The President began his remarks today on familiar themes. He recounted the stark turnaround from the first half of last year when he first came into office and which saw the economy shed nearly 3 million jobs, to the first half of this year which saw the creation of nearly 600,000 private sector jobs. He also spoke about his focus on creating a new economic foundation for America that would withstand the cycle of boom and bust that has plagued our economy for so long – from reforming our health care system, to catalyzing the clean energy economy, to investing wisely in education, to rebuilding America’s infrastructure from highways high-speed rail to high-speed internet.
It was in this context that he spoke about the progress being made on the National Export Initiative:
But this isn’t just about where jobs are today; this is where American jobs will be tomorrow. Ninety-five percent of the world’s customers and fastest growing markets are beyond our borders. So if we want to find new growth streams, if we want to find new markets and new opportunity, we’ve got to compete for those new customers -– because other nations are competing for those new customers.
The goal of the initiative is to double exports and support several million new jobs over five years. In short, it is on track, and exports in the first four months of 2010 grew almost 17 percent from the same period last year.
To meet this goal, we launched the National Export Initiative -– an ambitious effort to team up with America’s businesses, large and small, and help them unleash their energy and innovation, grow their markets, support new jobs selling their goods and services all across the globe. And we’re bringing to bear the full resources of the United States government.
One of the first things we did was establish an Export Promotion Cabinet made up of Cabinet members and senior administration officials whose work affects exports. Yesterday, I assembled this cabinet for an update on our efforts so far. We’re going to hold these meetings every few months -– and I’ve asked for a progress report at our next meeting in September.
But this is about more than what government can do; this is about what our businesses can do. And that’s why we are re-launching the President’s Export Council, a group that includes business and labor leaders who will offer their unfiltered advice and expertise on how best to promote exports. We’ve also included congressional leaders and senior representatives of my administration.
The President went on to discuss efforts so far to increase access to export financing for small and medium-sized businesses, remove barriers to trade and open new markets, make sure that trade is free and fair, and work with the world community to promote strong balanced growth worldwide that will benefit everybody. Read the full progress report, and learn more about the Council from the White House background.