05/11/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

What Would Art Vandelay Do?

U.S. businesses and many in Congress have long complained that our export promotion and export enforcement efforts are not strategic, well-coordinated or well-funded. Increasing U.S. exports is a vital part of promoting economic growth that benefits all Americans, including the Middle Class. There is much work still to do to ensure that the United States has smart, progressive policies in support of trade. However, the Administration's new export agenda is an excellent start.

The Administration has proposed significant new funding for promoting U.S. goods and services exports to foreign markets, and the President's new Export Promotion Cabinet should help to bring more coherence and a more strategic vision to an export promotion process that is spread across many different agencies. "One-Stop Shops" for U.S. exporters -- an idea that Third Way has also proposed for clean energy exporters -- should help the many U.S. firms that would like to expand to foreign markets but who don't know enough about export opportunities and the export process. This is especially important for small and medium businesses. Mobilizing our entire government in support of U.S. exports -- from cabinet officers, embassy officials, ambassadors and the President himself -- will help our companies and workers compete better against foreign competitors that are very often backed by their governments at the highest levels.

The Administration's renewed focus on breaking down foreign barriers to U.S. exports is also important. U.S. diplomats have circled the globe over the past two decades negotiating new agreements to open foreign markets. However, we haven't consistently devoted the same kind of attention and resources to using our rights under these agreements when our trading partners try to keep out U.S. goods and services. The President's focus on protecting U.S intellectual property rights in the global economy is especially critical, since half of U.S. exports now involve some form of intellectual property.

Third Way recently highlighted the serious deficiencies in U.S. export promotion and export enforcement in our paper "Getting Our Share of Clean Energy Trade." We're pleased to see that the Administration is taking aggressive steps to address many of these longstanding problems.