Secretary Chao Joins President Trump for Roads, Rails, and Regulatory Relief Event

WASHINGTON – Friday, June 9, Surrounded by hundreds of infrastructure workers and stakeholders, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao joined President Donald J. Trump in the closing event of ‘Infrastructure Week’ at Department Headquarters in Washington. Secretary Chao announced the Department has published a federal register notice seeking public input in order to identify and reduce unnecessary regulatory obstacles that too often stand in the way of completing important infrastructure projects across the nation.

“We are so fortunate because this President is a builder, he understands the challenges facing our country’s infrastructure better than any national leader in recent memory,” said Secretary Chao. “The Department has published a notice in the Federal Register soliciting comments from the public and all stakeholders on ways to improve government permitting; if you have any ideas, we want to hear from you!”

“The current process takes far too long,” said Secretary Chao. “Today, and all week, we have heard many recommendations from governors, mayors and other state officials who actually build things. A special DOT Task Force has already acted on what we’ve been hearing and identified dozens of ways to streamline the process.”

U.S. Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary Jeff Rosen chairs the Department’s Regulatory Reform Task Force, formed earlier this year in accordance with President Trump’s Executive Order 13777, which directs each agency to establish an RRTF to make recommendations to alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens.

“This is part of a greater focus by the Administration to remain responsive to the needs of the public and industry, rather than pushing a ‘top down, government knows best’ approach to regulation,” said Deputy Secretary Rosen. “We expect this process will help us uncover ways to assist in better deploying infrastructure – ways we hadn’t even thought of.”

DOT is requesting input because public and private project sponsors, engineering and construction professionals, related industry organizations, and other transportation stakeholders are likely to have valuable direct experience with the Department’s requirements. That experience supplements the Department’s employees’ expertise and may help identify when a requirement has become an unnecessary obstacle.

The comment period will be open for 45 days at this link[external link]. All comments will be available in the public docket and available for public review. The Department has made engaging the public, especially affected stakeholders, a top priority.

Explore Export Opportunities in Poland and the Czech Republic

Smart Cities Business Development Mission to Poland & the Czech Republic
Dates: September 10-15, 2017

Explore Export Opportunities in Poland and the Czech Republic

The U.S. Commercial Service, the trade promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration, is organizing a Smart Cities Business Development Mission to Poland and the Czech Republic from September 10 – 15.

This mission is focused on business and designed to help export ready U.S. companies launch or increase their export business in promising sectors in Poland and the Czech Republic that contribute to the development of smart cities, including e-mobility, energy efficiency and management, e-governance, and environmental management and quality, including air and water quality.

U.S. companies will attend pre-scheduled meetings with potential agents, distributors, end users, industry contacts and government officials for the goal of launching or increasing exports.

Trade with China Continues Trend While Comprehensive Economic Dialogue Hopes to Balance Deficits

The trade deficit in goods with China ballooned by 13.8 percent year-over-year while the overall trade deficit increased by 5 percent since March as imports increased slightly and exports declined following the release of the April 2017 International Trade in Goods and Services monthly data by the Department of Commerce.

“While the overall trade deficit continues to grow, it is too soon for the numbers to reflect the recent deal with China and other actions of this Administration is taking to level the balance of trade,” said Secretary Ross. “We look forward to the July 16 deadline which will open up the Chinese market to American beef, liquefied natural gas and other products.”

The U.S. goods and services deficit with China increased 5.4 percent from the fourth quarter of 2016 to the first quarter of 2017 growing from $77.714 billion to $81.901 billion.

The trade deficit widened month-to-month with China from 24.6 billion in March to 27.6 billion in April.

While the trade deficit with China grew, there was improvement in other areas. April exports to South Korea were the highest ever on record, while exports to Japan were the largest since August of 2014.

Year-to-date, the goods and services deficit increased $9.4 billion, or 7.5 percent, from the same period in 2016. Exports increased $38.0 billion or 7.1 percent. Imports increased $47.5 billion or 7.1 percent.

The April increase in the goods and services deficit reflected an increase in the goods deficit of $2.3 billion to $68.4 billion and a decrease in the services surplus of less than $0.1 billion to $20.8 billion.

2017 MED Week Conference

Sunday, October 22, 2017  to Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) to celebrate Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week in partnership with the NMSDC at the 2017 NMSDC Conference and Business Opportunity Exchange.

The 2017 National MED Week celebration, recognized at the NMSDC Conference, will feature several Powered by MBDA workshops and seminars that focus on federal programs and recognize the 35th Annual National MED Week Award Winners in Detroit, Michigan

Statement from U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross on Withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement

Today, President Trump took one more important step towards restoring the primacy of American workers and American businesses by unshackling them from the terrible deal that is the Paris Climate Accord. That deal imposes little responsibility on the world’s largest emitters, while costing the U.S. economy three trillion dollars in reduced output, six million industrial jobs, and three million manufacturing jobs. That amount of economic carnage is unjustified, and so we welcome this long overdue action in defense of the American people. 

JOINT RELEASE: Initial Results of the 100-Day Action Plan of the U.S. – China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue

President of the United States Donald Trump and President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping agreed at their Mar-a-Lago meeting to advance U.S. – China economic cooperation with a 100-day action plan under the framework of the U.S. – China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue. Under the leadership of the co-chairs, Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross of the United States and Vice Premier Wang Yang of China, both nations have negotiated intensively to make progress on key issues. The three co-chairs reached consensus on initial commitments under the 100-day plan and objectives for next steps.

In approximately one month following the Presidential Summit, the two sides reached consensus on addressing issues in areas including agricultural trade, financial services, investment, and energy. For details, see the U.S.-China joint fact sheet below.

Both sides also identified other issues that will require significant effort to resolve and achieve progress on within the 100-day period. Both sides further committed to strengthen communication and coordination to jointly advance those issues and achieve resolution as soon as possible. Further, as concrete progress is made in implementing the actions under the 100-day plan, the two sides will begin discussing a one-year plan to further solidify actions in promoting U.S. – China economic engagement and cooperation. Following implementation of the 100-day plan, the United States and China look forward to deepening engagement on these and other issues at the first meeting of the Comprehensive Economic Dialogue, to be held in the United States in the summer of 2017.

Initial Actions of the U.S.-China Economic Cooperation 100-Day Plan

1. Following one more round of technical consultations between the United States and China, China is to allow imports of U.S. beef on conditions consistent with international food safety and animal health standards and consistent with the 1999 Agricultural Cooperation Agreement, beginning as soon as possible but no later than July 16, 2017.

2. The United States and China are to resolve outstanding issues for the import of China origin cooked poultry to the United States as soon as possible, and after reaching consensus, the United States is to publish a proposed rule by July 16, 2017, at the latest, with the United States realizing China poultry exports as soon as possible.

3. China’s National Biosafety Committee (NBC) is to hold a meeting by the end of May 2017, to conduct science-based evaluations of all eight pending U.S. biotechnology product applications to assess the safety of the products for their intended use. No additional information unrelated to safety assessment for intended use is to be requested of the applicants. For any product that does not pass the safety evaluation at the NBC meeting held in May 2017, the NBC is to operate with transparency by providing in writing to the applicants a complete list of requested‎ information necessary to finalize the safety assessment for the products’ intended use, along with an explanation of how the requested information would be relevant to the safety of the products’ intended use. The NBC is to hold meetings as frequently and as soon as possible after an application is resubmitted in order to finalize reviews of remaining applications without undue delay. For the products that pass the safety evaluations of the NBC, China is to grant certificates within 20 working days in accordance with Administrative License Law of the People’s Republic of China.

4. The United States welcomes China, as well as any of our trading partners, to receive imports of LNG from the United States. The United States treats China no less favorably than other non-FTA trade partners with regard to LNG export authorizations. Companies from China may proceed at any time to negotiate all types of contractual arrangement with U.S. LNG exporters, including long-term contracts, subject to the commercial considerations of the parties. As of April 25, 2017, the U.S. Department of Energy had authorized 19.2 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas exports to non-FTA countries.

5. By July 16, 2017, China is to allow wholly foreign-owned financial services firms in China to provide credit rating services, and to begin the licensing process for credit investigation.

6. The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) intends to extend by July 16, 2017 the current no-action relief to Shanghai Clearing House for six months, with further extensions amounting to up to three years, if appropriate and consistent with the conditions set forth in the no-action relief. The People’s Bank of China and the CFTC are to work towards a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) concerning the cooperation and the exchange of information related to the oversight of cross-border clearing organizations.

7. By July 16, 2017, China is to issue any further necessary guidelines and allow wholly U.S.-owned suppliers of electronic payment services (EPS) to begin the licensing process. This should lead to full and prompt market access. China is to continue to allow Chinese banks to issue dual brand-dual currency bankcards that allow U.S. EPS suppliers to process foreign currency payment card transactions.

8. The applicable U.S. federal regulatory authorities remain committed to apply in the United States the same bank prudential supervisory and regulatory standards to Chinese banking institutions as to other foreign banking institutions, in like circumstances and in accordance with U.S. law.

9. China is to issue both bond underwriting and settlement licenses to two qualified U.S. financial institutions by July 16, 2017.

10. The United States recognizes the importance of China’s One Belt and One Road initiative and is to send delegates to attend the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing May 14-15.

The United States welcomes direct investment by Chinese entrepreneurs as it does by entrepreneurs from other countries. The United States welcomes Chinese participation in the SelectUSA Investment Summit that will be held June 18-20 in Washington D.C.

Celebrating National Travel and Tourism Week

The following is a cross-post from Tradeology, the official blog of the International Trade Administration (ITA)

National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW), now in its 34th year, is the annual salute to travel and tourism in America. During the first full week in May, communities across our nation unite to showcase the impact of travel to policymakers, business leaders and local media with rallies, events and other activities.

While the industry is focused on celebrating this week, the National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO), U.S. Foreign and Commercial Service offices around the globe, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), federal agencies responsible for the United States’ public and Native American lands (Interior, Agriculture, Forest Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, etc.), and the Departments of State and Homeland Security are working together to put our best face forward when the world’s largest travel trade show, IPW, comes to Washington.

For the first time in its 49-year history, the U.S. Travel Association is bringing its premiere trade show, IPW, formerly known as the Discover America International Pow Wow, to the nation’s capital.

In just three days of intensive pre-scheduled business appointments, more than 1,000 U.S. travel organizations from every region of the USA (representing all industry category components), and nearly 1,200 international and domestic buyers from more than 70 countries, conduct business negotiations that will generate more than $4.7 billion in future travel to the United States.

Given that travel and tourism is the United States’ largest services export and represented a $246.2 billion dollar infusion into the nation’s economy in 2015, the federal partners are pleased to have IPW in our backyard. In addition to providing the world’s U.S. travel goods and services buyers and the international media with an “up close and personal” look at all there is to see and do here in the nation’s capital, having IPW in Washington will also give U.S. Travel the opportunity to showcase the importance of the travel and tourism industry to our national elected officials.

America’s travel and tourism industry is on the rise. Representing $1.6 trillion in economic activity annually, this sector of our economy supports more than 7.9 million U.S. jobs, 1.2 million of which are directly attributable to international inbound travel – read exports. More people are employed by travel and tourism-related industries than are employed collectively in the construction industry, finance and insurance industries, agriculture, and education.

The federal partners are building new itineraries that will feature our national marine sanctuaries, wildlife refuges, lesser-known national parks, scenic byways and other federal properties. In addition, Commercial Service officers will meet with U.S. sellers, offering export assistance, and with international buyers, offering connections between them and U.S. sellers. The Department of Homeland Security will be taking appointments for enrollment in its trusted traveler programs and Native American tribal representatives and the Bureau of Indian Affairs will meet with international buyers to educate them about the tremendous product available on our Native Lands.

International travelers visit the United States to see big cities like New York, where you can ride a ferry to the Statue of Liberty, take a walk through Central Park and enjoy a Broadway show, all in one day.

People come to America to hike the California Coast, where you can find bonsai trees living in the shadows of the giant redwoods, a phenomenon that does not exist anywhere else on the planet.

People come to America to see some of the best art and culture in the world, from the globally renowned art collection at the Chicago Institute of Art to the back lots of Hollywood to the Crystal Bridges Art Museum in Bentonville, Ark., one of the hottest new museums in the country.

Our country’s diverse array of uniquely American experiences can stand up to any destination anywhere in the world, but we cannot take either our experiences or our visitors for granted. We must stay focused on maintaining a welcoming presence to the international buyer community and we believe a strong presence at IPW is one great way to accomplish that.

For more information on National Travel and Tourism Week, go to: https://www.ustravel.org/toolkit/national-travel-and-tourism-week