles, California yesterday to witness innovative technology firsthand.

    After leading a roundtable discussion with members of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), Ambassador Sapiro toured Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures facilities. While there, she discussed how USTR can help the entertainment industry grow and create jobs here at home. Innovation is a pillar of global economic development, with more than 2.4 million American jobs supported by the film and television industry.

    Ambassador Sapiro spoke about USTR’s commitment to strong protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR) that supports American creativity and job creation. She also talked about the recent conclusion of the U.S.-Korea trade agreement. This agreement contains IPR provisions to protect the entertainment industry’s creations and services commitments that provide greater access to both the infrastructure (cable TV) and programming segments (content) of Korea’s media markets.

    Ambassador Sapiro and Troy Dow, VP and Counsel for the Walt Disney Company
    Ambassador Sapiro and Troy Dow, VP and Counsel for the Walt Disney Company

  • 01/14/2011 6:27 PM
    The White House's Council on Women and Girls profiled Deputy United States Trade Representative Miriam Sapiro as part of a series entitled 'Meet the Women of the Administration.' Learn more Ambassador Sapiro in the blog post here.
  • 01/13/2011 6:28 PM

    This afternoon, Ambassador Kirk joined Export-Import Bank Chairman Fred P. Hochberg, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke. And SBA Administrator Karen Mills for the Global Access for Small Business initiative kick off. U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue hosted the event and National Association of Manufacturers Executive VP and incoming CEO Jay Timmons joined the panel. The Global Access Small Business Initiative (Global Access) is dedicated to dramatically increasing the number of American small businesses exporting goods and services by U.S. workers.

    Ambassador Kirk spoke about USTR’s role in the President’s National Export Initiative: helping small- and medium-sized businesses grow and hire more workers by opening markets around the world and enforcing trade agreements with current trading partners.

    To learn more about how USTR is working to help American small businesses export more around the world, visit our small business page and read about the USTR small business initiative.

    Ambassador Kirk Speaks at a NEI EventAmbassador Kirk speaks at the Global Access for Small Business Initiative event

  • 01/13/2011 5:08 PM

    Ambassador Kirk and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack co-hosted the third meeting of two agriculture committees this morning at USDA. The joint plenary of the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee (APAC) and the Agricultural Technical Advisory Committees (ATACs) met with Ambassador Kirk and Secretary Vilsack to discuss the Obama Administration’s trade agenda in relation to agriculture.

    Ambassador Kirk spoke with committee members about the importance of agricultural trade, which accounted for over $96 billion in U.S. exports in 2009 and which supports approximately 1 million U.S. jobs both on and off the farm. He also discussed how USTR is working to increase these exports for American farmers and ranchers across the country through various trade initiatives.

    The 35-member APAC provides advice concerning agricultural trade policy and represents a broad spectrum of agricultural interests. The ATACs provide advice from the perspective of the following commodity groups: Animals and Animal products; Fruits and Vegetables; Grains, Feed and Oilseeds; Processed Foods; Sweeteners and Sweetener Products; and Tobacco, Cotton, Peanuts, and Planting Seeds. Both committees are appointed jointly by the U.S. Trade Representative and the Secretary of Agriculture.

  • 01/13/2011 4:02 PM

    Ambassador Kirk joined Korean Ambassador Han Duk-Soo today at a Third Way event entitled ‘Exports from the Heartland to Seoul: How the US-Korea Free Trade Deal Will Help Americans.’ Ambassador Kirk spoke about his travels across the country, the insights he’s gained, and the benefits, including more well-paying jobs for American workers, that will come from the U.S.-Korea trade agreement.

    Ambassador Kirk at a Third Way Event on the U.S.-Korea trade agreementAmbassador Kirk speaks about the benefits a U.S.-Korea trade agreement will bring to the United States

    Click here to learn more about how American businesses and workers will benefit from this agreement.

  • 01/12/2011 3:19 PM

    Earlier today, Ambassador Kirk joined Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis for the third annual meeting of the Labor Advisory Committee for Trade Negotiations and Trade Policy (LAC).

    Ambassador Kirk spoke to members of the LAC about various trade topics from how USTR is working to increase exports and support well-paying jobs here at home to standing up for American workers and businesses through strong enforcement of America’s trade rights around the world. The committee members shared their views on a variety of issues including the U.S.-Korea trade agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, trade enforcement, and the Mexican cross-border trucking issue. Secretary Ray LaHood from the Department of Transportation joined in the trucking discussion.

    The LAC is jointly appointed and led by the U.S. Trade Representative and the Secretary of Labor and is comprised of 30 union leaders from across the country.

  • 01/10/2011 7:55 PM

    Ambassador Kirk joined Mexican Secretary of the Economy Bruno Ferrari and Canadian Minster of International Trade Peter Van Loan today in Mexico City for the meeting of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Free Trade Commission.

    The three ministers discussed ways to continue positive trade relations between the three countries, as well as strengthen economic growth and stability across the continent. They agreed upon a plan to address the mindset of many small business owners that exporting is too hard or too risky. The trio also announced changes in rules of origin that will stimulate trade in environmental goods. Read more in the official statement here.

    As the United States’ top two trading partners, this regional trade relationship is vital to increasing American exports, growing American businesses and creating new jobs for American workers. From the shipping company in Hidalgo, Texas, which works to transport Made in America products to Mexico, to the pasta maker in Nashville, Tennessee, selling gourmet products to consumers in Canada, NAFTA continues giving American businesses an opportunity to expand and create well-paying jobs here at home.

    NAFTA entered into force in 1994. Since then trade in goods among the NAFTA countries has more than tripled from $297 billion to $900 billion. Each day the NAFTA countries conduct nearly $2.5 billion in trilateral goods trade. U.S. exports sold to Canada and Mexico in 2009 totaled almost $400 billion, making the two countries the top two purchasers of U.S. exports in 2009.

  • 01/06/2011 3:11 PM

    President Obama recently announced the conclusion of a trade agreement between the United States and Korea that will create jobs and grow American businesses and the American economy. The agreement will increase American exports by $10 to $11 billion just by cutting tariffs for American goods and services, creating tens of thousands of well-paying American jobs.

    It’s an agreement that supports service providers, workers, farmers, ranchers, and manufacturers like K&N Engineering.

    K&N Engineering, a family-owned business in Riverside, California, produces reusable air filters for cars and motorcycles. K&N, which opened its doors over forty years ago, employes over 400 workers and sells its products to consumers and businesses in over 80 countries around the world. K&N’s Made in America exports account for almost a quarter of their overall sales – helping this small business prosper during the economic recovery.

    Always on the lookout for new business opportunities and company growth, K&N heavily relies on international trade for success.

    The U.S.-Korea trade agreement is exactly what this business needs to grow and hire new workers, says Kevin Floody, K&N Engineering’s International Business Manager. “The [free trade agreement] with South Korea will only stimulate more exports, which in turn will generate more production and this equals more jobs.”

    This agreement would eliminate tariffs on over 95 percent of industrial and consumer goods within five years of implementation, allowing businesses across America the opportunity to expand sales in South Korea and grow.

    The agreement also supports the National Export Initiative, promotes future integration of the two economies, and enhances competitiveness of American businesses in the global market.

    The U.S.-Korea trade agreement will require congressional approval before implementation. Keep checking back at for more information on the agreement and its benefits.