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U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Attends North American Leaders Summit with President Obama, U.S. Delegation

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today joined President Barack Obama and the U.S. delegation to the North American Leaders Summit in Toluca, Mexico. The trilateral meeting between the Presidents of the United States and Mexico and the Prime Minister of Canada is an opportunity for the three leaders to discuss and make progress on their vision for a prosperous and secure future for the people of all three nations.

“The North American Leaders Summit is yet another opportunity to work closely with our friends in Mexico and Canada, build upon the strength of our relationships and move forward with new initiatives to promote the competitiveness of the North American platform in the global economy,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. “Our three nations benefit from a robust trade relationship and a strong free trade agreement, our economies are deeply intertwined, our supply chains are integrated, and we invest in one another. At the Department of Commerce, we work with Mexico and Canada on ways government can make it easier for our countries and our companies to do business together, which is good for all of our economies and our people.”

Executive Order on 21st Century Trade Facilitation

As part of the North American Leaders Summit, President Obama signed an Executive Order (EO) on Streamlining the Export/Import Process for America’s Businesses, an action designed to reduce the costs of trade, support new jobs, and allow companies to ship American-made goods around the globe more quickly.

Specifically, the EO directs the completion of the International Trade Data System (ITDS) by December 2016. Currently, when businesses want to import or export goods, they must submit data, often in paper form, to a number of government agencies. The process of gaining approval on these submissions can take days.  The International Trade Data System will instead allow businesses to electronically transmit, through a “single window,” the data that is required by the U.S. government. This Executive Order will cut red tape, speed up shipment of American goods overseas, eliminate duplicative and burdensome paperwork, and improve government efficiency. 

“When we make it easier for U.S. companies to sell their goods to the 95 percent of worldwide consumers who live outside our borders, it’s truly a win-win,” said Secretary Pritzker. “We know that every $1 billion in exports of U.S. goods and services supports between 4,000 and 5,000 U.S. jobs, which pay 13-18 percent higher than the national average. Businesses are eager for the government to reduce barriers to trade so they can access markets around the world more quickly and efficiently, help grow our economy, and create new jobs. This Executive Order is a positive response to the private sectors’ concerns, and we hope this ‘single window’ model will become widely adopted, thereby reducing barriers to trade worldwide.”

The White House factsheet on the Executive Order on Streamlining the Export/Import Process for America’s Businesses can be found here.

Department of Commerce Work to Strengthen North American Competitiveness

The U.S., Mexico and Canada have many shared attributes that make the region very competitive, including a market of more than 460 million consumers that is projected to grow to 630 million by 2060. The combined GDP of the U.S., Mexico and Canada was $18.7 trillion in 2012, which accounts for one-quarter of the world’s GDP. North America is home to a skilled, productive, and affordable workforce, and a source of abundant and affordable energy. And, the U.S., Mexico and Canada have made important investments in research and development, and innovation.

Since being sworn in last June, Secretary Pritzker, in particular, has been focused on increasing economic integration between the United States, Mexico, and Canada. Along with her counterparts, Mexico’s Secretary of the Economy Ildefonso Guajardo and Canada’s Minister of International Trade Ed Fast, Secretary Pritzker has been consulting with the private sector to understand their perspective on how government cooperation can make it easier to do business between the three countries. Secretary Pritzker has also been involved in the following activities to promote greater economic opportunities with Mexico and Canada:

The North American Competitiveness and Innovation Conference: Last October, Secretary Pritzker welcomed Minister Fast and Secretary Guajardo to San Diego for the third North American Competitiveness and Innovation Conference, an opportunity for the three leaders to develop a shared set of priorities and action items to facilitate greater economic cooperation between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Among the top priorities the three have identified are regulatory cooperation, which would reduce non-tariff barriers to trade, lower transaction costs, and eliminate inefficiencies in commerce; border facilitation, which would promote efficiency on the border to enhance trade and tourism while also maintaining security; and collaboration on entrepreneurship and innovation.

The U.S.-Mexico High Level Economic Dialogue: Secretary Pritzker is also a co-chair of the U.S.-Mexico High Level Economic Dialogue, a mechanism launched in September 2013 by Vice President Joe Biden to bring together leaders from the public and private sectors to identify concrete ways to strengthen closer economic ties between the U.S. and Mexico. The priority areas of the HLED include promoting competitiveness and connectivity; fostering economic growth, productivity and innovation; and partnering for regional and global leadership. 

Business Development Trade Mission to Mexico: Earlier this month, Secretary Pritzker led her first-ever trade mission, bringing a delegation of 17 U.S. companies to Mexico City and Monterrey, Mexico. The mission was specifically intended to help promote U.S. exports to Mexico by helping export-ready U.S. companies launch or increase business in a number of key industry sectors including advanced manufacturing, information and communications technology, and health IT and medical devices.