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Blog Entries from July 24, 2013

Readout of U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker’s Meeting with Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry

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U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today met with Toshimitsu Motegi, Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, who is the head of the Commerce Department’s counterpart agency in Japan. Additional meeting participants included Under Secretary for International Trade Francisco Sánchez and Japanese Ambassador to the U.S. Kenichiro Sasae.

During the meeting, Secretary Pritzker and Minister Motegi discussed the importance of concluding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations this year, which is a top priority for the Obama administration. Japan recently joined TPP negotiations, bringing the economic impact of the 12 TPP countries to 40 percent of global GDP. The secretary affirmed to Minister Motegi the U.S. commitment to working with the Japanese government to reach consensus on the TPP countries’ shared vision for a comprehensive, 21st century trade and investment agreement, which will enable the Partnership to promote economic growth and regional economic integration.

Secretary Pritzker also talked with the minister about SelectUSA, President Obama’s initiative to facilitate business investment in the United States. This fall, the Commerce Department is hosting the first-ever SelectUSA Investment Summit to connect foreign and domestic investors with U.S. economic development organizations. Japan is the second-largest source of foreign direct investment in the U.S., and the Summit provides an opportunity for firms and investors to connect with U.S. cities and states in support of job creation and economic growth.

Secretary Pritzker Participates in Let's Read! Let's Move! Initiative

Secretary Penny Pritzker today joined Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and Johnny Isakson, both members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP), Federal Aviation Administration Deputy Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation and former astronaut George D. Zamka, and Miss America Mallory Hagan for the third installment of the five-part initiative Let’s Read! Let’s Move! During the planets and astronauts-themed event, Secretary Pritzker read Pluto's Secret: An Icy World's Tale of Discovery to children from the Washington, DC, area.

The Let’s Read! Let’s Move! initiative is a partnership between the Department of Education (ED) and the Corporation for National and Community Service that engages children in summer reading and physical activity, as well as provides information about healthy lifestyles. Each installment supports First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign, which promotes healthy eating and an active lifestyle, while also encouraging strong early learning programs to ensure promising futures for children.

Each of the Let’s Read! Let’s Move! events this year feature book distributions, healthy snacks and fun physical activities led by the YMCA and professional athletes, including NFL, NBA and pro-tennis players. Special guest readers engage a large group of children from DC-area elementary schools and early childhood development centers, including the Health and Human Services/ED Children’s Center, a nonprofit child care and development center sponsored by the two departments.

Secretary Pritzker believes that the ability to compete in a global economy depends on a workforce that possesses skills required by employers. The Let’s Read! Let’s Move! initiative is an investment in the future of American children who will one day serve as global leaders driving the strength of American businesses to secure the foundation of our nation’s economy.

Readout of U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker’s Meeting with Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today met with President Truong Tan Sang of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today met with President Truong Tan Sang of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. President Sang is the second Vietnamese president to visit the United States since the normalization of diplomatic relations 18 years ago. Under Secretary for International Trade Francisco Sanchez, Assistant Secretary for Import Administration Paul Piquado, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asia Craig Allen, and Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang were among other meeting participants.

Since the 2001 U.S.-Vietnam Bilateral Trade Agreement went into effect and Vietnam joined the World Trade Organization in 2007, commerce between Vietnam and the United States has thrived. Secretary Pritzker highlighted that Vietnam has made significant progress on its economic reforms, which have contributed to its economic growth over the past decade. The secretary also talked about how our bilateral trade relationship continues to grow each year, with U.S. exports to Vietnam up 22 percent in May 2013 compared to the same period last year, and imports from Vietnam up 16 percent.

Secretary Pritzker also emphasized the importance of concluding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations this year, which is a top priority for the Obama administration. With Japan’s entry at the end of July, the 12 TPP countries will account for nearly 40 percent of global GDP. The secretary affirmed to President Sang the U.S. commitment to working closely with Vietnam to reach consensus on the TPP countries’ shared vision for a comprehensive, 21st century trade and investment agreement. Vietnam has a significant amount to gain from this agreement, particularly when it comes to increasing its exports. The country currently exports $95.5 billion in goods and services, of which nearly $17 billion is to the United States. The secretary also expressed our commitment to working with Vietnam on reciprocal market access of goods and services.

Lastly, Secretary Pritzker and President Sang discussed Vietnam’s civil nuclear and renewable energy sectors, which are priorities for the country. Ensuring Vietnam has access to the very best of American industry will help support both countries’ economies.