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March 11, 2010 

President Announces Details of National Export Initiative at Ex-Im Bank's Annual Conference

In a speech today at the Export-Import Bank of the United States' annual conference in Washington, DC, President Obama provided more details on the National Export Initiative (NEI) and his goal of doubling U.S. exports in the next five years that was announced in his State of the Union Speech in January.

The following is a summary the important points made in today's speech:

  • Four aims of NEI are (1) increasing export financing; (2) increasing export advocacy; (3) providing assistance for American businesses to locate, set up shop, and win in new markets; and (4) focusing on making sure American companies have free and fair access to those markets, including enforcing existing trade agreements.
  • Signed an Executive Order instructing the federal government to use every available federal resource in support of that mission. That order created an Export Promotion Cabinet, made up of the Secretaries of State, Treasury, Agriculture, Commerce and Labor, along with our U.S. Trade Representative, Small Business Administrator, the Export-Import Bank President, and other senior U.S. officials whose work impacts exports. That cabinet will convene its first meeting in April. 
  • Re-launched the President’s Export Council, the principal national advisory committee on international trade. Named Jim McNerney, the President and CEO of Boeing, as its chair; and Ursula Burns, the CEO of Xerox, as vice chair (White House announcement on these appointments here).
  • Export promotion efforts will extend throughout the Administration. Secretary Locke is issuing guidance to all senior government officials who have foreign counterparts on how they can best promote our exporters. Secretary Clinton is mobilizing a commercial diplomacy strategy, directing every one of our embassies to create a Senior Visitor Business Liaison who will manage our export advocacy efforts locally.
  • Will unleash a battery of comprehensive and coordinated efforts to promote new markets and new opportunities for American exporters. Will bring together the Ex-Im Bank, the SBA, the Departments of Commerce and Agriculture, and the Trade Development Agency to set up one-stop-shops across the country and in the 250 embassies and consulates abroad, to help American businesses gain a foothold in the fastest-growing markets with the most demand. And we’ll provide a comprehensive toolkit of services – from financing to counseling to promotion – to help potential exporters grow and expand.

  • Will increase funding for existing promotion efforts, including International Trade Administration at the Department of Commerce, and strengthen the USDA’s ability to connect farmers with new customers overseas.
  • Working to reform the U.S. Export Control System for strategic, high-tech industries, which will strengthen our national security. Will concentrate our efforts on enforcing controls on the export of our most critical technologies, making America safer while enhancing the competitiveness of key American industries. Have conducted a broad review of the Export Control System, and Secretary Gates will outline our reform proposal within the next couple weeks.
  • Regarding exports, the President announced two specific changes in export control laws that the Administration will work to implement:
  1. A new one-time online review process for products containing encryption that is intended to reduce the current 30 to 60 day review process to "30 minutes".
  2. Will eliminate unnecessary obstacles for exporting products to companies with dual-national and third-country-national employees by harmonizing the EAR and ITAR standards, making it easier for American and foreign companies to comply with U.S. export control requirements without diminishing national security. 
The video of the speech is below:

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