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During a visit to the PENN Fishing Tackle Manufacturing Company in Philadelphia today, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke outlined a recently announced Obama administration initiative to help American companies sell their products abroad and create new jobs at home.
During his visit, Locke, joined by U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, met with local businesses to discuss President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI), and highlight the heightened role the Commerce Department will play in helping connect U.S. firms with buyers abroad who want to buy their products and services.
Through the NEI, President Obama has instructed the federal government to use every available federal resource to help double American exports during the next five years – a goal that will support at least 2 million jobs.
“This initiative was designed with one overriding goal in mind: to get people back to work in jobs that provide security, dignity and sense of hope for the future,” Locke said. “The NEI will help build a stronger economic foundation and allow us to return to the type of sustainable growth that not long ago helped build the strongest middle class in history.”
Exports remain an integral part of the U.S. economy. In 2009, exports accounted for 11 percent of our gross domestic product, and supported nearly 10 million American jobs. What’s more, exports supported more than a quarter of all manufacturing jobs in the United States .
“Job creation is my top priority, and increasing the capacity of small businesses to export will lead directly to job creation in Pennsylvania and throughout the country,” Casey said. “I commend the administration on the National Export Initiative as well as the PENN Fishing Tackle Manufacturing Company for demonstrating the high quality of Pennsylvania companies and their capability to compete in the global marketplace. In these challenging economic times, we need to fight for American companies and provide them with support as they compete internationally.”
“The Obama Administration’s National Export Initiative is bold, ambitious – and absolutely doable,” said Fattah, whose 2nd Congressional District includes Penn Fishing Reel. “I am convinced the Philadelphia region – and resilient, job-developing manufacturers like PENN Fishing Reel – can be important partners with the Commerce Department in aggressively pursuing overseas markets for their quality American-made goods.”
PENN Fishing Reels, part of the PENN Fishing Tackle Manufacturing Company, is a 78-year-old Philadelphia firm that manufactures high-end fishing gear. PENN is part of a global business that offers a broad range of products dedicated to helping anglers catch more fish and have more fun. The company has a longstanding dedication to producing and exporting American made products and is expanding its international sales.
U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz also attended today’s event. “Increasing American exports increases American jobs,” she said. “Whether their making fish reels or solar panels, selling American goods in the global market will help revive our international competitiveness while creating millions of jobs here at home.”
“In Pennsylvania , we’ve seen firsthand how you can help businesses grow and create jobs by focusing on new export opportunities,” Rendell said. “The World Trade PA initiative we put in place has opened new doors internationally for our companies, helping them to tap new markets, and more than double their export sales from only $15.3 billion in 2002 to $34 billion in 2008. The President’s initiative will enable the country to achieve that same rate of growth and, in the process, put millions of people back to work, particularly in our manufacturing sector.”
"The Obama Administration has shown its dedication to putting Americans back to work,” Nutter said. “Growing our nation's exports is an important step to keeping our economy healthy and vibrant."
As part of the NEI, Commerce’s International Trade Administration will expand its trade advocacy efforts, and Obama’s proposed 2011 budget includes new resources that will bolster trade promotion activities there. U.S. firms will have hundreds of new trade specialists on call to help match them with buyers overseas. Additionally, there will be a new focus on helping small- and medium-sized businesses sell more of their goods and services in markets abroad.
The NEI also calls for improving access to credit for businesses that want to export and continuing the rigorous enforcement of trade laws so that American companies compete on a level playing field.