Arun M. Kumar, President Barack Obama’s nominee as assistant secretary of Commerce for global markets and director general of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service (I-W, Oct. 11, 2013), told the Senate Banking Committee Dec. 17 that, if confirmed, he will try to boost U.S. exports, especially by smaller businesses, and work to make the U.S. more a magnet for foreign investment.
As reported by the Law360, a legal journal, Kumar emphasized the importance of the National Export Initiative, announced by Obama in his 2010 State of the Union speech. The program has a goal of doubling U.S. exports to more than $3 trillion by the end of 2014.
"The NEI…is a key plank of advancing our competitiveness in international markets,” Kumar told the Senate panel.
He added that a key to further the initiative would be to increase the level of “global fluency” of U.S. businesses, particularly small and medium-size businesses that are not aware of opportunities available in foreign countries.
“It turns out that a very small number of our businesses actually export…and most of them export to one country," Kumar said, Law360 reported. “So, there is huge upside potential in getting them to export to multiple countries and getting more of our businesses to see the global market as their market."
Kumar earlier testified at a Senate Finance Committee nomination hearing Nov. 21. If confirmed, Kumar would oversee the commercial service office, which is under Commerce’s International Trade Administration. He would also help lead the SelectUSA initiative, which seeks more investment in the U.S. from foreign companies.
A charter member of The Indus Entrepreneurs, Kumar headed KPMG’s West Coast finance management consulting practice from 2005 until his retirement in September 2013 and led the firm’s U.S.-India practice from 2007-2013.
Before KPMG, the Indian American executive was CEO of software company Planning & Logic, Inc. from 1993-1995 and chief financial officer of NetLabs, Inc., from 1991-1993.