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Remarks by Ambassador Ron Kirk At The Atlanta Chamber of Commerce

October 6, 2009
Atlanta Chamber of Commerce
Atlanta, GA

*Excerpt As Prepared for Delivery*

Thank you all for having me here. In particular, my thanks to your President, Sam Williams, and your Chairman, Rick Smith. And congratulations to your new Chairman-elect Bill Linginfelter.

As many of you may know, before I became the United States Trade Representative, I was the mayor of Dallas. I'm still a mayor at heart. And my goal is still a mayor's goal: creating new opportunities for our families and communities to prosper.

I believe we can create those opportunities through trade. And my job is to ensure that American workers and business can take advantage of the global marketplace. One part of that job is working with our trading partners to level the playing field. And another part is working with business and community leaders to figure out what more we can do to help Americans get in the game.

It's not enough just to make trade possible. We have to make it understandable and accessible for any American with goods or services to sell.

No one appreciated the importance of creating a local infrastructure for trade better than your former mayor, Maynard Jackson. I like to say that Maynard was Dallas' greatest gift to Atlanta. And Maynard was a gift that kept on giving. During his time in office, he made the Hartsfield International Airport into a global hub. He put Atlanta on the world map with the 1996 Olympics. And he made Atlanta's workers and businesses globally competitive by showing the world what your city had to offer.

So I know Atlanta and this Chamber understand the impact of laying the right ground work. The synergy of talented workers, a first-class transportation system, and a world-class reputation created jobs and made this region more prosperous.

At USTR, we are focused on helping homegrown enterprises create jobs through trade. And we are counting on homegrown leaders like you to help us by creating trade-enhancing synergies in more places around the country.