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Ambassador Kirk Addresses the Retail Industry Leaders Association Logistics Conference

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."