World Trade Week, a nationwide celebration of international trade, was observed during, before and after the week of May 17 in many cities across the country. Building upon our leadership on trade issues in the New York City area, USCIB proudly served as a main organizer of World Trade Week NYC, under whose auspices numerous trade-themed events took place around the city and the region.
This year’s festivities took on extra importance in light of President Obama’s goal, announced during the State of the Union address, of doubling U.S. exports within five years. USCIB and other business groups applauded this goal, which got a boost from newly released export figures.
At a kickoff awards breakfast held at Baruch College in Manhattan, several New York-area companies and organizations were honored for international achievements and growth. Joseph P. Quinlan, economist and chief global market strategist with Bank of America, provided keynote remarks emphasizing America’s continuing role as the world’s top exporter and manufacturer, and the importance of pursuing sensible policies to maintain that advantage by expanding opportunities for trade and investment overseas.
Calling himself a “paranoid optimist” on trade, Mr. Quinlan applauded the president’s goal of doubling exports but wondered if America’s political leaders had the will to see it through in terms of concrete policies and new trade agreements. On this score, he urged the swift ratification of pending U.S. free trade agreements with Korea, Colombia and Panama. Mr. Quinlan also said the United States lagged Europe and Asia in viewing expanded trade and overseas investment as essential public policy objectives.
U.S. exports of goods and services increased by 16 percent during the first quarter of 2010, the Commerce Department announced the day after the awards breakfast. “This is a great progress report,” said Fred P. Hochberg, head of the Export-Import Bank of the United States. “What it really says is that there are significant opportunities globally for both large and small U.S. businesses.”
Meanwhile, a new survey by American Express signaled good news for business travel in the months ahead. The majority of nearly 500 senior finance executives surveyed worldwide said they intend to maintain or increase business travel spending in 2010.
That dovetailed with a recent pickup in USCIB’s ATA Carnet service, which permits temporary export of many goods for trade shows, products demonstrations and other uses. Carnet usage, which often serves as a leading indicator of exports, took a big hit alongside trade as a whole following the onset of the 2008-2009 recession, but has rebounded lately.
USCIB also organized a seminar on “Managing Your Trade Risk in Today’s Global Economy,” which examined the critical importance of risk mitigation for exporters and importers as we emerge from recession. Speakers included: Dennis Gates of Roanoke Trade Services, who reviewed the global outlook on trade as well as insurance products to protect international transactions; Andrea Ratay of HSBC, who discussed the bank’s trade confidence index, which has also shown positive signs; and USCIB’s Amanda Barlow, who discussed how ATA Carnets can help exporters avoid costly duties, taxes and currency fluctuations.
As World Trade Week got under way, USCIB issued a call to action , urging members and friends to contact their elected representatives to voice their support for expanded trade and international commerce as essential drivers of U.S. jobs, growth and competitiveness. In addition, in a podcast on the website of the Council on Foreign Relations, another World Trade Week partner, Jonathan Huneke, USCIB’s vice president for communications and public affairs, addressed the importance of sensible policies to secure the benefits of international trade and investment.
Staff contact: Cynthia Duncan
Interview with USCIB’s Jonathan Huneke (Council on Foreign Relations website)