The Commerce Department recently issued a report updating Congress on the Obama administration's National Export Initiative and its plans for the fourth year of the collective government effort to boost overseas sales.
The five-year strategy aims to raise exports to $3.2 trillion by the end of 2014.
Exports of goods and services over the past 12 months grew 5 percent to $2.2 trillion, up from $2.1 trillion in 2011 (on 14.5 percent growth) and $1.83 trillion in 2010 (16.7 percent growth from 2009). The pace of growth is slowing down because initial gains were off a low base after the economic crisis and headwinds from the current recession in Europe.
Among the achievements highlighted by the administration are increased collaboration with metropolitan areas to generate exports; ratification of free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama; and increased focus on U.S. travel and tourism. Agencies are also staffing a new Interagency Trade Enforcement Center, announced a year ago, to level the playing field and enhance the investigation of unfair trade practices.
The administration plans to streamline and modernize the delivery of export promotion services for small businesses, including national marketing and training efforts and outreach to community banks, according to the report. Enhancements have also been made to the Export.gov web site and local export counseling services.
Negotiators are participating in the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks to try and forge a multilateral trade agreement that would reduce barriers for U.S. products and services in more than half-a-dozen Pacific Rim countries. President Obama recently instructed federal agencies to help U.S. companies land public infrastructure contracts in foreign countries, increasing commercial engagement with Africa and supporting the work of SelectUSA, a program for attracting foreign direct investment.
Click here to read the full NEI report
. - Eric Kulisch