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Remarks at Washington Foreign Press Center Briefing on Trade Mission to China and Indonesia

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

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Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke
Remarks at Washington Foreign Press Center Briefing on Trade Mission to China and Indonesia

Thank you for joining me today to discuss the Commerce Department’s upcoming clean energy trade mission to China and Indonesia.

This is the first cCbinet-level trade mission of this administration and it comes on the heels of President Obama’s National Export Initiative, which aims to double American exports by 2015.

Joining me on this trip are 24 American companies that represent a cross-section of the best that America has to offer in clean energy, energy efficiency, and electricity energy storage, transmission and distribution.

Innovative companies like these—bringing emerging technologies to a dynamic new market—are going to play a big role in meeting the ambitious goals President Obama laid out in his export initiative.

Because this administration understands the math. Energy is a $6 trillion global market, and green is the fastest growing sector. The race to develop the new technologies the world will one day rely on is a race this nation—any developed nation—must run.

Consider that one wind turbine is made up of 8,000 parts and 200 tons of steel. As it does with technologies still to be imagined, America has a chance to be the place where those parts are made.

But we won’t if we fail, as we have in years past, to understand the dramatic opportunities ahead of us. Because while the companies on this trade mission can help create economic opportunity and good jobs here in America, they can also help China and Indonesia and countries around the world grow their own economies and meet energy demand in a way that won’t put the planet and our entire way of life at risk.

Just in the past week, I think we saw a striking example of the potential, and even the necessity of growing clean energy cooperation between our countries.

We read reports that China’s leaders are growing increasingly concerned about rapid increases in the use of fossil fuels.

In the past six months, the country had the largest increase in human-generated greenhouse gases of any country in history.

And in the first quarter of this year alone, coal and oil sales in China jumped 24 percent—which is twice as fast as their fast-paced economy grew.

Chinese leaders have promised to redouble their efforts to stop and reverse these trends.

Premier Wen—in speaking about China’s promise to improve its energy efficiency 20 percent over 2005 levels by year’s end said, “We can never break our pledge, stagger our resolution, or weaken our efforts, no matter how difficult it is.”

But this steep global challenge will take global cooperation—cooperation built on a foundation of open markets and transparency.

When I go to China next week, I will let their leaders know that American companies have the technology and the resources to help solve the unprecedented energy and environmental challenges their country faces. I will carry the same message to Indonesia, where the government aims to increase its renewable energy production from seven percent of generating capacity today to 15 percent by 2025.

Here at home, every American should know that when a U.S. clean energy company finds success abroad, it creates more jobs in the United States.  In fact, some of the companies on this trip produce over 90 percent of the components for the products they sell overseas here in the United States.

So, this trade mission is truly a win-win for American companies and their workers and for the Chinese and Indonesian people.

Now, I'll be happy to open up the floor for some questions. . . .