U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Discusses Importance of Advanced Manufacturing at 2016 Hannover Messe Economic Forum


Sunday, April 24, 2016

Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker delivered remarks at the Federation of Germany Industry’s Economic Forum, her first event at the 2016 Hannover Messe. The forum provided an opportunity for public and private sector leaders in both the U.S. and Germany to discuss the event’s theme, “The Future of Advanced Manufacturing.”

For the first time since its inception in 1947, the United States is the official partner country for Hannover Messe, the world’s largest trade fair for industrial technology. As the first sitting U.S. President to attend, President Obama is leading the largest-ever U.S. delegation to this year’s fair. The visit is an opportunity to celebrate the deep partnership between the U.S. and Germany, showcase innovation taking place on both sides of the Atlantic, and address issues of great significance to the U.S., Germany, and the entire European Union. 

During her remarks, Secretary Pritzker highlighted the importance of advanced manufacturing to the future of both the U.S. and German economies. She also discussed a number of policies that are critical to the U.S.-German relationship: the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield, the Digital Single Market, and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. 

German Federal Minister for Education and Research Johanna Wanka, Federation of Germany Industry President Ulrich Grillo, CEO of Siemens Joe Kaesar, and CEO of Microsoft Satya Nadella also attended the forum.

Remarks As Prepared For Delivery

Good afternoon. Thank you, Ulrich Grillo and the Federation of German Industry, for hosting this event. I also want to recognize the many distinguished guests with us today, including Minister President Weil and Minister Wanka.

After so many months of preparation, it is hard to believe that the 2016 Hannover Messe has finally arrived. For those of you attending the Opening Ceremony tonight, I think you are in for a treat. Personally, I am very excited. In the United States, we have embraced our role as “Partnerland.” To us, Hannover Messe is more than a traditional trade show. President Barack Obama’s historic participation at the fair this week is a reflection of how highly our country values our transatlantic commercial partnership.

Today, as it has been for seven decades, the United States and Germany share a deep, abiding, and strong friendship based on mutual respect, rooted in our common values, and anchored in shared leadership on the world’s most pressing challenges. We build together. We trade together. We promote democracy around the world together.  We even share a love of football. So I want to thank you for lending us Jürgen Klinsmann. And to the Hannover locals in the crowd, we were happy to share Steve Cherundolo.

Just as the men’s and women’s World Cups were a showcase for our two countries’ unparalleled football prowess, Hannover Messe is an opportunity to spotlight advanced manufacturing, the engine driving the future of our economies. The Fair is also an opportunity for policymakers, business executives, and thought leaders to focus on the implications of the “fourth industrial revolution” and the integration of traditional manufacturing with digital technologies. This revolution is disrupting manufacturing worldwide. It is disrupting the way our supply chains function. It is changing the products in our pockets and in our homes. And it is shifting the very nature of work for our people.

This revolution presents challenges that are forcing us to modernize policies that have been in place for decades. But it also presents tremendous opportunities for us to grow our economies, strengthen our businesses, and create new jobs for our workers. Each of our countries has developed strategies to capitalize on the opportunities of advanced manufacturing.

For example, the German Government is implementing its “Innovation for Germany” strategy to accelerate the transfer of scientific research into marketable products and processes that support innovation. In the United States, President Obama has launched the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, modeled after Germany's Fraunhofer Institutes, to transition innovative technologies into scalable, high-performing domestic manufacturing capabilities and train an advanced manufacturing workforce. But in a globalized economy, the separate pursuit of our visions is insufficient. Advanced manufacturing relies on highly integrated processes and supply chains that transcend international borders.

To realize the full economic promise of what you refer to as Industry 4.0 in the United States, in Germany, and around the world, we must adopt public policies that support the free flow of information, ideas, products, and services. Our two countries are well-suited to chart this path, because we share core values that are prerequisites for success. We believe that the digital economy needs to be free and open while protecting privacy in order to create opportunity for everyone. We share a conviction that the free flow of information across borders is good not just for our businesses but also for our people and our communities. And we share a fundamental belief that access to knowledge is empowering and will create broadly-shared prosperity.

Not everyone agrees with us. New rules, such as content controls and data localization requirements, present significant risks to the open Internet model that has been the foundation of our growing digital economy. Governments around the world are increasingly pursuing isolationist laws and policies that seek to restrict the free flow of data and services.  In spite of these policies, more data is flowing today than ever before, especially between the United States and Europe. But we should not just assume that this trend will continue unabated. The United States, Germany, and all of Europe must lead by implementing policies that promote our collective vision.

For example, recognizing that $260 billion in digitally delivered trade is at risk, the European Commission and my Department worked closely for over two years to develop a modernized and comprehensive framework that enables cross-border data flows. The product of our joint efforts is the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework. Trust is an essential ingredient to our shared digital future. And we have ensured that this new Framework meets EU legal requirements.

Together with the European Commission, we constructed a framework that includes: new privacy protections to be implemented by companies; new commitments and resources from my Department to administer the Shield and oversee compliance; new redress options for EU individuals; and new collaboration with European institutions to ensure the Framework functions as intended. The European Commission is working hard to complete the approval process, but they need your support. In the absence of an agreement, companies on both sides of the Atlantic have faced significant uncertainty. So, now is the time to put in place these new privacy protections.

While the Privacy Shield is essential, alone, it is not sufficient for the United States and Europe to realize the full potential of the “fourth industrial revolution.”  We applaud Europe’s effort to establish a Digital Single Market, another key element needed to capitalize on the economic promise of digitization.  If done right, the Digital Single Market will make European companies more competitive by reducing the red tape they face when trying to expand across the continent. Today, for example, a data startup in Berlin may want to export their services to Paris, Prague, and Pisa. But the company faces disparate rules that make it challenging and expensive to navigate these new markets, both in the digital space and affecting the delivery of physical goods ordered through e-commerce platforms.

A well-constructed Digital Single Market with common regulations will make it easier and cheaper for European startups to access the continent’s 500 million customers.  As a result, EU consumers will have a broader range of choice at more attractive prices, as well as greater certainty that the products they buy will perform as expected. In addition, a market that is open and welcomes competition will also benefit the many U.S. firms that have invested heavily in Europe and created jobs across the continent. But if done wrong, we put at risk the thriving, multi-billion dollar transatlantic digital economy.

Another mechanism that will further our advanced manufacturing visions, grow our digital trade, and underscore our joint global leadership is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. The economic imperative for this agreement is clear: the U.S. and EU economies together account for nearly 40 percent of the world’s GDP and nearly one-third of world trade. A completed T-TIP will make exporting easier for businesses of all sizes by removing barriers, cutting red tape, and simplifying procedures. T-TIP is also an opportunity to ensure that the global economy reflects our  shared interests by incentivizing countries to pay a fair wage, develop safe workplaces, protect consumer health and safety, and strengthen environmental rules that we help set.

This agreement is not just about trade and investment. It is a geostrategic choice to strengthen the transatlantic bonds between two regions that share the same high values and standards. But we have a rapidly closing window of opportunity to make progress.  If we do not complete T-TIP negotiations before the end of the year, it could be months, maybe even years, before serious talks resume. Whether it is T-TIP, the Privacy Shield, and the Digital Single Market, we must ask ourselves: what is the cost of delay? What happens to our economies, to our companies, and to our people if we fail?

Now is the time for U.S.-German leadership.  When we stand together on the cutting edge of innovation and advanced manufacturing, our economies grow. When we take advantage of opportunities like Hannover Messe to deepen our commercial partnership, our businesses thrive. And when our leaders come together – as they will this week – to reaffirm the strong, enduring alliance between the United States and Germany, our people prosper. Thank you.

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