Analysis: The global push for American-made

Published March 13, 2013

There’s no doubt about it: Doing business in America is changing. And businesses with even the most loyal customers are finding that their customers are changing, too. In an increasingly global marketplace, business owners across the U.S. are realizing that their next major customer may no longer come from across town, but beyond our borders.

Francisco J. Sánchez
Francisco J. Sánchez
U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade
While news of American exports may not capture the headlines as government shutdowns and political impasses do, the proof is in the thousands of regional businesses who are witnessing its value first hand.

Not only did U.S. exports outpace the growth of imports in 2012 for the first time since 2007, but exports have helped support the creation of more than 6 million private-sector jobs during the past 35 months. The world wants what America makes.

So how does this relate to the business climate here in Charleston? Simple: Our nation’s success with exports has in part been driven by business owners right here in this state.

Take, for example, Florence-based Carbis Inc., which has worked with the U.S. Commercial Service of S.C. to export goods and establish a stronger presence in China, Japan and India. Through this partnership, Carbis has established an outpost in China, with offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. The company has also expanded its sales to Korea, Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia — and reports an increase in year-over-year export sales.

I’m looking forward to joining the Charleston community at a March 20 event to celebrate these and other local efforts to power our nation’s economy through exporting and improved trade relations.

As we mark the third anniversary of the National Export Initiative — a program launched by President Obama to expand exports and support an increase of 2 million jobs here at home — we do have something to celebrate. U.S. exports grew almost $100 billion from 2011 to 2012, reaching a record $2.2 trillion. And exports supported 1.3 million more jobs between 2009 and 2012 — more than 60% toward our goal.

We’re also seeing progress as we mark the first anniversary this month of the United States-Korea Trade Agreement, which opened market access for U.S. businesses to a rapidly growing Asian economy interested in American products.

The latest development in our work to open more channels for trade came in the president’s recent State of the Union speech. The president announced his intent to launch talks with the European Union to forge a transatlantic trade and investment partnership, an agreement that can impact almost half of the world’s economic activity. The United States and the EU represent the largest economic relationship in the world. Our joint gross domestic product accounts for 45% of global GDP, and includes more than 800 million consumers. A comprehensive trade agreement with our transatlantic partners — along with those with whom we are negotiating in the Asia-Pacific region and an international services trade agreement — will be good for American businesses and American workers, supporting good-paying jobs right here at home.

According to recent data, nearly half of the growth in U.S. exports in 2012 was to countries where we have trade agreements in place. Communities around Charleston and across the country can trust that smart, responsible, job-focused trade agreements are important as they support good-paying jobs for workers here in South Carolina. I look forward to working with my colleagues throughout the Obama Administration to continue to pursue trade policies that help American companies compete in the global marketplace.

Our businesses that create jobs, our workers who are hungry to compete in this global marketplace and this state’s future economic success will all benefit if we do.

Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco J. Sánchez leads the International Trade Administration, a federal agency with commercial offices across the U.S. and the globe that promotes U.S. businesses and global competitiveness. Sánchez will be the keynote speaker during the World Trade Center Charleston: Metro Export Initiative on March 20 at the Charleston Area Convention Center. For more information, click here.

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