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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

FACT SHEET: White House Highlights Record U.S. Exports, Announces New Actions to Help More Rural Businesses Export

America had a breakthrough year in 2014, and the President is using middle class economics – the simple idea that anybody who works hard and plays by the rules should be able to get ahead – to ensure more Americans can contribute to and benefit from our success. Exports are a crucial part of the Administration’s strategy to keep our economy growing and the President is focused on taking action to help workers from businesses of all sizes from all parts of the country – including rural America – benefit from our economic resurgence.

Today, the Administration will highlight data on the level of exports achieved in each state in 2014, which helped the U.S. reach a nationwide record of $2.35 trillion in exports for the year. Exports supported an estimated 11.3 million U.S. jobs in 2013, up 1.6 million over 2009.  On average, export-related jobs pay up to 18 percent more than non-export related positions.

The President will also announce a set of new executive actions to help grow manufacturing in rural areas and to provide new markets to small businesses across our nation’s heartland. As part of his “Made in Rural America” initiative launched in February 2014, the Administration is bringing together federal resources to help rural businesses and communities take advantage of new investment opportunities and access additional markets at home and abroad. 

Today’s data will further demonstrate the important role that trade and exports have played in America’s economic recovery. In order to build on that momentum, the President is urging Congress to act on new trade agreements that increase accountability and high standards, uphold our values and open new markets to American goods and services. The countries involved in the trade agreements currently under negotiation - the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) – received 62 percent of U.S. goods exports in 2014, supporting an estimated 4.2 million U.S. jobs in 2013. TPA will allow these agreements to become a reality, spurring economic growth in the United States and our trading partners.

More than 95 percent of the world’s potential consumers, representing approximately 80 percent of the world’s purchasing power, live outside our borders, which means that critical opportunities for economic growth at home are created by selling abroad.

Executive Actions to Promote Rural Exports:

As part of the Obama Administration’s long-term, sustained effort to build jobs and economic security in rural America, the White House Rural Council has hosted a series of workshops across the country to connect rural leaders and businesses with resources to expand exports and to identify barriers to exporting for rural businesses.  Based on feedback gained at those workshops, the White House Rural Council has developed a number of new executive actions to further encourage increased goods and services from rural America including: 

  • A series of reverse trade missions and outreach events for rural businesses to meet foreign buyers, partners, and trade experts and facilitate access to additional foreign markets.
  • An effort to double the number of rural businesses attending international trade shows and missions with the help and sponsorship of partners, including the Appalachian Regional Commission and Delta Regional Authority.
  • A new National Rural Export Innovation Team to help more rural businesses access export-related assistance, information and events.
  • A new partnership with community banks to educate local lenders on the needs of rural exporters and the federal export resources available to them and their customers.
  • A new partnership with the United States Postal Service to host “Grow Your Business” Day workshops at 75  U.S. Postal Service locations throughout rural America to provide rural businesses an opportunity to learn about exporting and e-commerce, learn how to file customs forms online, and calculate and plan for export shipping costs.
  • An effort to develop better financial indexing and metrics for rural infrastructure projects.  This will help underpin additional investments in roads, bridges, inland ports, water supply systems, information technology, and community facilities that are vital to manufacturing and exports. 
  • A new effort to promote an entrepreneurial ecosystem mentorship program for rural communities.
  • Launching an i6 Rural Challenge, which will focus on providing funding to rural communities to build capacity for commercializing technology by collaborating across agencies and providing funding to Challenge winners. 

U.S. Exports

According to data released by the Department of Commerce, key industry sectors setting records for exports in 2014 included capital goods; consumer goods; petroleum products; foods, feeds, and beverages; and automotive vehicles and parts. 

In 2014, the largest export markets for U.S. goods were Canada, Mexico, and China, with exports to each country registering annual records.

Annual services exports hit an all-time high of $710.3 billion, led by increases in the travel, charges for the use of intellectual property, financial services, and transport sectors. Exports from these sectors were all record highs in 2014.

The trade surplus in services exports reached a record $231.8 billion, an increase of 2.9 percent from 2013.

U.S. agricultural exports are also at record level. According to U.S. Department of Agriculture data, in 2014, food and agricultural domestic exports reached $150.5 billion. The past six years have been the strongest in history for agricultural trade, with U.S. agricultural product domestic exports totaling $786.9 billion over six years. 

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) would create new market opportunities for U.S. companies and new good-paying job opportunities for American workers in export-related jobs.

Through the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), we are seeking to cut red tape and bureaucracy for American small businesses and family farms, opening markets in the fastest growing region in the world to more American-made goods such as cars, trucks, and crops. By 2030, there are expected to be 3.2 billion middle class consumers in Asia alone, more than 8 times the entire projected U.S. population. We can’t afford to miss an opportunity to open these growing markets to American products.

TPP negotiations with Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam center on creating a high-standard, regional agreement that opens new markets and knits together existing U.S. trade agreements in the Asia-Pacific region by addressing new and emerging issues. The United States exported $727 billion in goods to all TPP markets in 2014 (45 percent of total U.S. exports). In 2013, U.S. goods exports to all TPP markets supported an estimated 3 million U.S. jobs.

U.S. businesses of all sizes could benefit from new market access as a result of Brunei, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Vietnam eliminating their tariffs as part of TPP. 

The EU’s tariff elimination as part of TTIP would provide new market access that could benefit U.S. exports. TTIP will be an ambitious, comprehensive, and high-standard trade and investment agreement that offers significant benefits for U.S. companies and workers through eliminating existing trade barriers and better enabling U.S. companies and workers to compete. TTIP will provide new opportunities for U.S. industry, as approximately one-fifth of all U.S. goods and services exports go to the European Union (EU). In 2013, U.S. goods and services exports to the EU supported an estimated 2.5 million U.S. jobs.