Celebrating World Trade Month; Maintaining Focus on Western Hemisphere
Stefan M. Selig is the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade
This month is World Trade Month. Every May, we celebrate how
trade and investment elevates our businesses and our workers, and we reaffirm
our commitment to the policies that will lead to more exports, more prosperity
and more jobs.
Trade Month has more meaning than a lot of previous ones. And the reason is
because the U.S. House and Senate are
considering trade promotion legislation, which would give the administration authority that
has not existed since 2007 to negotiate trade agreements. This legislation will
offer all Americans the opportunity to read any trade agreement for 60 days
before the President signs it. And for the first time, it will insist that our
trade partners meet high labor and environmental standards.
efforts to secure trade agreements in the Asia-Pacific and Europe do not mean
we are losing focus on our own backyard: the Western Hemisphere.
month, the U.S. signed a historic agreement with our
largest trade partner, Canada.
For the past several decades, air travelers between the U.S. and Canada would
be screened prior to boarding planes—a streamlining process called
preclearance. The agreement signed last month between our two countries will
apply preclearance for the first time to land and rail travel, in addition to
air. That is good news for businesses in states like Michigan, which exported
more than $25 billion to Canada last year, and in the Detroit-Windsor corridor,
which contributed a quarter of that trade.
our border partner to the south, much of U.S.-Mexico trade runs through the San
Diego-Tijuana mega region.
What this cluster proves is that in a world of global supply chains, it is hard
to see where U.S. commerce ends and Mexican commerce begins. One medical device
manufacturing facility in Tijuana sources more than 85 percent of its inputs
from the U.S. Increasing border efficiencies will not only streamline the
exchange of goods, it will streamline our supply chains. That is why we are
actively working with stakeholders to develop important cross-border ports of
entry: road, rail, and air.
West-Hem has also been a strong market for U.S. services exports, including our
best-in-class educational services. We recently led an education trade mission to El Salvador, Honduras, and
Nicaragua with representatives from nearly 20 education institutions. Those representatives
showcased their offerings to prospective students during visits to schools and
education trade fairs. While those exports will help to develop the workforce in
these and other countries, they will also lead to more jobs here at home.
So as we
celebrate World Trade Month, let us take a moment to acknowledge the incredible
trade partnerships that help generate prosperity here.
us also take a moment to acknowledge the second-to-none U.S. business community
that has produced a record number of exports, exporters, and jobs supported by
U.S. companies, particularly SMEs that are new to exporting, as well as those looking to expand their current export sales, will find this fully revised and expanded publication invaluable.