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Secretary Pritzker Visits Chicago to Discuss Tools Needed for Continued Economic Growth and Commercial Diplomacy

Secretary Pritzker Visits Chicago to Discuss Tools Needed for Continued Economic Growth and Commercial Diplomacy

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker traveled to Chicago, IL yesterday to meet with students from the Institute of Politics (IOP) to talk about the Administration’s work to spur the economy and tools needed for further growth. Secretary Pritzker joined David Axelrod, Director of the Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago, for an armchair discussion and Q&A session with IOP students, where she discussed her career background, what the Administration is doing to promote economic growth, her role as Commerce Secretary, and advice to young people starting their careers.

During the discussion, Secretary Pritzker stated that the most important part of any organization is the people, and making sure they have the tools and support needed to succeed. She highlighted the Department’s role in helping set the conditions for growth and giving businesses key tools to help them expand through unleashing data, environmental intelligence, support for digital infrastructure, assistance for trade and investment through the Department’s U.S. Export Assistance Center and the Foreign Commercial Service Officers. More broadly, Secretary Pritzker discussed the need for investments in infrastructure, passing comprehensive immigration reform, support for trade agreements, spurring more innovation and preparing American workers with the skills training to compete in the global economy.

Secretary Pritzker later joined top leadership from UI labs, local elected officials, and corporate and university leaders for a roundtable discussion about the future of manufacturing innovation and Chicago’s new Digital Manufacturing Design Innovation Institute (DMDI). The DMDI is one of the new National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) institutes announced by President Obama in February. Secretary Pritzker highlighted the importance of these institutes and how the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation (RAMI) Act will keep America on the cutting edge of innovation and competitiveness by meeting the real and growing demand for the development of more advanced manufacturing technologies. This legislation will also encourage partnership and regional collaboration between communities, community colleges and universities, the private sector, NGOs, and needed supply chains in order to bring ideas from the lab to market.

After the roundtable, Secretary Pritzker delivered keynote remarks at the annual Chicago Consular Corps Gala: A Tribute to Our Global Partners, hosted by the Chicago Sister Cities International and World Business Chicago. The gala celebrated members of the 85 foreign consulates and honorary consulates in Chicago and honored leading Chicago-based companies and business leaders.

During her remarks, Secretary Pritzker highlighted the Department’s role in redefining America’s commercial diplomacy by better leveraging talents of U.S. business leaders. She discussed Chicago’s key role as a global destination for business and highlighted the Administration’s commitment to developing an ambitious commercial diplomacy strategy that includes more American business engagement in their markets and communities.

The Administration recognizes that governments and businesses in the United States and around the world want to foster growth, promote prosperity, and strengthen a rules-based economic order abroad. Secretary Pritzker’s recent Ukraine trip is an example of commercial diplomacy in action. There, she urged President Poroshenko and Prime Minister Yatsenyuk to embrace reform that will improve the country’s business climate and communities, strengthen its financial system, and encourage increased investment. 

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