President Barack Obama, like many economists, believes one of the keys to a robust economic recovery or even survival during the sluggish portions of the rebound lies in increased exporting by U.S. businesses. Thus, Obama has relaunched a stated effort to double U.S. exports over the next five years through the President's Export Council and the Export Promotion Cabinet.
It sounds great on the surface, but many in the business and finance world appear more than a little underwhelmed.
President's Export Council, consisting of top business and labor
leaders, and Export Promotion Cabinet, senior administration and
Presidential Cabinet members, aim to increase businesses' profits with
the end-goal of spurring significant job growth through a significant
increase in exporting activity, even if the domestic economic rebound
remains sluggish. Part of this stems from the emergence of economic
opportunity abroad, as places including Brazil, India and even
Muslim-ruled portions of the Middle East are experiencing surges in
commercialism while battered Americans appear more fiscally
conservative. Obama focused on that saying it is "not where jobs will
are today, but where American jobs will be tomorrow."
percent of the world's customers and fastest growing markets are beyond
our borders," Obama said in a July address. "So, if we want to find new
growth streams, if we want to find new markets and new opportunity,
we've got to compete for those customers - because other nations are
competing for those new customers.
National Export Initiative, the Obama White House has tried to increase
advocacy of U.S. businesses in the international marketplace and worked
to new free trade agreements in recent months. But underwhelmed
economists like Ken Goldstein, of the Conference Board, responded with
comments such as, "I've seen this show before, and it doesn't play
better in reruns."
One of the key obstacles to creating a spike in
exporting is that domestic efforts to allow companies to sell more
freely, easily and fairly abroad often have been stunted by what has
been seen globally as protectionist, foot-dragging responses from the
U.S. to offer the same opportunities to companies based in such emerging
"I think it's a sincere effort, but it's window dressing
at the moment," said NACM Economic Advisor Chris Kuehl, of Armada
Corporate Intelligence. "They're forming a commission that's going to
say ‘selling stuff is better than not selling stuff.' Wow. The problem
is Democrats are negative on trade. You cannot sell if you don't buy. No
country in the world is interested in exports if they can't import. If
we want to sell to the Brazilians and Indians, we actually have to buy
their stuff, too."
Brian Shappell, NACM staff writer