The United States economy will ratchet up growth in 2011 and double job creation, predicted Thomas Donohue, CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in a speech today on the state of American business.
Much of the speech went over familiar reasons for optimism and pessimism (states finances, real estate, and oil prices) for the economy. There were also standard warnings about the threat of overactive regulations; for example, Donohue called to repeal health care reform and stop the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases.
The most interesting and detailed section of his speech addressed exports. President Obama announced a goal to double U.S. exports in five years -- a bold but not impossible stride, considering the strength of developing markets like China and Brazil and our low starting point after the collapse in world trade during the recession. Between the second quarters of 2009 and 2010, exports grew 14 percent. At 15 percent annual growth, we would double exports after five years.
Donohue is right to focus on obstacles to trade. Our export control rules can make life hell for manufacturers of products like, say, rudders, that the feds want to protect for defense or technological reasons. The United States has an interest in protecting its "crown jewel" technologies, but there is a trade off: the more products we control, the fewer we sell for money overseas.