AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY
Los Angeles, CA
Monday, December 10, 2012
Thank you Kermit for the kind introduction. Before I get going I want to provide you with some information. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org  and my phone number is 202-482-2332.
I want to also thank Representative Bass for her leadership on the House Foreign Affairs committee and Africa sub-committee and for inviting me to this event. I am delighted to be here with you representing an Administration committed to maximizing the export potential of the US economy, and I bring greetings from Acting Secretary of Commerce Dr. Rebecca Blank.
As many of you are aware, in 2010 the President announced an ambitious effort to redirect the US economy towards exporting. This effort was embodied in the President’s National Export Initiative, a plan to double US export by 2014 and create several million export related jobs here at home.
And I’m pleased to say that U.S. exports have continued to increase this year despite challenging global economic conditions, continuing historic progress toward achieving President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI) goal of doubling exports by the end of 2014. U.S. exports are on track to exceed 2011’s record-breaking $2.1 trillion in U.S. exports. The significant export growth we’ve seen since 2009 has contributed to America creating 5.4 million private-sector jobs over the past 32 months.
With 95% of the world’s consumers living outside the United States; and according to the International Monetary Fund - over 80% of the world’s economic growth coming from outside the United States. That is why the Department of Commerce is working to create the conditions to assist you in expanding your reach around the world. Let me briefly share with you a few of our efforts to support you – particularly on the continent of Africa.
Two weeks ago, Dr. Blank visited South Africa and Kenya to launch the Doing Business in Africa Campaign. The Doing Business in Africa campaign is part of a larger U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa , which President Obama issued in June. The “Doing Business in Africa” campaign will promote economic growth, trade and investment in Africa and is aimed at empowering more American entrepreneurs and business owners like you to enter or expand their presence in these fast-growing markets.
The United States is pursuing four objectives in Sub-Saharan Africa: strengthening democratic institutions; spurring economic growth, trade and investment; advancing peace and security; and promoting opportunity and development. The new Doing Business in Africa campaign is a key part of this effort. It leverages the federal government’s strengths as assets in trade promotion, financing and more. Goals of the campaign include helping U.S. businesses identify and seize opportunities in Africa, and helping them overcome any challenges they face to establishing business relationships with Africa.
Sub-Saharan Africa is home to six of the 10 fastest-growing markets in the world. Economic growth in this region is predicted to be strong – between 5 and 6 percent – in coming years. One of our efforts is to make sure you are fully aware of the many tools available to you through the Department of Commerce to help you access these markets.
This means we are going to make sure that when you call or walk into one of the Export Assistance Centers managed by our International Trade Administration or engage one of our three business centers in Southern California managed by MBDA, our representatives will be able to help you start or expand exports to Africa.
We also plan to partner with economic development leaders at the state and regional level to make sure they get the training they need to help you as well. We plan to launch a series of Africa Global Business Summits in 2013 – where we will bring Ambassadors and our top commercial service officers from Sub-Saharan Africa back to the U.S. to meet with you and share the best strategies and tips to help you successfully enter those markets.
And – perhaps most importantly – we plan to foster more person-to-person relationships through activities like trade missions – which as you all know are the key to getting a deal done. When Dr. Blank was in South Africa, she had dozen of U.S. businesses – both large and small – joining her on the trade mission – from a Midwestern agricultural and construction equipment manufacturer… to a Florida-based well-water treatment company.
On upcoming trade missions we want you to make it your business to attend. In the months and years ahead, we also want to bring potential African buyers and partners to the U.S. to see first-hand what businesses like yours have to offer. In fact, this week the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria is bringing a delegation of African business leaders to New Orleans and then Orlando to attend some of our biggest trade shows.
Another key component is financing. Several days ago, MBDA announced a new partnership with EXIM Bank to help your companies gain easier access to the trade financing support that they provide. We are also engaging other federal financing support entities such as the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC).
Again, we want you to engage us. MBDA/DOC is your partner to gain access to the full range of export support services provided by the Federal government. Whether you want to do business in Africa or in other parts of the world, the US government is a critical partner if you want to achieve the highest level of success. Engage us and allow us to engage you and together, we can achieve our goal of redirecting the US economy into an export oriented economy and create millions of new jobs for those most in need.
I welcome your questions