Well, please, everyone be seated and good day to you. Thank you for being here and for touring this magnificent, impressive new factory facility. I’m pleased to be here with Foreign Minister Ganiyev and also want to acknowledge Mr. Rosu Pulof, chairman of GM’s Uzbek partner company, and to thank Juergen Spendel, general director of GM, and all of the distinguished guests. I also would like to thank the American Chamber of Commerce in Tashkent and the American-Uzbekistan Chamber of Commerce in Washington, DC for all of your efforts to promote trade and economic ties between our two countries.
This plant is a joint venture from top to bottom with all of the newest, most advanced technology. It is a collaboration between Uzbek and American companies, and it will serve as a symbol of our friendship and cooperation. We place a priority on shared ventures like this plant. It was designed by Uzbek and American engineers and architects working together. It was built to be environmentally responsible for the local community. In fact, GM’s water purification technology will ensure the water is cleaner when it leaves the factory than when it entered.
GM’s global manufacturing processes will be carried out by skilled Uzbek workers using locally sourced components, ultimately adding over 1,000 new jobs for Uzbeks. And the use of American machinery and technology as well as the revenues created from the annual production of more than 225,000 new power-trained engines will also support jobs in the United States for Americans.
GM’s presence here in Uzbekistan adds to our efforts to build closer economic connections between ourselves and the countries of South and Central Asia. And today, I am proud to announce that the State Department and the nonprofit organization CRDF Global are launching the Central Asian Technology Entrepreneurship Program. This program will help train the next generation of entrepreneurs in Uzbekistan and foster a culture of technology-centered development here and throughout the region. Eight entrepreneurs will each be awarded a $20,000 techno prize, and one of the eight will be selected to travel to Silicon Valley, meet with potential investors, and prepare their technology for the marketplace.
This is a fitting place to launch this prize because Uzbekistan has a proud history of science and innovation. Many noble scientists and scholars were born and worked in this region, even the father of algebra, and your young people are full of talent and energy. Entrepreneurship is a core value for my country, and we want to encourage it here in Uzbekistan. We believe in order to take even a greater advantage of the global marketplace, Uzbekistan needs to continue its reforms in rule of law, democracy, and human rights. And I’d like to congratulate GM Uzbekistan on being named a finalist for the State Department’s 2011 Award for Corporate Excellence.
So thank you very much for this wonderful partnership, and I look forward to hearing about the great results. Thank you all. (Applause.)