Under Secretary of Commerce For International Trade Francisco SÁnchez
Remarks by Under Secretary Francisco Sánchez
85th Annual Water Environment Federation Technical Conference and Exhibition
Monday, October 1, 2012
New Orleans, LA
As prepared for delivery
Thank you very much, Cordell (Samuels), for that kind introduction, and for your work at the Water Environment Federation.
Every day, you and your organization are making outstanding contributions to both the environment and the economy.
You have done a great job of organizing this 85th Annual Conference.
And I am honored to have this opportunity to speak today.
However, I must admit, I’m also a bit worried.
That’s because I have to speak after Administrator Jackson.
She’s a tough act to follow.
As you can see, she’s a dynamic speaker.
She’s doing dynamic work at EPA to protect and enhance the public health.
And it’s a pleasure to share the stage with her today, especially in her native New Orleans.
I like to consider myself a neighbor of New Orleans.
I was born and raised in Tampa, Florida, not too far from here.
And as I was preparing my remarks for today, I thought back to a situation that happened in my hometown earlier this year.
On a late Friday afternoon in May, as people and families prepared for their weekends, a water main erupted.
It left roughly 40,000 people without water for a short period of time.
And even after water was restored, people were advised to boil their water for a few days.
There was some concern that contaminants had been released into the system.
Many businesses were forced to close.
Families had to take extra measures just to eat, brush their teeth, and clean up.
As one Tampa resident put it about water: “you take it for granted, but then as soon as you’re out of it, you don’t know what to do without it.”
Fortunately, in Tampa, these conditions only lasted a few days.
Unfortunately, in places throughout the world, these conditions are an everyday reality.
I remember listening to Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, speak on World Water Day, earlier this year.
It struck me when she said that if the world stays on the path it’s on, nearly 700 million people will lack access to safe drinking water in 2015.
I repeat: 700 million.
Clearly, across the globe, in both emerging and developing countries, there is a great need for quality water products and services.
There is a need for water:
- purification equipment;
- engineering services;
- wastewater management systems;
- and so much more.
In short, there is a need for you, your companies and all that you offer.
Estimates are that the global market for environmental technologies is worth over $700 billion dollars.
American companies are pioneers in this sector and are extremely well-positioned to meet this demand.
And as Under Secretary for International Trade, I want to help your companies reach customers in the global markets.
This work is good for both the health and wealth of our friends overseas.
And it’s good for the United States.
The more our businesses export, the more revenue they bring in.
Revenue helps businesses expand and hire more workers.
And a working America is a growing America.
So exports are a key to our economic future.
That’s why President Obama launched the National Export Initiative in 2010, with the goal of doubling U.S. exports by 2014.
We want to give businesses more opportunities globally in order to make a positive impact here at home.
Just last year, U.S. exports reached a record $2.1 trillion in total value.
They supported nearly 10 million jobs, an increase of 1.2 million since 2009.
And we want to keep this growth going by helping your sector seize the opportunities overseas.
To help achieve this goal — in May — the Commerce Department was proud to launch an exciting initiative with:
- the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative;
- and the Department of Agriculture.
It’s called the U.S. Environmental Export Initiative.
And today we are launching one of the first products of this partnership: an Environmental Solutions Exporter Portal.
This effort was born out of a great need.
Our private sector partners have told us they need one place where they can go to find information on federal programs that support U.S. environmental exports.
This Portal now provides that resource.
It provides exporters with access to a suite of services, including:
- market research;
- export counseling;
- and financing.
I encourage you to visit and use this portal.
Just go to our website — www.export.gov/envirotech
And you’ll find great resources and opportunities for your businesses.
We’re also looking at it the other way, and working to draw interest from foreign consumers.
With EPA — we’ve designed an Environmental Solutions Toolkit that provides information to these consumers on solving environmental challenges, as well as a catalogue of U.S. producers of green technologies.
Foreign entities will be able to access information about American firms, and all that they offer … then be in a position to take the next step, and reach out to businesses like yours to establish a prosperous partnership.
This online resource continues to grow every day.
Once again, I encourage you to be a part of it.
If you are interested, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We want to work with you through this vehicle to help link your businesses to opportunities overseas.
We also want to work with you on the ground level.
We’ve got Commercial Service staff located in more than 70 countries.
They stand ready to help you enter new markets and navigate through the export process.
And of course, we want to work with you here at this important gathering.
Over the next three days, the Commerce Department, with our partners at the Water Environment Federation, will be a strong presence here, helping to:
- provide exhibitors with detailed information about roughly 20 global markets;
- spread the word about the great U.S. government resources that are available;
- and educate international delegations about the dynamic U.S. water and wastewater industry.
And we are doing this because what’s good for the water and wastewater industry is good for the American economy.
It’s good for our friends abroad, both for their health and economic development.
In short, it’s good for a wide-range of parties because your industry achieves that rare triple line of benefiting:
- and the planet.
That’s why I’m so happy to be here with you today, helping to open this WEFTEC Global Center.
And I look forward to working with Administrator Jackson, EPA, and all of you far into the future by boosting U.S. exports to shape:
- a cleaner ;
- and more prosperous world.
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