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Schwab and Gutierrez Tout Record U.S. Exports in Tour of Baltimore Port

October 05, 2007



– U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez and U.S. Trade Representative Susan
C. Schwab met with Baltimore port leaders and
business leaders to tout the importance of exports and jobs to Baltimore and the United
States as they toured the Port of Baltimore.

“One of the best places to see trade at work is here at
the Port of
Baltimore,” said Gutierrez.
“Over 128,000 jobs are linked to the port—$2.4 billion in wages and salaries
generated. It’s an engine that drives growth in Baltimore, Maryland and

Maryland’s overall exports shipments of merchandise in
2006 totaled $7.6 billion, up 70 percent from the 2002 total of $4.5 billion,
and went to over 212 foreign destinations around the world.

“Over 40 million tons of bulk and container cargo and some
2,300 vessels move through this vital port each year,” said Ambassador
Schwab.  “This translates into jobs and economic development for the people
of this region and beyond.   As the U.S. Trade Representative - and as
a Marylander – I am excited by this immense volume of trade and what it means
for our economy.”

Gutierrez noted that while countries that the
United States has free trade
agreements with make up only 7.5 percent of the world GDP, they purchase more
than 42 percent of U.S. exports. 

Schwab stressed the importance of moving forward on
market-opening, pro-growth trade policies.

“Ninety five percent of the world’s consumers live outside
the U.S. borders.   The basis
of our trade policy is to break down trade barriers so our exporters can reach
those consumers.  And the best way we can do that is by concluding and
implementing free trade agreements such as those pending in Congress with Peru,
Colombia, Panama, and Korea,” Said Ambassador Schwab.  “Our exports to our
current Free Trade Agreement partners are growing roughly 60 percent faster than
to other countries.  We should continue to do what has worked so well and
stoke the fuel of economic growth.”

“Opening markets is a central piece of President Bush’s
pro-growth agenda. Total U.S. exports last year were up 12.7
percent to $1.4 trillion, an all-time record. Our second quarter GDP was 3.8
percent and the single biggest contributor to economic growth was exports,”
added Gutierrez.

“Free trade agreements are the best way to open markets
and create growth and new American jobs,” said Gutierrez. “Congress is now
considering four FTAs with Peru, Colombia, Panama and South Korea that
would open doors to 126 million consumers with a combined GDP of $1.1 trillion.”

“While over 90 percent of imports from Peru, Colombia, Panama and South
Korea enter the U.S. duty-free, our exporters pay
hundreds of millions of dollars in tariffs each year. Now is the time to give
our American exporters the tools they need to continue to expand and grow,” said

Schwab acknowledged the concerns about globalization but
emphasized the fact that backing away from efforts to deepen and strengthen
international trade relations will only undermine the economy’s solid
performance.  She noted the U.S. economy is strong, with
manufacturing output at record levels, and unemployment a low 4.7 percent. 
In addition, the U.S. created 8.2 million jobs over
the last four years, real incomes are rising and inflation is

“As the world becomes a single market, the pace of change
is accelerating.  This can cause uncertainty for individuals and
communities and dislocations for others.  We must assist workers adversely
affected but in ways that do not harm the majority of people who benefit from
expanded trade,” said Schwab.  “The response to change is not to turn
inward.  The vitality of the Port of Baltimore is symbolic of the benefits of
engaging in trade with countries from around the world.  Our economic
health and competitiveness depends on our ability to increase free and fair

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