U.S. Funding for the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs

Today, Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump announced a new partnership in support of the White House-led Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative (W-GDP). The partnership between the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and the U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) will expand the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE).

AWE was created in 2019 and launched in 26 countries around the world to support W-GDP, which aims to economically empower 50 million women in the developing world by 2025.

“W-GDP is the first ever whole-of-government approach to women’s economic empowerment, developed intentionally to inspire collaboration on best programs and partnerships,” said Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump. “I am proud to see the State Department and U.S. Africa Development Foundation partner together to expand the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) in support of W-GDP. W-GDP is focused on scaling programs that will have maximum impact for women and communities around the world.”

In 2020, to help achieve W-GDP’s goals, ECA is expanding AWE globally, doubling the number of countries to reach more women, and partnering with USADF in Africa on this important effort.

This new U.S. government interagency partnership will provide select AWE graduates in Africa with seed funding to start and scale their enterprises. Beginning this year, through 2025, USADF will provide up to $10 million in grants to the most promising African AWE graduates. In 2020, funding will be awarded to AWE graduates from the following countries: Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

USADF believes Africa’s growth and prosperity will be driven by women. In 2019, women social entrepreneurs and women-led enterprises constituted approximately 66% of USADF’s total investees. USADF is partnering with the State Department on AWE to promote African women’s entrepreneurship and increase their access to capital, markets, technical assistance, and mentorship.

AWE supports Pillar 2 of W-GDP by providing women with the knowledge, skills, and networks needed to create sustainable businesses and enterprises. Through an inclusive learning community and mentoring opportunities, women from around the world will explore the fundamentals of business, including creating business plans and raising capital, with the goal of building a better future for their families and communities across Africa and around the world.

U.S. Economy Adds Another 224,000 New Jobs in June As Wage Increases Remain Strong

The White House issued a press release said, The United States economy continues to flourish, according to the June Employment Situation Report released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Total nonfarm payroll employment in June rose by 224,000 jobs, far exceeding market expectations (162,000). With July marking the longest economic expansion on record, it is a testament to the strength of the Administration’s economic policies that the economy continues to generate monthly job gains of this magnitude.

Including revisions for the months of April and May, the average pace of job growth has been a vigorous 192,000 jobs per month over the past year. In total, the economy has added more than 6 million jobs since President Donald J. Trump was elected. The June jobs report also reflects a rebound in job growth, suggesting that May’s revised outcome (+72K) was not a trend (see figure).

The education and health services industry, which added 61,000 jobs, experienced the largest job growth in June. Manufacturing jobs increased as well, gaining 17,000 jobs last month. Since the President’s election, the manufacturing industry has added more than 500,000 jobs.

The June report indicates that robust jobs growth is coupled with consistently strong wage growth. Nominal average hourly earnings rose by 3.1 percent over the past 12 months, marking the 11th straight month that 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.

There is evidence that real wages are also growing when taking inflation into account. Based on the most recent Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) price index data from May, inflation in the past year was 1.5 percent, and based on the most recent Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) price data from May, inflation in the past year was 1.8 percent. (June inflation data is not yet available for either series.)

A separate household survey released by BLS shows that the unemployment rate ticked up to 3.7 percent in June—a change that is not significant—making June the 16th consecutive month at or below 4 percent. The Asian-American unemployment rate dropped to 2.1 percent, its lowest rate since at least 2003 when the current series began. The African-American unemployment rate ticked down by 0.2 percentage point to 6.0 percent, just above the May 2018 series low of 5.9 percent. (Consistent measurement began in 1972.)

There was also good news on the labor force participation rate—which includes people who are working and those looking for work—edged up by 0.1 percentage point to 62.9 percent and is 0.2 percentage point above the rate when the President was elected in November 2016. The labor force participation rate for prime-age adults (ages 25-54) which largely avoids the demographic effects of the aging population increased by 0.1 percentage point to at 82.2 percent—0.8 percentage points above its rate in November 2016 when the President was elected.

A prosperous economy stimulated by pro-worker policies is pulling workers off the sidelines. Despite the continued low unemployment rates over the past year, some workers may still be on the sidelines, a situation economists refer to as “labor slack.” Because labor market slack still exists, employment can continue to rise and the economy can continue to grow as workers reenter the labor force. In the second quarter of 2019, 73.7 percent of workers entering employment came from out of the labor force rather than from unemployment.

The June employment data portray an American economy that is humming along briskly, with a continued low unemployment rate, historic trends in job growth, and rising wages.

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

White House: Statement of the United States Regarding China Talks

At President Donald J. Trump’s direction, officials from the United States traveled to Beijing for negotiations on the trade relationship between the United States and China. The United States delegation was led by United States Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer and Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin. Vice Premier Liu He led the talks for the Chinese side.

The two parties continued to make progress during candid and constructive discussions on the negotiations and important next steps.

The United States looks forward to the meetings planned with Vice Premier Liu He and the Chinese delegation in Washington next week.

The United States Signs a Stronger Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada

REBALANCING OUR TRADE RELATIONSHIP: President Donald J. Trump kept his promise to deliver a modern and rebalanced trade deal to replace NAFTA.

  • Today in Argentina, the United States is joining Canada and Mexico to sign a new trade agreement that will better serve the interests of American workers and businesses.
    • This follows the President’s announcement in October that a deal had been reached.
  • The new United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA) will replace the outdated, failed North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
  • With the signing of this agreement, President Trump has delivered on his promise to renegotiate NAFTA and protect American farmers, ranchers, businesses, and workers.

SECURING A STRONGER DEAL FOR AMERICAN INDUSTRIES AND WORKERS: USMCA is a stronger deal for American farmers, ranchers, businesses, and workers.

  • USMCA will help incentivize billions of dollars in additional vehicle and auto parts production in the United States.
  • The agreement includes updated rules of origin that require 75 percent of auto content to be produced in North America.
  • American autoworkers will benefit from rules that incentivize the use of high-wage manufacturing labor in the auto sector.
    • This includes a requirement that 40-45% of a vehicle consist of content manufactured by North American workers making at least $16 per hour.
  • USMCA’s labor and environment chapters are fully enforceable and represent the strongest labor and environmental provisions of any trade agreement ever negotiated.
    • Mexico agreed to historic labor reforms to provide for genuine collective bargaining.
    • The agreement prohibits the importation of goods produced by forced labor.
  • The agreement includes provisions that allow agriculture products to be traded more fairly.
    • Canada will end its “Class 6” and “Class 7” programs that allow low-priced dairy products to undersell American dairy producers.
    • Canada will increase market access for United States dairy products, eggs, and poultry.

REFORMING TRADE FOR THE 21st CENTURY: USMCA modernizes our trade relationship with Canada and Mexico to reflect the realities of the 21st century. 

  • The new agreement includes a modernized chapter that provides stronger and more comprehensive intellectual property protections than any prior United States trade agreement.
    • These protections are vital to promoting innovation and economic growth.
    • USMCA includes robust copyright protection, 10 years of data protection for biologic drugs, and new protections against the theft of trade secrets.
  • USMCA includes the strongest digital trade and financial services provisions of any United States trade agreement.
    • New rules ensure that data can be transferred cross-border and that limits on where data can be stored are minimized.
  • USMCA will cut red tape at the border, streamline trade, and reduce regulatory uncertainty.
  • The agreement includes a currency chapter that will help reinforce transparency and stability.

Let’s invest in U.S. future – Transportation Secretary Chao

President Donald Trump has announced a bold, innovative plan for improving and investing in America’s infrastructure. The proposal is the culmination of a year-long effort between Cabinet agencies, including the Department of Transportation, with significant input from state, local, and private sector leaders. It is designed to change how infrastructure is built, financed and maintained in communities across the country.

A national discussion on how we build and fund our roads, bridges, tunnels, seaports, airports, rural infrastructure and transit systems is long overdue. As U.S. Secretary of Transportation, I’ve had countless conversations with governors and local officials across the country — including Florida Gov. Rick Scott — about strengthening America’s critical infrastructure. Florida is doing it the right way.

One project in particular is the I-4 Ultimate Project. I-4 Ultimate will help transform Central Florida by rebuilding 21 miles of interstate. From its inception in 1965, I-4 has been a vital east-west connector that cuts through Central Florida, serving as the main transportation corridor from Daytona Beach to Tampa.

I-4 Ultimate includes the addition of two new dynamic tolled Express Lanes in each direction, replacing more than 140 bridges, reconfiguring 15 major interchanges, and reconstructing the entire existing roadway. By utilizing a public-private partnership procurement method, the Florida Department of Transportation will deliver the project in seven years where standard funding options projected it would take 27 years to complete. When finished, the project is expected to decrease travel times by increasing options for commuters and visitors in central Florida.

The $2.3 billion construction project is benefiting from more than $1 billion in private financing from the concessionaire, I-4 Mobility Partners, including private bank loans, Federal TIFIA loans, and private investment. As such, the project also needs a workforce, including engineers, designers, skilled workers, as well as all that goes into supplying product and equipment along the way. This means jobs for Central Florida.

Unfortunately, Florida is the exception, not the norm. One out of every five miles of U.S. highway pavement is in poor condition. Americans spent an estimated 6.9 billion hours delayed in traffic in 2014, or 42 hours per driver. Almost 40 percent of America’s bridges are more than 50 years old.

Fortunately, the president is a builder and he is making infrastructure a priority.

President Trump’s proposal will stimulate at least $1.5 trillion in infrastructure investment, which includes a minimum of $200 billion in direct federal funding. It will include not only roads and bridges, but drinking and wastewater, energy, broadband, and veterans hospitals as well.

The guiding principles are to: 1) provide federal dollars as matching funds to incentivize infrastructure investment; 2) provide for the needs of rural communities; 3) streamline and speed up project delivery; and, 4) provide for workforce training.

The key element of the proposal is to empower decision making by State and local officials, who know best the infrastructure needs of their communities, including those in rural America. The Federal government needs to stop dictating and start listening to State and local leaders, including those who encourage private sector investment in infrastructure.

Permitting reform will eliminate duplication and enhance environmental protections by delivering infrastructure improvements in a timelier fashion. The Department of Transportation is already developing a new process to handle the reviewing of complicated, multi-agency projects to reduce permitting from ten years to two.

And as a former U.S. Secretary of Labor, I could not be more pleased that this plan also has a work-force component, to help workers access the education and skills needed to build these new projects and better prepare them to remain an active part of the American work force.

Infrastructure is the foundation of our economy, and the key to job growth and keeping our country competitive. The citizens of Florida know this. Americans know this.

President Trump’s proposal will create new jobs, strengthen our economy, and improve quality of life. It will help ensure that our country has the infrastructure needed for today and the plans for tomorrow to remain a global leader. The Administration looks forward to working with both parties in Congress to get it done.

By Secretary Elaine Chao
Orlando Sentinel
February 15, 2018

Elaine L. Chao is the secretary of the Department of Transportation

Tax Cuts Act a Win for American Business and the American Worker

Photo of White House event celebrating passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Earlier this week, Congress passed the first overhaul of the U.S. tax system in more than three decades. The historic Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will cut taxes across the board for working families and businesses both large and small. The Act also will make American more competitive, will bolster continued job creation and will help increase wages for American workers.

“President Trump’s tax plan will make our tax code more simple and fair, and help American business stay competitive. Accomplishing these objectives will lead to increased economic growth, and, most importantly, better jobs for the American worker.” – Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.

Highlights of the Tax Cuts Act for include:

Bigger paychecks for American workers. The Tax Cuts Act provides $5.5 trillion in tax cuts by nearly doubling the standard deduction, doubling the child tax credit, protecting tax savings for higher education and retirement, and lowering rates across the board. It also repeals ObamaCare’s individual mandate tax, 80 percent of which hit households earning less than $50,000 a year in 2016.

Putting American businesses on a level playing field with foreign competitors. America’s corporate tax rate will go from being the highest in the developed world to below the average for Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. A one-time tax on corporate earnings stashed overseas will end the incentive for companies to keep their profits outside of the United States.

Eliminating dozens of special interest tax breaks and loopholes. The Tax Cuts Act will raise $4 trillion in revenue to help offset tax cuts by closing the door on dozens of corporate accounting tricks. The bill eliminates a loophole used to deduct compensation for executives earning more than $1 million a year.