National Export Initiative

March 17, 2010
Container Ships Docked at Terminals in Port Elizabeth, New Jersey

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: 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 The Small Business Administration is also a resource for smaller companies looking to break into exporting:



Iowa, USA
March 19, 2010

Sam in Iowa writes:

It's really important to improve the export as it will improve local employment rate. As the recession is almost over its time to look out and expand our businesses worldwide. The information provided and points raised on those links are very helpful.


District Of Columbia, USA
March 21, 2010

Laura in Washington, DC writes:

The increase of exports would be an excellent way to increase the numbers of jobs in the United States. However, we should keep in mind that other countries will buy our exports only if they are able to sell theirs in United States. The National Export Initiative should aim to increase exports without putting limitations on imports.

The various effects of limitations on imports have been seen in a variety of industries. For example, when President Bush put limitations on steel imports in 2002, industry suffered and the number of jobs declined. According to one study by Trade Partnership Worldwide, LLC, approximately 200,000 Americans lost their jobs due to the tariff on steel. Furthermore, the study claims that every U.S. state experienced job loss from the tariff. Tariffs and limitations on imports can adversely affect the U.S. job market.

Although the National Export Initiative aims to “facilitate the creation of jobs in the United States through the promotion of exports,” I suggest that policies regarding imports and tariff are examined as well in order to prevent job loss.

El B.
Wisconsin, USA
June 30, 2010

El H.B. in Wisconsin writes:

Hello, the National Export Initiative is an excellent initiative to offset the recession.
America has a huge trade deficit with Africa: we import four times more from Africa than they buy from us (84 billions of import to USA versus 18 billions of exports to Africa in 2008), hard to believe isn't it?

Needless to say that the National Export Initiative validated the existence of our company launched in July of 2009 to export US equipments and machineries to Africa (where the demand is very high in the sectors of Water, Sanitation, Construction, Agriculture and Energy).

Our focus is to export as many American technological goods as possible...products such as hand pumps, wind turbines, flood pumps, solar water treatment systems, water exploration tools and construction machineries. We have acquired great US suppliers but financing has been a real problem since banks have heightened their credit requirements drastically so we cannot qualify for a bank loan.

How can we obtain financing assistance for initial inventory from the National Export Initiative?
Our company is a direct response to the export challenges of America: we find compatible products with foreign markets, we find the international buyers and allow the export of US goods. Any suggestions for our obstacles?


Jeff O.
District Of Columbia, USA
July 26, 2010

Jeff O. in Washington DC writes:

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), the Coalition of Service Industries (CSI) and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) put forth a comprehensive approach today to double U.S. exports in five years. Learn more at

Key recommendations:
• Enact pending trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.
• Pursue new trade agreements.
• Reduce non-tariff barriers.
• Improve competitiveness with investments in infrastructure and trade facilitation initiatives.
• Pursue a Doha Round agreement that expands world trade.
• Improve export promotion efforts and financing policies


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