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Open Markets One of the Keys to U.S. Competitiveness

October 21, 2011

Earlier today, I had the honor of joining President Obama at the Rose Garden on the South Lawn of the White House to celebrate the signing of trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia.  This is a victory for our company, our customers and the overall economic health of the United States.  FedEx has long supported these agreements and we are pleased this day has come.

Open markets are one of the key foundations to U.S. competitiveness, economic growth and job creation. As our chairman, Frederick W. Smith, so often says, global trade is now the largest single economy out there – and it will only continue to grow. Open markets enable people outside of the U.S. to sell their goods here and allow American workers, manufacturers and producers to export theirs globally. According to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, in 2008, exports in goods and services supported more than 10 million American jobs and generated more than $1.5 trillion in income for American families in 2009.

At FedEx, we have experienced first-hand the benefits of increased global trade. Through our unmatched global network we regularly ship high-tech products, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and other goods into markets around the world, including South Korea, Panama and Colombia. Our future competitiveness, strength and resilience are dependent on expanding international trade, and FTAs (Free Trade Agreement) like those signed today help make that a reality.

Beyond generating new business for FedEx, FTAs also improve customs clearance procedures and enable shipments to pass through customs easier and faster, fulfilling our customers’ needs for fast and reliable door-to-door service around the world.

Increasing global trade has enabled FedEx to expand our U.S. and global operations to include more than 290,000 team members worldwide, operating in more than 220 countries and territories. Last year we launched a new fleet of Boeing 777 jets to serve our global business.  These jets are a game changer for our international express service. With extended range, and greater fuel efficiency, the 777s have allowed FedEx to extend its nightly pick-up times by two hours in many Asian markets allowing manufacturers to lengthen their production day.

 So what comes next?

FedEx teams are already working to help customers take advantage of the new trade agreements. We are implementing programs to help global customers that   already do business in South Korea, Panama or Colombia expand their business in those markets. We are also working with customers who may not be aware of these new opportunities to help them determine how to best utilize these agreements to grow their business and reach new customers.

Today’s enacting of the three FTAs is an historic step to further reduce international barriers and enable free, open markets.  FedEx played an important role in promoting these agreements and I was proud to be a part of today’s celebration.  But we’re not resting on this success – we are busy working on the next set of trade agreements that will bring even more opportunities and growth for our company and our country. 

Ralph Carter

Managing Director, Legal, Trade & International Affairs, FedEx Express

As Managing Director of Legal, Trade & International Affairs, Ralph Carter is responsible for FedEx policies on global trade and trade facilitation. Carter’s team advocates for simpler, more open trade rules that reduce barriers and help FedEx customers expand their international business. Carter is a frequent speaker and contributor to international trade events and initiatives including at APEC, the WTO, World Bank, World Economic Forum and the Business 20 (“B20”). Carter’s work has helped FedEx become a respected global leader in international trade policy. Before establishing the FedEx Legal, Trade & International Affairs office in Washington, DC, Carter was Managing Director in the legal department of the Europe, Middle East and Africa FedEx headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.

Before joining FedEx, Carter worked at the United States Department of State, serving as the Special Assistant to the United States Ambassador to the European Union. He is a former member of the State Department’s Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy and was a cleared advisor and staff liaison for the President’s Advisory Committee on Trade Policy & Negotiations (ACTPN).

View all Ralph Carter’s blog posts

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