Roy Paulson, President of Paulson Manufacturing and Chair of the National DEC (California Inland Empire DEC member), and Philip Pittsford of NOW International and Secretary/Treasurer and Legislative Affairs Chair of the National DEC (Illinois DEC member), were invited to the White House Business Council–Trade Fly-in Briefing. In total, 9 DEC members were in attendance, from the Arizona, San Diego Imperial, Illinois and Texas DECs along with companies from around the nation present. The briefing was held in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building from 12:30 PM – 4:30 PM.
The purpose of this briefing was to update the attendees about international trade trends and the White House’s position on several key trade issues, among them: Trade Promotion Authority (TPA); Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP); Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP); and the Reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im).
Several senior members of the White House staff from the National Economic Council as well as the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) office briefed the invited guests on trade issues. The status of several current trade negotiations were discussed along with the benefits of improved trade agreements.
Fred Hochberg, Chairman of Ex-Im Bank, and Maria-Contreras-Sweet, Administrator of the SBA, spoke about their programs and how they support small businesses with loans and other financing. Chairman Hochberg also discussed Ex-Im Reauthorization and his outlook on whether it will pass. While he was upbeat, he did say there was a vocal opposition.
The last panel spoke about USG resources available to help businesses grow their exports. This panel was made up of Arun Venkataraman, Policy Director, ITA, Doug McKalip, Sr. Policy Advisor for Rural Affairs from the White House, and Antwaun Griffin, Deputy Asst. Secretary for Domestic Operations in the Global Markets unit, International Trade Administration. The panelists spoke of various programs offered by such resources and opportunities overseas.
This panel was then followed a briefing from by the Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker, who spoke at length about trade and why it is important. Secretary Pritzker focused on 3 themes:
– Why trade is important
– What the Administration is doing regarding trade
– How the attendees can help move the trade agenda forward
Some other highlights from her remarks include:
– 11.3 million jobs are supported by trade.
– Wages in trade related jobs on average, pay 18% better.
– Trade agreements work to level the playing field for American businesses.
– Trade agreements help to establish the rules of the road and TPP and TTIP are examples
– The Administration is coordinating the efforts on trade
– USG trade agencies officials are being sent around the country to discuss trade issues
– Exporter success stories are needed
Also mentioned by the Secretary were individual companies who have been successful in exporting.
At closing, the group was then joined by Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President and Assistant to the President for Public Engagement. She thanked everyone for their efforts in promoting American business and exports and spoke of the commitment of this administration to moving their trade agenda forward.