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Ambassador Kirk Joins Governor Granholm and Rep. Levin, Tours GM Tech Center

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.