Next Phase of National Export Initiative Includes ITDS, Trade Pacts, Infrastructure
The Obama administration announced May 13 the next phase of the National Export Initiative, known as NEI/NEXT, which the Department of Commerce said will “help more American companies reach more overseas markets by improving data, providing information on specific export opportunities, working more closely with financing organizations and service providers, and partnering with states and communities to empower local export efforts.”
The NEI was launched in 2009 as an effort to double U.S. exports within five years as a way to boost domestic employment. While that goal will not be attained, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said NEI has been “a remarkable success.” She stated that the U.S. has had four straight record-breaking years of exports and that nearly one-third of U.S. economic growth since mid-2009 has been driven by exports. She also asserted that nearly 30,000 businesses have started exporting for the first time and that there are 1.6 million more export-related jobs in the U.S. At the same time, less than 5% of U.S. companies export and more than half of those that do sell only to one market.
Pritzker said that NEI/NEXT is a data-based, customer service-driven initiative designed to further help U.S. companies get involved in exports by focusing on five strategies.
Export assistance – connecting more U.S. businesses to overseas customers by providing more targeted and tailored assistance, supplying actionable information to U.S. companies on how to reach customers in more markets, and supporting companies in emerging industries (e.g., the digital economy, energy, agribusiness, services and infrastructure development) by helping them become global companies
Trade facilitation – making international shipments easier and less expensive through efforts to streamline U.S. government export-related services, reporting requirements and processes (e.g., developing common risk management principles and methods to inform agency operations associated with the review and clearance of cargo at the border); completing the International Trade Data System by the end of 2016 and ensuring the alignment and interoperability of export licensing systems with ITDS; and improving the condition and performance of the national freight network by developing and implementing a national freight strategic plan along established timelines
Export financing – expanding access to export financing by engaging more financial institutions on U.S. government export financing and insurance programs, educating more companies on government resources that support exports and reduce risk, and streamlining service provided by government financing agencies (e.g., by establishing a Global Finance Team within the International Trade Administration to initiate, coordinate and support global programs that focus on finance issues such as trade finance and access to capital)
State and local partnerships – enhancing partnerships with local and state leaders to integrate policies to promote exports and attract foreign direct investment into their economic development strategies
Foreign markets – creating, fostering and ensuring new opportunities by helping developed and developing economies improve their business environments, opening new markets (including through trade agreements like those under negotiation with Asia-Pacific and European countries, which Pritzker said will require trade promotion authority to pass Congress), enforcing existing trade agreements, and addressing foreign barriers to U.S. trade and investment
Specific measures in each of these areas are expected to be announced in the coming months.
Measures of the effectiveness of NEI/NEXT will include not only the dollar value of U.S. exports but also the number of exporters in each region of the U.S., the number of markets U.S. exporters are reaching and the extent to which free trade agreements are helping U.S. companies grow. Pritzker said this data will reveal which markets show greatest demand for U.S. products and services, allow officials to learn why and how certain domestic industries are succeeding, and help identify and replicate best practices in exporting.