Committee Focuses on Pushing Green Technology
The House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection held a hearing Wednesday on strategies to spur the creation of green jobs by increasing green technology exports. According to the New American Foundation, between 1997 and 2008, the nation’s trade balance in green technology went from a $12 billion surplus to a deficit of $8.9 billion, said subcommittee chairman Rep. Bobby Rush (Ill.) He also pointed out that only six of the world’s top 30 green technology companies are American.
“If our green technology exports continue to plummet, the U.S. will miss out on a once-in-a-generation opportunity to become a global leader in the green energy sector,” warned Rush.
Mary Saunders, representing the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration, testified that ITA is developing initiatives to encourage more American firms to produce green products and services. She recently hosted a roundtable focusing on “new and unexpected types of entrants” in this industry. ITA has 300 trade specialists in U.S. Export Assistance Centers across the country who provide in-depth counseling to help companies realize their export potential. And the agency is accepting applications for a trade mission to Senegal and South Africa.
Saunders also urged businesses to contact the Trade Information Center (800-USA-TRADE), which provides basic export counseling and information on all federal export assistance programs. In FY 2009, she added, it responded to 36,000 inquiries, 75% of which were from small- and mid-sized businesses.
“The best thing we can do to encourage green technology exports is build up our own market,” said Saunders. “You can’t export what you don’t manufacture.”