On Wednesday, the Emergency Committee for American Trade (ECAT) presented the 2012 ECAT Trade and Investment Leadership Award to United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Speaker of the House Representative John Boehner (R - OH). The award recognized Ambassador Kirk and USTR’s achievements in international trade, particularly the passage of historic trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia.
Terry McGraw, ECAT Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of McGraw Hill, presented the award to Ambassador Kirk. Mr. McGraw thanked Ambassador Kirk for his hard work and dedication to opening new markets for American businesses. In presenting the ECAT award to Ambassador Kirk, Mr. McGraw stated:
“Ambassador Kirk’s outreach to the American people to explain the importance of trade and investment was vitally important to the successes of 2011, including most importantly the passage of the trade agreements with Korea, Colombia and Panama.”
These trade agreements will help to open new export opportunities for American businesses, which will help stimulate growth and create more jobs here at home. The U.S–South Korea trade agreement, which entered into force on March 15, will help support 70,000 jobs from increased goods exports alone.
Mr. McGraw also recognized the hard work of the professional staff at USTR, saying:
“In addition to applauding Ambassador Kirk, ECAT also recognizes tonight the extremely talented professional staff that provides the backbone to much of America’s trade and investment policy. The small, talented and expert professional staff at USTR – joined by incredibly capable staff at other U.S. agencies, including the Departments of Commerce, Treasury, State and Agriculture – performs at the highest caliber every day.”
Before dinner, Ambassador Kirk delivered brief remarks to the guests. In his remarks, Ambassador Kirk highlighted USTR’s goals for the upcoming year including working with Congress to terminate Russia’s Jackson-Vanik status so that American firms will enjoy the full benefits of Russia’s WTO membership. He thanked Members of Congress for the bipartisan support of the trade agreements – noting the leadership of Senate Finance Committee Chairman Senator Max Baucus (D – MT) and Chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means Representative Dave Camp (R – MI4) as well as Congressional staff who work closely with USTR to move the country’s trade agenda forward.
He also discussed the progress of ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks, stating:
“This year, we are seeking to conclude a landmark TPP agreement that will address cross-cutting issues such as promoting regulatory coherence among our countries, enhancing the participation of small businesses into Asia-Pacific trade, and building regional supply chains that promote U.S. jobs.”
ECAT was founded in 1967 by several business leaders in order to promote economic growth through international trade and investment.