Remarks by the President at the Export-Import Bank's Annual Conference

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Prepared for: The White House Office of the Press Secretary For Immediate Release March 11, 2010 Remarks by the President at the ExportImport Bank's Annual Conference Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington, D.C. 11:30 A.M. EST THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, everybody.  And thank you, John, for that generous introduction.  Congratulations to you and Fabienne and Luis for the recognition your companies so richly deserve.  And thank you to the Chairman of the Export-Import Bank, Fred Hochberg, for h
  The White HouseOffice of the Press SecretaryFor Immediate ReleaseMarch 11, 2010 Remarks by the President at the Export-Import Bank's Annual Conference Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington, D.C. 11:30 A.M. ESTTHE PRESIDENT:   Thank you, everybody.   And thank you, John, for that generous introduction.   Congratulations to you and Fabienne and Luis for the recognition your companies so richlydeserve.   And thank you to the Chairman of the Export-Import Bank, Fred Hochberg, for havingme here today, and for all the important work the Ex-Im Bank is doing to help Americanbusinesses sell their ideas to the world.   I also want to recognize the Secretary General of theOECD, Angel Gurría, for his leadership at that institution.   (Applause.)Let me also acknowledge some members of my economic team who are here today –- myCommerce Secretary, Gary Locke, who’s just returned from a trip to Brazil.   Where are you,Gary?   There he is, right here.   (Applause.)   Our U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador RonKirk, who’s been putting in a lot of miles.   (Applause.)   They are both doing a great job in thework of moving this country forward in tough times.Now, it has been our most pressing priority over the first year of my administration to deal withan unprecedented economic crisis -- one that has been as serious as anything since the GreatDepression.   To do that required difficult and sometimes unpopular steps to rescue our financialsystem and to jumpstart an economic recovery.   But we took those steps.   And because we did,we can stand here just over a year later, and say that we prevented another depression, we brokethe back of the recession, and the economy that was shrinking a year ago is growing today.What’s also clear is that we’ve got a long way to go.   More than 8 million Americans have losttheir jobs since the start of the recession.   Millions more remain underemployed, including thosedoing part-time work or odd jobs.   And the middle class across this country has felt theireconomic security eroding for longer than they care to remember.   That’s why we continue to doeverything we can to foster private sector job creation and to restore some sense of security.But the fact is, if we want to once again approach full employment; if we want to create broad,shared, and lasting wealth for our workers and our families; if we want an America that is readyto compete on the global playing field in the 21st century –- then we can’t slide back into aneconomy where we borrow too much and put off tough challenges.   We can’t return to an Prepared for:   economy where too much of our prosperity is based on fleeting bubbles and rampant speculation.   We have to rebuild our economy on a new, stronger, more balanced foundation for the future –- afoundation that will advance the American people’s prosperity at home, and support Americanleadership in the world.And that’s precisely what we’ve begun to do.   We’re catalyzing a new clean energy industry thathas the potential to employ millions of workers in good jobs.   We’re investing in the skills andeducation of our workers, and reforming our education system with a goal to once again lead theworld in the proportion of college graduates by the end of this decade.   We’re building a betterhealth care system that works for our people, our businesses, and our government alike.   We’reestablishing clear, common-sense rules of the road for Wall Street that encourage innovation andcreativity instead of recklessness and irresponsibility; rules that prevent firms from taking risksthat threaten to bring down the entire economy.   And we are rebuilding an economy where wegenerate more American jobs in more American industries by producing and exporting moregoods and services to other nations.   Now, in my State of the Union address I set a goal of doubling America’s exports over the nextfive years -– an increase that will support 2 million American jobs.   And I’ve come to the Export-Import Bank Conference today to discuss the initial steps that we’re taking to achieve that goal.I know the issue of exports and imports, the issue of trade and globalization, have long evokedthe passions of a lot of people in this country.   I know there are differences of opinion betweenDemocrats and Republicans, between business and labor, about the right approach.   But I alsoknow we are at a moment where it is absolutely necessary for us to get beyond those old debates.   Those who would once support every free trade agreement now see that other countries have toplay fair and the agreements have to be enforced.   Otherwise we're putting America at a profounddisadvantage.   Those who once would once oppose any trade agreement now understand thatthere are new markets and new sectors out there that we need to break into if we want ourworkers to get ahead.And meanwhile, if you ask the average American what trade has offered them, they won’t saythat their televisions are cheaper, or productivity is higher.   They’d say they’ve seen the plantacross town shut down, jobs dry up, communities deteriorate.   And you can’t blame them forfeeling that way.   The fact is other countries haven’t always played by the same set of rules.   America hasn’t always enforced our trade rights, or made sure that the benefits of trade arebroadly shared.   And we haven’t always done enough to help our workers adapt to a changingworld.Now, there’s no question that as we compete in the global marketplace, we’ve got to look out forour workers.   But to look out for our workers, we’ve got to be able to compete in the globalmarketplace.   It’s never been as important an opportunity for America as it is right now.In a time when millions of Americans are out of work, boosting our exports is a short-termimperative.   Our exports support millions of American jobs.   You know this well.   In 2008, weexported more than $1 trillion of manufactured goods, supporting more than one in fivemanufacturing jobs -– and those jobs, by the way, pay about 15 percent more than average.   We Prepared for:   led the world in service exports, which support 2.8 million jobs.   We exported nearly $100 billionin agricultural goods.   And every $1 billion increase in exports supports more than 6,000additional jobs.   So it’s critical in the short term, but it’s also critical for our long-term prosperity.   Ninety-fivepercent of the world’s customers and the world’s fastest-growing markets are outside ourborders.   We need to compete for those customers because other nations are competing for them.   They’re investing in the skills and education of their people.   They’re investing in the high-demand industries of the future.   They’ve benefited from American consumers.   They’ve madethemselves into export-based economies, and positioned themselves for the jobs of the future.   They’re pursuing trade agreements with growing markets –- and those agreements would givetheir companies access to those markets and put our workers and businesses at a disadvantage.So if we stand on the sidelines while they go after those customers, we’ll lose out on the chanceto create the good jobs our workers need right here at home.   That’s why standing on thesidelines is not what we intend to do.   We need to remind ourselves, we still have the mostinnovative economy in the world.   We still have the most productive workers in the world.   Wehave the finest universities in the world.   We have the most dynamic and competitive markets inthe world.We remain the number one exporter of goods and services in the world.   So we’ve got a terrificfoundation to build on.   But we can’t be satisfied with being number one right now.   Weshouldn’t assume that our leadership is guaranteed.   When other markets are growing, and othernations are competing, we’ve got to get even better.   We need to secure our companies a levelplaying field.   We need to guarantee American workers a fair shake.   In other words, we need toup our game.   And that’s why, for the first time, the United States of America is launching a single,comprehensive strategy to promote American exports.   It’s called the National Export Initiative,and it’s an ambitious effort to marshal the full resources of the United States government behindAmerican businesses that sell their goods and services abroad.   This morning, I signed an executive order instructing the federal government to use everyavailable federal resource in support of that mission.   That order has created an ExportPromotion Cabinet, made up of the Secretaries of State, Treasury, Agriculture, Commerce, andLabor, along with our USTR, our Small Business Administrator, the Export-Import BankPresident, and other senior U.S. officials whose work impacts exports.   That cabinet will conveneits first meeting next month.   I’ve also re-launched the President’s Export Council, the principal national advisory committeeon international trade.   And I named Jim McNerney, the President and CEO of Boeing, as itschair, with Ursula Burns, the CEO of Xerox, as vice chair, and I look forward to theirrecommendations. Prepared for:   Let me talk a little bit about what the National Export Initiative will do.   First, we willsubstantially increase access to trade financing for businesses that want to export their goods but just need a boost –- especially small businesses and medium-sized businesses.Some of the biggest factors limiting a firm’s decisions to export are the high upfront costs of establishing a foothold in a new market, and the ability of the customers in that market to financethe purchase of their products.So during the financial crisis, as trade finance dried up, the Export-Import Bank lived up to itsmission and stepped up to fill the void.   In fiscal year 2009, as part of a broader effort of G20nations to mobilize trade financing worldwide, this institution authorized $21 billion in loans insupport of American exports –- that’s an increase of nearly 50 percent over the previous year.   SoI applaud Fred’s efforts to increase that pace with the authorization of about $10 billion more inthe first quarter of this year alone.   And under the National Export Initiative, we’ll continue toincrease the amount of trade financing Ex-Im offers, including a new $2 billion per year effort toincrease support for our small and medium-sized businesses.But another obstacle that our exporters face is that the federal government frankly just hasn’tdone a good enough job advocating for them abroad -- at least compared to the advocacy thatother countries are engaging in.   And that’s why, as the second part of the National ExportInitiative, the United States of America will go to bat for our businesses and our workers.As an example, last week, I signed the Travel Promotion Act, a law that will establish activepromotion and marketing efforts to encourage foreign citizens to come visit the most dynamiccities, the most entertaining destinations, and the most beautiful natural resources in the world.   Well, that same principle applies for all of our businesses.   We’ve got some of the mostinnovative companies in the world –- and we should be advocating on their behalf to boost localeconomies and create jobs here.This is an effort I will personally lead as President.   Next week, I’ll take my second trip to theAsia Pacific –- a region that will be fundamental to America’s ability to create jobs and to thrivein the 21st century.   We can’t be on the sidelines -– we have to lead, and our engagement has toextend to governments and businesses and peoples across the Pacific.   So while I’m there, I’llvisit Indonesia and Australia, two vibrant economies and democracies that will be criticalpartners for the United States.   And in both countries, I’ll highlight the role that Americanbusinesses play there, and underscore how strong economic partnerships can create jobs on bothsides of the Pacific while advancing both regional and global prosperity.   Going forward, I willbe a strong and steady advocate for our workers and our companies abroad.And this effort will extend throughout my administration.   Secretary Locke is issuing guidance toall senior government officials who have foreign counterparts on how they can best promote ourexports.   Secretary Clinton is mobilizing a commercial diplomacy strategy, directing every oneof our embassies to create a senior visitors business liaison who will manage our exportadvocacy efforts locally, and when our ambassadors return stateside, we’ll ask them to travel theUnited States to discuss export opportunities in their countries of assignment.   Prepared for: 
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