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  February 28th, 2017 | Written by

Wilbur Ross Confirmed as US Commerce Secretary

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  • The commerce secretary has oversight over agencies important to trade and ports.
  • At confirmation hearings, Ross supported public investments in transportation.
  • AAPA: US ports are falling behind 21st century needs.

The United States Senate confirmed the billionaire investor Wilbur Ross as Secretary of Commerce last night. He is to be sworn in today.

As commerce secretary, Ross will have oversight over a number of agencies important to trade and ports, including the International Trade Administration, which promotes US trade and investment, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA’s weather service and aids to navigation divisions provide important safety and efficiency programs for mariners.

“We look forward to working with Secretary Ross to enhance America’s international competitiveness and increase U.S. exports,” said Kurt Nagle, CEO of the American Association of Port Authorities. “We appreciate that Secretary Ross has said that he favors ‘sensible trade,’ and that being anti-trade ‘is a disadvantage of the American worker and the American manufacturing community.’ AAPA favors reciprocal international trade liberalization on a fair and equitable basis.”

With today’s global marketplace and worldwide supply chain, American manufacturers, farmers, and businesses rely on ports more than ever to handle the raw materials and semi-finished components needed for production here in the U.S., and to be able to export their products and enhance their international competitiveness. For every $1 billion in exports shipped through U.S. seaports, 15,000 jobs are created.

“During his confirmation hearings, we were pleased to learn that Mr. Ross voiced support for public investments in transportation, saying there will be some necessity for direct federal spending on transportation, whether it’s in the form of guarantees or direct investment,” said Nagle.  “As the voice of America’s seaports, AAPA is the leading advocate for increasing federal investment into these vital hubs of international commerce and economic development. Freight connections to US ports – which handle some two billion tons of goods, support 23 million American jobs and generate $4.6 trillion in economic activity annually – are falling behind 21st century needs, putting jobs at risk and reducing our global competitiveness.”