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Spotlight on Commerce: Suresh Kumar, Assistant Secretary for Trade Promotion and Director General for the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service

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Suresh Kumar cutting a ribbon opening the Commercial Service Pavillion

Ed. Note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series, which highlights members of the Department of Commerce who are contributing to the president's vision of winning the future through their work.

Suresh Kumar is the Assistant Secretary for Trade Promotion and Director General for the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service.

Asian Pacific American Month gives you time to reflect on your origin, your country of birth and learning through and across cultures.  It is conveying these assets, experiences and skills that build a better community and a better country.   At the U.S. Commercial Service, improving opportunities for American businesses domestically and abroad is what drives me.  It is why I'm behind President Obama's plan to win the future. To do so, we must out-innovate, out-educate and connect U.S. businesses to the 95% of consumers who live outside the U.S.  This is my key responsibility:  connecting U.S. businesses to global opportunities.  This lays the foundation for a strong, sustainable economy in the United States and beyond.

I am privileged to lead a service with almost 1500 trade professionals who assist American enterprises everyday to connect to global partners and to new markets.  Of the U.S.'s 30 million companies, only 1% or 280,000 companies export and of those who do, 58% export to only one market.  We can and we must do better, and it is this challenge and opportunity that the US&FCS trade specialists and I focus on each day.   This country needs more exporters and potential entrepreneurs and exporters amongst you do not have to go it alone - you have the full support of the U.S. Government in connecting you to global partners and global markets.

Growing up in a country so far from the United States, one can only dream of living in America.  I was born in Secunderabad in Central India and spent my early childhood in Delhi where the foundation for my international pursuits began.  My  education in economics,  my MBA and applying my learning globally across business put me on a path through six countries that would eventually bring my family and me to this great country. 

As an immigrant to the United States from India, I never imagined that I would one day serve in an administration of a United States president, but I am honored to be serve the Obama Administration.  I fully believe in President Obama's vision to expand opportunities for U.S. businesses to provide the world with products and services that consumers desire and that improve lives and livelihoods.

My past experiences assist me in my role today in the Obama Administration.  I’ve ran international businesses, served on boards and sat on the Global Council at the Thunderbird School of Management.  I’m reminded often of the people who influenced me, including Gandhi and his innovative non-violent movement and his ability to impact lives.  As I continue my career in international trade, I hope to improve lives by opening trade opportunities for U.S. businesses across the globe.  I am reminded of a quote I saw at Thunderbird that says ‘Borders frequented by trade rarely need soldiers.’  Idealistic, perhaps, but trade is not only at the heart of economic policy but is a part of national security.

There is a world of opportunity out there to win the future. And I'm pleased to play my part in ensuring that it happens.

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