U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today announced the Department of Commerce will expand its overseas resources to help U.S. businesses navigate additional global markets and sell their goods and services to customers all over the world. The Department's International Trade Administration will add a total of 68 new positions and open offices in five new countries, including its first in Burma. The expansion is largely focused on fast-growing markets in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
"Expanding trade and investment is a central part of the Department's "Open for Business Agenda,' and our overseas presence is one critical way we support U.S. businesses seeking to grow in foreign markets," said Secretary Pritzker. "With 95 percent of the world's consumers living outside of our borders, now is the time for U.S. businesses to look beyond the domestic market and take advantage of tremendous opportunities in fast-growing markets, especially in places like Africa and Asia.
"We know that when U.S. firms sell their goods overseas, the U.S. economy stands to benefit. U.S. exports reached a record $2.3 trillion in 2013, and exports now support 11.3 million jobs, up 1.6 million since 2009. With additional resources to support our companies abroad, we can build on this success, continue to generate economic growth, and create jobs.
Secretary Pritzker made this announcement during a speech at John Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), which reiterated the Obama Administration's long-term commitment to "rebalance" to Asia, and to specifically deepen U.S. economic and commercial engagement in the Asia-Pacific region. During her speech, Secretary Pritzker announced that ITA's U.S. Commercial Service will be adding offices in Burma and Wuhan, China. Additional staff will be added at 10 other Asian posts.
"The day-to-day work of the Commerce Department's Commercial Service is incredibly important to building prosperity," said Secretary Pritzker. "When I took this position, it was wonderful to learn that such a dynamic team exists in our government. Each day, this team helps American companies break into overseas markets, expand, and find new customers."
The U.S. Commercial Service will more than double its presence in Africa, opening offices in in Angola, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Mozambique, and expanding offices in Kenya, Ghana, Morocco, and Libya. Europe, the Middle East, and the Western Hemisphere will also see growth in staff numbers.
ITA, working with the U.S. State Department, will begin implementing its expansion in the coming months.