Assistant Secretary of Commerce Nicole Y. Lamb-Hale
Manufacturing and Services
2010 International District Export Council Conference
Monday, October 25, 2010
As prepared for delivery
Good morning, everyone. It’s a pleasure to be here with you today in my hometown. I left Detroit in June 2009 after 18 years of law practice to join the Obama Administration. I feel privileged to work on behalf of businesses like yours in Detroit and around the country.
Thank you, Brad, for your introduction and to all of you for inviting me to be a part of this DEC conference. As an alumna of the University of Michigan, I am proud that UofM is participating in this important Conference.
I would like to thank all the DEC members for your willingness to serve on your District Export Councils and to work with the Department of Commerce to expand U.S. exports. I know you will be hearing that many times during this Conference, but it is true that you -- as advocates for U.S. trade -- provide an extremely valuable service to your communities and this country. Thank you.
As Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Manufacturing and Services, I am very pleased to have the opportunity to talk about U.S. manufacturing in Detroit, the cradle of the U.S. automotive industry, especially in the context of President Obama's National Export Initiative and its goal to double exports in the next five years and support two million jobs.
Let me begin today with two simple words. Words that may be obvious to you, but believe it or not remain controversial in some quarters: Manufacturing matters.
Manufacturing matters because manufacturing supports good, stable jobs for millions of Americans; it matters because if it were a country, American manufacturing would be the world’s 9th largest economy.
Manufacturing matters because it remains a significant generator of economic activity in this country; manufacturing matters because it is responsible for a major portion of the private-sector R&D in this country.
It matters because we need manufacturing to sustain an industrial base that can make the things we need to guarantee our nation’s security in an unsafe and uncertain world.
And, most notably for this Conference, manufacturing matters because it accounts for 81% of our nation’s merchandise exports AND supports nearly 12 million jobs.
Imagine what our economic position and our unemployment rate would be if we could only double the share of exports as a percentage of GDP in this decade.
But we can only export what we make – thus the revitalization of U.S. manufacturing is absolutely critical to our present and our future.
While manufacturing output has grown in real terms by 31 percent since 1997, we live in changing times and "what was" does not remain the same. We are learning what those changes mean for manufacturing and how manufacturing must evolve in the context of those challenges.
We all have an opportunity to think about how to revitalize American manufacturing. It is, of course, not an easy task. But it can be done IF we expand our vision of the possibilities for the future.
So what do we do?
Answers to “how we create the new manufacturing America” will not come solely from Washington, but from all of us. It is true that Washington had to step in and stem the economic meltdown. But the revitalization of manufacturing depends on the same drive, the same sense of imagination, and the same sense of adventure that previous generations of Americans harnessed.
Manufacturing is the furnace that forged our middle class and remains a vital part of the U.S. economy. Based on figures announced earlier this month, the sector employs 11.8 million American workers as of September 2010. This accounts for about 9.0 percent of total nonfarm employment in the United States.
For manufacturing to remain an important driver of our economy, a critical export segment, and a source of good jobs, we need to capitalize on new consumer demands and needs. With many countries beginning to look for ways to address climate change, the "green" sector has grown and the resulting consumer demand will offer important opportunities for U.S. exports.
Since the 1970's, when EPA regulations began to push for changes to protect the environment and human health, the United States became the biggest market for environmental technologies. Our innovation has driven demand for our products and services in the "green" arena.
While we do not have an agreed definition of "green technologies," let me give you a flavor of the current importance of environmental technology goods and services, the U.S. role, and the Obama Administration's commitment to growth in this sector.
In a global market of approximately $782 billion, the United States is the world’s largest producer and consumer of environmental technologies.
In the United States, approximately 119,000 enterprises were engaged in the environmental technologies sector in 2008. And this sector generated approximately $300 billion in revenues and $43.8 billion in exports, which equaled 8.9% of the non-U.S. market.
While these numbers are good, we cannot rest. We must be vigilant in our support of manufacturing in green sectors and many others in which the United States has a competitive advantage.
The global demand for clean energy technologies is growing rapidly, as are export opportunities for U.S. companies. For instance, global investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency was $145 billion in 2009, having increased every year since 2002.
President Obama has come out in strong support of clean energy technologies as a way to meet global energy and economic development needs, mitigate climate change, and capture the high-value engineering, innovation, and jobs this sector offers. We are working with industry and other federal agencies to capitalize on the opportunities to achieve those goals.
The Administration’s Framework for Revitalizing American Manufacturing, presented this past December, opens with the statement that “America’s manufacturers are at the heart of our country’s economy.” I firmly believe that and am working to strengthen American manufacturing so it can be a powerhouse in the 21st century.
Luckily for us, a growing world still wants much of what we manufacture and generate.
As you are aware, President Obama has launched the National Export Initiative that seeks to double exports in five years to support two million jobs. That sounds like a lot of jobs, and it is. That is why the expansion of manufacturing exports is so critical today and for the future.
We, as a nation, have often ignored trade in the past because so much of our growth has been domestic-based. The share of the nation’s gross domestic product generated by exports is slightly more than 11 percent, dramatically below Canada’s (28.7 percent) and Germany’s (40.6 percent).
With that backdrop, I’d now like to tell you what the Department of Commerce and my unit, Manufacturing and Services, are doing to expand exports and revitalize manufacturing.
I hope that you will take advantage of many of these programs and activities to help expand your exports. As U.S. companies, you are some of the most sought after companies in the global market. With 95% of consumers outside our borders, that is a lot of opportunity!
You are already aware of many ways that the International Trade Administration, or ITA, can help U.S. companies expand exports. Commercial Service programs that help increase exports include the Gold Key program and advocacy for bids by U.S. companies for foreign procurement contracts.
Additionally, we in ITA work to reduce or eliminate market barriers and more aggressively promote U.S. products and services through collaborative efforts with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and other departments.
But we are developing new tools and approaches, as well.
ITA is identifying exports, markets, and sectors where exports can be expanded rapidly. We are prioritizing existing programs that offer the highest return on investment. And, we are developing new programs to ramp up exports.
These approaches include strengthening our partnerships with the Small Business Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and state and local governments; and leveraging existing Commerce programs. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke will talk about CommerceConnect tomorrow, which helps link companies to Commerce programs.
Our goal is to increase the number of small-and medium-sized businesses exporting to more than one market by 50 percent over the next five years. We seek to increase the U.S. presence in emerging high-growth markets like China, India, and Brazil; and we are working to develop a comprehensive strategy to identify market opportunities in fast-growing sectors such as environmental goods and services, renewable energy, healthcare and biotechnology.
My division, Manufacturing and Services, or MAS, is uniquely positioned to play a leadership role in enhancing manufacturing and enhancing the competiveness of U.S. exports.
We develop and implement programs and provide decision makers objective data and information necessary to implement policies that support U.S. competitiveness, which, in turn, helps industry create jobs.
As part of the International Trade Administration, we understand trade and how the domestic and global markets interact and impact U.S. competitiveness.
We have over 200 industry experts and economists who understand, monitor and advise policy makers on U.S. industry sectors.
Many of those industry experts and economists played a large role in developing legislation that will boost output and lower prices for American consumers.
For example, on August 11, President Obama signed into law the Manufacturing Enhancement Act of 2010. This law reduces or eliminates tariffs on various imported materials that are needed by U.S. manufacturers to produce finished U.S. goods, thus lowering production costs.
Our industry experts and economists analyzed the provisions of the bill to ensure that there would not be unintended, negative consequences on U.S. industries. As a result, the new law will significantly lower costs for American companies across the manufacturing landscape – from cars to chemicals; medical devices to sporting goods. This will help make U.S. companies and their exports more competitive globally and support good jobs here at home.
Under my leadership, Manufacturing and Services follows a three-pronged approach, which I've called “The 3 Cs”: to convene, to collaborate, and to connect.
We convene experts both inside and outside of the federal government to work toward solutions to the problems faced by U.S. industry. Let me give you one example.
My office serves as the Secretariat for the Manufacturing Council, the advisory committee to the Secretary of Commerce on “all things manufacturing.” On August 5, Secretary Locke announced the new members of the Manufacturing Council. The Secretary was joined by Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and other members of the Senate Manufacturing Caucus, all supporters of U.S. manufacturing. Their first meeting to discuss priorities was held on October 14th.
The Manufacturing Council will provide significant insight and useful guidance to Secretary Locke on a wide variety of manufacturing issues, such as access to credit; energy and tax policies; rules-based trade, and the need for clear, predictable policies that encourage business growth and development. Secretary Locke will take this advice into account as he represents manufacturing interests and concerns within the Obama Administration.
The Council members are also serving as advocates for manufacturing in their communities and educating companies on federal programs that provide information on exporting and adapting to the changing economic and trading environment.
MAS also collaborates with industry, with agencies across the federal government, and with state and local governments to develop solutions that will sustain and increase the global competitiveness of U.S. industry.
For example, MAS works with industry, other federal agencies, and state and local governments to help companies learn about sustainable manufacturing practices that can help reduce operating costs and reduce damage to the environment.
We lead an interagency project that developed the Sustainable Manufacturing Clearinghouse. Companies can access the clearinghouse online for Federal programs – both in and outside of the Commerce Department – that offer assistance to companies interested in sustainable manufacturing. These programs range from grants to tax credits to technical assistance.
Manufacturing and Services also works to connect industry to the resources and tools available in the federal government to forge a path to sustainable, highly-skilled jobs for the 21st century economy.
Our newest initiative is specifically designed to connect SME manufacturers to resources that will help them to adapt to the changing global environment and remain competitive. The initiative is called “Manufacture America” and is connecting manufacturers to resources to help them rethink, retool and rebuild their businesses to take advantage of opportunities in emerging industries and in emerging markets overseas.
Manufacture America is most helpful to small- and medium- sized businesses, which are significant drivers of job growth. We have held two "road shows": one in Pittsburgh and one in Chicagoland. At both, companies were introduced to resources available through federal and state government to help them to access credit, export, utilize sustainable manufacturing processes, and use best practices to enhance their competitiveness. Our third program is scheduled in South Carolina in December.
In closing, the revitalization of manufacturing and export expansion are matters of national urgency. We have the potential to remake the economy and create a better future for our children.
We will continue to work hard within the Administration to enforce existing U.S. trade laws, such as the antidumping and countervailing duty laws, as well as other trade obligations under our trade agreements.
We will also work to identify market opportunities for U.S. products and services.
I am committed to working proactively with you to foster the manufacturing sector’s growth, support its competitiveness, and expand manufacturing exports.
I encourage you to continue to champion U.S. exports. I challenge you to work with us to find new ways to work together effectively in your sectors and in your communities to educate others about the importance of manufacturing, of green technologies, and of exporting.
Thank you again for inviting me today.
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