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DAUSTR Christina Sevilla Speaks with Saint John's University Students About Trade

Last week, Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Small Business, Market Access and Industrial Competitiveness Christina Sevilla met with students at Saint John’s University’s McCarthy Center for Public Policy and Civic Engagement program in Collegeville, Minnesota. Christina discussed the Obama Administration’s trade agenda, specifically the importance of helping small businesses increase exports. USTR’s work is part of President Obama’s plan for America to win the future by out-educating, out-innovating, and out-building the global competition.

Christina’s conversation with the students revolved around how USTR negotiates directly with foreign governments to open markets, reduce trade barriers, and enforce trade agreements around the world. This work helps support trade-related jobs and export opportunities in communities throughout Minnesota.

Minnesota companies exported merchandise totaling $18.9 billion in 2010 – from major local employers like 3M and Medtronic to small companies like Miller Manufacturing Company of Eagan, MN. Miller manufactures and distributes farm, ranch and pet products in the U.S., Canada and over 30 countries around the world. Of the more than 6,800 companies that exported goods from Minnesota locations in 2008, 6,027 (nearly 88 percent) were small- and medium-sized businesses with fewer than 500 employees.

According to Professor Jim Read, Interim Director of the McCarthy Center, the event provided students “a very clear idea of how international trade works, the opportunities that exist, and the stakes all of us have in what kind of trade policies the U.S. pursues. In the question and answer period, you also had really good, practical advice for students thinking about doing some kind of international work, in business or politics. I was pleased that students were very interested and asked excellent questions.”