Under Secretary of Commerce For International Trade Francisco SÁnchez
The "E" Awards
Thursday, May 13, 2010
As prepared for delivery
Thank you, Suresh, for your introduction. This is my and your first official President’s E Awards ceremony, and, like you, I am happy and excited to honor and meet these wonderful people who embody the best of our business line. I know Secretary Locke is as delighted as we are to be here with the individuals we honor today who have excelled in exporting and promoting exports.
As important as any of your business accomplishments, you are engaged in a great public service: Creating jobs for our fellow Americans. In this, we share a common mission, and so for me, it is an honor and privilege to be here this morning.
In addition to our honorees, with us are representatives from some offices of the members of Congress, members of some of the District Export Councils, some of our strategic partners and representatives from the National Association of Manufacturers. Welcome, everybody.
The significance of the President’s E Awards is highly appropriate to our time. When they were established 49 years ago, the awards recognized production excellence in manufacturing plants and factories supporting the war effort.
The awards were pennants emblazoned with a capital E that flew over those factories that excelled in producing the tools the country needed to remain free. Today, we are battling to regain the ground we lost during the recession that began in 2007, and exports are one of the focal points to how we regain lost jobs and how we build America’s future so that it can continue to remain free.
Secretary Locke will have important remarks building on what President Kennedy realized in 1961 when he revived the E awards to recognize excellence in exporting: That exports were a growing component of the national economy in a world on the verge of globalization. The growing importance of exports then led the Secretary of Commerce in 1969 to authorize a second award to honor individuals and companies with continued success in export expansion efforts.
So these awards have a long and distinguished history, and the “E” and “E Star” Awards that Secretary Locke will confer on you today are the highest recognition any U.S. entity may receive for supporting export activity.
You will be able to fly the blue and white banner at your business, display the certificate the Secretary will award you, wear the “E” lapel pin and refer to the award in their advertising.
Above all, you will be able to say that in pursuing your dreams for your companies and organizations, you are helping rebuild America at an important moment in history.
Until the recession hit almost two years ago, exports represented the highest share of the national economy since 1916. Through your efforts, you will help us get back to where we were. That is why you are so deserving of the recognition you receive today.
Thank you, all, and congratulations.
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