This week, I had the honor of presenting 45 American companies with the President's “E” and “E” Star Awards, a recognition awarded to U.S. businesses that have made significant contributions to U.S. exports. These awardees, which range from small- and medium- sized businesses to household names, understand the importance of exports to their bottom line, American jobs, and the U.S. economy.
Increasing U.S. exports is a top priority for President Obama and our entire Administration. With our support, America’s private sector made 2014 another record year, selling $2.35 trillion of goods and services to overseas markets. Exports also supported 11.7 million private sector jobs in 2014, an all-time high.
We are achieving these new records because the 300,000 U.S. businesses that export, including our “E” awardees, understand that their competitiveness depends on reaching the 96 percent of the world’s customers who live beyond our borders. They are companies like Vac Pac, a family-owned business in Baltimore, whose company first won the “E” Award in 1966. Their “E” Star recognition 50 years later is a reflection of their consistent contributions to U.S. export growth.
We also honored household names like Harley Davidson, which has exported their iconic motorcycles for over a century.
We recognized a truly global company named Tuleu Consulting, a distributor of John Deere equipment, whose entire customer base is overseas.
The success of our “E” awardees is a reminder that there are markets all over the world for U.S.-made goods and services. For example, the Asia-Pacific region is currently home to 570 million middle class consumers; by 2030, that number is expected to reach 3.2 billion. The Obama Administration and the Department of Commerce want to create new opportunities to help American businesses take advantage of tremendous market opportunities.
One way we can keep U.S. businesses competitive, continue strengthening our economy, and solidify our country’s global economic leadership is through new free trade agreements. To complete these agreements, Congress must pass trade promotion legislation, which establishes a process to negotiate – and for Congress to consider – new trade deals. At the same time, trade promotion legislation outlines Congressional priorities for the Administration to follow on these agreements. The passage of trade promotion authority is critical to the completion and implementation of strong new trade agreements that will strengthen our economy, level the playing field for our businesses and workers around the world, and promote American values.
We want businesses of all sizes to experience the same success from exports as our “E” award recipients, and the Department of Commerce has many resources to assist U.S. businesses in this goal. Our U.S. Export Assistance Center teams can work with businesses to identify the best markets for their products, develop and implement effective strategies to enter new markets, and provide assistance in securing trade finance available through different programs. Our Foreign Commercial Service members are experts in countries across the globe and can support American businesses as they expand into new global markets.