Latest Exporting Updates from SBEAApril 15, 2015
Policymakers have been increasingly engaged on the exporting front in the past month with a focus on reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank, renewing trade promotion authority and various other trade deals. Below are brief summaries on the latest developments on the exporting and international trade front, along with links to more detailed articles on each topic.
Senate Shows Support for Ex-Im Bank; Offers Bills
With just 76 days remaining until the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. (Ex-Im Bank) current charter expires, many in Congress are increasing efforts to ensure its long-term existence.
Ex-Im Bank fills gaps in private export financing and is especially crucial to small and medium-size businesses. A majority of House members have already expressed interest in acting on a long-term reauthorization of Ex-Im Bank, cosponsoring one of two bills introduced by Reps. Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.) and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), respectively.
Across the Capitol, Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) recently introduced the Export-Import Bank Reform and Reauthorization Act of 2015 (S. 819) which would reauthorize the Bank’s charter until Sept. 30, 2019. Democrats have introduced their own version of the bill, the Promoting U.S. Jobs through Exports Act which would extend Ex-Im Bank through 2022.
U.S., Korea Trade Deal Marks Third Anniversary
March 15, 2015 marked the three-year anniversary of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) which is producing significant export growth and tangible benefits to American exporters.
Since its implementation in 2012, the U.S. and Korea agreement has had four rounds of tariff cuts and eliminations. The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) estimates that as KORUS continues to be fully implemented–by Jan. 1, 2016–Korean tariffs on over 95 percent of U.S. industrial and consumer goods exported to Korea will be eliminated.
In addition to the reduction in tariffs, U.S.-Korea goods and services trade increased from $126.5 billion in 2011 to a record $145.2 billion in 2014, and exports of U.S. goods to Korea reached a record level of $44.5 billion.
Senators Introduce Trade Enforcement Bill
In March, Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) introduced the Trade Enforcement Act (S.758) which will toughen trade enforcement, ensuring American businesses and workers can compete fairly in the global marketplace.
In current pacts, there are a significant number of trade barriers that prevent American exporters from having the same opportunities as our foreign competitors to the markets that would allow them to export their goods. Their measure would help to rectify some of these barriers.
Specifically, S. 758 would make permanent the Interagency Trade Enforcement Center (ITEC), which is responsible for coordinating enforcement among several federal agencies. The bill also will establish a Chief Trade Enforcement Officer to lead the ITEC and create a Chief Manufacturing Negotiator at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) who will be responsible for protecting the interests of domestic manufacturers in trade negotiations.
Obama Calls for Renewal of Ex-Im, TPA
President Barack Obama recently met with small-business exporters to discuss trade issues where he reiterated his commitment to ensuring U.S. goods and services have access to global markets.
The president highlighted that 95 percent of the world consumers live outside the U.S. borders and is the reason why he is pursuing trade promotion authority (TPA) that would grant him trade negotiating power and allow him, working in conjunction with Congress, to open markets and ensure a level playing field that is good for American businesses and workers.
Earlier that same week, President Obama spoke at the SelectUSA Investment Summit where he underscored the need to reauthorize Ex-Im Bank. Global trade is one of the few areas where the Republican-led Congress and White House are likely to find areas of compromise.
USTR Releases 2015 U.S. Trade Barriers Report
The office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman recently released its 2015 National Trade Estimate (NTE) Report on Foreign Trade Barriers. The report was established three decades ago for the purpose of quantifying estimates of the impact of these foreign practices on the value of U.S. exports.
The 430-page study highlights the largest export markets for the U.S. and details a wide range of trade barriers U.S. firms face in exporting, and outlines the USTR’s efforts in the last year to reduce those obstacles.