Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Director General Suresh Kumar
U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service
Green ICT Trade Mission to Mexico
Thursday, September 28, 2010
Mexico City, Mexico
As prepared for delivery
Thank you, Ann, for your warm introduction. I am pleased to be opening the Green ICT and Energy Efficiency Conference this morning in one the world's great cities and in a country that is so important to the US in so many ways.
I would first like to congratulate the Mexican government, and its people on your 200th anniversary of independence. You have built a rich, diverse culture through a vibrant history and we are proud to have you as neighbors and partners on this continent.
Our history, our cultures, and our economies are deeply intertwined. We have come a long way together over two hundred years to a point where we are vitally inter-dependent. Mexico is our third largest trading partner, accounting for more than 12 percent of our exports in 2009. U.S.-Mexico total trade in goods was over $305 billion dollars in 2009. U.S. exports to Mexico have trebled from $41.6 billion dollars in 1993 to $128.9 billion dollars in 2009, while Mexico’s exports to the United States have more than quadrupled from $39.9 billion to $176.7 billion. NAFTA is a central part of our economies and the largest free trade area in the world, linking 440 million people, and producing $17 trillion dollars worth of goods and services.
Improving energy efficiency is critical to governments and companies alike, and quite frankly critical to mankind. I want to thank our sponsors Intel, Symantec, Oracle and Qualcomm for their support and for providing their insights throughout the program.
As Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Director General of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service, I manage a team of over 1,500 trade professionals in 127 cities in 79 countries, and 109 domestic offices in the United States. Like our counterpart ProMexico, we promote U.S. exports, and we also promote foreign direct investment into the United States.
While the United States is world’s biggest economy, exports account for only 12% of our GDP while it is over 30% of GDP in Canada and in most of Europe. President Obama has therefore created the National Export Initiative an unprecedented, comprehensive strategy to double U.S. exports over five years and to support well paying jobs and livelihoods in the U.S. and abroad. The NEI leverages the full resources of the U.S. Government behind American businesses that sell their goods and services overseas.
One of the elements of the NEI is connecting U.S. exporters with international buyers. As part of the NEI, the US&FCS is organizing more than 40 trade missions and several more International Buyer programs this year alone, many of which are led by high-level U.S. government officials. The Green ICT Trade Mission that I am leading today is an example of bringing together innovative U.S. companies and prospective buyers in Mexico to explore ways to partner with each other.
U.S. companies have pioneered the ICT industry to bring us the modern world as we know it today: Computers, Integrated chips, software, cell phones, and the Internet. These technologies underlie every piece of our modern economy and have led the world to greater productivity and efficiency. The companies in the delegation represent some of the best of American industry who provide innovative solutions for a clean, green, and energy efficient future.
I would like to ask the trade mission participants to stand up, so they can be recognized for their inventiveness and their commitment to Green ICT and Energy Efficiency.
[Pause for applause]
As President Obama has stated, governments provide a framework for stimulating investment and unleashing creativity, but it is the private sector that innovates and creates jobs. While governments must work together to open markets and create policies that promote free and fair trade, it is the private sector that develops, manufacturers and distributes innovative products and services. Nowhere is this more important than in clean, green, renewable and energy efficient sectors.
Delegates from around the world will convene in November in Cancun for the UN meeting on Climate Change. At the Copenhagen Summit President Obama committed the United States to an 83% reduction in greenhouses gas emissions by 2050 and called upon the rest of the world to do the same. More than 115 countries have now associated themselves with the Copenhagen Accord, including all major emitters.
We are proud to have Mexico as a partner in this effort. As the host of the COP16, you have positioned yourself as a leader. President Calderon’s National Strategy on Climate Change goal of reducing green house gas emissions by 107 million tons by 2014 has put a priority on this important effort.
However, everyone in this room is well aware that the world is facing a climate crisis that requires not only international cooperation in the public sector, but also robust and collaborative engagement within the global business community.
The United States is a leader in the renewable energy sector, producing more wind, bio-electricity, geothermal, concentrated solar, and waste-to-energy power than any other country in the world. America not only leads in renewable energy, but also energy efficiency. We have more green buildings, energy-efficient appliances, and light-weight high-technology lithium-ion batteries in use than in any other country.
The ICT industry is helping to lead the energy efficiency charge in the United States. And that is after all, what this Conference is about. Efficiency is the “low-hanging fruit” it can produce a greater impact than several new technologies in Greenhouse Gas mitigation.
In the US, buildings account for 70% of our electricity use, and 40% of Green House Gas Emissions. This means lights, pumps, computers, communication equipment and data centers. A Mckinsey study estimates that the first 20% of reduction in Green House Gas emissions needed to meet UN goals can come from energy efficiency with cost savings.
Data Centers are among the fastest growing consumers of energy and create 2% of the world’s green house gas emissions. The US Environmental Protection Agency recently established an Energy Star standard and label for data center efficiency to accelerate reduction in energy consumption via initiatives like cloud computing and virtualization. ICT industry plays an integral part in Energy Efficiency. Even the average wind turbine uses almost a half dozen IC chips, as does smart grid technology.
The outdated grid in the US is estimated to cost the economy over $200 billion a year in repairs and lost revenue. That is why the President has made modernizing the Grid a top priority and allocated $4.5 billion to the effort already. As electric cars, solar panels and distributed electricity come on-line on the grid, built-in communications and intelligence will become ever more vital to correct consumption and storage patterns and promote efficient use.
Besides efficient use, SMART technology provides information to users, the general public, and to policy makers about ways to reduce emissions that are effective, and affordable, and can even suggest incentives to change consumer behavior.
Commercializing these technologies will require governments and industry to partner and a commitment to relentlessly pursue efficiency standards.
The U.S. Government can, and is doing more to provide an attractive domestic environment for the growth of green industries. President Obama has encouraged Congress to pass comprehensive energy legislation, that will protect our environment by raising fuel economy standards, create clean energy incentives and make renewable energy profitable, but will also send a clear signal to the private sector that it is safe to invest in clean energy technologies over the long-term.
The Obama Administration has created a framework for the clean energy economy. This Spring, the U.S. Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency announced new greenhouse gas emissions standards and fuel economy rules, which will conserve about 1.8 billion barrels of oil and reduce 1 billion tons of greenhouse gases over the lives of the vehicles.
Additionally, President Obama has expressed the importance of federal investment in clean and green technologies that will double the U.S. capacity to generate renewable energy.
In fact, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act included more than $80 billion in funding to make U.S. homes and businesses more energy efficient, transform the transportation sector to 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.
The President’s leadership in promoting sustainable development and his National Export Initiative have generated great interest among entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, cities, states and trade associations.
This level of focus and investment in the clean energy economy is unprecedented in American history. The knowledge economy where education, technology and commerce are intrinsically interconnected is a key tenet of the 21st century economy. The Obama Administration has developed programs that enroll and engage the private sector in technology development, it has provided market development and manufacturing incentives, R&D tax credits and matching fund programs to support innovators and technology incubators and created a framework where technologies compete for market validation and funding. But for clean/renewable energy to take root will require connecting innovative U.S. companies with international buyers in countries like Mexico and this is exactly what the NEI programs do.
The Administration through ARPA-E and other programs has spurred innovation. It has engaged the global business community to work together with NIST to develop technology standards that can increase predictability and reduce risk for business.
Through the NEI the Administration has called on Federal Agencies to work together to assist companies with products and services with global appeal by providing access to credit, advocating on behalf of U.S. businesses and connecting them with International Buyers and enforcing our trade agreements to ensure free and fair trade.
Let me give you some examples of the technological innovation, and investment opportunities that have been spurred by cooperation between the U.S. Government and the private sector:
- First, developing common standards and protocols for the smartgrid could double the demand for related equipment, devices, services and other products in the United States by 2014 to nearly $43 billion. And worldwide demand for smart grid products and services will continue to grow to $171 billion during the same period.
- Second, the Obama Administration is committed to increasing our renewable energy capacity. Last year, the U.S. committed funds to more than 383 renewable energy development and manufacturing projects.
- Third, the United States will increase energy efficiency through the Weatherization Assistance Program. America is on track to weatherize about 600,000 homes, bringing the benefits of energy efficiency to families across the country.
- Fourth, to spur innovation, the U.S. Department of Energy has awarded the first round of funding for a program to develop 37 transformative research projects in the energy sector. These projects include grid-scale energy storage and ways to harness bacteria to produce automotive fuel from sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide.
- Fifth, the United States is transforming the transportation sector. Under the Recovery Act, there is more than $4 billion dedicated to making our transportation system more efficient, developing plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles, and deploying high-speed trains.
The Obama Administration recognizes the urgent need to address environmental issues, and this Administration has already done more to mitigate climate change and create positive incentives for clean energy and efficiency than in any other point in U.S. history. At the same time, expanding global trade through the National Export Initiative provides world consumers access to American products, services and technologies that can improve lives and livelihoods. In the 21st Century economy – technological development, innovation, global trade, and domestic job creation are interdependent. Government and private sector must work together to develop products and services that make business and economic sense and lead to a safer and sustainable planet.
The United States offers incredible trade and investment opportunities in virtually every aspect of the green economy – from smart grids to renewable energy and energy efficiency to transportation. US policy is driving innovation in products and services that can provide real solutions around the world. And the US&FCS stands ready to connect U.S. business with international buyers. Our Commercial Service office in Mexico, headed by my Senior Commercial Officer, Ann Bacher, and her team can assist U.S. companies in their business development by making the right connections and they can assist Mexican companies looking to invest in the USA.
American businesses have the technology, the expertise, and the experience to help countries around the world reach their climate and energy goals. The companies that have joined my delegation today look forward to working with Mexican partners to create profitable businesses and are eager to show you real solutions to energy challenges that can deliver a safer, cleaner and healthier environment, creates jobs, lead to sustainable development and improves lives and livelihoods.
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