Boosting exports key to US economic rebound- UPS

NEW YORK Mon Nov 15, 2010 1:15pm EST

NEW YORK Nov 15 (Reuters) - U.S. businesses faced with tepid consumer spending must export more to spur economic recovery, United Parcel Service (UPS.N) Chief Executive Scott Davis said.

Barriers to free trade are high hurdles, and "when global commerce suffers, we all suffer and we all end up paying a price," said Davis, a member of the President's Export Council.

Davis spoke at the Commerce Department's America's Competitiveness Forum in Atlanta on Monday, and his comments were made available in advance.

More than 95 percent of the world's potential customers are outside of the United States, he said.

Davis said he worried about Congress not approving negotiated trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama, which the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says has cost the United States some 380,000 jobs with unemployment at 9.6 percent.

"Buy America" rules in the 2009 stimulus package, in which only U.S. firms can bid on major federal government contracts, could also backfire, he said.

Some restrictions have been eased, but U.S. businesses could face higher barriers when they bid for big projects in other countries, possibly costing U.S. exports and related jobs, said Davis.

"The U.S. should abolish Buy America provisions and the sooner the better."

The President's Export Council aims to double U.S. exports in the next five years from about $1.6 trillion to more than $3 trillion in 2015.

Exports now account for 11 percent of U.S. GDP, compared with 28 percent for Mexico and 50 percent for Germany, Davis noted.

UPS handles 6 percent of the U.S. GDP, and 2 percent of global GDP in its trucks and planes, he said. (Reporting by Lynn Adler, editing by Dave Zimmerman)

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