U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Introduces President Barack Obama at the 2016 SelectUSA Investment Summit


Monday, June 20, 2016

Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker introduced President Barack Obama at the SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington, D.C. Since taking office, President Obama’s Administration has worked tirelessly with the private sector to move the U.S. economy from recession to recovery to expansion. During her remarks, Secretary Pritzker highlighted President Obama’s vision in creating SelectUSA and in bringing business leaders to the table in global policymaking.

This is the third-annual SelectUSA Investment Summit, which was created in 2011 and is the first-ever federal effort to bring job-creating investment to the United States. SelectUSA promotes the United States as the world’s premier business location and provides easy access to federal-level programs and services related to business investment.

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery

Good afternoon. It is my distinct pleasure to introduce our next speaker, a man I am proud to call a friend and a leader I am honored to serve as Secretary of Commerce: President Barack Obama. Under his leadership, our economy has moved from recession to recovery to expansion. And every step of the way, he has worked hand-in-hand with the private sector.

I personally experienced this long before I became Secretary, when I served on both the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board and the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. President Obama understands that business leaders – like you here today – have incredible insights into your communities and our nation’s economy. He knows that you can be great partners in identifying opportunities for growth and affecting the policy changes needed to harness those opportunities, both at home and around the globe.

When the President invited the CEOs of Cisco, IBM, and Microsoft to a meeting with Southeast Asian heads of state in California earlier this year, he sent a message to the world that business leaders must be at the table in global economic policymaking. When the President brought representatives from some of America’s most innovative companies to meet with young Cuban entrepreneurs during his historic visit to Havana, he made it clear that our business leaders can serve as a bridge between our governments. And when he led the largest-ever delegation of American companies and economic development organizations to the Hannover Messe industrial fair in Germany two months ago, he showed the world that there is no better place to do business than the United States of America.

Recognizing that we cannot take our economic leadership for granted – that our country must continually improve to earn your business – President Obama launched SelectUSA five years ago. In the process, he created the first-of-its-kind, whole-of-government, comprehensive initiative to attract and retain more investment to the United States. He saw foreign direct investment not just as a way to dig ourselves out of the recession, but as an avenue to knit ourselves together more closely with our international partners and allies.

Put simply: President Obama believes in the power of commerce to serve as a force for good around the world. That is why he has made completing the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal a top priority for his final year in office. On day one, TPP will eliminate more than 18,000 tariffs on exported goods, strengthen existing supply chains, and compel our partner countries to make the economic reforms necessary to attract investment, support economic development, and reduce poverty. When our trading partners commit to the same standards that we have in the United States, we create more jobs and better wages for our workers. We help our companies compete on a level playing field. And we ensure that more families can enjoy economic security all around the world.

At the first SelectUSA Summit, the President said – and I quote: “When we do business together, when we trade and forge new partnerships, it’s good for all of us.”

Ladies and gentlemen: it is my honor to welcome to the stage a bold leader, who has worked tirelessly over the last eight years to shape an economy and shape a world where prosperity reaches businesses of all sizes, workers in all markets, and middle class families in all communities. Please join me in welcoming my friend, the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama.

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