Remarks at the 2018 SelectUSA Investment Summit


Michael R. Pompeo 
Secretary of State
Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center
Oxon Hill, Maryland
June 22, 2018

SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, good morning, everyone. I’m not going to do all 31 flavors for you as they’re not in my prepared remarks. Frankly, I learned a lot actually from that job working scooping ice cream, things that you all know, right, work hard, tell the truth, perform to your level best at every moment, and often that will lead to good things in your life and in the life of the team that you’re a part of or the business that you’re working to help succeed.Thanks to Secretary Ross for the very kind introduction. Thank you to all of you, the international investors who have traveled so far to come here and be part of this, as well as the friends that we have here today from the American business community.

Thank you, too, to all the governors and our state-level representatives who have joined us from all across the United States. It has truly made this event special.

And as Wilbur said, I was a congressman, I was the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, but I still consider myself at heart a manufacturing guy. For a decade and a half I ran two manufacturing companies in Wichita, Kansas. The first aerospace manufacturing business was a machine shop. We welded. We had mills and lathes. We sold to Boeing and Lockheed and to Cessna and Raytheon and Gulfstream, and all the airframe manufacturers all across the world. Grew that business to over a $100-million-a-year company.

And then I was hired to run a company that was similar but serving the oil patch where our customers were companies like Halliburton and Schlumberger and some of the big oilfield producers. Every minute of the time that I was in business, my companies benefited from international cooperation.

We direct – we benefited directly from foreign direct investment that supports jobs like we had in Wichita, Kansas that now total over 7 million here in the United States. It’s good for America, it’s good for American workers, it’s good for the investors as well.

So you all are asking why the Secretary of State is here today. You heard from the Secretary of Treasury and Secretary of Commerce. But you must know that global business depends on successful international relationships. You’re looking for the places where you can find the best talent, the most capable people, who has the most transparency, the rule of law, which private sector places have the greatest global brand exposure, and ultimately where can I get the best ROI for the investments that I’ll make.

It won’t surprise you that I believe deeply and I believe that I can prove here this morning that that’s the United States of America. (Applause.) Not only is it our country, but this is the perfect time. It’s the perfect time to come here as an investor, bring your business and your people here.

First, we have an enormous number of advantages. I saw this firsthand when I ran two small businesses. We have an incredible culture of entrepreneurship and innovation. We have the world’s largest market for goods and services. We have enormous political stability and a rule of law that is unrivaled. And we have world-class colleges and universities and technology centers. And we have, along with our international partners, developed a financial system and an economic model that is driven by the private sector.

These assets have been the lifeblood of America for many years. And President Trump’s policies – his economic policies have made our advantages even more of a force multiplier for prosperity. There’s a myth of American retreat from the world, and I have to tell you it is just a myth. President Trump’s agenda is the most pro-business, most pro-international trade of any president in history. It’s been a game-changer for the American economic landscape, and it is one that your company will want to be a part of.

We can see the benefits in lower personal and corporate tax rates, the enormous number of reduced regulations – one of the things that when I was a small business owner was most difficult for us to compete with, when U.S. economic regulations burdened us – our embrace of domestic energy production that I know Secretary Perry has spoken to, and clear support from an administration that is truly open for business. As Larry Kudlow said earlier this month, “The war against business is over” here in America. “The war against success is over [and] the war against energy is over.” (Applause.)

Confident employers ready to pay well, the lowest unemployment rates across – rates against all demographics, these are dividends of new policies and a changed attitude creating a new renaissance of American and global prosperity.

As a result of the President’s policies, international companies and investors are already coming here full speed. You’ll want to make sure you get here at the front of the gold rush too.

A company, for example, called Haribo of America, a subsidiary of the German candy company, is building one of its largest facilities in the confectionary industry – and its very first U.S. manufacturing plant – in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin.

It’s a $242 million dollar project to create roughly 400 new jobs here in the United States, and Scott Walker said this new facility will be one of the largest investments in new operations by an overseas company in Wisconsin’s history. And he promised me there would be more to follow.

On the East Coast, in Raleigh, North Carolina, will be the home of North Carolina Technology and Innovation Hub built by India’s IT and consulting company Infosys.

As part of its plan to create 10,000 American jobs over the next two years, Infosys plans to hire 2,000 Americans for its Raleigh hub by 2021.

The company has also partnered with North Carolina Community College System to create a customized program to recruit and train and ultimately hire the workforce of the future, and we’re pleased to have representatives from Infosys here with us today.

The Trump administration is committed to an environment for business that will keep generating this kind of prosperity. It means a lot, because in my role as Secretary of State, I recognize that only an economically strong America can fulfill its commitments to our allies and deter our aggressors from imperiling the global good.

When countries cooperate for economic success, it strengthens our alliances. Prosperous partners have a greater ability to confront real security challenges that we all face and threaten each of our countries. And these threats are real. Whether that is terrorism, illegal migration, or rogue state actors, we need robust economic growth among our partners and allies to push back.

And the State Department is a key player in facilitating commerce that benefits both the American people and our partners.

We have 200 economic and business officers in Washington, D.C. and over 1,500 economic officers that serve in over 190 countries around the world.

Many of them are specifically dedicated to helping international businesses and investors navigate the global commercial space and understand our market here in the United States.

Reach out to them. They’ll help answer your questions, they’ll resolve concerns, they can connect you with investment specialists throughout the United States Government. It is an important part of the State Department that I am now privileged to lead.

And I’m also delighted – I know we have a number of our chiefs of mission, our senior ambassadors and charges here with us. I encourage you all to reach out to them in your country. They know that a priority for the United States is helping commerce both here in America and in the countries in which they serve.

We work hand in hand in these places with our foreign commercial service partners. They’re in 75 countries themselves. This large presence and close coordination reflects the U.S. Government’s unified view and dedication to growing prosperity all around the world.

These advocacy efforts are extended to foreign companies as you require them, and they’re based on tenders that are made here in the United States.

And to the American business community, I want to add this: Our diplomats are ready to help you too. If you travel on international business, please use our embassies. Come on by and say hello. We’re – our doors are open. We can provide insights on market conditions and help you navigate regulatory environments in every nation in the world.

I want to emphasize one more thing that I think is very important for you to know: U.S. economic leadership is built on principles of fairness and a level playing field, and the State Department has as its mission to achieve this goal.

We will fight to protect the interests of U.S. intellectual property right holders all around the world, and you can have confidence that we will work to protect your innovation from theft, from copyright violations, or from other misuse.

As I close today, I’m confident telling you the United States is indeed the best destination in the entire world for entrepreneurship and innovation.

And to our international investors, we welcome you. We hope that you’ll find good investment opportunities. I saw the bars were full last night in downtown. I was passing by. (Laughter.)

Let us know how we can help you. Enjoy your time here in the United States. Bring your investment dollars. We welcome you.

I want to echo the sentiments of my cabinet colleagues Secretary Acosta, Secretary Mnuchin, Secretary Perry, and Secretary Ross. They all feel the same way.

We want to make sure that America is the place for your investments to succeed. Thank you and God bless you, and hope you have a great stay here in the United States. (Applause.)