(October 23, 2011) How businesses can overcome foreign trade barriers was the focus of a recent workshop in Washington, D.C. hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce together with the National District Export Council.
U.S. Trade Ambassador Ron Kirk
U.S. Trade Ambassador Ron Kirk was a featured speaker at the "Workshop on Defeating Foreign Trade Barriers" on October 17.
The U.S. Chamber and the National District Export Council hosted the day-long event to showcase services available to exporters. In his keynote remarks, Ambassador Kirk explained how the efforts of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to remove trade barriers can assist businesses by eliminating tariffs, improving intellectual property rights protection, and easing customs administration to get products to market more quickly.
In addition, Michael C. Camuñez, assistant secretary of commerce for market access and compliance in the U.S. Commerce Department, indicated that good free trade agreements can have been negotiated, trade finance can be in place, together with a robust trade promotion plan, but companies can still encounter foreign trade barriers that limit market access.
The Market Access and Compliance (MAC) division of the International Trade Administration in the U.S. Department of Commerce defends, expands and promotes market access for U.S. goods, services and investment abroad to help American businesses thrive and create jobs in the United States. MAC’s mandate is to overcome trade barriers that have a negative impact on U.S. businesses so they can compete more effectively abroad. For further information, see www.trade.gov/MAC .
Deputy Assistant Secretary Seward Jones then spoke about the Trade Compliance Center in the U.S. Department of Commerce. The center is the U.S. government’s focal point for monitoring foreign compliance with trade agreements to see that U.S. firms and workers get the maximum benefits from these agreements. The center is a one-stop shop for getting U.S. government assistance in resolving trade barriers or unfair situations encountered in foreign markets. For further information, visit www.export.gov/TCC.
In addition, STOPfakes.gov was launched to serve as a one-stop shop for U.S. government tools and resources on intellectual property rights. The federal agencies behind STOPfakes.gov have developed a number of resources to educate and assist businesses, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as consumers, government officials and the general public
District Export Council
The day before the workshop, the National District Export Council held its annual meeting at the Ronald Reagan Trade Center in Washington, D.C. Roy Paulson, president of Paulson Manufacturing Corporation (a California Chamber of Commerce member) in Temecula, is vice chair of the council. Susanne Stirling, CalChamber vice president of international affairs, is a member of the Northern California District Export Council and participated in both events. The District Export Councils (DECs) contribute leadership and international trade expertise to complement the U.S. Commercial Service’s export promotion efforts. The DEC members are appointed by the Secretary of Commerce.
For further information see CalChamber's DEC Information Page
Pending International Trade Issues
DEC members discussed several pending trade issues, including the possible U.S. congressional "lame duck " vote approving permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) for Russia. The U.S. House Ways and Means Committee and the U.S. Senate Finance Committee have passed Russia PNTR. It is vital to extend PNTR with Russia this year. The White House and Congress are encouraged to work together to ensure passage of this legislation as quickly as possible after the November elections. There is strong bipartisan support for this measure, which will support U.S. exports, U.S. jobs and the U.S. economy.
The DEC membership also discussed the future need for presidential trade promotion authority (TPA), which would allow for future trade negotiations. TPA (formerly called fast track trade negotiating authority) is the process by which Congress gives authority to the President and/or U.S. Trade Representative to enter into trade negotiations in order to lower U.S. export barriers. TPA expired in June 2007 and must be extended by Congress once again. The United States' major trading partners are participating in sectoral and regional agreements, and TPA is a prerequisite to meaningful U.S. participation.
Without TPA, the United States will be compelled to sit on the sidelines in the future while other countries negotiate numerous preferential trade agreements that put U.S. companies at a competitive disadvantage.
Increased market access achieved through trade agreements has played a major role in the nation's success as the world's leading exporter. Trade promotion authority is vital for the President of the United States to negotiate new multilateral, bilateral and sectoral agreements that will continue to tear down barriers to trade and investment, expand markets for U.S. farmers and businesses, and create higher-skilled, higher-paying jobs for U.S. workers.
The CalChamber concurs with these trade priorities. See www.calchamber.com/RussiaPNTR and www.CalChamber.com/TPA
The CalChamber, in keeping with long-standing policy, enthusiastically supports free trade worldwide, expansion of international trade and investment, fair and equitable market access for California products abroad and elimination of disincentives that impede the international competitiveness of California business.
The CalChamber supports the extension of trade promotion authority so that the President of the United States may negotiate new multilateral, sectoral and regional trade agreements ensuring that the United States may continue to gain access to world markets, resulting in an improved economy and additional employment of Americans.
Staff Contact: Susanne Stirling