Thank you, Jay, and thank you to the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce for the opportunity to share my thoughts with you today.
Estoy encantada de esta en Florida de nuevo donde esta mi corazon. En particular, en la ciudad de Miami donde yo estudie. And I am looking forward to visiting my alma mater later on this visit.
It is especially nice to speak to a group of people who are the drivers of economic growth in the Sunshine State.
As the head of the Economic Bureau at the State Department, it is my role to promote American prosperity worldwide. And since Miami really is the gateway for commerce with our friends in Latin America, I thought I would focus today on the importance of these relationships.
The United States is a top trading partner for nearly two-thirds of the Western Hemisphere’s 34 countries. We trade twice as much with the region as we do with China.
We have a lot happening to further strengthen the partnerships while providing new opportunities for your businesses.
As you may know, both the House and Senate have passed the United States-Canada-Mexico Trade Agreement, or USMCA (often confused with the popular Village People song YMCA).
It is an important and critical modernization of NAFTA to embrace the economy of the future. And President Trump will be signing the new agreement any day now fulfilling the promise to the American people to make trade work for everyone, creating an economy which benefits everyone.
This is where my bureau plays a central role in the Administration’s economic strategy. We have a team of over 200 men and women in Washington with almost 2,000 economic officers posted at our embassies and consulates around the world.
Our job is to help facilitate opportunities for American workers and companies. We want to address the barriers you face when scaling and growing your enterprises. Whether you are small company or a multinational enterprise, we are committed to your success.
I also firmly believe the commercial ties build bridges between nations and promote better understandings. That is the definition of economic diplomacy– which is at the core of our efforts to advance the overall strategic and foreign policy priorities of the United States.
As President Trump’s National Security Strategy declares, “Economic security is national security.” From that, in my bureau, we derived the mission of empowering growth and securing our future.
Turning back to the USMCA, it is a great example of empowering growth in the hemisphere.
The new agreement is a particularly strong example of economic policy working for Americans. From the beginning, the update focused on advancing the interests of American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses.
The result is a comprehensive trade agreement that will further open two of America’s top export markets to our goods and services, while bringing stability and growth to the region as a whole.
Our shared borders and deep bonds with both Mexico and Canada tie the empowerment of growth and security of our future collectively with them.
With the agreement, American workers can expect to see new gains and opportunities. The US International Trade Commission estimates the addition of hundreds of thousands of new jobs and an increase in economic growth of more than $68 billion.
New customs and trade rules will cut red tape, making it easier for small businesses to access foreign markets and excel in cross-border trade.
The positive impacts of USMCA will certainly be felt here in Florida because of the significant amount of trade you currently have with our neighbors to the south and north.
In 2018, this state exported more than $7 billion of goods to them. More than $476 million of these exports were agricultural products, including world-famous Florida oranges, grown in my hometown area of Polk County.
Trade with Mexico and Canada alone already supports more than 750,000 Floridian jobs. We hope to see that number grow.
The USMCA will benefit the automotive sector, which employs more than 450,000 people in this state and drove $4.8 billion of exports from your ports in 2018.
The Agreement requires that 75 percent of auto content be made in North America and that a significant part of this work be done by workers earning at least $16 per hour.
This protects American manufacturing jobs and wages from unfair competition overseas. We want a level playing field.
When it comes to strengthening American agriculture, Mexico and Canada are essential partners. Nearly one-third of U.S. agricultural exports go to our North American neighbors.
As U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said, “USMCA benefits Florida’s entire agricultural industry. By ensuring better market access and solidifying commitments to science-based trade rules with our top trading partners, USMCA is a big win.”
It is estimated that USMCA will increase U.S. agriculture exports by more than $2 billion annually, providing new market access for American dairy and poultry products to Canada.
Turning to services exports, more than half of all such trade is delivered to customers overseas via digital platforms. USMCA includes a first-of-its-kind chapter on digital trade that contains the strongest commitments of any international trade agreement.
The Agreement includes groundbreaking provisions to prohibit the application of customs duties and other discriminatory measures to products distributed electronically, including video, music, and software. This sets a new standard, preventing artificial trade barriers from limiting how – and with whom – tech firms can do business.
With thousands of high tech firms and startups popping up in the Sunshine State every day — these provisions matter for Florida’s economy, both today and in the decades to come.
Similarly, USMCA fosters American innovation through updated intellectual property rights protections. Protection of creative ideas and innovation impacts the success of the state’s theme parks, which are multi-billion dollar businesses founded on one-of-a-kind stories and characters that are protected by strong copyright and trademark systems.
Tomorrow I will meet with leaders in Florida’s life sciences and biotechnology sectors, whose life-saving research is enabled by critical IP protection for their innovative products, also supported by our intellectual property laws and reciprocal international commitments.
I could go into much more detail about how USMCA liberalizes financial services markets. How it emphasizes labor and environmental provisions that will protect American jobs and wages. How it benefits small and medium-sized businesses – which account for 95 percent of Florida exporters – with a stand-alone chapter that establishes information-sharing tools that will help SMEs to better understand and utilize the benefits of the Agreement.
However, I will just say that President Trump’s signature on this agreement is a victory for the American worker and it brings us into a prosperous economy of the future.
Beyond the USMCA, the Trump Administration is committed to our relationships in the Western Hemisphere, and this includes securing a better future for all its citizens.
An example of this is our pressure on the Maduro regime in Venezuela to recognize the rightfully elected President Juan Guaido. The regime has taken a beautiful, prosperous nation and deprived its people of control of their own fate.
Millions of Venezuelans have fled to neighboring nations creating a refugee crisis that has been traumatic for the entire region.
Secretary Pompeo recently met with Interim President Guaido in Colombia and spoke of freedom for the Venezuelan people and assured them of our support. We want to see a return of liberty and economic prosperity for them. Neighboring Colombia has been a model of economic reform and become a strong trading partner for the U.S.
We have a deep commitment to this region. Secretary Pompeo also recently visited with heads of state from many Western Hemisphere nations to discuss our shared interests.
He also spoke earlier this month at the Organization of American States and quoted from a declaration adopted by the OAS which stated: “All men are born free and equal, in dignity and in rights, and being endowed by nature with reason and conscience, they should conduct themselves as brothers one to another.”
An important thought at this moment in time for us all. We want to see all the citizens of all nations in the hemisphere be equipped with human dignity.
Here in America, we have seen an economic revitalization with strong growth, low unemployment and more opportunities for American workers. I’m particularly pleased that Florida has seen positive momentum.
This week President Trump spoke at the World Economic Forum. He spoke of our strong economy and he said “Together we must go forward with confidence, determination and vision. We must not be timid or meek or fearful- but instead we must boldly seize the day and embrace the moment.” He recognized the great leaders in the room.
And I’d like to do the same here today. You are the visionaries in your communities. You are the heart of Florida and of the strong economy which is enabling everyone here to achieve the American dream.
You also have great leaders in Governor DeSantis, Senator Rick Scott and Senator Marco Rubio. I will forever be proud to call myself a Floridian. And I’ll keep working to make sure that we at the State Department, we in Washington remain humbly at your service.
Thank you again to the Greater Miami Chamber for having 2020 vision and a spectacular South Florida Economic Summit.