Under Secretary of Commerce For International Trade Francisco SÁnchez
Think Asia Think Hong Kong Symposium
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
New York City, New York
As prepared for delivery
Good morning, everyone.
Mr. Leung, thank you for your remarks and for your warm introduction. I appreciate your leadership and the excellent work of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council.
It is an honor to be here today. This event is a reflection of the importance of the bilateral relationship between the United States and China, with a focus on Hong Kong’s contribution to that relationship. It is also a reflection of the future of global trade, as Asia continues to grow as a powerful economic region.
As the world’s two largest economies — the United States and China must engage with each other. And Hong Kong is an important partner in facilitating even stronger ties between the United States and the Asia-Pacific region as a whole.
The name of this conference, Think Asia, Think Hong Kong, is very appropriate. When we think about doing business with Asia, we have to think about Hong Kong. Because Hong Kong is – in many ways – our gateway to the continent.
That is why we partner with the HKTDC on the Pacific Bridge Initiative. This program provides all the information and expertise necessary to any business looking to expand exports in Asia, with the help of Hong Kong.
Asia is crucial to the future of the global economy and will continue to play a key role in supporting the global economic recovery.
As many of you know — President Obama has launched an ambitious trade agenda for the U.S. in order to increase U.S. exports. His National Export Initiative – the NEI –
was launched in 2010 to double U.S. exports; and in doing so — support an additional two million American jobs by the end of 2014.
Asia is an important reason we have made a great amount of progress toward those goals. Exports to Asia have increased every year since the NEI began.
China is now our third-largest export market. Last year — the United States exported a record amount of $110 billion of goods and services to China.
U.S. exports to Hong Kong were more than $37 billion in 2012 – and as a result of the HKTDC, the Pacific Bridge Initiative, and all of you here today – I expect those numbers to continue to grow.
For the United States, this level of export success is supporting our economic recovery and putting Americans back to work.
For Hong Kong businesses, increased international trade with the United States is a direct result of the economic expansion, rising incomes and continued development throughout the region. Put simply, trade between the United States and our economic counterparts in Asia is good for businesses on both sides of the Pacific.
Another important part of our relationship is foreign direct investment – or FDI.
The Asia-Pacific region is a source of great possibilities as we look to increase FDI in the United States. And Hong Kong is a key to realizing these possibilities:
- both as a leading commercial and financial center;
- and as the gateway for China’s overseas investment flows from Hong Kong.
Hong Kong is currently the fourth-largest source of FDI in the United States from the Asia-Pacific region. It is also an important launching pad for Chinese mainland companies looking to invest in the wider world.
I am told by our friends at the American Chamber in Hong Kong that 60 percent of China’s investments in the United States passes through Hong Kong.
In fact — since 2006 — FDI from China to the United States has grown at an average rate of 71 percent every year—faster than from any other country. And there is room for further growth.
That’s why I want to tell you that the Department of Commerce is hosting the inaugural SelectUSA Investment Summit later this year.
It will take place in Washington, D.C. — from October 31-November 1. The two-day conference will connect investors — both foreign and domestic — with U.S. economic development organizations to support business investment in the United States.
Attendees will learn about why the United States is such a great place to invest for business. They’ll learn about the latest trends in investing and the most promising investment opportunities.
I hope that I will see many of you at this important summit.
Like all of you here, I appreciate that Hong Kong is a vital symbol of prosperity in Asia.
Working with Hong Kong, U.S. companies enjoy transparency, good governance and the rule of law that shapes a healthy economic climate.
Our businesses are thriving there — with more than 1,300 U.S.-affiliated companies in Hong Kong.
And these businesses are playing a role in helping shape a more competitive Hong Kong, which means a more economically prosperous China, and a more prosperous Asia-Pacific.
During President Obama’s tenure … there has been an unprecedented high-level of engagement with the Asia-Pacific.
I’ve personally spent more time in the region than in any other in the world.
I’ve also heard firsthand from businesses who have participated in trade missions in Asia how valuable their experiences were. Participants in Hong Kong’s Filmart film industry trade show have had continued success sharing their products in Southeast Asia. They see Hong Kong as the ideal gateway to the region.
Now — we’ve got to do this work at all levels. In addition to this high-level engagement, it’s important that our peoples get to know each other.
As President Xi said a few months ago, “China needs to learn more about the world … and the world also needs to learn more about China.” From my perspective, as the world learns more about China, they will continue to think of Hong Kong.
Today’s conference is a perfect opportunity for us to learn more about each other. That’s why I’m so happy to be here today. And I’m eager to work with all of you in the years ahead.
Together — we can deepen engagement between our regions.
In doing so — through economic growth — we’ll continue to transform lives, businesses, and futures.
And I know you all agree that these are goals worth striving for.
So let’s get to work.
Once again — my thanks to the Hong Kong Trade Development Council for inviting me to be part of this conference.
I challenge all of you to use what you learn here today to help strengthen your businesses and support greater economic integration between the United States, Hong Kong, and Asia as a whole.
The International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, manages this global trade site to provide access to ITA information on promoting trade and investment, strengthening the competitiveness of U.S. industry, and ensuring fair trade and compliance with trade laws and agreements. External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein. This site contains PDF documents. A PDF reader is available from Adobe Systems Incorporated.