Mr. Chairman, Senator Gramm, and members of the Committee, it is an honor and a privilege to appear before you today as President Bush’s nominee to be Assistant Secretary for Trade Development. I appreciate the confidence President Bush has placed in me and the support of Secretary Don Evans and Under Secretary Grant Aldonas. Thank you for scheduling this hearing during a very busy time in the session. I appreciate your time and look forward, if confirmed, to working with the members and staff of this Committee.
It is an honor to appear before the Committee this afternoon. I have appreciated the opportunity I have had these past weeks to visit with several of the members who have shared their recommendations as well as some concerns. If confirmed, I would look forward to continuing the dialogue, meeting with you and your staff on a regular basis. We are all stakeholders who share common goals of a vibrant economy for the American people and business community. It is only through consistent communication, cooperation, and collaboration between all that these goals can be achieved.
The vision I would bring to this job was best described by Secretary Evans when he spoke of President Bush's trade policy goals: "free minds and free markets are essential to achieving a better and brighter tomorrow... Our economic, social and political freedoms are woven together into a single fabric that allows every human being to pursue the visions and dreams they have in their hearts. That understanding is the cornerstone for our trade policy."
Secretary Evans went on to say, "what government can do is create the environment for people to succeed." If reported favorably by this Committee and confirmed by the Senate, as Assistant Secretary for Trade Development, I will be committed to helping United States businesses succeed in expanding exports and the jobs they create. I will also work to provide an environment to succeed for the dedicated professionals of the Trade Development staff at Commerce who serve as this nation's day-to-day link to U.S. industry for trade policy development and promotion.
I believe that my business experience, as well as my years in public service, serving at both the federal and state level, has prepared me to take on this important challenge. I am, at heart, a businesswoman with a profound respect and enthusiasm for the creativity and courage it takes to own and operate a successful business. I was blessed with a bright and gifted father who gave me my first job out of graduate school -- the task of turning a small company into a four million dollar business. In the process, I learned important business and life lessons, which I hope, will continue to serve me well as they have throughout my career.
My career in public service spans some fifteen years, including nine years overseeing tourism trade development and promotion at the Department of Commerce, and later at New Jersey's Commerce Department. I am pleased to say that on both federal and state levels, we created an innovative and effective program to assist small and medium-sized tourism businesses in breaking new ground in key international markets.
If confirmed as Assistant Secretary for Trade Development, I will focus on three specific areas: concentrate Trade Development resources to best benefit American exporters, expand the benefits of trade to small and medium-sized businesses, and strengthen Trade Development’s outreach programs to the business industry.
First, I will work with the Trade Development team to focus on priorities outlined by Under Secretary Aldonas when he met before this committee, namely, "to expand opportunities for American business (by) concentrating resources in ways that are likely to provide the greatest pay-off for American businesses trying to gain access to world markets... identifying promising targets for our exporters and providing the support to reach those markets."
In this regard, the Trade Development area shares responsibility for export assistance and promotion with our sister units within the International Trade Administration - the domestic and foreign offices of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service, the Market Access and Compliance team, and the Import Administration. Trade Development’s role in this family, however, is distinct. Trade Development’s industry sector offices devise export assistance programs, export strategies and trade events tailored to the needs of individual industries. Trade Development also serves as the principal link for industry input, data, and economic analysis, which form the foundation for the development of our trade agreements and monitoring of their impact. The work of Trade Development’s industry experts provides the foundation for the President’s trade negotiators in multilateral or bilateral fora-- both for trade liberalization and retaliation. Finally, we work closely with our sister-offices in ITA to ensure foreign countries’ compliance with sector-specific international trade agreements.
Whether it is providing critical data and economic analysis which represent the underpinnings of these trade negotiations, managing industry participation in trade missions, or advocating on behalf of U.S. companies seeking foreign government contracts, the trade development team is on the front-line of action to ensure that U.S. firms have the maximum opportunity to compete effectively in world markets. Trade Development’s industry experts and trade specialists span the gamut of U.S. business sectors - from basic manufacturing to high technology and service exports.
Trade Development is also home to the Trade Information Center (TIC), which was established by the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee. The TIC provides a wealth of export information and a single point of contact within government for export assistance and counseling. We have tremendous resources and talent within the Trade Development program. If confirmed, I will work to marshall those resources for the greatest benefit, working in concert and collaboration with our ITA and USTR colleagues.
Second, I will work to support Under Secretary Aldonas’ commitment to "expanding the benefits of trade to all Americans," for small and medium-sized businesses, including minority-owned businesses. There is tremendous opportunity here when you consider that small and medium-sized businesses account for some 97% of all U.S. exporters, but only 30% of U.S. merchandise exports. Nearly two-thirds of these exporters, however, post sales to only one foreign market. Encouraging these exporters to expand to other markets represents an enormous growth opportunity.
Third, if confirmed, I will work toward further strengthening our outreach to industry, including our industry advisory committees and the President’s Export Council, as well as the many federal and state departments and agencies involved in trade development and promotion. In this regard, I commend the efforts of Chairman Sarbanes in working with Secretary Evans and Under Secretary Aldonas in focusing on the important role of the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee (TPCC). If confirmed, I look forward to supporting him in maximizing the synergies of the TPCC. Helping businesses to succeed in the global market means helping them navigate through and access the multitude of resources available.
On a personal note, I would like to thank the important people in my life who have created an environment for me to succeed. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my family and friends, many of who are here today. Without their support I would not be able to take on this incredible responsibility. I would like to thank my mother, and my father, who sadly is no longer with us. I will be forever grateful for his trust and inspiration. I would like to thank my mother-in-law for her confidence and her prayers. She was a true friend and was always there for me. Two weeks ago, she lost her courageous battle with multiple myeloma. I will be forever grateful to my father-in-law and above all to my husband, Joe, for their love and support, especially during this difficult period.
In closing I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Chairman, Senator Gramm, and other members of the Committee for your time and consideration this afternoon.
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