President Obama has committed his administration to the ambitious goal of doubling U.S. exports in the next five years. I don’t believe the government should be setting such targets—the rate of growth of U.S. exports should be left to the marketplace—but I am all for the administration seeking ways to expand the freedom of U.S. companies to sell in global markets.
In the “Economic Watch” column of the Washington Times today, I suggest six policy changes that will help American producers sell more of their goods and services abroad. None of them involve subsidies, threats of sanctions, or other government involvement.
Among my suggestions: enact into law the three free-trade agreements that have already been negotiated, repeal the trade embargo against Cuba, keep trade peace with China, and set a good example by keeping the U.S. market open.
If I could have added another suggestion (alas, space in a real newspaper is limited), it would be to issue more visas for trade delegations visiting the United States. Under misguided notions of national security, we make it more difficult than it should be for delegations from China and other markets to visit the United States to inspect U.S. goods offered for sale. But like the other suggestions, this one is politically challenging as well.
If the president wants to boost exports, he will need to show the necessary leadership to remove the government-imposed barriers that still remain.