Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Director General Suresh Kumar
U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service
Remarks at Cleantech Focus Boston
Thursday, June 10, 2010
As prepared for delivery
Thank you, Sheeraz, for that very kind introduction. I want to commend you and the Cleantech Group for your leadership in this sector, one which is so critical to America’s economic future.
It is an honor to be joined by so many entrepreneurs, investors and business leaders to share a few thoughts on the Obama Administration’s commitment to clean technology and the opportunities for this sector in China and India.
In his State of the Union address this year, President Obama emphasized that “The Nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy.” By mid-century, global energy use is going to double. To meet that demand, we would have to turn on two new 1,000-megawatt power plants every week for the next 30 years. However, if we continue to rely on old energy sources, the world risks catastrophic climate change, so we need to look to new energy resources.
The U.S. economy already gets 11% of its energy – or 19 gigawatts – from clean energy sources. However, we must do better by raising fuel economy standards, creating clean energy incentives, and ensuring clean technology is profitable. As such, the Obama Administration is strongly urging Congress to pass comprehensive energy legislation, which will not only protect our environment, but will send a signal to the business community that it’s profitable to make long-term investments in clean technology.
Additionally, this Administration is pushing forward to create the framework for a clean energy economy. We continue to commit hundreds of billions of dollars in clean energy investments that will double the U.S. capacity to generate renewable energy.
In fact, the Recovery Act alone included more than $80 billion in funding to make U.S. homes and businesses more energy efficient, transform the transportation sector and enable more fuel efficient vehicles, upgrade our smart grid and renewable energy capacity, initiate a major effort to green U.S. government buildings, and stimulate a national green jobs training program.
This strong government support has already helped to make the U.S. the most attractive market for renewable energy projects, according to a major study by Ernst & Young. Specifically, the study found that the U.S. is the most attractive market for onshore wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal projects. America’s historic openness to foreign investment creates many opportunities for foreign investors in the U.S. renewable energy sector. And while Western European companies have traditionally dominated the FDI flows into the U.S. renewable energy sector, in 2008 and 2009, we witnessed a significant increase in U.S.-bound investment from the Asia-Pacific region.
President Obama has already done more to invest in clean energy than any president in U.S. history. However, if the U.S. is to remain competitive in the clean technology sector, in a time when China has become the world’s largest manufacturer of wind turbines and solar panels and India is generating enormous demands for clean energy, we must strengthen the global presence and reach of U.S. companies.
I understand the business potential in India and China from personal experience. I was born and raised in India, the son of a military officer and a musician, and paid my way through universities in Delhi and Bombay. I began my thirty year career in international business in India, and from India, my family moved to Indonesia and Singapore, where I ran the businesses of major global companies. I have also established and run businesses in China and Japan across consumer, healthcare, and retail sectors. I have seen firsthand the immense possibility, potential, and prosperity that come from doing business in India and China.
The changing global economy and the unacceptably high levels of unemployment here at home are exactly why President Obama created the National Export Initiative (NEI). The NEI is an unprecedented, comprehensive strategy aimed at doubling U.S. exports over five years, while creating millions of jobs, both at home and abroad. The NEI leverages the resources of all the departments and agencies of the U.S. Government that support trade to better assist American businesses that want to sell their goods and services abroad. Simply put – It has never been more important for U.S. companies to increase their sales to the 95% of the world’s consumers who live outside of this country.
As Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Director General, I lead a team of over 1,500 trade professionals in 109 domestic U.S. Export Assistance Centers (USEACs) and in 126 commercial offices located in our embassies and consulates in almost 80 countries. Our offices serve as one-stop shops for U.S. exporters, and they provide a comprehensive toolkit of services – from market research to trade counseling and from business matchmaking to trade advocacy.
Let me give you a couple examples of the work that our Commercial Service offices in China and India are doing with innovative U.S. exporters every day:
- First, take the example of Spire Corporation, out of Bedford, Massachusetts, which is a producer of equipment used to manufacture solar technologies such as PV cells and systems. Our Commercial Service office in India connected Spire with Evergeen Solar Systems, an Indian buyer we recruited at a major renewable energy trade show in India. As a result our matchmaking, Spire made a multi-million dollar sale of its equipment to India. Spire now employs 200 researchers, engineers, and high-tech manufacturing specialists at its manufacturing facility in Bedford.
- Another example is LP Amina, out of Warren, Michigan, which produces technology that is used to reduce emissions of nitrous oxides from industrial boilers. LP Amina utilized the Commercial Service’s Advocacy Center to support their bid on a Nitrous Oxide reduction project in Guangzhou, China. As a result of extensive support by our office in China, LP Amina eventually won the $1.5 million project, followed by a second $1 million contract.
These success stories are just a few examples of the terrific counseling and services that the Commercial Service is providing U.S. exporters in India and China every day. The reason to focus on these countries is clear. China and India are two of America’s largest trading partners, and there is no doubt that these relationships will continue to grow. In 2008, the United States exported $69.7 billion in manufactured goods to China and $17.7 billion in manufactured goods to India, making China and India the 3rd and 17th largest export markets for U.S. goods, respectively.
Additionally, when you look at China and India, you see some of the most aggressive energy efficiency programs in the world, which provides great opportunities for U.S. companies. In China, which creates 40% of the world’s new building space every year, there is a glaring need for more efficient residential, commercial, and industrial construction. American companies have the right solutions – from more efficient building materials like drywall, cement, and insulation to more sustainable architectural designs. And there is no doubt that clean energy will continue to be a centerpiece of the U.S.-India trade relationship, as India’s National Solar Mission is committed to install 20 gigawatts of solar power by 2022.
The Commercial Service has two of its largest presences in China and India. Our five offices in China include 90 trade professionals across Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, and Shengyang, and our seven offices in India include 55 trade professionals across New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Ahmadabad, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Chennai.
Our China and India operations have been extremely engaged in the renewable energy industries in these countries. Just last month, Secretary Locke led a delegation of 24 American companies on a clean technology trade mission to China. And in November, our office in Hong Kong is planning to take a delegation of U.S. companies to Eco Expo Asia 2010.
Over the last year, our Commercial Service office in India has organized four major clean energy events, including two solar trade missions, an energy efficiency trade mission, and the USA Pavilion at the India Renewables Exposition. Our solar trade mission to India alone last year resulted in a total of 60 megawatts of allotments to the mission delegates with an estimated value at completion of $252 million. Furthermore, this October, I am planning to lead a delegation of U.S. companies to the International Renewable Energy Conference in New Delhi.
For more information on how to get involved with these programs, or to connect with our teams in China or India, you can call our Trade Information Center at 1-800-USA-TRADE, or visit us on the web at www.export.gov. You can also reach out to our Northeast Network Director, Jim Cox, who is at this conference today, and is based out of our U.S. Export Assistance Center here in Boston.
From my background in the private sector, I also understand that doing business in India and China has its challenges, particularly when there is insufficient transparency into government decisions. Particularly, in the case of clean technology, inadequate protection of intellectual property limits the delivery of innovative products and technologies to the 37% of the world’s population that make their home in India and China.
We have also heard concerns from the business community about potential local content requirements in China and India. For example, China announced its 2010 criteria for its indigenous innovation product accreditation system, under which products it selects as “innovative” will be eligible for certain government procurement preferences. Only products with intellectual property rights that are owned by or licensed to Chinese companies are eligible for accreditation under this system. Another example that troubles U.S. companies across the solar power supply chain is India’s consideration of a local content requirement in connection with its National Solar Mission.
These policies are unhelpful – both for American companies and for India and China. By stymieing the innovation that can be shared with Indian and Chinese partners, these policies make it much more difficult, if not impossible, for all of us to meet aggressive and necessary renewable energy standards.
I am convinced that with a level playing field, American companies can compete anywhere in the world. I know that America’s strength has always been our ability to create and sell products and services that help others around the world improve lives and livelihoods.
As part of the NEI, the Department of Commerce is also working with the Department of Energy and other interagency partners to develop a comprehensive “National Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Export Strategy.” The strategy will provide a roadmap for doubling exports in these sectors over the next five years. We would like your input into this Strategy, and I encourage you to share your thoughts with my office or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let me conclude by thanking all of you for the contributions your innovations have made to grow our clean energy economy. We know that public-private efforts to build a sustainable, clean energy economy can drive investment and job creation around the world. And while government has an important role to play in facilitating the growth of the clean technology sector, ultimately you are the ones responsible for actually creating these jobs.
But rest assured, through the National Export Initiative, U.S. businesses that want to export clean technology products and services to China and India are going to have a more vigorous partner in the U.S. Government.
Thank you for having me with you today.
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