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Traditionally, the ITA has worked to expand access to foreign markets for all U.S. businesses by overcoming barriers, regulatory or otherwise, Holecko says. Among other things, it has achieved that by ensuring that foreign states actually abide by the terms of the bilateral agreements they've signed on to.
But the administration's interest in promoting commerce is not solely focused outside the country. Since supply chain efficiency drives business decisions, says Holecko, it's impossible to look at the competitiveness of U.S. industry in a global context without looking at the factors at home that affect those businesses. That includes such things as a national freight policy. Improvements in physical transportation infrastructure are among the elements of such a policy, he says.
In fact, the ITA is looking to cement a relationship with the Department of Transportation. The idea is to jointly identify the most critical elements of an efficient transportation policy, then to move forward together to tackle those issues. Intermodal policies, international gateways and the physical makeup of the nation's roads and highways are among the things the federal agencies are studying. "The end state we're looking for is a supply chain infrastructure that facilitates an efficient, lean, quick and secure movement of goods to and within our borders," Holecko says.
In its efforts to achieve that, ITA has worked closely with the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies. In a post-9/11 world, security is a reality, and government mandates concerning it aren't going away, he says. "We must engage with industry to find the best way to move safely and securely within the country."
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