The chances are slim the United States will meet President Obama's stated goal of doubling its exports in the next five years, according to a survey released today of top supply chain and manufacturing executives for U.S. high-tech manufacturers.
The "Change in the (Supply) Chain" survey, conducted by research firm IDC Manufacturing Insights and commissioned by UPS Inc., found that 60 percent of the 125 respondents believed it "very unlikely" or "not likely at all" that President Obama would achieve his objective. The main reason, according to 60 percent of the respondents, is that it is too expensive for high-tech companies to manufacture in the United States.
Only 3 percent of the respondents said it was "very likely" the export goals would be met. The respondents were vice presidents, directors, or managers at their respective companies.
Scott Davis, UPS's chairman and CEO, took issue with the findings. "Despite the pessimism in some quarters, I believe this goal can be attained," said Davis, who sits on President Obama's Export Council. Davis said a U.S. company that limits its business to domestic commerce is "turning its back on 96 percent of its potential customers."
According to Commerce Department estimates, less than 1 percent of the nation's 30 million businesses do exporting; of those that do, 58 percent export to just one market, Commerce said.
The findings in the IDC study come as President Obama continues a trip through Asia and the Indian subcontinent in an effort to promote trade—a move aimed at spurring job creation at home. The president recently concluded the first leg of his journey in India.
U.S. companies exported $231 billion in technology in 2008, second only to China, which exported $381 billion, according to data from The World Bank.