About the Author: Robert D. Hormats serves as Under Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs.
It's appropriate that my first DipNote entry focus on one of the President's highest economic priorities: that of expanding exports.
On Monday, March 15, I was interviewed on The Diane Rehm Show about the National Export Initiative (NEI). This historic initiative has a goal of doubling U.S. exports over the next five years and will support two million new jobs. The show was a great opportunity to encourage small- and medium-sized companies to think about exporting to share in the benefits of the global economy. To listen to my segment, visit The Diane Rehm Show website by clicking here.
I spoke about the unprecedented challenges facing American businesses these days, and what we at the State Department can do to help them. In order to restore job growth at home, we need to make sure our companies can compete abroad. With over 95% of the world's customers beyond our shores, that means helping American companies find new markets overseas and compete effectively globally.
I fielded a number of excellent questions during the show. Some dealt with biotechnology, intellectual property protection and piracy. Others related to lack of progress on our free trade agreements. All of the callers wanted practical answers about what programs and initiatives will help them succeed. The State Department is expanding its efforts to assist companies. Our ambassadors will be asked to meet with businesses (particularly SMEs) when they visit towns and cities throughout the United States. Secretary Clinton has made this a high priority for us.
The first port of call for exporters should be: www.export.gov. It's a good source of information on U.S. trade and has helpful tools to assist American businesses sell their goods and services overseas. Companies looking for new export markets also can call 1-800-USA-TRADE for assistance.
For financing opportunities through the U.S. Export-Import Bank, check out www.exim.gov. The Small Business Administration is also a resource for smaller companies looking to break into exporting: www.sba.gov.