Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews Delivers Remarks at the Business Council for International Understanding’s 2016 Reception Honoring Global Markets Leadership and Senior Commercial Officers


Friday, June 24, 2016

Thank you for that kind introduction. I want to thank Peter Tichansky, Jeff Donald, and the entire BCIU team for hosting this wonderful reception. To our friends at Boeing, thank you for opening up your beautiful new complex to us. I also want to acknowledge AES Corporation, Black & Veatch, and Google for their support of this event.

As Deputy Secretary, I’ve had the opportunity to travel the world, and the talent of our outstanding commercial service officers always amazes me. The Global Markets Management Conference is one of the rare occasions when our senior leadership and our commercial service officers stationed across the country and around the world come together.

As a global team, we communicate by email and by phone every day, but it is always wonderful to have you here in Washington. I know that our terrific leaders, Assistant Secretary Arun Kumar and Deputy Director Judy Reinke, have been looking forward to this year’s conference.

Secretary Pritzker and I hear daily from businesses that rely on your services and your expertise. We are truly proud of your work and so appreciative of all that you do to help American companies compete abroad – and drive economic growth here at home.

As most of you know, it’s been a busy few days at the Department of Commerce. We just finished our 2016 SelectUSA Investment Summit. We had 2,400 participants representing 70 foreign markets and 52 states and territories in town. We arranged a total of nearly 4,500 meetings – not counting the many spontaneous side conversations that took place.

Of course, one of our greatest selling points to foreign investors is the strength of the U.S. export platform and the support that you provide. Since the launch of SelectUSA, our team has facilitated investments of over $22 billion in the United States.  By helping U.S. firms compete around the world, you help create jobs and build prosperity at home.

The proof is in the numbers. Exports support over 11.5 million jobs across America – that’s nearly two million more jobs than in 2009. In fact, increased exports drove over a quarter of our economic growth in the last five years. These numbers tell us that exports helped drive our nation’s economic recovery – and you helped make it happen.           

Of course, everyone here tonight knows that we are living in a world of tremendous change – both economic and technological. So this evening I want to briefly discuss three ways we must work together, as leaders in government and in business, to ensure United States can compete in the 21st century.

First, we must make exporting and doing business globally part of our DNA. The simple fact is that 96 percent of the world’s consumers live beyond our borders. With a growing middle class in Africa, Latin America, and the Asia-Pacific, we must reach those customers in order to grow and prosper.

That is why it is so important we enact new and ambitious trade agreements, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This agreement will give our exporters access to the fastest growing region in the world: the Asia Pacific.

Second, we must promote and protect the free flow of data around the world in order to continue growing our digital economy. The sharing of information and data has rapidly transformed every sector, from advanced manufacturing to consumer marketing. Some companies are now finding that the data they produce is more valuable than the products they’ve sold for years.

Digital products and services have quickly become a driving force for job creation, trade, entrepreneurship, and innovation worldwide. That’s why our efforts to protect the free flow of data, like the EU-US Privacy Shield and our cross border work in APEC are so important.

And third, the United States must make itself an attractive destination for foreign investment. The reality is that in today’s global economy, capital is more mobile than ever. Decades ago, states across America competed against each other for business.

Today, the entire country is competing against the rest of the world. That is why we must continue to strengthen our investment climate through efforts like SelectUSA and close collaboration with our EDOs. 

Reaching consumers around the world, unleashing the power of data in industry, and attracting foreign investment – all of these efforts are essential for the American people to compete, succeed, and thrive in the 21st century.

Yet increasing trade and investment is about more than creating economic opportunity – it is also about promoting global prosperity and security.

In today’s world of ever-evolving challenges, commerce has the power to link people and ideas in profound and productive ways.  Commerce has the power to align the interests of nations, to prevent conflicts, and to build relationships capable of overcoming any challenge.

This is the power of commercial diplomacy – and the commercial service officers with us tonight are some of our most seasoned and professional commercial diplomats. They represent the best in public service. They work in nearly 80 markets worldwide and in over 100 cities across America.

No organization can match our global commercial reach or our ability to get things done in foreign markets. Every day, we provide businesses with expertise and support so they can win customers abroad, overcome trade barriers, and out-compete the competition.

Take AAR, a U.S. aerospace company competing for new business in Kenya. Our Global Markets team in Nairobi helped establish the business protocols the firm needed to win a new, multi-year contract. Or take Great Lakes Towing Company, a manufacturer founded in Cleveland over 100 years ago. Last year, our staff in Guatemala helped the firm overcome language barriers and begin building a new tugboat for the Port of Quetzal.

The Global Markets Management Meeting is an opportunity to ensure our Department is meeting the evolving needs of American exporters and foreign investors in today’s changing economy. This conference functions almost like a meeting of an informal Board of Directors. And all of you – our executive leadership, our commercial service officers, our industry partners – are the members.

So please take advantage of the opportunity that GM3 provides. Tell us about emerging opportunities you see abroad. Tell us about new barriers to trade. Tell us where resources are needed, and how we can better help our exporters compete around the world.

During my time at Ford Motor Company, I saw firsthand the challenges of running a global business. In today’s global economy, every successful organization needs a global reach – including the Department of Commerce.

Secretary Pritzker and I understand that our Department must keep its fingers on the pulse of the global marketplace if we want our businesses to compete in the 21st century.  That is the mission of Global Markets – and our entire International Trade Administration team. Through advocacy, through analysis, through commercial diplomacy, we provide companies with the global reach they need to compete, grow, and reinvest in our communities. 

So to close, I want to thank our industry partners and everyone with BCIU – not just for your support of the Global Markets team tonight, but for your advice, your partnership, and your collaboration year-round.

And to our Department of Commerce team, thank you again for all the work you do.  It has been my great privilege to serve with all of you to build a better economy for our workers, our business, and our economy.

Thank you and have a wonderful evening.

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