First Meeting of the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship

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Their goal will be to help foster a culture of entrepreneurship, innovation, and the creation of startups at home and abroad.

“America’s entrepreneurial spirit has always been a key driver of our economic growth and success,” Pritzker said in a statement today. “Through this group, we will take what we know about transforming innovative ideas into thriving companies and share that knowledge around the country and the world.”

Here’s a list of the entrepreneurs who will serve as advisors:

Rich Barton, co-founder and executive chairman of Zillow

Tory Burch, CEO, Tory Burch

Steve Case, chairman and CEO, Revolution Capital

Helen Greiner, founder and CEO, CyPhy Works; CoFounder, iRobot Corporation

Reid Hoffman, co-founder and executive chairman, LinkedIn

Quincy Jones, CEO, Quincy Jones Productions

Salman Khan, founder and executive director, Khan Academy

Daphne Koller, co-founder and president, Coursera

Hamdi Ulukaya, founder and CEO, Chobani

Nina Vaca, CEO, Pinnacle Technical Resources (an Inc. 500 company)

Alexa von Tobel, founder and CEO, LearnVest

“There’s no way to overstate the importance of entrepreneurship, especially as business continues to break through borders and language,” Pinnacle Technical Resources CEO Nina Vaca said in a statement. “This initiative proves that the dream of starting a business is a viable one, to domestic and international would-be entrepreneurs.”

The U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development are partners in the new group.

US-Russia Tensions

The bilateral meeting between President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin initially scheduled in Moscow in September, before the Group of 20 summit, has been canceled. The cancellation was in retaliation to Russia granting NSA leaker Edward Snowden a year’s asylum in the country last week.

With the Group of 20 summit scheduled in St. Petersburg in September, it remains unclear whether US-Russia relations will have been resolved by then.

What are your thoughts on the matter? Will this disagreement negatively affect the G-20 summit on trade relations? Post your thoughts in the comment section below!

News from the USTR: Expiration of the Generalized System of Preferences Program

United States Trade Representative Michael Froman issued the following statement regarding the July 31, 2013 expiration of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program.  GSP is a 37-year-old trade preference program designed to promote economic growth in the developing world by providing preferential, duty-free entry for up to 5,000 products when imported from one of 127 designated beneficiary countries and territories.

 “Beginning August 1, U.S. businesses and consumers will pay more for thousands of goods imported under the GSP program, including many inputs for U.S. manufacturing,” said Ambassador Froman.  “The Obama Administration urges Congress to extend this important trade program, which increases U.S. competitiveness, keeps costs low for U.S. consumers, and benefits some of the world’s poorest countries.”

Read more here. What is your opinion about the expiration of the GSP? Post your view in the comment section below!

News from the USTR: Ambassador Froman Concludes Africa Trip

The Office of the United States Trade Representative stated in a press release that Ambassador Michael Froman returned on July 2 from a four-day visit to Sub-Saharan Africa. Ambassador Froman had joined President Obama in Senegal and Tanzania to highlight U.S. commitment to enhancing economic engagement with Africa.

Ambassador Froman met with country leaders to discuss business opportunities, investment, and ways that the private sector can contribute to and benefit from Africa’s rise. In addition, Ambassador Froman held discussions with African Development Bank President Donald Kaberuka and Secretary General of the East African Community Richard Sezibera on cooperation for two new initiatives announced by President Obama – Power Africa and Trade Africa – which aim to increase electricity generation.

According to the USTR, total two-way trade between the United States and Sub-Saharan Africa in 2012 was valued at $72.3 billion. U.S. goods exports to Sub-Saharan Africa were up $1.5 billion, or 7.1 percent, from 2011, and up 277 percent from 2002. African exports to the U.S. totaled $49.7 billion in 2012, and non-oil exports under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) have more than tripled since enactment of AGOA in 2001.

President Obama’s Signature Paves Way for Permanent Normal Trade Relations with Russia and Moldova

As of August 22, 2012, Russia became the 156th member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and on December 21, 2012, President Obama signed legislation that extended permanent normal trade relations with Russia and Moldova. A day before approving this legislation, the U.S. and Russia agreed to an Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Action Plan in order to improve IPR protection and enforcement. It is important to remember that Russia is currently the U.S.’ 20th largest goods trading partner and that in 2011, Russia was the 14th largest import supplier to the U.S. It will be interesting to see how the U.S. and Russia attempt to increase their economic potentials now with less barriers to trade. Which key dimension will reign: Economics or Politics?