Posted at 3:00 PM
Today, Deputy Secretary Bruce Andrews discussed America's economic relationship with Poland at the American Chamber of Commerce in Warsaw, Poland. As one of the United States’ closest partners in fostering transatlantic security, strengthening economic prosperity, and promoting democracy, American businesses and government leaders want to continue to deepen economic and commercial ties with Poland.
In his remarks, Deputy Secretary Andrews addressed current challenges to trade between the U.S. and Poland and efforts to expand commercial ties, specifically exploring opportunities in energy, infrastructure and investment. Through policy dialogue such as the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (T-TIP) negotiations and Safe Harbor discussions, the U.S. and Poland are working to close the trade gap and bring significant benefits to both countries.
Deputy Secretary Andrews also introduced the 20 U.S. businesses that are accompanying him as delegates on this week's cybersecurity mission. As cyber risks continue to grow, there is great opportunity for collaboration between the U.S. and Poland to combat cyber threats and the companies in attendance represent the cutting-edge technologies U.S. businesses have to offer.
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery
Good morning. Thank you to the America Chamber of Commerce in Poland for hosting this event. I also want to acknowledge Ambassador Mull and his team. I can think of no better person to stand on the forefront of our efforts to build closer economic and diplomatic ties between our countries, and we are fortunate to have you as our Ambassador in Warsaw.
This is my first trip to Poland, and I am excited to visit a country that has been such a close friend and ally to United States for so many years. Since January 2014, President Obama, Vice President Biden, and six cabinet members have visited Poland – a sign of the value the United States places on our bilateral relationship.
My message while I am here is simple: the United States wants a closer economic relationship with Poland, America’s leaders want to advance prosperity for both our nations; and American companies want to do more business here.
This is the same message that Secretary Pritzker delivered during her trip to Poland last year with the President’s Export Council – a historic visit that demonstrated our commitment to furthering U.S.-Polish relations and to expanding economic and commercial ties between our two countries. As you heard Secretary Pritzker say, “the bonds of friendship between the United States and Poland are founded on shared values and shared ideals, mutual interests and mutual respects. This mutual understanding between our nations has always been and continues to be the bedrock of our relationship.
After communism fell in 1989, the U.S. was proud to stand with Poland as you embraced democracy and free markets. Today, Poland is one of the United States’ closest partners on the continent in fostering transatlantic security and economic prosperity, as well as promoting democracy in Europe and around the world. The military alliance between the U.S. and Poland has never been stronger. We continue to share your concerns about the ongoing situation in Ukraine, and we are committed to stability in the region. But as we continue to strengthen our military ties, we must also continue to deepen our economic and commercial ties.
Reforms in areas like financial markets, company and competition law, accounting, and intellectual property rights have improved the business climate and boosted economic growth. As a result, our bilateral trade has quadrupled over the past decade, Poland is the largest recipient of U.S. investment in Central and Eastern Europe, and companies with American capital currently employ over 200,000 people in Poland. Of course, we also appreciate Polish investment in the United States. We were happy to see your strong representation at our SelectUSA Summit held in March, with Ambassador Mull leading a delegation of 20 Polish business leaders and government officials. Yet I know some of you have seen more challenges to trade and investment here in recent months. I want to briefly mention several of the ways the United States is working to address these concerns and expand our commercial ties with Poland.
The Economic and Commercial Dialogue is a mechanism to move our government to government agenda forward. This initiative – co-chaired by Secretary Pritzker and Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister – aims to strengthen public-private cooperation, and to identify opportunities for expanding trade and investment. Our current focus is on exploring Poland’s many commercial opportunities in energy, infrastructure, and investment. As a result of the most recent meeting in Warsaw last September, we are now working to identify opportunities for exporters to assist in the development of key Polish economic sectors through our NEI/NEXT initiative.
Just last month, Poland announced a deal to purchase $5 billion in missile defense systems from Raytheon. Thanks in part to the Commerce Department advocating on Raytheon’s behalf, this deal is the one of the largest commercial sales in U.S.-Polish history. The United States hopes to continue to be part of Poland’s 10 year, $45 billion defense modernization program.
We are also working to open more doors to prosperity through the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership, or T-TIP, negotiations. Although one of the world’s 25 largest economies, Poland today ranks as the United States’ 50th largest trading partner. There are many opportunities to work more closely together and close that gap – which is one of the many reasons why the leaders of both our nations support T-TIP.
We’re still in the early stages of negotiations. But we know that numerous economic studies point to significant benefits in terms of real GDP and export gains from a comprehensive transatlantic trade and investment agreement. I know many of you have done a great deal to extol the benefits of the T-TIP, and we are grateful for your help.
Of course, T-TIP negotiations are not the only ongoing discussion we are having with EU countries. I know many of you are interested in the ongoing Safe Harbor negotiations, and how that will impact the way you do business. We took very seriously the European Commission’s 2013 report on Safe Harbor and its 13 recommendations to strengthen the program, and we are working closely with the Commission to address the issues raised. We’re at a critical stage in the negotiations. Now is the time for Poland and others to support closure of the Safe Harbor discussions. If we fail to reach an agreement, the economic impact would be significant. We’d also lose existing privacy protections, including the strong enforcement of the Federal Trade Commission. The Department of Commerce has already hired additional staff to administer the program and begin to implement the agreed upon changes – a signal of our commitment to the program’s long term success.
As we continue to engage on these issues around the world, we are also seeing a rising wave of digital protectionism and digital nationalism around the world – in which governments enact laws and policies to benefit their domestic industries. The United States believes – as Poland does – that these actions, in the guise of economic and security regulations, will harm innovation, undermine cybersecurity, and limit economic growth by denying their citizens and businesses access to the best technologies in the world.
The United States sees Poland as a partner and a leader in the digital space, and we believe there is great opportunity for collaboration between our nations in the critical field of cybersecurity. We all know that globalization and advances in technology have driven unprecedented increases in innovation, competitiveness, and economic growth around the world. The digital economy is booming – creating new jobs and opportunities that we couldn’t have imagined even a decade ago. The economic platforms of the future are increasing online, but with this new digital economy comes new threats and challenges.
In the wake of recent high profile attacks on governments and major companies like Sony, it’s clear cyber risks are growing – and that governments must work with the private sector to develop technological and policy solutions. All of our countries face serious cybersecurity threats, and the IT sector is a critical partner in confronting these challenges. That is why I am here this week leading a trade mission of 20 U.S. cybersecurity companies. These firms are all industry leaders – providing cutting edge technologies, products, and services all over the globe. Several of them are already doing business in Poland, some have major investments here, and others are exploring opportunities to enter this market for the first time. During our time here, we are meeting with government officials, local companies, and business groups to form new partnerships, seize new opportunities, and help improve Poland’s cyber infrastructure.
Cybersecurity is the perfect example of one area where we can work together to the mutual benefit of both of our nations. But there are many other areas where we are collaborating. When Secretary Pritzker was here last fall, she identified 6 critical areas of opportunity where U.S. companies can increase trade and investment with Poland: infrastructure, green-building, Intelligent transportation systems, energy, defense and defense-related products; and information and technology. The Department of Commerce continues to focus on developing these sectors, and we will continue to work with all of you to make sure we’re meeting your needs.
I am joined on this trip Assistant Secretary of Industry and Analysis Marcus Jadotte. Marcus serves as the Department's primary liaison with U.S. industry and trade associations to help address industry concerns and support American competitiveness. I urge you to introduce yourself and your company to him. One of the most important aspects of his job is to make sure the government is listening to the voice of business, and he’s a great advocate for your companies in Washington. With your help and guidance, I am confident we will find new opportunities to build even deeper ties in the months and years ahead.
Secretary Pritzker’s visit and this trade mission mark another chapter of the U.S.-Polish relationship – a relationship that is forever linked through our people and our history. I’m reminded of that history every day on my way to work. Across the street from the Department of Commerce building in Washington, D.C., is a small park called Freedom Plaza. The main statue is that park is of General Casimir Pulaski on a horse in the traditional uniform of a Polish Cavalry Commander.
Since General Pulaski’s days fighting for freedom and independence in the American Revolution, U.S.-Polish relations have only grown deeper. So let’s build on the strong ties we have created. Let’s look for new ways to expand our commercial and diplomatic relationship. Let’s make it clear that our economies are as linked as our people and our history. Together, we can ensure greater prosperity for the people of both the United States and Poland.