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Administration Cites Growth in Export-Supported Jobs on Two-Year NEI Anniversary

Two years ago, President Barack Obama announced the creation of the National Export Initiative (NEI), a loosely defined program built to double U.S. exports in five years. Now, on its second anniversary, the NEI is officially paying politically-advantageous dividends in the form of export-supported American jobs.

The U.S. Commerce Department released data this week showing that jobs supported by American exports increased by 1.2 million between 2009 and 2011. Strong growth in 2010 boosted total export-supported employment to approximately 9.7 million jobs in 2011, while the value of U.S. exports of goods and services exceeded $2.1 trillion for the first time in the nation's history.

"Two years ago this week, President Obama set an ambitious goal of doubling U.S. exports over five years," said Commerce Secretary John Bryson. "The numbers released today show that our exports support an increasing number of American jobs and we simply cannot afford to let up on our efforts to help U.S. businesses build it here and sell it everywhere."

"We must maintain the track record of the past two years and continue to support U.S. companies in selling their goods to the 95% of the world's consumers who live beyond our borders by helping to create opportunities and a level playing field," he added.

Since the president signed an executive order creating the NEI, the Commerce Department, and specifically its International Trade Administration (ITA), has assisted more than 9,200 U.S. companies expand their exporting. In 2011 alone, nearly 6,000 American companies, half of which were small- and medium-sized enterprises, were able to export for the first time or increase their exports to new markets.

The administration itself has also driven other efforts to expand export opportunities for U.S. companies, most notably the U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which took effect today, March 15. With so many export successes, and now an increase in export-supported employment, voters can expect to hear more and more about the president's trade agenda as he ramps up his reelection campaign over the course of this year.

Jacob Barron, CICP, NACM staff writer