United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk was in Atlanta on Friday to speak with students, small business owners, and local government leaders on how trade will help U.S. businesses and workers win the future.
Building on the “Winning the Future: Forum on Small Business” hosted by President Obama at Cleveland State University last month, this morning Ambassador Kirk along with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed spoke with 40 small business leaders at the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ambassador Kirk described how the Administration is taking a whole-of-government approach to export promotion as part of President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI), which aims to double exports by the end of 2014. Through the NEI, the Administration is working with city, state and local governments as well as stakeholders to help more U.S. small businesses sell their products abroad in support of jobs at home.
Ambassador Kirk with Atlanta Business Leaders
Ambassador Kirk commended enterprising small businesses for being engines of job growth in the United States. Figures show small businesses were responsible for creating 64 percent of net new jobs in the past 15 years. Ambassador Kirk agreed with Mayor Reed that small businesses play a critical role in strengthening the economy of communities.
Following the discussion, Ambassador Kirk visited Morehouse College where sat he down with 15 students. He praised Morehouse’s commitment to developing young African-American leaders through education, and he encouraged students to prepare for an increasingly competitive global economy. Ambassador Kirk shared his perspective as the U.S. Trade Representative, pointing out that he sees increasing demand for science, technology, engineering, and math skills in the national and international job markets. With Morehouse President Dr. Robert Franklin, he also toured the recently renovated Atlanta University Center library that is operated by a consortium of Morehouse, Spelman College, Clark Atlanta University, and Interdenominational Theological Center. Ambassador Kirk was able to visit both the exhibit featuring former Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson and the Martin Luther King Jr. Collection.