Earlier today I had the opportunity to participate in a meeting of the President’s Export Council (PEC) at the White House. Members of the PEC gathered to strategize and discuss ways to reach the President’s goal of doubling our nation’s exports by the end of 2014. In addition, the private sector members of the PEC presented Administration officials with letters of recommendations on topics such as expansion of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA), Middle East/North Africa commercial engagement and workforce readiness. We thanked them for their ideas, and underscored the importance of their input to the Administration’s efforts to boost exports.
During the meeting I emphasized the milestone we reached with the signing of the recent trade agreements with Korea, Colombia,and Panama,as well as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Additionally, I highlighted the importance of the work with Congress that lies ahead to terminate the application of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment to Russia now that it will be formally invited to join the World Trade Organization next month.
Other senior officials joining me in today’s meeting were Commerce Secretary John Bryson, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Small Business Administrator Karen Mills, Chairman of the Export-Import Bank Fred Hochberg,and Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Miriam Sapiro; along with White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley and Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett. Today’s meeting was live streamed on www.WhiteHouse.gov.
The PEC was established in 1973 by President Richard Nixon. The initial group consisted of 20 members, all of whom were business executives. Six years later, in 1979, President Jimmy Carter reconstituted and expanded the PEC. Council membership grew to the current roster of 48 members and was extended to include leaders of the labor and agriculture communities, members of Congress, and members of the executive branch.