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Today, Ambassador Ron Kirk spoke to the members of the International Affairs Standing Committee at the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) 80th Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C. Mayor Jean Quan, of Oakland, California and Chair of the International Standing Committee introduced him.
Ambassador Kirk discussed President Obama’s agenda to create jobs, noting that since the economic recovery began, there have been 22 straight months of private sector job creation. This has resulted in 3.2 million new jobs for American workers. “Manufacturing is not dead in America, manufacturing is alive,” stated Ambassador Kirk. The manufacturing sector has seen remarkable growth, one of the strongest periods since the late 1990s, with 334,000 new jobs in the past two years.
Ambassador Kirk further commented that while progress has been made in some sectors, it is important to continue to invest in innovation, education, and infrastructure. Further advancement in these sectors will reduce the deficit and rebuild communities all across the country. Promoting trade is one such way to invest in our local communities.
Ambassador Kirk described key USTR initiatives to keep American producers and companies competitive—allowing job-supporting opportunities through trade. This included working to implement trade agreements with Korea, Colombia, and Panama, and advancing negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. USTR is also focused on the enforcement of trade agreements so they adhere to World Trade Organization (WTO) requirements and fostering increased trade with developing countries in Africa and Latin America .
The Ambassador concluded his remarks by highlighting President Obama’s “Insourcing American Jobs” event last week at the White House. He encouraged America’s community leaders to express their needs in order to sustain strong and growing communities with better jobs for more Americans.
The USCM is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are more than 1,200 such cities in the country today, and each city is represented by its mayor. Mayors contribute to the development of national urban policy by serving on one or more of the Conference’s standing committees.