Friday, February 27, 2015

White House announces new measures to help more rural businesses export

Because exports play an important role in maintaining economic growth, President Barack Obama wants to help workers from businesses of all sizes throughout the country—including in rural areas—benefit from the U.S.'s economic resurgence. In 2013, exports supported approximately 11.3 million U.S. jobs, which is 1.6 million more than in 2009, according to a press release from the White House.

As part of the "Made in Rural America" initiative that began in February 2014, the administration will put together resources to assist rural businesses and communities invest in new opportunities and access additional markets. The White House Rural Council has presented a list of executive actions to help businesses in rural America:
  • "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."
Department of Commerce data indicated that the exports setting records in 2014 were capital goods, consumer goods, petroleum products; foods, feeds and beverages; and automotive vehicles and parts. Canada, Mexico and China represented the largest export markets for U.S. goods in 2014. Services exports reached a record level of $231.8 billion, which is a 2.9 percent increase from 2013. Food and agricultural exports reached $150.5 billion in 2014, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.

Through the Trans-Pacific Partnership, "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," according to the release. Through TPP negotiations with Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, a regional agreement will be established to create new markets and address new issues. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership will be a "high-standard trade and investment agreement that offers significant benefits for U.S. companies and workers through eliminated existing trade barriers and better enabling U.S. companies and workers to compete."

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