Opening Remarks by U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur L. Ross at the 2019 SelectUSA Investment Summit

Thank you, Karen, for that kind introduction, and a good morning to all of you. Welcome to the Sixth Annual SelectUSA Investment Summit.

Thank you, everyone, for making the trip to Washington, D.C., to learn about the great investment opportunities throughout the United States.

We appreciate the time you are taking from your busy schedules to investigate opportunities to grow your enterprises here in the most innovative country in the world.

The response to this year’s Summit was so strong that we had to add overflow rooms due to capacity limitations. Even with that, we had to turn down some late responders.

Thank you to the state economic development delegations who are here and to the country delegations in attendance.

We very much appreciate the support of all our embassies in recruiting attendees, and the 120 members of the U.S. diplomatic corps who have traveled with your country delegations to Washington for this event.

And a special thank you to the nearly 1,400 foreign delegates from 78 markets, who are here today. We hope that you have a productive next two days.

We are also thrilled that four Cabinet Secretaries, and Larry Kudlow, Director of the White House National Economic Council, will be addressing the conference; as will Ivanka Trump, who will be with us tomorrow.

It’s a clear demonstration of the commitment of the entire U.S. government to embracing and encouraging your investments in the United States.

We also have eight Governors attending:

The Governor of Indiana, Eric Holcomb;
Governor Matt Bevin, from Kentucky;
Governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan;
Mississippi Governor, Phil Bryant;
The Governor of Oklahoma, Kevin Stitt;
Mike DeWine, the Governor of Ohio;
Puerto Rico Governor, Ricardo Rossello;
and the Governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer.

All of them are interested in hosting you in their states.

This is my third Investment Summit. I look forward to it every year. It is an exciting three days.
Please use this event as a springboard to visit the states to learn just how committed they are to working with you to develop new business opportunities.

Nowhere else but in the United States will you find such an advantageous mixture of innovation, entrepreneurship, diversity, a dedication to hard work, and an incredibly high quality of life.

Our unique, dynamic population of 328 million provides companies with direct links to every global market.

Opening operations in the United States provides your company with access to the wealthiest and most discerning consumers in the world. Being close to American customers drives the digitization of your operations and your products, making them more appealing everywhere in the world you sell them.

The SelectUSA Investment Summit is the largest annual economic development conference in the United States. The companies and economic development officials in attendance make connections and help create the successes that come from the event.

Past attendees have announced almost $104 billion in new investment projects within five years of attending the Investment Summit.

Those projects support more than 167,000 American jobs.

That tells me a few things:

First, that the executives who attend this event are ready to grow and renew their companies.
Second, that companies know that investing in the United States will help assure their long-term competitive viability, not only in the United States, but also in their home countries.

Foreign firms who have invested in the United States know that if they are successful here, they will be successful anywhere else in the world.

And, third, the Summit provides our economic development leaders from the states and territories with a unique opportunity to work with your company and, perchance, to close a deal.

Year after year, this Summit brings the right people together in one place to meet and develop life-changing partnerships, and life-long friendships.

It is important for you to know that America is, and always will be, open for business.

We are a society that welcomes new companies from abroad, in ways that most foreigners find surprising, and refreshing.

We are a society that embraces free-market capitalism as an economic model that fosters optimism, and opportunity for all. More than 7 million Americans are gainfully working for foreign-owned firms in the United States.

Any company that has opened a facility in the United States knows just how hard Americans work.
They are dedicated to learning and using the latest technologies to grow existing businesses, and to help start new ones.

The United States welcomes foreign companies of all sizes, and in a wide range of industries.
French sporting goods retailer “Decathlon” attended last year’s Investment Summit and recently opened its first outlet in Emeryville, California.

The company said the SelectUSA Investment Summit provided it with the legal, regulatory, and economic understanding it needed to succeed.

While at the Summit, the French company also connected with officials from the California economic development community. These officials continue to support the company and its indigenous growth.

In just a year, Decathalon added 97 workers in California, and has access to the incredibly powerful consumer base on the West Coast.

On the larger side of the size spectrum, South Korean energy storage company SK Innovation attended SelectUSA Investment Summits in 2013 and 2018.

Just three months ago, I had the honor of attending the groundbreaking of SK’s $1.7 billion electric-battery facility in Commerce, Georgia.

I was joined by SK Innovation CEO and President Jun Kim; Executive Vice Chairman, Jae-won Chey; Georgia Governor Brian Kemp; and leaders from across Georgia to celebrate the company’s investment in Georgia.

Taiwan’s Lung-Soon Ocean Group is creating 50 jobs in Astoria, Oregon, in a $10 million pet food processing plant that will open next year.

Canada’s New Flyer opened a new $30 million, 300,000-square-foot bus manufacturing facility in Shepherdsville, Kentucky, and will hire 350 workers.

The company from Pakistan, Midwest Fertilizer, is opening a $2.4 billion fertilizer plant in Indianapolis next year.

Finally, South Korea-based LOTTE Chemical USA entered a joint venture with Texas-based Westlake Chemical Corporation for a $3.1 billion ethane cracker complex in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

The facility will employ 250 people directly, and support 2,000 indirect jobs in the area.
The United States welcomes all of these companies with open arms, just as it has welcomed thousands of other foreign-owned companies that have committed more than $4 trillion in FDI in the United States.

The United States is the world’s biggest destination for FDI.

And there are good reasons why.

We have reduced the corporate tax rate; provided 100 percent of capex; and created Opportunity Zones — all to substantially improve the competitiveness of U.S.-based producers.

We are eliminating senseless regulations that hinder your investment in new plants and equipment.

We are defending American producers from foreign nations that dump government-subsidized products into the U.S. and global markets, or that have refused to play by the global rules of trade.
We will protect your most strategic asset: your intellectual property. We will staunchly defend your business from nations that are selling fakes and counterfeits.

And we are training a new generation of skilled workers.

Ivanka Trump will describe our new worker and training programs later in the summit.

These pro-business and workforce policies are paying off.

America continues to astound the world with its economic growth rates.

At 3.6 percent, our unemployment rate is lower than it has been in decades, and incomes are finally on the rise.

The United States remains a land of opportunity.

For the seventh straight year, global CEOs ranked the U.S. at the top of A.T. Kearney’s FDI Confidence Index.

This is due in large part to our openness to new ideas, and to investment from companies like yours.

Taking advantage of everything available to you at this Investment Summit will positively change both the course of your business, and your own personal life trajectory.

The networking and match-making sessions will give you the chance to reach new partners, and to meet people who are here for only one reason: To help you succeed.

Our plenary discussions and breakouts provide you with the viewpoints of government officials and the world’s top business leaders who have successfully navigated the path to growth in the United States.

I wish you all the best of success this week in making contacts and working together.Please, take time to visit all of the booths in the exhibition hall. Each has something unique to offer.

The representatives here from the states and territories are looking forward to working with you.
Thank you and welcome again to this exciting event.

Ivanka Trump and Larry Kudlow to Provide Keynote Remarks at 2019 SelectUSA Investment Summit

WASHINGTON – Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump and National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow will deliver keynote remarks at the SelectUSA Investment Summit on June 11-12, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced today. The Investment Summit, hosted by Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, is the premier Federal event showcasing business investment opportunities available throughout the United States to global leaders.

Kudlow will deliver lunch remarks on June 11. Trump will speak on a workforce development panel on June 12.

“This Administration’s policies are further solidifying the United States as the premier location to do business,” Kudlow said. “The SelectUSA Investment Summit is an excellent platform to tell a global audience that investing in the United States is a critical step to doing business in the modern global economy, and I am excited to be a part of it.”

“While President’s pro-growth policies have attracted the attention of business leaders and entrepreneurs around the world, it’s our incomparable workforce that often seals the deal for new investment projects. I’m proud to join Secretary Ross at this year’s SelectUSA Investment Summit to discuss the unparalleled opportunity to invest in our roaring economy and how we are working to ensure our workforce is equipped with the skills and talents for the jobs of today and tomorrow,” Trump said.

“The SelectUSA Investment Summit is where global business potential meets business opportunity here in the United States,” Secretary Ross said. “We are proud that these White House leaders will be joining this year’s SelectUSA Investment Summit and sharing the message that this is the best place in the world to do business.”

Secretary Ross and Ivanka Trump are co-chairs of the National Council for the American Worker and the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board which seeks to bring more Americans off the sidelines and into the workforce by improving jobs data transparency, skills-based hiring and training, advancing opportunities for lifelong learning, and promoting multiple pathways to family-sustaining careers.

Ross and Trump will also join Investment Summit business attendees as they sign the Pledge to America’s Workers. The Pledge is a commitment to expand programs that educate, train, and reskill American workers from high school to near retirement. Since President Trump signed the Executive Order, more than 200 companies and organizations have signed the Pledge, contributing to over 8.9 million new education and training opportunities for American students and workers over the next five years.

The annual Investment Summit will be held June 10-12 at the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C. Participants from the previous five Summits have announced more than $103.6 billion in greenfield investment projects in the United States within five years of attending. These projects directly support more than 167,000 U.S. jobs.

Registration is open and already includes more than 2,800 attendees from over 70 international markets and 49 U.S. states and territories. Featured speakers include Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, governors from eight states, and senior executives from companies including Hitachi, Siemens, and Softbank.

The United States is home to more foreign direct investment (FDI) than any other country in the world, with a total stock of more than $4 trillion of investment according to the latest data. FDI supports nearly 14 million American jobs, and is responsible for $370 billion in U.S. goods exports.

Remarks by Secretary Wilbur L. Ross at the 2019 AAPI Summit

Introduced by Henry Childs, National Director of the Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency

Thank you, Henry, for that kind introduction, and for your hard work and dedication to the economic development of America’s minority communities.

Welcome, everyone, to the 2019 National AAPI Business Summit. It is great to see such a large turnout.

Yesterday, I had the privilege of joining President Trump in the Oval Office for the signing ceremony of the Executive Order on the Economic Empowerment of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. I was especially gratified by the ceremony because in my former private-equity firm, we had Chinese Americans, Korean Americans, Japanese Americans, and Indian Americans in executive positions.

And my first Chief of Staff at Commerce was a Japanese American woman, the first ever for a Cabinet Secretary. So, I personally understand the outstanding qualities of your community.

The Executive Order signed by the President establishes the President’s Advisory Council on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, as well as the White House Initiative on A-A-P-I. The Advisory Council will be established here at the Commerce Department, and I look forward to being a co-chair with Elaine Chao, our esteemed Secretary of Transportation.

Our joint intention is to do exactly as the President’s Executive Order states — that is, to develop, monitor, and coordinate all of the government’s efforts to empower the growth of this dynamic segment of our population and business community.

We will develop strategies to increase participation of AAPI enterprises in partnerships between the public and private sectors. We will train a new generation of skilled workers who are in demand throughout every industry sector. And we will conduct an analysis of the United States Pacific Island territories to help them diversify and grow their economies.

Stay tuned: We will soon be issuing a notice seeking private-sector members of this Commission.

Holly Ham, the Executive Director of the White House AAPI Initiative, will be closing our Summit today, and we are honored to have her here.

Today, there are 23.8 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who call the United States their home. The number of AAPI residents will soon eclipse 25 million, and will grow to more than 40 million over the next three decades. Asia accounts for six of the 10 largest countries for American immigrants. Of the 22.2 million Americans of direct Asian descent, 12.6 million — or more than half — were born in their home countries. And, according to the Commerce Department’s Census Bureau — which loves to count everything — Asian Americans drive 6,487,806 vehicles.

Among the Asian Americans in the workforce, 53.5 percent are employed in occupations involving management, business, science and the arts. But only 62.5 percent of Asian Americans of working age are in the workforce; though that number is much higher for Pacific Islanders, whose workforce participation rate is 68.5 percent.

Increasing the workforce participation rate is a challenge we face across our entire economy, and we will be addressing it with the new Commission, as well as with the National Council for the American Worker, which I co-chair with Ivanka Trump.

Of the 1.1 million minority-owned firms with paid employees, more than half, or 560,000 are owned by Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. This entrepreneurial drive is essential for the continued dynamism and success of American capitalism.

The Commerce Department is helping AAPI-owned companies succeed here in the United States and in every major market abroad. We have Manufacturing Extension Partnership centers assisting manufacturers in every state. We have U.S. Export Assistance Centers located in 106 American cities, staffed by export specialists helping companies penetrate new markets.

The Commerce Department also runs the Foreign Commercial Service, with offices in 119 foreign cities, and 78 countries. In China alone, we have outposts in six major cities, along with one in Hong Kong, employing 120 professionals working with American companies to break down barriers to our products.

These diplomats have one primary task: To increase commercial opportunities in foreign markets for American companies. These markets are home to billions of consumers ready and willing to buy the great products made by AAPI-owned firms.

Please, utilize these resources: mostly they are free, so it’s a pretty good bargain.

But the United States is committed to free, fair, and reciprocal trade and is working to open markets across the globe to your products and services.

The most recent “Foreign Trade Barriers” report, from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, lists an astounding 517 pages of trade barriers erected by various countries against American exporters.

However, the Trump Administration has finally, and firmly, told our trading partners that we will no longer allow them brazenly to break the global rules of trade, discourage U.S. imports, and flood our open markets with government-subsidized products. Our trade policy toward China, for example, is not about a clash of civilizations.

It is a matter of fair versus unfair.

It is about addressing mercantilism, and fulfilling the promise President Trump made in his campaign to put America First.

Our trade dispute with China is also about making sure that our companies’ most precious assets — namely, your intellectual property — is not stolen through cyber attacks, forced technology transfers, or state-sponsored industrial espionage.

We do not want to see one American company have to fight the scourge of reverse-engineered, mass-produced counterfeits that are replicas of the real products. We want to ensure that you have affective rights to pursue administrative, civil, and criminal enforcement remedies to protect your IP in foreign markets.

Virtually every important U.S. industry is being targeted: From software, to pharmaceuticals, telecom, electronics, robotics, advanced materials, electric vehicles, processed foods, and every category of consumer goods. Worse yet, fakes and counterfeits are now exploding onto e-commerce marketplaces, making it even harder to enforce our laws and eliminate bad actors. For decades, the U.S. government allowed these illegal foreign trade practices to flourish.

Now, we are confronting them and insisting that they be addressed. And while a period of confrontation is always uncomfortable, in the end, everyone is better off.

China announced yesterday that they were imposing retaliatory duties on the remainder of our exports to them. They had already assessed retaliatory duties on something like 90 percent of their American imports.

But, in view of the fact that we have raised tariffs on more than $500 billion in imports from China, this was a relatively restrained response.

Because we export so little to China compared to what we import from them, the impact of the Chinese tariffs is a very small fraction of 1 percent of our total $18 trillion economy. Rest assured, that our current trade issues with China or other countries in the region will not spill over into attitudes regarding the AAPI community.

While we are addressing these trade practices with China, we are also currently engaged with Japan in developing a trade agreement. And we have concluded successful renegotiations of the Korea Free Trade Agreement and transformed NAFTA into the United States Mexico Canada Agreement.

Our administration has also broadened our strategic engagement with Asia to include the entire Indo-Pacific region.

Last week, I was in New Delhi meeting with Indian Prime Minister Modi, along with his Finance and Commerce Ministers, and with more than 100 U.S. companies wanting to gain a foothold in the massive Indian market place.

We are committed to opening these markets, to breaking down barriers, and insisting on fairness in our trading relations.

And we believe our efforts will pay off.

Through changes in our tax code, and our approach to smarter regulations — along with a dedication to training the next generation of skilled workers — we have put in place the conditions needed to make the United States the best place in the world to produce goods and services.

We have experienced extremely positive economic results from these efforts, and we are proud of what we have accomplished so far.

We hope that you can take advantage of the opportunities in our growing economy, and that you will utilize the services offered by the Commerce Department to expand into foreign markets.

Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to be here with us, and we at the Commerce Department look forward to serving your needs in any way possible.

National Small Business Week, 2019

During National Small Business Week, we honor America’s entrepreneurs who take a risk on an idea, invest in their neighborhoods, and create jobs for others.  Small business owners exemplify the American spirit by developing new ways to provide goods and services to consumers.  As a Nation, we reaffirm our commitment to the free market so that American small businesses continue to thrive.

America’s 30 million small businesses are central to our economy and our communities.  Their courageous innovation makes our cities and towns vibrant places to live, work, and raise families.  Small businesses employ almost 59 million workers, more than one-third of our country’s labor force.  These companies foster environments that reward problem solving and accountability, enabling workers to develop skills and valuable hands-on experience that propel their careers.

The success of our small businesses depends on leadership and vision from all perspectives and backgrounds.  Approximately 10 million American small businesses are women-owned; 29 percent are minority-owned; and nearly 10 percent are veteran-owned.  As our Nation continues to enjoy record low unemployment, with African-American, Hispanic-American, and Asian-American unemployment all having achieved historic lows, we recognize that much of this success is due to small businesses creating two out of every three net new jobs in our booming economy.

My Administration is a strong ally and advocate of small businesses and their ability to help America reach its full economic potential.  Most small businesses are now able to deduct 20 percent from their taxable business income due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.  This historic legislation and other pro growth policies of my Administration, including the elimination of unnecessary and burdensome regulations, have enabled small business owners to reinvest their profits into their businesses.  Additionally, we are investing in infrastructure and cybersecurity to ensure America’s entrepreneurs have the tools and technologies they need to compete in a global economy.

New initiatives are making it easier for small businesses to offer healthcare coverage options that until now have been largely unaffordable.  Moreover, once approved by the Congress, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) will better serve the interests of American workers and businesses, including through strong intellectual property protections that secure innovation and trade secrets.

The USMCA is the first trade agreement in our Nation’s history to include a chapter specifically focusing on small and medium sized enterprises.  All of these efforts to create a more friendly business environment have enabled business owners to pay bonuses, increase wages, and increase benefits — putting more money in the pockets of their workers.

This week, we celebrate the pioneering spirit, creativity, and determination upon which America has always been built.  This undaunted conviction drives our entrepreneurs and small business owners, whose hard work and perseverance give our Nation economic strength.  Their initiative, combined with the greatest workforce in the world, is enabling us to convert the unlimited potential of America into great wealth and prosperity.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim May 5 through May 11, 2019, as National Small Business Week.  I call upon all Americans to recognize the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners as they grow our Nation’s economy.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this third day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand nineteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-third.

DONALD J. TRUMP

Job creation smashes expectations, unemployment rate falls to 49-year low

The United States economy continued to thrive in April, with the unemployment rate dropping to 3.6 percent—the lowest unemployment rate since December 1969, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) household survey. April also marks the 14th consecutive month of the unemployment rate being at or below 4 percent.

The rapidly growing economy continues to benefit a wide range of demographic groups. The unemployment rate for adult women (20+) reached 3.1 percent in April, its lowest rate since 1953. The unemployment rate for Hispanics fell to 4.2 percent—the lowest rate since the series began in 1973. The unemployment rate for individuals with only a high school degree fell to 3.5 percent—matching the lowest rate since 2000. The unemployment rate for those with a disability fell to 6.3 percent in April—the lowest rate since the series began in 2008. Additionally, the unemployment rate for veterans fell to 2.3 percent—the lowest rate since the series began in 2000.

The U-6 unemployment rate, a broader measure of unemployment that includes those who are unemployed, marginally attached to the labor force, and working part-time for economic reasons, remained at 7.3 percent in April, matching the lowest U-6 rate since December 2000.

A separate survey from BLS, the Employment Situation Report, showed total nonfarm payroll employment in April rose by 263,000 jobs, far surpassing market expectations (190,000). In total, the economy has added over 5.8 million jobs since President Donald J. Trump was elected. The month of April continued the longest streak of growth on record.

Employment gains have exceeded 100,000 jobs in 27 of the 29 months since the 2016 election. Including revisions for the months of February and March, the average pace of job growth has been a healthy 218,000 jobs per month over the past year and 205,000 jobs per month so far in 2019. Job gains were predominantly concentrated in professional and business services (76,000 new jobs), education and health services (62,000 new jobs), and leisure and hospitality (34,000 new jobs). The construction sector added 33,000 new jobs in April, and has added 669,000 jobs since the 2016 election.

On top of the good news about job growth, the report indicates that wages are rising, too. Nominal average hourly earnings in April rose by 3.2 percent over the past 12 months, marking the 9th straight month that year-over-year wage gains were at or above 3 percent. Prior to 2018, nominal average hourly wage gains had not reached 3 percent since April 2009. Taking inflation into account, there is more evidence that real wages are also growing. Based on the most recent Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) price index data from March, inflation in the past year was 1.5 percent, and, based on the most recent Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) price data from March, inflation in the past year was 1.9 percent. This offers evidence that real wages are rising, and people are able to purchase more goods and services with their larger paychecks.

These most recent BLS surveys depict a strong American economy. Employment growth in April surpassed expectations with 263,000 new jobs, while the unemployment rate of 3.6 percent is the lowest rate in nearly half a century. With continued positive job growth, sustained low unemployment, and rising real wages, the economy continues to thrive.

U.S. Economy Grows 3.2 Percent in First Quarter

WASHINGTON – Today the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released the first quarter 2019 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) numbers. The Bureau found that the real gross domestic product increased at an annual rate of 3.2 percent in the first quarter of 2019.

“This blockbuster GDP report shows that President Donald J. Trump’s policies are unleashing the vitality of the American economy, fulfilling the President’s promise for 3 percent economic growth and benefiting American workers in the form of better jobs and higher wages,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “The Trump economy has repeatedly defied the skeptics who predicted an economic downturn and has restored America’s position in the world as a consistent source of economic growth.”

The U.S. economy has gotten off to a strong start so far in 2019. In January and February of 2019, the two months for which data is available, the U.S. trade deficit dropped well below expectations. This trend continued as exports alone drove nearly half a percentage point of overall GDP growth in the first quarter.

After starting off the year by adding over 300,000 jobs in January, the economy ended the first quarter at a 3.8 percent unemployment rate. In February, annual wage growth for hourly workers increased by 3.4 percent, the fastest rate since early 2009.

As they have since the start of his term in office, President Trump’s actions have yielded real results for American businesses, workers, and families, increasing incomes while cutting taxes and regulations.

Remarks by Wilbur L. Ross at the U.S.-Mexico CEO Dialogue Leadership Dinner

April 11, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross addresses the U.S.-Mexico CEO Dialogue Leadership Dinner in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico

Wilbur Ross said: “The bonds between our two countries are deep. We share democratic values and cultural ties. Millions of Americans trace their heritage to Mexico.”

“Mexico is our second largest export market and is our third largest trading partner. Our integrated economies generated over $678 billion in two-way trade in goods and services last year. We also share significant cross-border investment.” Wilbur said. ” In 2017, U.S. foreign direct investment in Mexico totaled more than $109 billion.Mexico’s investment in the United States now tops $35 billion.”

” Our economic relationship supports growth, opportunity, and good jobs for millions of citizens in both our countries. The United States has developed an excellent working relationship with President López-Obrador. And we again thank the administration for its support on the many issues of mutual concern.”