On the Secretary's Global Business Conference
Deputy Secretary for Management and Resources
MR. VENTRELL: Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for joining the call. This afternoon we have with us Deputy Secretary of State Tom Nides, as well as Karen Tandy, Senior Vice President for Public Affairs at Motorola Solutions. They’re here to discuss next week’s Global Business Conference, Secretary Clinton’s Global Business Conference. So without further ado, I’m going to turn it over to both of them for some opening remarks, and then we have time for a few questions.
So, Deputy Secretary, over to you.
DEPUTY SECRETARY NIDES: Thank you very much. Thank you, all of you, for joining us on the call. Let me just give you little bit of background and kind of the thinking behind this conference and some of the things we’re going to try to achieve.
This is the first time that the State Department has done a conference like this. We’re calling it the Global Business Conference. As you know, the Secretary has talked a lot about economic statecraft, how we can better use diplomacy to promote jobs at home. And her whole idea here is to basically promote this by inviting folks from around the world to talk about the role of the State Department and diplomacy in economics.
And to our pleasant surprise, we’ve had an unbelievably overwhelming support. We invited probably 140 countries, and we have 120 countries coming, which I find it – I was pleasantly surprised. We have – it’s a two-day conference, and we have participants, as I mentioned, from 118 countries. They are principally the – been nominated by our ambassadors in-country. Most of these individuals are either the presidents or CEOs of the chambers of commerce and dual-hatted, in most cases are very senior executives of international companies, U.S. companies, that are in the countries.
And we are – as you know, I think, from the agenda, we’re bringing them here for two days. First day’s meetings will be on Tuesday, where we have everyone from the Secretary to the Vice President to Ron Kirk to Secretary Bryson from Commerce and everyone in between, and then a bunch of breakout sessions on different pieces of kind of economic statecraft, and we can get into more of the agenda if you so choose.
What we really are focusing on, at least from the State’s perspective, is kind of – I like to refer to it as this is the – we talk about peace and prosperity. We’re talking about – this is the – we’re spending time on the prosperity piece of the peace and prosperity. So the conference is really focused on prosperity. And we’re looking at it in kind of three ways, kind of a promotion of economic statecraft through a variety of new ways for our ambassadors to interact with American businesses, how they communicate with the tools that we use, and the abilities to really make sure that people understand that we are the boots on the ground in these countries that obviously are critically important to American companies.
The second piece is what I refer to as the policy piece. We are – obviously the President has been very focused on the National Export Initiative, which is to double exports within five years. And obviously, the State Department, along with the Commerce Department, plays a critical role in that promotion, but – as well as helping the Commerce Department on the SelectUSA program, which – you’re well aware – which is promoting foreign investment in the United States.
And the third is we’re going to be focusing on our personnel, because we got to make sure that we have the right people. As you know, we have a thousand econ officers around the world, and we want to make sure that those econ officers are not only just making sure they’re focusing on the data, but they’re focusing on job promotion and really being the blocking and tackling for American businesses around the world.
So we – it’s interesting. When – as we started talking about this more and more here, and as Secretary Clinton has talked more and more about this, it’s clear there’s a yearning and appetite to use the State Department even more aggressively than we’ve used it in the past to help promote American jobs. So we hope that by the quality of people that we have coming here and, quite frankly, by the dialogue that we’re going to be having over these two days, we’ll learn not only from those individuals around the globe but also be able to communicate exactly the initiatives that we’re trying to promote here.
So I hope all of you can attend, and I think we’ve got a fairly robust agenda. And first – we’ve never done it before, so it’ll be hopefully the first of many of these that we’ll be doing around the world, but certainly is a good way to kick it off here.
So why don’t I turn it over? Karen, do you want to have some opening comments? Then we’ll take some questions.
MS. TANDY: Thank you, Tom. And I’m delighted to be included in this and join you today. Motorola Solutions is a U.S. company based in Schaumberg, Illinois, where we have an 83-year history of providing critical communication infrastructure, devices, and solutions to our core markets of government agencies in public safety and retail shop floor enterprise and the rest of commercial enterprise.
So, we are a big user of exactly what Tom was talking about with the diplomatic corps around the world. We are some 23,000 employees in 65 countries with sales in a hundred countries. Without the State Department advancing this agenda of commercial diplomacy, we would have a very difficult time closing a number of our deals around the world. So, we are particularly pleased to be included as part of the conference next week. It is, as Tom said, the first of its kind and significant to companies like – global companies like Motorola Solutions, especially when we support thousands of small businesses in the U.S. by these deals that we close outside the U.S. with the help of the State Department and trade agencies.
So thank you for having us, Tom.
DEPUTY SECRETARY NIDES: Thanks, Karen. So why – I guess, why don’t we open it up for questions? So how do we want to do that?
MR. VENTRELL: Operator, can you get our first question?
OPERATOR: Yes. Thank you. If you would like to ask a question, please press *1. You will be prompted to record your first and your last name. Please un-mute your phone before recording your name. And to withdraw your question, press *2. One moment, please.
Our first question comes from Colleen Wordock – yes, Wordock. Your line is open.
QUESTION: Oh, hi. It’s Colleen from Bloomberg Television.
DEPUTY SECRETARY NIDES: Hi.
QUESTION: When will you guys release, like, a full agenda and the topics of the breakout session for the speakers? And will you make speakers available for interviews to promote the event?
DEPUTY SECRETARY NIDES: I – when are we doing that?
MS. WHELAN: It should come out right immediately following this call, and yes, we will make some of the speakers available for the event. The information will be coming out from the State Department Press Office shortly.
QUESTION: And do you expect – which U.S. CEOs do you expect to attend?
DEPUTY SECRETARY NIDES: Well, the keynote is the Boeing – McNerney, who is the CEO of Boeing. He will be the – one of the speakers, I think, at noon lunchtime. We have a variety of other CEOs, kind of, but he is the speaker. We also have Tom Donohue from the Chamber, who will also be speaking in the morning.
QUESTION: Great. Thank you.
DEPUTY SECRETARY NIDES: Yeah, we got a lot of people. You’ll get plenty of time to fill up your show.
OPERATOR: Once again, to ask a question, please press *1.
I am showing no further questions.
DEPUTY SECRETARY NIDES: Nothing else you all need answered?
OPERATOR: Once again, *1 please.
DEPUTY SECRETARY NIDES: Operator?
OPERATOR: I am showing no questions, sir.
DEPUTY SECRETARY NIDES: Okay. Why don’t I just quickly, just while I’ve got everyone on the call, make sure that people kind of get a little sense of what the schedule’s going to be.
So we’re going to – we have – we start in the morning with comments by Ron Kirk, who’s the U.S. Trade Representative, who will kind of lay out kind of the trade issues in which we’re facing and issues around importance of – for business community as it relates to a lot of the trade issues that people are concerned about. We then begin the morning with Tom Donahue from the U.S. Chamber. Then we’ll have a very large panel discussion of U.S. ambassadors from around the globe, we’ll be doing a panel discussion around different topics that ambassadors face, interactions with U.S. companies.
And then we have a variety of breakout sessions, including sessions around facilitating business and travel, including the visa issues, trade policy, creating public-private partnerships, and then advocacy for U.S. businesses. We then go into a keynote speech by Secretary Clinton. And then Jim McNerney, as I mentioned, will be at – from Boeing will also then be speaking. And then we have a variety of – a panel discussion with my friends from Ex-Im and OPIC. Elizabeth Littlefield and Fred Hochberg will be working on a panel on export promotion and export-import investments. We have a panel on energy and climate policy, there’s going to be a panel on U.S. sanctions, and then another panel discussion on U.S. tax policy.
We’ll send out more details later, but this will give you a pretty good idea of the first day. The second day we’ll be breaking it down by regions, so all the regional bureaus will be hosting a panel discussion. So my hope is the totality will provide people a clear understanding of the role of where the State Department has been and where we want to go as relates to promoting U.S. jobs. So, again, we’ll be kicking it off on Tuesday.
MR. VENTRELL: Operator, can we see if there are any additional questions?
OPERATOR: Yes. Once again, to ask a question, please press *1. One moment.
We do have a question. Tory Newmyer, your line is open.
QUESTION: I’m curious what the audience is for this event. Who are you trying to reach, and what are you hoping they get from this?
DEPUTY SECRETARY NIDES: That’s a good question. One is the U.S. business community – one, which is important because I think they got a – they – I think most of them, as you have picked up on, especially companies – you have Motorola here, but every U.S. company obviously understands the importance of the diplomatic footprint and the importance of what we do. But they’re obviously an important audience. The second audience, obviously, is consumers, to make sure people understand the role of the State Department and what we’re trying to do.
The third audience really is the audiences within these countries in which – to make clear – and I think everyone understands the role of the State Department in countries, since we are really the face of the U.S. Government in most countries around the world, if not all. And I think most of the countries in which we deal with, they look towards the State Department as it relates to the speaking for the United States Government. So as we continue to promote the jobs agenda, they will understand when we pick up the phone and we’re promoting U.S. companies, that obviously we have a full weight – obviously, the government – but more importantly, that our agenda, working hand in hand with the Commerce Department and other agencies, are really there to try to promote U.S. jobs and U.S. manufacturing and services.
So there’s multiple audiences. And I think one of the real messages is – and I said this at the beginning – when we talk about, kind of, peace and prosperity. Listen, every agency in this government needs to be focused on job creation. And the State Department is uniquely positioned to do that because of our footprint, because of our expertise, because of the people on the ground working hand in hand with, obviously, our friends at the Commerce Department and other agencies. But because of our depth of our relationships with these countries and the importance of things that we’re doing on the diplomacy side, that we come with a very powerful message as relates to the economic side. So there’s a variety of messages and messengers.
QUESTION: And you envision doing this in other countries? Do you have any idea what that schedule looks like? Have you figured that out yet?
DEPUTY SECRETARY NIDES: Well, we’re going to – we’re planning to do – I’m hosting one in Asia at the end of the month, where we have a large number of chambers of commerce coming together in Japan, and I’m the – I guess I’m one of the keynote speakers, a keynote speaker. And I have a lot of our ambassadors coming to Tokyo. We plan to do this in Latin America. We’ll bring all the – a lot of the Latin American companies and ambassadors together in Latin America. We’ll also obviously be doing this in Europe and in the African region as well.
So we’re trying to kind of pace ourselves during the year. It has been astonishing to us about the appetite for this, not only by the U.S. companies that are – that have big operations in these countries, but they’re – they – listen, we’ve got to compete and we’ve got to win, and we need all the tools that we can to do this effectively. And as Secretary Clinton said, it’s a – it’s – we don’t have a choice here. It’s critically important, if we’re going to grow the economy here, we need to be selling our goods and services overseas, and we need to be promoting them the best way we can.
MS. TANDY: And I would just add to that, Tom, from a U.S. company perspective, this conference for us is key to that partnership. It is one-stop shopping for all of these related agencies that make a difference to us in doing business around the world. So pulling everyone together and the deepening relationships and partnerships that’ll come out of this will be critical to certainly more than just Motorola Solutions. And I think you can’t underscore enough this is the first time it’s happened. So we are delighted that the State Department is pulling everyone together.
QUESTION: Thank you.
DEPUTY SECRETARY NIDES: Any other questions?
OPERATOR: I’m showing no further questions.
DEPUTY SECRETARY NIDES: Okay. Thank you all. See you on Tuesday.
MR. VENTRELL: Thank you.