Assistant Secretary of Commerce Nicole Y. Lamb-Hale
Manufacturing and Services
Crain's Detroit Business Journal
2nd Annual General and In-House Counsel Awards
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
As prepared for delivery
Let me begin by thanking Crain’s Detroit Business and my good friend, Mary Kramer for inviting me here to speak tonight.
It’s great to be home among colleagues and friends. I have been privileged in my job to travel the world. Last week, in fact, I was in Saudi Arabia leading a clean energy trade mission of 13 U.S. Companies. But, I can tell you, there's no place like home! We live in the best country in the world and Detroit is in my view the best city in world.
I was thrilled when Mary invited me to speak to such a distinguished group of my peers in the profession. I would like to take a moment of personal privilege to acknowledge those in the audience from Dykema where I began my legal career and from Foley & Lardner where I practiced before joining the Obama administration and where I had the privilege of serving as the managing partner of the Detroit office. It was a pleasure to practice with you!
While I now play the role of the client as the Assistant Secretary, and by the way, I try to be a good client, I have not forgotten my roots as a lawyer and use my legal skills daily. So, it's indeed a pleasure for me to be a part of a celebration of distinguished in house counsel this evening. Congratulations to all of the award recipients!
My remarks this evening will focus on three areas:
The Obama Administration’s support of U.S. manufacturing;
President Obama' s National Export Initiative, also known as the NEI, and the importance of exporting as a business tool; and
The important role you play as in house counsel in advising your companies as they pursue opportunities in international markets.
But first let me review a bit of history with you. In 2009, when President Obama took office, the nation faced a historic economic crisis. Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers collapsed. The financial system was in trouble. This sent a ripple effect throughout the entire economy.
The automotive industry, an industry near and dear to everyone in this room, was on the verge of collapse. Communities all over the United States were devastated by foreclosures. Streets were lined with storefronts covered with “Going Out of Business” signs. It was indeed an uncertain time.
In fact, in the six months before President Obama took office, 4 million jobs were lost. Another 4 million jobs were lost before his policies were put into place.
But, under the President’s leadership, we are now moving in the right direction.
A lot of good things are happening.
We’ve had 24 straight months of private sector growth. In total, this growth has resulted in 4.1 million jobs. And, as we in this room and in this region knew that it could, manufacturing is leading our recovery. American manufacturing is creating jobs for the first time since the late 1990s. And, because of President Obama's unwavering faith in the U.S. automotive industry, the investment in the industry that he made, and the hard work of those of you in this room and beyond, the U.S. auto industry is back. Indeed, as you know, GM is the number one automaker again.
These are positive signs. But, make no mistake; we know that the work we've begun is not finished. There is still a long way to go.
And, as we look ahead, we’ve got to build a stronger and healthier economy. We can’t go back to the old days when economic growth was fueled by financial bubbles. Instead, we’ve got to build an American economy that's built to last.
That was President Obama’s message in his State of the Union Address in January.
An economy built to last is built on the foundation of American energy, skills for American workers, a renewal of American values, and yes, a renewal of American manufacturing. Let's focus for a few minutes on American manufacturing.
As President Obama said in his 2012 State of the Union address, “We have a huge opportunity, at this moment, to bring manufacturing back. But we have to seize it.” “The blueprint for an economy built to last,” he said, “begins with American manufacturing.”
Now, why is a renaissance of American manufacturing essential to the foundation of an American economy built to last? Because, in two simple words: manufacturing matters.
Manufacturing matters because manufacturing supports good, stable jobs for millions of Americans. Manufacturing matters because it creates more economic activity than any other sector. It matters because manufacturing accounts for nearly 60% of our nation’s exports.
Manufacturing matters because it is responsible for 70% of the private-sector R&D in this country; and it matters because we need manufacturing to sustain an industrial base that can make the things we need to guarantee our nation’s security in an uncertain world.
And American manufacturing matters because as I've seen firsthand, American made products are synonymous with quality and value and our products are and will continue to be in demand all over the world.
U.S. businesses have to be ready to seize this opportunity by selling their goods to customers abroad. Exporting in today’s business environment is an essential tool for U.S. manufacturers. In the words of our new Secretary of Commerce, John Bryson, we need to “build it here and sell it everywhere.”
Let's begin with building it here.
To create the conditions for U.S. businesses to build it here, the Obama Administration is taking steps to strengthen U.S. manufacturing by launching a number of key initiatives including:
- Establishing The White House Office of Manufacturing Policy which is co-chaired by Commerce Secretary John Bryson and National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling and coordinates manufacturing policy across the Federal government at the Cabinet level.
- Establishing the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP) which identifies opportunities for industry, academia, and government to collaborate in order to accelerate the development and deployment of emerging technologies with the potential to transform and reinvigorate advanced manufacturing in the U.S.
- Establishing the Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office (AM-NPO) to effectively coordinate resources targeting advanced manufacturing across the Federal government. This office strengthens our interactions with the private sector, to enable the private-public partnerships that are fundamental to improving the U.S. manufacturing sector’s competitiveness and innovation, and to link these partnerships to relevant Federal resources.
Additionally, we are focused on high-impact ideas, such as the creation of a new National Network for Manufacturing Innovation. The Obama Administration proposed to Congress a one-time $1 billion investment to catalyze the creation of a network of up to 15 regional institutes to foster innovation and accelerate technological advancements in manufacturing. These regional institutes will enable researchers, companies, and entrepreneurs to solve problems in pre-commercial technologies that will lead to U.S. leadership in tomorrow’s manufactured goods.
National Export Initiative
Now, let’s discuss the importance of selling what we build everywhere.
Why should we do this and not just focus on our domestic market? Because 95% of the world’s customers live outside of our borders. So, if we do the math, the logic is crystal clear – for a business to fulfill its maximum potential, it has to go where the customers are. Exporting is an essential tool for U.S. businesses. To be competitive long term, U.S. businesses must sell their products and services not just at home, but in international markets.
President Obama certainly understands this, that’s why he launched the National Export Initiative, commonly known as the NEI, two years ago during his State of the Union address. The NEI sets the goal of doubling U.S. exports by the end of 2014 to support millions of jobs here at home.
As Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Services in the International Trade Administration, it’s my job to help make the NEI a success. When the NEI was announced, there were some naysayers, but we’re on track to meet our NEI goal. Exports need to grow 15% annually to achieve the goal. I’m happy to report that cumulative exports over the past twelve months compared to the level of exports recorded in 2009 have been growing at an annualized rate of 15.6% per year, a pace greater than the pace required to double exports by the end of 2014. Exports of goods and services over the past twelve months exceeded $2.1 trillion, a record, 33.5% above the level of exports in 2009.
So, what is the NEI ?
It is the first Presidentially led, whole of government approach to increasing our nation’s exports. The NEI is comprised of five pillars: improving advocacy and trade promotion; increasing access to export financing; removing barriers to trade, enforcing our trade rules; and promoting strong, sustainable, and balanced growth globally.
This evening I'll focus in particular on 3 pillars of the NEI: improving advocacy and trade promotion, removing barriers to trade, and enforcing our trade rules, and the work that the International Trade Administration is doing to support them.
Improving Advocacy and Trade Promotion
With respect to trade promotion, we are approaching it in much the same way as the global product managers in your companies do – strategically. The foundation of our efforts is our sector/market strategies. Developed in partnership with industry and agencies across the federal government, we have developed and are implementing strategies in sectors where U.S. products are globally competitive, in markets with great demand for U.S. products and where U.S. government support can be impactful. Thus far, we are developing strategies for 12 countries including Brazil, India, and China, and 32 sectors including aerospace, auto parts, renewable energy and building products. Based upon these strategies, we have developed trade promotion activities, including trade missions, such as the one I led last week to Saudi Arabia in the renewable energy space.
With respect to advocacy, in 2011, ITA’s Advocacy Center helped U.S. companies win 49 overseas projects worth $29 billion, with U.S. export content of more than $20 billion, supporting more than 111,000 jobs. I urge all of you to go to www.export.gov to learn of all of the resources that are available across the federal government to help you grow your revenues through export sales.
Removing Barriers to Trade
The Obama administration is deeply committed to opening the markets that matter most for U.S. industry. Through advocacy and trade diplomacy, we also work on behalf of individual U.S. companies to persuade governments to provide equal access and honor trade commitments.
One significant vehicle for removing barriers to trade is through the negotiation of free trade agreements. For example, the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement which came into force on March 15th will, according to the U.S. International Trade Commission, result in the reduction of Korean tariffs and tariff-rate quotas on goods such that $10 to $12 billion will be added to the annual U.S. GDP and result in approximately $10 billion in annual merchandise exports to Korea.
Enforcing Our Trade Laws
As we work to open new markets, we must ensure that our exporters have the opportunities they have been promised in existing trade agreements. Robust enforcement is both a short-term and long-term priority and an effective way for the Federal Government to help increase exports.
We are committed to redoubling our efforts to rigorously monitor and enforce existing free trade agreements to help ensure a level playing field for U.S. exporters. As part of this commitment, during his State of the Union Address this year, President Obama called for the creation of a new trade enforcement unit that will significantly enhance the Administration’s capabilities to aggressively challenge unfair trade practices around the world. On February 28th, President Obama issued an Executive Order announcing the establishment of the Interagency Trade Enforcement Center (ITEC). The Center will serve as the primary forum within the Federal Government to coordinate matters relating to the enforcement of U.S. trade rights under international agreements and enforcement of domestic trade laws.
The Important Role of In-House Counsel
Lawyers play a critical role in ensuring that our companies have both access to, and success in, international markets. Trade and investment in foreign markets is near historic highs. These transactions – whether in managing trade or investing in facilities or companies abroad – all depend on the availability of top-quality legal services. Indeed, today’s complex international trade and investment deals cannot be done without the services of sophisticated legal counsel.
As investment and economic integration increase – the clearest example being the North Atlantic economy and U.S.-EU economic integration – the policy agenda increasingly reflects the clash of differing regulatory systems in highly integrated economies. These disputes over standards, competition law, health and safety issues, and privacy and data protection issues, to name a few, are fast becoming the trade agenda of the future, displacing the first-order issues of market access. Indeed, these non-tariff barriers can adversely impact the competitiveness of U.S. exports. Both in-house and outside counsel must understand these issues and be facile with them to effectively advise their clients seeking to take advantage of and navigate international markets. To the clients in the audience, your legal counsel need to be at the table with you as you develop your international market strategies and be consulted often to ensure that the approaches you are taking are consistent not only with U.S. law, but with international law and the law of the country in which you are doing business. This is important to avoid unnecessary and expensive pitfalls and is a hallmark of being a good client!
In closing…Build it here. Sell it everywhere. Building it here is how the United States became the world’s greatest economic power in the 20th century. Building it here is what makes Detroit a leader in innovation. Linking building it here with selling it everywhere is the formula that will help to ensure that the United States of America remains a great economic power in the 21st century. The Obama administration stands ready to partner with you to make this happen. Thank you for the privilege of speaking to you this evening.
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