About the Author: Jose W. Fernandez serves as Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs.
I started my tenure as Assistant Secretary for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs on December 1, 2009, eager to engage America's economic partners and promote economic security and prosperity at home and abroad. This position clearly requires wide collaboration around a number of complex issues. Nowhere is this more apparent than in promoting President Obama's National Export Initiative (NEI).
On Monday, March 22 at 10 locations around the United States, senior officials helped launch the NEI with presentations, press conferences, and business roundtables. I was fortunate to go to Miami, a city that has been hard hit by the economic downturn but is home to many dynamic internationally oriented companies. My goal was to increase awareness of the initiative and to learn from the experiences of local businesses. The Miami participants did not disappoint, as they were more than willing to share their perspectives and offer suggestions to help.
The scope of the NEI is ambitious. The President has called on multiple U.S. agencies, including the Departments of State and Commerce, to forge a government-wide export-promotion strategy. We will be applying all available resources to reach the goal of getting people into jobs that provide security and prospects for increased earnings. With government and business working together, I am confident that the NEI goals are achievable. Businesses of all sectors and sizes, not only in South Florida but throughout the U.S., can fuel the engines of economic recovery through increased exports.
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 great resource, www.sba.gov. It's a source of information on U.S. trade and has helpful tools to help American businesses sell their goods and services overseas tools.
I look forward to any comments you may have.