Trade Is Not Just for the Coasts, It’s for the Heartland Too

May 25, 2012
Snow Capped Rocky Mountains Are Pictured Over the Denver Skyline

When most Americans think of states that export, the ones on the coasts or those bordering Mexico or Canada are usually the first to come to mind. We tend to think of computer chips from California or beef from Texas. What most Americans are missing, however, are the export powerhouses that exist in the middle of our country, at America's heart. Colorado is a perfect example. While it is a landlocked state in the middle of the country, it also sits between Canada and Mexico, and at the midpoint between Tokyo and Frankfurt. Last year, Colorado exported over $7 billion worth of goods and services to countries around the world.

The United States was born a trading nation in 1776, and commerce has been the essential life blood of the United States and our entrepreneurial spirit. In observance of the annual World Trade Week, the World Trade Center Denver hosted a World Trade Day conference on May 17. I traveled to Denver to participate because I recognize the importance of trade to all 50 states, notably how it supports jobs throughout the country.

This year's World Trade Week had special significance, as it was ushered in by the May 15 entry into force of the U.S.-Colombia trade agreement. This agreement allows 80 percent of U.S. consumer goods to enter Colombia duty-free today, with the remaining tariffs phased out over the next 10 years. This milestone, along with the U.S.-Korea (KORUS) Agreement going into effect in March, means more competitive market access to two major markets for American products and services.

World Trade Week is also a time to look ahead to the next challenge of our trade agenda -- the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The United States, along with eight other countries, is negotiating this high-standard, broad-based, regional agreement that we like to think of as a model 21st century trade agreement. The TPP will bring together both developed and developing countries' economies from across the Pacific into a single trading community. It addresses new cross-cutting issues, such as helping small- and medium-sized enterprises take advantage of the opportunities that will be created by this agreement. And we are working ardently to ensure TPP includes protections for workers' rights, the environment, and intellectual property.

During my Denver trip, I also met representatives of small- and medium-sized enterprises that are actively involved in growing their export businesses or working to attract foreign investment into Colorado. One of the new ways we at the State Department support these companies to take advantage of export and investment opportunities is through a new program called Direct Line. Part of Secretary Clinton's Economic Statecraft agenda, the Direct Line program creates a channel for companies to engage directly with our Ambassadors to learn about business opportunities in around the world.

Thank you to all in Denver for your hospitality during my trip. It was a good reminder that we at the State Department need to help each and every state take advantage of its unique attributes in order to maximize exports and encourage foreign investment. Our goal is to promote a world where open, free, transparent, and fair trade and investment are the norm. If we succeed, all our states, and the United States, will benefit. This truly is the heart of the matter.



herman s.
May 25, 2012

Herman S. in Ecuador writes:

I like this topic, and I would like to read another themes about this, it's interesting.

scott b.
California, USA
May 27, 2012

Scott B. in California writes:

"beef from Texas" still known for that but Texas is big in high tech goods also.


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