Remarks at SelectUSA Summit Briefing

Charles H. Rivkin
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs
Blair House
Washington, DC
January 29, 2015

Thank you.

I would like to welcome everyone to this briefing for what promises to be an exciting event – the SelectUSA Summit in March.

Let me start by thanking the Office of Protocol for hosting this event.

I would also like to welcome Commerce Deputy Secretary Andrews, and SelectUSA Executive Director Thummalapally, whose participation has been so valuable.

The reason we are excited about the Summit is simple: The United States is one of the best places in the world to launch a new business.

I know that Deputy Secretary Andrews will make the case for why that is, and how SelectUSA can help.

So let me just say that we live in a culture that values and supports our businesses, at home and abroad. So we work to create the kind of environment that will attract and support inward investment.

Let me also say that, on my travels as Assistant Secretary, I have met with many business leaders abroad, who routinely applaud our business climate and tell me they are eager to invest.

I was recently in Beijing, where I joined Secretary Kerry at a business roundtable for Chinese business leaders who are actively invested in the United States.

They included the chairman and CEO of Wanda – which now owns the AMC movie theater chain.

Everyone told me how much they value our business climate and that they planned to expand their presence even more.

The roundtable in Beijing went so well that President Obama has said that he intends to find new ways to interact with key business leaders from around the world. He recognizes that there is no good substitute for direct engagement.

My point is this: America is open for business, including with the people and businesses of the countries represented in this room, and President Obama is right there at the front of the welcome line.

We recognize that foreign investment is not a zero sum game.

It creates economic growth in both directions: the destination and the source countries. It’s a win-win situation for all parties.

When your companies invest in a foreign market like ours, they will create jobs and innovation in that market.

They will also generate profits and exports for their home countries.

Not only that, they will bring back technology, management expertise, cultural understanding, innovative products, and access to new markets.

SelectUSA is just one of the many ways the State Department is working to make investing even easier.

For example, we are currently negotiating trade and investment agreements around the world, from the Asia Pacific to the European Union.

We and USTR are actively negotiating a bilateral investment treaty with China, and we are hoping to have similar discussions with India.

In each of these deals, we are committing to lock in the access and protections that foreign investors enjoy in the U.S. market. We work for these agreements because we know that when investors can thrive, so do the countries where they do business.

So we encourage you to go back to companies that are based in your countries or belong to your organizations, and invite them to attend the SelectUSA summit and to invest in the United States.

It’s not just a fantastic opportunity to explore business opportunities. It’s a chance to open new doors that reach beyond the economic sphere, such as improvements in environmental standards, workers’ rights and development of societies.

By coming to this summit, you’ll be more than business investors. You’ll be ambassadors for a better future for your own countries. I can think of few greater agendas than that – and I look forward to hearing many success stories next March.

Thank you.