DAUSTR Christina Sevilla Highlights USTR's Work to Open Markets in Kansas

Last week, Deputy Assistant USTR for Small Business, Market Access and Industrial Competitiveness Christina Sevilla spoke at the National Export Initiative New Jobs, New Markets event in Wichita, Kansas. The event was organized by the Kansas World Trade Center and also featured panelists from the Department of Commerce, Small Business Administration, Export-Import Bank, as well as manufacturers and suppliers. More than 100 local companies participated in the event.

Kansas' export shipments of merchandise in 2010 totaled $9.9 billion, including top exports such as transportation equipment, processed foods, chemicals, machinery and agricultural products. The metropolitan area of Wichita, a center for aerospace manufacturing, is the top exporting area in the country in terms of export growth and share of the region’s economic output derived from exports, according to a study by the Brookings Institution.

Christina spoke about USTR’s enforcement victory in a landmark World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute that will help support Kansas aerospace jobs. The WTO found that Airbus received $18 billion in subsidies that harmed the United States and our aerospace industry – particularly, Boeing, its workers and suppliers. The victory will benefit American aerospace workers who for decades have had to compete against a heavily subsidized Airbus.

Enforcement of trade agreements is crucial, since both direct exports and indirect exports by small suppliers in the aerospace industry support thousands of local jobs. For example, ICE Corporation of Manhattan, KS has 45 employees and manufactures electronic motor controllers. According to President Randy O’ Boyle, ICE supplies these innovative technologies to large companies like Boeing and Cessna, which in turn export globally.

Christina also spoke about the Obama Administration’s market opening initiatives through the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, which the United States is hosting this year. She also highlighted the advantages of exporting to the United States’ current and prospective free trade agreement (FTA) partners. U.S. exporters benefit from reduced or zero tariffs, speedier customs procedures, and improved intellectual property protections in FTA markets.

Osborne Industries of Osborne, Kansas has 100 employees. The company manufactures animal-friendly electronic swine feeding equipment. Vice President George Eakin says that the company has exported to FTA partners such as Australia and prospective partner South Korea. Exports to Asia have helped Osborne weather the economic downturn. China is the fastest growing market for their equipment, he noted. George believes that exporting can help revitalize local rural economies like Osborne’s, with a population of 1,200.

Expanding exports by small businesses like ICE Corporation and Osborne Industries is a priority in order to reach President Obama’s goal of supporting millions of additional American jobs by doubling U.S. exports by the end of 2014.