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NFTC and CEE Express Concern with President Obama’s Proposal to Consolidate Trade, Commerce Agencies
Date: 1/13/2012
Written By: Jennifer Cummings, The Fratelli Group for NFTC, (202) 822-9491

Washington, DC– Following President Obama's announcement of his proposal to merge six trade and commerce agencies – the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Small Business Administration, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank), the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency – National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) President Bill Reinsch and Coalition for Employment through Exports (CEE) President John Hardy, Jr. released the following statements.

"While the NFTC respects the intent of President Obama's efforts to streamline the federal government and increase efficiency, his proposal to consolidate these key trade and commerce agencies, particularly USTR, could interfere with efforts to engage key stakeholders, including the U.S. business community, and to maximize trade, economic growth and job creation," said Reinsch. "Congress has historically been reluctant to combine USTR with other functions, preferring to have our chief trade negotiator concentrate on negotiating rather than be burdened with broader programmatic responsibilities. Considering this and given the current political climate in Washington, we do not anticipate that Congress, especially the Members of the House, will approve the President's request for broad reorganization authority."

"While we have yet to see extensive details on the proposed consolidation announced today, CEE believes any efforts beyond collocating these agencies will most likely result in reduced responsiveness to the needs of U.S. exporters – both small- and medium-sized businesses and large worldwide American companies," said Hardy. "In our experience, we have found that smaller, more nimble agencies are better able to respond to the needs of American business – a reality that this proposal seems to ignore. Additionally, in this proposal the President emphasized the need to provide further support for small businesses. The best method for achieving this goal is to push for a quick reauthorization of Ex-Im Bank."


About the NFTC
Advancing Global Commerce for Nearly A Century- The National Foreign Trade Council (www.nftc.org) is a leading business organization advocating an open, rules-based global trading system. Founded in 1914 by a broad-based group of American companies, the NFTC now serves hundreds of member companies through its offices in Washington and New York.
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