A Critical Goal: Doubling Exports Within Five…Make that Four…Years

By January 3, 2011Trade

The Washington Post profiles Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and his role in promoting President Obama’s National Export Initiative, “A hands-on leader pushes Commerce“:

Since Locke took office in March 2009, he has earned a reputation as the type of manager eager to know details and wring out new efficiencies. He has pushed the Patent and Trademark Office to shorten the time it takes to get a patent, from 34 months to 20 months. He cajoled the Economic Development Administration, which makes business-development grants to distressed communities, to streamline its approval process. And he brought the 2010 Census in 25 percent under budget, saving taxpayers $1.9 billion.

But those management feats pale next to the challenge he faces as one of the key figures in implementing President Obama’s pledge to double U.S. exports within five years.

It’s down to about four years now, since President Obama announced the export initiative in his 2010 State of the Union Address on Jan. 27, 2010.

The Post piece does a good job of explaining the Obama Administration’s approach toward expanding exports and Secretary Locke’s leadership in the initiative. Unfortunately, the story omits — we hope the Secretary did not — the critical importance of enacting the pending free trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia in achieving the export goal.

And to indulge in a little intralineal reading, this story serves the purpose of quieting any Beltway speculation about Secretary Locke leaving the Obama Administration as part of a mid-term shuffle. We certainly that’s just the usual capital chitter-chat. As The National Journal’s Jim Tankersley recently observed in “Uncle Sam Inc.“:

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke has made himself the de facto international pitchman for American manufacturing, and with good reason: Locke believes that the future of the nation’s factories is directly linked to increased exports—led by clean energy, advanced medical devices, aerospace, and other high-skilled fields. In an interview, he declared that America’s “manufacturing future is bright,” and touted his department’s work in helping Boeing sell jumbo jets in Russia and Harley-Davidson peddle motorcycles in India.

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