March 03,2010

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Scott Mulhauser/Erin Shields
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Baucus Examines President’s 2010 Trade Agenda, Looks for Ways to Spur Job Creation

Finance Chairman says trade policy is critical component of job-creation agenda

Washington, DCSenate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) convened a hearing today with Ambassador Ron Kirk, the United States Trade Representative (USTR), to examine the President’s 2010 Trade Agenda.  Baucus stressed that job creation must be at the center of America’s trade agenda and pressed Kirk to put into action a plan to achieve the President’s goal of doubling U.S. exports within five years.  Baucus said that enforcing our current trade agreements and opening new markets to American ranchers, farmers and small businesses are crucial to reaching this goal.

“Our most urgent economic goal must be to create jobs and job creation must be at the center of our trade agenda.  History tells us that expanding trade promotes growth,” Baucus said.  “Americans are among the most productive people in the world, but we are not yet meeting our export potential.  We are the world’s largest economy, nearly three times the of our nearest competitor, but we are only the third largest exporter.  As a share of national income, America exports less than all of our major trading partners.  We must achieve our export potential.  Our economic recovery depends on it.”

Baucus has long fought for a robust trade agenda that supports American jobs through strong enforcement of our current agreements and an aggressive pursuit of new markets.  In January, he and Senator Snowe urged the USTR to place special emphasis on small businesses and called on the agency to appoint a high-level position to promote small businesses’ trade-related interests.  Jim Sanford was appointed Assistant USTR for Small Business, Market Access, and Industrial Competitiveness in January and testified before the Finance Committee in February.  Baucus asked for biannual reports to the Finance Committee on the progress of doubling U.S. exports in the next five years.

“In order to grow, small businesses in Montana and around the country must obtain the resources they need: financing, market research and technical assistance.  In order to increase exports and create jobs, we need to help small businesses acquire these resources, just as our competitors do,” Baucus said.

In order to meet the President’s goal of doubling U.S. exports over the next five years, an ambitious initiative that would support two million jobs, Baucus proposed five steps:

  •  Increasing support for export promotion, with a focus on growing exports of small businesses, which represent 97 percent of exporting firms, but only 30 percent of exports.
  •  Working to resolve outstanding issues and expeditiously approve the pending trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama.
  •  Focusing on the markets that matter most to American exporters by negotiating a Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement and concluding the Doha Round of World Trade negotiations.
  •  Enforcing America’s existing trade agreements.
  •  Ensuring that America’s trading partners do not gain unfair advantage by failing to adopt or enforce basic labor rights and environmental protections.

With the U.S.-China relationship becoming increasingly complex, Baucus asked Kirk to detail his strategy for using America’s relationship with China to strengthen America’s position in the global economy.  Baucus stressed that strong management of the U.S.-China relationship will have significant effects on both countries’ economic future.

The Finance Committee has jurisdiction over international trade policy.  Opening statements and an archived webcast of the hearing can be found on the Finance Committee website at


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