Every Day Is Trade Day

Posted by Lorraine Hariton
May 21, 2010
Container Ship Passes Through Panama Canal

Learn more: About the Author: Lorraine Hariton serves as Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs (CBA).

We've marked "World Trade Week" here at the State Department this week with a busy agenda in which we've noted President Obama's ambitious goal to double exports in the next five years. Our first priority is ensuring that business advocacy and commercial diplomacy are an integral part of the diplomatic agenda. Exports are the focus of our contribution to the domestic economic recovery and job creation. I hear daily from our U.S. ambassadors who are out there on the front lines advocating for U.S. companies across the globe. It is our embassy officers who offer critical information to U.S. businesses on the political and economic situation in specific countries. I also hear daily from U.S. company executives about their successes in selling U.S. products or services abroad based on assistance our embassies have provided in local markets in places as diverse as Singapore, Sweden, Vietnam, and the United Arab Emirates.

We work with the U.S. corporate giants like Boeing, GE, and Raytheon, but we also work with small and medium-sized enterprises that aren't household names to help find local partners in foreign markets or address the complicated issues they face in exporting U.S. goods. We also help those companies when they encounter roadblocks in their efforts to expand sales abroad. Our embassies stand side-by-side U.S. companies that face investment disputes or market-access issues in foreign countries. We have a special program to expedite visa processing for foreign business travelers. We work closely with our colleagues in other government agencies -- especially the Commerce Department, the Small Business Administration, the Export-Import Bank, and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation -- to leverage their services in support of U.S. companies working abroad. We teamed up with the U.S. Trade and Development Agency in April to co-host the ASEAN Clean Energy Conference in Manila to introduce government officials from all of the ASEAN countries to a wide range of U.S. companies' clean energy technology, products, and services.

With a renewed focus on the U.S. entrepreneurial spirit, we met with more than 220 entrepreneurs from Muslim-majority countries in April at the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship held in Washington D.C. It was an exhilarating week that included the launch of our Global Entrepreneurship Program and our e-mentoring program which we hope will spur economic development and expanded trade through enabling an entrepreneurial ecosystem around the world.

Every day we meet with businesses in Washington to talk about their efforts to expand exports overseas. But we also get out beyond the beltway to find out what's on the minds of exporters across the country. I recently traveled to Manchester, New Hampshire, with Senator Jeanne Shaheen to talk to exporters at the Granite State Export Forum. Other senior State Department officials have reached out to exporters in places like Miami, Florida, and Gary, Indiana. We hear from individuals everywhere that U.S. government and embassies' assistance to exporters may be one of the best kept secrets. We hope to change that, because every day is "trade day" at the State Department.

Comments

Comments

OysterCracker
|
United States
May 23, 2010

O.C. in U.S.A. writes:

I think the best thing America has is its ability to put whole scale systems in place. Not necessarily to run the systems but we seem to excell at establishing systems like transportation networks, agricultural and building systems. The amount of labor that has gone into building our country is unsurpassed. Using development as a foreign policy tool is the only thing that makes sense.
The government just needs to get its policies in line with its rhetoric and then our economy will be smokin' hot just like Obama or whatever the lunch lady said.

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