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Obama Cabinet Taking to Road to Promote Small-Business Exports

Gary Locke, U.S. secretary of commerce
Gary Locke, U.S. secretary of commerce. Photographer: Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg

Members of President Barack Obama’s Cabinet plan to travel across the U.S. this year seeking to persuade small businesses to engage in more international trade as part of the administration’s drive to double exports.

“For America to win the future, more small and medium-sized businesses must export,” Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said in a statement. More exports means more “good-paying job here at home,” he said.

Obama announced a year ago in his State of the Union address that he wanted the U.S. to double its exports in the next five years. This week, he said the U.S. was on course to meet that goal and urged Congress to approve a pending free-trade agreement with South Korea to help in that effort.

The Cabinet members spreading that message across the country will include Locke, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The first visit will be next month to Minneapolis.

Locke had earlier announced partnerships with companies such as FedEx Corp. and United Parcel Service Inc. to help identify more small companies that could become exporters or could export to more countries.

U.S. exports were projected to increase 15 percent in 2010 from 2009, spurred by a weaker dollar and stronger growth in Asia, according to data from the Commerce Department.

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