I’ll tell you, I – about a coupleof months – Imean, before I was offered the job of beingSecretary of State, Iwas still, obviously, serving inthe United States Senate. And I was walkingthroughan airport one day, and this fellow – you notice whenpeople have thatsense of recognition. And he points at me, and he says, “Hey, you, heyyou,anybody tell you you look like that Kerry guy who we sent down toWashington?”(Laughter.) And I say, “Oh, they tell me that all the time.” He says, “Kind ofmakesyou mad, don’t it?” (Laughter.) So I’m very happy to be out of theelectoral process, folks. (Laughter.) It’s just fine by me.
I’m really happy to be here andI’m very, very honored to be introduced by Penny, who is agood friend. She wasvery involved with me in 2004 when I ran for President. I’m just sothrilledshe is now our Commerce Secretary, and I’m very grateful for the effort and theenergythat’s gone into making this first ever summit such a success. No onewho knows Penny isgoing to be surprised by that, because everything that Pennyhas done – in business, inphilanthropy, in public service – has always been asuccess. And those of you who know herknow that she is really a dynamic CEO inher own right, and you can feel the energy and theleadership that she isalready bringing to the Commerce Department. She’s a fabulous partnerand I’mthrilled by it; very, very happy to have her there.
And I was with her, and she said– I heard her in the introduction talk about being in KualaLumpur together,and we had a chance to go out and break bread together. And we werechatting,and she was reminding me of the story of her dad who started the familybusiness withone motel out in Los Angeles. And she kind of lived in the motel,and then she went up to SanFrancisco, and boom, it grew to six. And noweverybody knows what Hyatt Hotels Incorporationare – it’s a great Americanstory. It’s a great story of entrepreneurship, and we’re so proud ofPenny andgrateful that she’s stepping back from the private sector to share with usthatexpertise and give us the energy and dynamics we need.
Her leadership of SelectUSA isjust one of the reasons that this effort has the potential togrow our country,and to grow all of yours, for those of you who are here visiting from somanyother countries. And we welcome you here. The single biggest reason SelectUSAis goingto make a difference is, frankly, all of you, a group of very capablebusiness leaders, people whoare hungry, who understand the dynamics of themarketplace, who are ambitious in yourbusiness goals, and come here with avision from nearly 60 countries around the world and fromall across the UnitedStates.
I said in my confirmationhearing, when I was selected to become Secretary of State – I saidto theSenators, my former colleagues, that in many ways, foreign policy today iseconomicpolicy. And leaders in government need to understand that. There is asynergy and animportance to this relationship that cannot be denied.
I think many of you are herebecause you understand this new marketplace that we’re alloperating in –voracious, huge appetite. And very, very fast-moving. And we wanted you tocomehere and SelectUSA is the umbrella that is hosting this event because webelieve deeply –we’re convinced, based on our dealings in the world, theexposure in the world, withoutarrogance, without chauvinism – that there is nobetter place in the world to invest than here inAmerica. And there’s no bettertime to do it, in many ways, than right now, because some of thegrowth anddevelopment of the last few years has sort of equalized out in some places sothatmanufacturing – as the Secretary said, the number of manufacturing jobshere now – we’regrowing in manufacturing again because it’s competitive againfor a lot of different reasons.
So make no mistake: As we lookahead to the major trends that are going to define thisnew age, the factorsthat will determine which countries thrive, as well as which businessesthrivein this competitive marketplace, I think it’s crystal clear that the UnitedStates is going tocontinue, because it’s the nature and base of our economy,not because we’re somehowsuperior and somehow better. We just – the nature ofhow we have grown and where we’vecome from, from the Industrial Revolution allthe way through the 1990s and the techexplosion, and into where we are now. Wewill continue to lead the world in both innovationand education because of thenature of our universities, the structure, the number, and theopenness withwhich they operate.
And I believe also people willhave access here because we will continue to work hard to makesure that wehave the most qualified workers and one of the largest consumer markets intheworld. Again, I say, I don’t say any of this with one touch of arrogance. I sayit becausethat good news for America is also, in fact, good news for theworld. It is good news for youand your businesses. And you know the importanceof the American economy in terms of drivingChina’s economy and other economiesin the world, and their importance now to driving othereconomies in theirregions and elsewhere. And it’s a principal reason why I believe you oughttoinvest here. It’s why President Obama is making attracting job-creatinginvestment a toppriority at a level unlike any before.