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Economy & Business

US Trade Rep Touts Pittsburgh for Export Potential

The White House brought its message of increasing US exports and decreasing outsourcing to Pittsburgh Friday with a stop at Pittsburgh International Airport and a meeting with Steel Workers Union leadership. United States Trade Representative, Ambassador Ron Kirk, said by focusing on those two goals more jobs will be created in the US.

Kirk said it is important to focus on Pittsburgh's success and potential. "Last year for example, Pennsylvania business exported almost $41 billion. That's a 118 percent increase over 2002. 217,000 [PA] jobs are supported by exports," said Kirk.

This is Kirk's 4th visit to Pittsburgh since taking office. On this trip he will be trying to pick the brains of the local business and union leaders.

"What can we do, what can we continue to do, to help drive job creation by finding more markets for what you sell, what you make, what you innovate, what you produce there in Pittsburgh, so you keep people on the job and working," said Kirk.

Kirk said as economies in the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and sometimes South Africa) grow, 95 percent of the world's consumers live outside of the United States. That's the reality of the global economy, said Kirk, "we want them buying stuff that says 'made in America.'"

Kirk said that means not only getting access to countries that are sometimes closed to US imports but also making sure US companies are on a level playing field with competitive products being made in other countries. Kirk thinks the Obama administration has made headway into lowering trade barriers, and he said it will continue to do so in the coming months.