U.S. to double exports within five years

A Message from Myron Brilliant, Senior Vice President for International Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

January 2010

As U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue noted in his recent State of American Business address, over seven million Americans have lost their jobs since the recession began. Ten percent of the U.S. workforce is unemployed, a number that soars beyond 17 percent when you add those who have stopped looking for jobs and the millions of part-time workers who want to work full-time.

No priority facing our nation is more important than putting Americans back to work. That’s why the Chamber is calling on all Americans to unite around the ambitious goal of creating 20 million new jobs over the next 10 years. With 20 million jobs, we can re-employ the unemployed and meet the needs of our young people and a growing population.

International business presents some of the clearest opportunities for job creation, as senior Obama Administration officials have acknowledged. The rationale is clear. The American consumer’s credit cards are maxed out. The same is true for the federal government.

Several months ago, and again in the State of American Business address, the U.S. Chamber called for a national goal to double U.S. exports within five years. It’s achievable - we’ve done it before, and we nearly did it in the five years ending in 2008. The Chamber applauds President Obama’s statement in the State of the Union address on January 27 when he too called for the U.S. to double exports in five years. We’re pleased the White House is listening, but that’s not enough. We just need an effective strategy to open markets and help us compete in the new global economy.

Following is a discussion of the U.S. Chamber’s international priorities for 2010, with some highlights from 2009. We scored some important wins for the business community last year, but we are even more excited at the opportunities we face this year.

1) Level the Playing Field for Trade

First, the Chamber is committed to leveling the playing field for international business by lowering barriers to trade and investment. Last year, the Chamber was Washington’s leading voice calling for a robust trade agenda. We helped secure Congressional approval of legislation to modernize Trade Adjustment Assistance and a one-year extension of the Generalized System of Preferences and the Andean trade preferences. We also helped win ratification of the U.S.-France tax protocol, and our U.S.-India Business Council made notable progress toward opening India’s insurance, defense, legal services, and commercial space markets.

In the year ahead, we will continue to press vigorously for Congressional approval of the pending trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea. We appreciate President Obama’s remarks last night to strengthen our trade relations with these three countries; well, now is the time to act! President Obama should exert leadership and call on Congress to pass the pending trade agreements. Washington has been sitting on these for far too long and the U.S. is losing out of opportunities to create jobs

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AmCham Vietnam - Ho Chi Minh City

AmCham Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City chapter has 320 member and associate companies with nearly 600 representatives, based in Vietnam’s commercial and industrial center. The “Southern Economic Zone” represents over one-third of the GDP of Vietnam, and this share is expected to increase to 40 percent by 2010.