Ford CEO Alan Mulally is to serve on the 18-strong US President's Export Council (PEC).

President Barack Obama announced Mulally's appointment today (7 July) along with the other 17 members of the PEC, all CEOs of major companies.

A spokesman for Ford in Detroit emphasised to just-auto the PEC was not just focused on North America but would examine the possibility of increasing exports globally.

"The PEC is more than focused on NAFTA [North American Free Trade Agreement], the intent is to increase exports out of the US, it could be anywhere in the world," he said.

"It is a more holistic approach. Mulally certainly intends to take an active role in meetings."

The US president recently set a goal of doubling US exports in the next five years and the Ford CEO backed the PEC to emphasise the importance of overseas trade.

"At Ford, we believe an export-driven strategy is critical to achieving our shared goals of economic growth, job creation and a sustainable future," said Mulally.

"One thing is certain. For exports to grow we must ensure market access for manufactured goods remains at the centre of US trade policy. Manufacturing matters to American jobs, investment, and economic activity."

Obama outlined progress today in Washington on his National Export Initiative (NEI), that showed exports in the first four months of this year growing almost 17% from the same period in 2009.

"I set a goal during my State of the Union address to double our exports during the next five years," said the President. "Since then, my Administration has worked to improve advocacy for our exporters, remove trade barriers, and enforce trade rules in an effort to ensure that the benefits of global trade are  broadly shared.

"And to build on the progress we've made so far, I've appointed these accomplished men and women to serve in these important roles."