AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY
Thursday, March 15, 2012
CONTACT OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS
Commerce Secretary John Bryson
Remarks at Pavilion Furniture in Miami Gardens, Florida
Good morning. Earlier today, I spent the morning with Miami manufacturers, exporters and others. I also took a tour of Port Miami which everyone knows is a huge hub for exports and tourism.
What is clear to me is this: Miami builds things here and sells them everywhere.
It is an exciting time to be a U.S. manufacturer.
Manufacturers have created over 400,000 jobs over the past 2 years–over 80,000 in the first two months of this year alone.
This is a driving force behind the fact that U.S. businesses have created nearly four million jobs over the past two years.
Manufacturing jobs are good jobs. The facts are clear. Manufacturing jobs are more likely to be full time. They are more likely to have good benefits. And they pay about 12% percent more than other jobs.
That’s the kind of economic security that has built our country over the course of many generations. Today, our goal is to foster a renaissance in American manufacturing.
President Obama gets it. Our tax code is broken. The US has one of the highest statutory corporate tax rates in the world. We haven't changed it since the 1980s. So President Obama proposed lowering the effective tax rate on manufacturers to 25 percent.
That will help us keep and attract more investments here in the U.S. We want more manufacturing facilities to be built here, and we want more jobs to come and stay here.
This is something that Republicans and Democrats in Congress should be able to agree on.
But the topic I want to focus on today is exports. This week, we celebrated the second anniversary of the National Export Initiative. Made in America is stronger than ever.
Over the past two years, U.S. exports increased by one-third. In 2011, we hit an all-time record of $2.1 trillion in U.S. exports.
The best news came on Monday. We released data showing that, from 2009 to 2011, export-supported jobs increased by 1.2 million.
Perhaps more than any city in America, Miami knows the power of exports. The Miami area shows the largest annual trade surplus of any Customs District in the U.S. Miami exports about one-and-a-half times the value of what it imports.
At the Commerce Department, we are helping Miami-area manufacturers continue to increase exports, keep jobs, and create even more. That includes this company, where 100 people work.
Orders for Pavilion’s pool and patio furniture slowed down in the Recession, so the company reached out to the Commerce Department. They met with our foreign commercial service officers who are helping them enter new markets like the Dominican Republic and China.
We need to make sure that even more American businesses can start or increase exports. We are doing just that. I’m very pleased to say that the U.S.-Korea trade agreement is now in effect.
Korea is the world’s 12th-largest economy. Under the new agreement, about 80 percent of Korea’s tariffs on U.S. industrial products are now dropping to zero. Nothing.
This is America’s most significant trade agreement in nearly two decades. It is estimated to increase U.S. exports by about $11 billion, supporting tens of thousands of American jobs.
In addition, I should note that the Colombia and Panama agreements have also been signed. I know that Pavilion–for example–is working to export to Panama where furniture tariffs will drop to zero in coming years.
This is great news for American businesses, but we can’t let up. We can’t rest on our laurels.
For example, we need to build on the fact that over 1,000 businesses have been on trade missions over the past two years. I’m pleased to say that I will personally be leading an infrastructure-focused mission to India in a week.
I’ll close by saying that some of the metal parts and manufacturing equipment here at Pavilion reminded of a story about Andrew Carnegie, who built the American steel industry.
One day he got a telegram from a plant foreman saying they had broken all production records the previous day.
Carnegie’s response was simple. “What about today?”
That’s the attitude that all of us need to have as we work together to build on the momentum in American manufacturing and exporting. Let’s continue to help businesses find more opportunities. Let’s remove the barriers that get in their way. And let’s help them do what they do best–strengthen our economy and create good jobs.