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U.S. Must Do More to Help Exporters, Report Says
Washington — The U.S. government must invest in more resources to help U.S. businesses realize their export potential if it wants to create more jobs and redirect the U.S. economy to a more sustainable path of economic growth, a new report says.
Released September 16 by the President’s Export Council, the report calls for an increase in government-backed export financing for transactions that would lack access to credit from the private sector and intensified efforts to promote trade through trade missions and shows. The council, established by President Obama earlier this year, is an advisory body composed of business and governmental leaders.
“The world wants to buy goods and services made in the United States, and our workers are ready to produce them,” Obama said September 16 at a meeting of the council at the White House.
The United States and other members of the Group of 20 major economies have endorsed in principle the need for rebalancing of the global economy, which has relied for two decades on U.S. consumption and borrowing and on China’s and other countries’ exports and lending. Most experts believe the recent financial crisis revealed that such a model was not sustainable and more diversified sources of global economic growth were needed. The report says that a broad range of countries need to change their policies for rebalancing to happen, mostly through encouraging domestic demand.
U.S. small and medium-size companies with potential to sell their goods or services overseas have the most to gain from a renewed U.S. commitment to exports, as many lack access to relevant information and necessary resources, the report says.
“America is going to bat as a stronger partner and a better advocate for our businesses abroad,” Obama said in his remarks to the council ( ).
Many governments give their exporters stronger support than the U.S. government has done in the past, according to a White House announcement ( ).
The report urges the government to improve U.S. companies’ access to overseas markets by completing and expanding free-trade agreements and enforcing trade rules.
Specifically, the report urges concluding the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and resolving issues that the administration views as obstacles to its acceptance of free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. These agreements were concluded by the previous Republican administration but never have been submitted to Congress for ratification.
“We are losing market share to Europeans and Asian and even South American countries,” Boeing Company chief executive and council chairman James McNerney told reporters after the council’s meeting. He said that out of “600 trade agreements being worked on right now around the world” the United States is involved in just a few.
The council did not address the issue of China’s currency, which labor unions and some lawmakers believe constitute a barrier to U.S. export competitiveness. But Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who testified on the same day before two congressional committees, said China has not been moving fast enough to reform its currency system. In his testimony ( ), he outlined the steps the U.S. administration might take to encourage China to accelerate efforts aimed at allowing the yuan to appreciate against the dollar.
The council is part of the National Export Initiative ( ) announced by President Obama earlier this year, which calls for doubling U.S. exports over the next five years. Earlier in September, the administration announced a plan to streamline the export controls system ( ) as a step toward reaching this goal.
Despite skepticism expressed by some private sector experts, Obama said the goal is not only achievable, but also essential to refocusing the U.S. economy and rebuilding U.S. manufacturing. He has cast his initiative as a major part of the shift away from consumption as a U.S. economic growth driver. He sees innovation and exports as major sources of future U.S. economic growth.
(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:
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