This week, Ambassador Kirk is traveling in California, meeting with local business and government leaders in San Francisco and Los Angeles. This week's trade spotlight will focus on trade in Southern California.
Just last year, California brought in more than $120 billion due to exporting. That number alone shows just how important the trade industry is to California. In fact, it’s the second leading exporting state in the nation. As of 2007, more than 55,000 companies exported goods from California locations.
One of these businesses is K&N Engineering. Starting out as a family business, the company has been exporting for more than 30 years and now employs about 450 people. Businesses like K&N, based out of Riverside, will benefit from increased trade. Faber Enterprises in Canoga Park will also benefit. The manufacturing company has 100 employees, and is looking to expand.
The Port of Long Beach employs 30,000 people alone, and each one of these individuals benefits from the flow of American goods to and from markets worldwide.
One of California’s leading export markets is Korea, which was ranked fifth among the state’s top export markets in 2009. That year alone, exports to Korea were nearly $6 billion. Resolution of outstanding issues with the pending U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement would open significant additional export opportunities for California businesses and workers, and for companies across America.
But trade policy efforts with positive potential for California doesn’t stop there. Right now, USTR is negotiating an agreement that will help protect the intellectual property of one of California’s most important industries—entertainment. ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, will do just that. It’s designed to fight counterfeiting and piracy– things that don’t just hurt California’s economy, but the world economy. A letter to President Obama from the Entertainment Industry Guild Union applauding USTR’S efforts to complete ACTA, saying “Our members are also the American workers who are the first and most immediate “victims” of rampant copyright theft over the Internet—a threat which erodes their ability to earn a living, feed their families and the vitality of their pension and health plans.”
According to the Global Intellectual Property Center, about $5.5 trillion worth of trademarks, copyrights and patents are building blocks of our economy. The businesses that own those trademarks employ about 18 million Americans. It’s in the best interest of the United States to create an environment in which those businesses can safeguard American jobs, support American families and continue to support the American economy. With all of our trade policy efforts, USTR is working to do that in California and all across the United States.