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Weekly Trade Spotlight: Ambassador Kirk Travels to Pittsburgh, Discusses Importance of International Trade

On Friday, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk traveled to Pittsburgh, PA to meet with local labor and business leaders and discuss opportunities to support more American jobs through exports. This was his fourth visit to Pittsburgh as U.S. Trade Representative.

He kicked off his visit with a roundtable discussion hosted by the National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC). The event, entitled “Winning in the Global Economy,” focused on the role of international trade and investment in the success of America’s economy. Ambassador Kirk highlighted the Obama Administration’s continuing efforts to create new export opportunities for American businesses and workers. Ambassador Kirk and NFTC members discussed recently implemented trade agreements with Korea and Colombia, and the pending implementation of the Panama trade agreement. They also discussed forward-leaning trade initiatives including the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, an ambitious agreement created to enhance trade and investment among the TPP member countries, and new World Trade Organization initiatives such as the International Technology Agreement.

Ambassador Kirk at the National Foreign Trade Council Luncheon

Following his event with NFTC, Ambassador Kirk toured economic development projects surrounding Pittsburgh International Airport. He was joined on the tour by Export-Import Bank Vice Chair Wanda Felton, United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard, Allegheny County Executive Richard Fitzgerald, and Executive Director and CEO of the Allegheny County Airport Authority Brad Penrod. The area surrounding the airport has office buildings, research and development space, a hotel, and jet hangars. Airport and local government authorities are hoping to turn a 195-acre tract of land into a major new economic development site. The area is already part of a foreign trade zone, which allows companies to import goods, create products, and resell them outside of the United States without having to pay import fees. To advance trade goals, Allegheny County and the airport authority also plan to designate the complex as a licensed World Trade Center. The World Trade Center designation is expected to benefit Pittsburgh’s economy by facilitating international business, trade, and investment.

Ambassador Kirk Tours the Airport Park with (from left):
Allegheny County ExecutiveRichard Fitzgerald, Export-Import Bank
Vice Chair Wanda Felton, and United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard

After the tour, Ambassador Kirk and the delegation met with other local business and civic leaders to discuss plans for the development of the airport, market-opening measures, exports, the Obama Administration’s efforts to increase trade enforcement, and Pittsburgh’s economic transformation.