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President Obama Exhorts Protection of U.S. Products in State of the Union Address

January 24, 2012

President Barack Obama in his Jan. 24 State of the Union address called for greater protection of U.S. products to expand U.S. business markets and announced the creation of “a Trade Enforcement Unit that will be charged with investigating unfair trading practices in countries like China.”

The president recognized the achievement of the recently passed U.S.-Panama, U.S-Colombia, and U.S.-South Korea trade agreements and said that more work lies ahead to ensure fairer treatment for U.S. products and businesses in other foreign markets. He also offered a stern warning for countries that allow piracy, counterfeiting, and other types of unlawful trade practices.

Obama stated:

"We’re also making it easier for American businesses to sell products all over the world. Two years ago, I set a goal of doubling U.S. exports over five years. With the bipartisan trade agreements we signed into law, we’re on track to meet that goal ahead of schedule. (Applause.) And soon, there will be millions of new customers for American goods in Panama, Colombia, and South Korea. Soon, there will be new cars on the streets of Seoul imported from Detroit, and Toledo, and Chicago. (Applause.)

"I will go anywhere in the world to open new markets for American products. And I will not stand by when our competitors don’t play by the rules. We’ve brought trade cases against China at nearly twice the rate as the last administration –- and it’s made a difference. (Applause.) Over a thousand Americans are working today because we stopped a surge in Chinese tires. But we need to do more. It’s not right when another country lets our movies, music, and software be pirated. It’s not fair when foreign manufacturers have a leg up on ours only because they’re heavily subsidized.

"Tonight, I’m announcing the creation of a Trade Enforcement Unit that will be charged with investigating unfair trading practices in countries like China. (Applause.) There will be more inspections to prevent counterfeit or unsafe goods from crossing our borders. And this Congress should make sure that no foreign company has an advantage over American manufacturing when it comes to accessing financing or new markets like Russia. Our workers are the most productive on Earth, and if the playing field is level, I promise you -– America will always win."

Click here to see the video of President Obama’s comments.


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