Remarks by Under Secretary Lago - December 6

Dubai, United Arab Emirates
December 6, 2023

As Prepared for Delivery

Good morning. What a special treat to be here at the U.S. Center today. Thank you for joining us—either in person or virtually. Thank you, Victoria, for your kind introduction. Another special  treat is be sharing the stage with my colleagues, Chair of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, Reta Jo Lewis, and Director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, Enoh Ebong.

My name is Marisa Lago, and I serve as the Under Secretary for International Trade at the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Let me tell you a little bit about the International Trade Administration, which I have the privilege of leading. ITA’s mission is to create prosperity by: 1) promoting trade and investment, 2) by strengthening the competitiveness of U.S. businesses and workers, and 3) by ensuring fair trade and compliance with U.S. trade laws and agreements. Our global team of 2,300 is on the ground in 100 U.S. locations and 80 international posts—including in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. These trade pros use trade policy and promotion tools to support U.S companies as they bring innovative technologies, services and expertise to markets around the world. And 85% of the companies that we serve are micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises.

The reason ITA at COP28, alongside other U.S. government economic agencies, is because we know that we cannot talk about economic prosperity without addressing one of the greatest challenges we face this century: climate change.

Since day one of the Biden-Harris Administration, we’ve taken unprecedented climate action in the United States. We’ve mobilized a whole-of-government effort in every sector of the economy 1) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, 2) to accelerate clean energy production and deployment, and 3) to enhance climate adaptation and resilience. At the Department of Commerce, we’re using every tool at our disposal to help address the climate crisis, 1) from leading clean tech focused trade missions, 2) to helping innovators to protect their intellectual property, 3) to conducting research that will help to strengthen our coastal climate resilience, 4) to establishing a first-of-its-kind Supply Chain Center with advanced analytical tools, 5) to facilitating foreign direct investment into the United States’ booming environmental technologies sector. But, we know full well that we cannot do it alone. U.S. industry is an indispensable partner. And that’s why I’m so pleased to be here at COP 1) to highlight U.S. industry innovation, 2) to advance public-private partnerships, and 3) to deepen commercial cooperation with international partners.

The United States is well positioned as a leader in climate solutions and innovations. We have one of the largest and fastest growing markets for renewable energy. We’re also home to the single largest market in the world for environmental goods and services. 
We house an industry with longstanding experience throughout the entire renewable energy value chain—1) from cutting edge research and development, 2) to advanced manufacturing of renewable energy equipment.

Our U.S. environmental products and services are recognized globally for their excellence in 1) innovation, 2) in engineering, 3) in durability and 4) in long-term operational cost competitiveness.  

And U.S. companies are eager to deploy their solutions to advance the climate goals of our trading partners.

Let me give you a concrete example. The President’s Export Council is an advisory body of 27 business, labor and academic leaders who are charged with providing advice to the President on promoting export expansion. Just last week, this august Council delivered to President Biden a comprehensive climate-related recommendation.

The Council highlighted opportunities to grow U.S. clean tech and climate exports. They specifically highlighted EVs and battery technologies; 2) emissions reduction and decarbonization; 3) carbon capture, utilization and storage; 4) energy transition; and 5) climate adaptation. The President’s Export Council believes that these technologies could unlock up to 30 gigatons of emissions reductions per year, accounting for approximately 60% of annual global emissions.

The potential for clean tech exports to rise substantially in the coming years is undeniable, particularly in markets seeking affordable, sustainable and reliable solutions to transition from fossil fuels to a clean energy economy, and particularly for nations that are seeking to meet their Paris Agreement commitments and strengthen their energy security.

So now on to today’s panel. Our ace moderator, Director Ebong, and the panelists will discuss how U.S. companies and the U.S. government are partnering to deploy clean energy solutions to meet 1) the energy access, 2) energy security and 3) climate goals in developing markets. They’ll also discuss U.S. government project development tools, including export finance, that are available to U.S. companies.

You’ll hear directly from representatives of four U.S. companies that are already providing innovative, high-quality clean energy solutions globally, and learn more about their solar, energy storage, civil nuclear and hydrogen solutions.

So, whether you’re a U.S. business seeking tools and resources to export, or a government or international company looking to partner with U.S. businesses to develop and implement clean energy projects, there’s something for you on today’s panel!

I now have the pleasure of introducing my friend, Director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency Enoh Ebong.

USTDA is a remarkable agency, one of the US government’s secret weapons. The agency is tiny, but mighty. USTDA’s superpower is being able to provide project preparation funds very early on in the life-cycle of an infrastructure project.

And, speaking of a superpower, that would be Enoh.  

Enoh began her public service career with USTDA, where she rose and rose and rose through the ranks as a career civil servant, ultimately becoming as Deputy Director and now, in the Biden-Harris Administration, the Director of USTDA.

Enoh has an equally distinguished career as a lawyer in the private sector, representing private companies in 1) offerings, 2) financing transactions, 3) mergers and acquisitions, and 4) corporate governance.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Enoh for over a decade. They don’t come smarter, more expert, more collegial, more creative and nicer than Enoh. Over to you, my friend.