The National Export Initiative: Two Years Remain to Meet President Obama’s Goal to Double Exports


In January 2010, President Barack Obama announced a National Export Initiative (NEI), which was intended to lead to a long-term, sustainable economic growth for the United States, with a goal of doubling exports by 2015 to support 2,000,000 American jobs. Following up on his speech, on March 11, 2010, President Obama signed an Executive Order implementing the NEI and requiring the enhancement and coordination of “Federal efforts to facilitate the creation of jobs in the United States through the promotion of exports, and to ensure the effective use of Federal resources in support of these goals.”[1]

As the Global Connection initially reported in 2010, the NEI was and is still a lofty and ambitious policy. Although the data from 2012 is not yet available, it is likely the NEI will not reach the halfway mark toward the goal of doubling exports as it nears the middle of the self-imposed deadline. It is clear that the NEI has led to significant governmental programs to stimulate international trade. But, it has failed in one major aspect that continues to be the albatross hindering the goal's achievement. Specifically, the United States has not taken significant steps to revise outdated U.S. export control laws, most notably the Export Administration Regulations and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations.

Although the government has formed working groups for the various agencies that have a stake in the enforcement of such regulations, there has been little traction at presenting a unified export control regulation enforced by a centralized agency. Rather, the working groups may be working at cross purposes of the NEI and actually preparing to implement regulations that are more onerous than the current regulatory framework.

The possible future regulations will only cause a further comparative disadvantage that the United States suffers in relation to other countries in regard to export controls. Any proposed regulations will be subject to a notice period for which impacted companies or other interested stakeholders, such as trade groups, can respond to the new regulatory framework.

As the expected regulations will have an immediate impact on how a company operates globally, it is important to understand the consequences of such regulations, possibly comment as to the proposed regulations and take necessary action to prepare for implementation within a compliance program. Specifically, a company should consider reviewing how any regulatory changes will need to be reflected in a company’s compliance policies and procedures, training and agreements with third parties.


[1] Executive Order dated March 11, 2010, at

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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