President Presses for Exports to Create Jobs

President Presses for Exports to Create Jobs

President Obama said Wednesday that increasing exports and construction of infrastructure will be among the ways the U.S. economy will recover from the recession.

The president proposed a national export initiative in his first State of the Union address to “put Americans to work today building the infrastructure of tomorrow,” Obama said.

A national export initiative would reform export controls and support exports by small businesses and farmers to double exports in five years and support 2 million jobs, the president said.

He said an $8 billion grant program for high-speed rail is an example of projects that increase jobs and help promote future movement of goods, services and information.

“President Obama continues to show his strong support for infrastructure investment to provide good-paying jobs for Americans and to rebuild the transportation foundation that supports our economy,” said John Horsley, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

The president praised the House for its passage of a jobs bill in December and urged the Senate to quickly move forward with its own version. The House Jobs for Main Street Act provides $27.5 billion for highway infrastructure, and $8.4 billion for transit. A Senate jobs bill should be filed in a few days.

An administration review of export control policy is already under way. Bill Reinsch, president of the National Foreign Trade Council and one of the leaders of efforts to reform export controls, said he appreciated the president’s call for reform.

“We applaud the President for expressing a clear commitment to expand export opportunities for U.S. businesses, shape a successful outcome to the Doha Round, and strengthen trade ties with Colombia, Panama, South Korea and other Asia-Pacific nations,” Reinsch said, but “the administration must act swiftly and without further delay this year to resolve remaining issues.”

Contact R.G. Edmonson at bedmonson@joc.com.