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Remarks at the 2018 SelectUSA Investment Summit

SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, good morning, everyone. I’m not going to do all 31 flavors for you as they’re not in my prepared remarks. Frankly, I learned a lot actually from that job working scooping ice cream, things that you all know, right, work hard, tell the truth, perform to your level best at every moment, and often that will lead to good things in your life and in the life of the team that you’re a part of or the business that you’re working to help succeed.

Thanks to Secretary Ross for the very kind introduction. Thank you to all of you, the international investors who have traveled so far to come here and be part of this, as well as the friends that we have here today from the American business community.

Thank you, too, to all the governors and our state-level representatives who have joined us from all across the United States. It has truly made this event special.

And as Wilbur said, I was a congressman, I was the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, but I still consider myself at heart a manufacturing guy. For a decade and a half I ran two manufacturing companies in Wichita, Kansas. The first aerospace manufacturing business was a machine shop. We welded. We had mills and lathes. We sold to Boeing and Lockheed and to Cessna and Raytheon and Gulfstream, and all the airframe manufacturers all across the world. Grew that business to over a $100-million-a-year company.

And then I was hired to run a company that was similar but serving the oil patch where our customers were companies like Halliburton and Schlumberger and some of the big oilfield producers. Every minute of the time that I was in business, my companies benefited from international cooperation.

We direct � we benefited directly from foreign direct investment that supports jobs like we had in Wichita, Kansas that now total over 7 million here in the United States. It’s good for America, it’s good for American workers, it’s good for the investors as well.

So you all are asking why the Secretary of State is here today. You heard from the Secretary of Treasury and Secretary of Commerce. But you must know that global business depends on successful international relationships. You’re looking for the places where you can find the best talent, the most capable people, who has the most transparency, the rule of law, which private sector places have the greatest global brand exposure, and ultimately where can I get the best ROI for the investments that I’ll make.

It won’t surprise you that I believe deeply and I believe that I can prove here this morning that that’s the United States of America. (Applause.) Not only is it our country, but this is the perfect time. It’s the perfect time to come here as an investor, bring your business and your people here.

First, we have an enormous number of advantages. I saw this firsthand when I ran two small businesses. We have an incredible culture of entrepreneurship and innovation. We have the world’s largest market for goods and services. We have enormous political stability and a rule of law that is unrivaled. And we have world-class colleges and universities and technology centers. And we have, along with our international partners, developed a financial system and an economic model that is driven by the private sector.

These assets have been the lifeblood of America for many years. And President Trump’s policies � his economic policies have made our advantages even more of a force multiplier for prosperity. There’s a myth of American retreat from the world, and I have to tell you it is just a myth. President Trump’s agenda is the most pro-business, most pro-international trade of any president in history. It’s been a game-changer for the American economic landscape, and it is one that your company will want to be a part of.

We can see the benefits in lower personal and corporate tax rates, the enormous number of reduced regulations � one of the things that when I was a small business owner was most difficult for us to compete with, when U.S. economic regulations burdened us � our embrace of domestic energy production that I know Secretary Perry has spoken to, and clear support from an administration that is truly open for business. As Larry Kudlow said earlier this month, The war against business is over here in America. The war against success is over [and] the war against energy is over. (Applause.)

Confident employers ready to pay well, the lowest unemployment rates across � rates against all demographics, these are dividends of new policies and a changed attitude creating a new renaissance of American and global prosperity.

As a result of the President’s policies, international companies and investors are already coming here full speed. You’ll want to make sure you get here at the front of the gold rush too.

A company, for example, called Haribo of America, a subsidiary of the German candy company, is building one of its largest facilities in the confectionary industry � and its very first U.S. manufacturing plant � in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin.

It’s a $242 million dollar project to create roughly 400 new jobs here in the United States, and Scott Walker said this new facility will be one of the largest investments in new operations by an overseas company in Wisconsin’s history. And he promised me there would be more to follow.

On the East Coast, in Raleigh, North Carolina, will be the home of North Carolina Technology and Innovation Hub built by India’s IT and consulting company Infosys.

As part of its plan to create 10,000 American jobs over the next two years, Infosys plans to hire 2,000 Americans for its Raleigh hub by 2021.

The company has also partnered with North Carolina Community College System to create a customized program to recruit and train and ultimately hire the workforce of the future, and we’re pleased to have representatives from Infosys here with us today.

The Trump administration is committed to an environment for business that will keep generating this kind of prosperity. It means a lot, because in my role as Secretary of State, I recognize that only an economically strong America can fulfill its commitments to our allies and deter our aggressors from imperiling the global good.

When countries cooperate for economic success, it strengthens our alliances. Prosperous partners have a greater ability to confront real security challenges that we all face and threaten each of our countries. And these threats are real. Whether that is terrorism, illegal migration, or rogue state actors, we need robust economic growth among our partners and allies to push back.

And the State Department is a key player in facilitating commerce that benefits both the American people and our partners.

We have 200 economic and business officers in Washington, D.C. and over 1,500 economic officers that serve in over 190 countries around the world.

Many of them are specifically dedicated to helping international businesses and investors navigate the global commercial space and understand our market here in the United States.

Reach out to them. They’ll help answer your questions, they’ll resolve concerns, they can connect you with investment specialists throughout the United States Government. It is an important part of the State Department that I am now privileged to lead.

And I’m also delighted � I know we have a number of our chiefs of mission, our senior ambassadors and charges here with us. I encourage you all to reach out to them in your country. They know that a priority for the United States is helping commerce both here in America and in the countries in which they serve.

We work hand in hand in these places with our foreign commercial service partners. They’re in 75 countries themselves. This large presence and close coordination reflects the U.S. Government’s unified view and dedication to growing prosperity all around the world.

These advocacy efforts are extended to foreign companies as you require them, and they’re based on tenders that are made here in the United States.

And to the American business community, I want to add this: Our diplomats are ready to help you too. If you travel on international business, please use our embassies. Come on by and say hello. We’re � our doors are open. We can provide insights on market conditions and help you navigate regulatory environments in every nation in the world.

I want to emphasize one more thing that I think is very important for you to know: U.S. economic leadership is built on principles of fairness and a level playing field, and the State Department has as its mission to achieve this goal.

We will fight to protect the interests of U.S. intellectual property right holders all around the world, and you can have confidence that we will work to protect your innovation from theft, from copyright violations, or from other misuse.

As I close today, I’m confident telling you the United States is indeed the best destination in the entire world for entrepreneurship and innovation.

And to our international investors, we welcome you. We hope that you’ll find good investment opportunities. I saw the bars were full last night in downtown. I was passing by. (Laughter.)

Let us know how we can help you. Enjoy your time here in the United States. Bring your investment dollars. We welcome you.

I want to echo the sentiments of my cabinet colleagues Secretary Acosta, Secretary Mnuchin, Secretary Perry, and Secretary Ross. They all feel the same way.

We want to make sure that America is the place for your investments to succeed. Thank you and God bless you, and hope you have a great stay here in the United States. (Applause.)

Source: U.S. Department of State

Secretary Pompeo’s Meeting With Portuguese Foreign Minister Santos Silva

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Heather Nauert:?

Secretary Pompeo met today with Portuguese Foreign Minister Santos Silva. They reaffirmed the United States’ and Portugal’s mutual commitment to increase NATO defense spending, bolster European energy security, and confront destabilizing Russian actions.

Source: U.S. Department of State

On the Occasion of Russia Day in the Russian Federation

On behalf of The President of the United States and the American people, I congratulate the Russian Federation and the people of Russia on the occasion of Russia Day. On this day, we honor the citizens of the Russian Federation and their aspirations for the democratic principles of universal freedom, civil liberties, and the rule of law.

Source: U.S. Department of State

On the Occasion of Russia Day in the Russian Federation

On behalf of The President of the United States and the American people, I congratulate the Russian Federation and the people of Russia on the occasion of Russia Day. On this day, we honor the citizens of the Russian Federation and their aspirations for the democratic principles of universal freedom, civil liberties, and the rule of law.

Source: U.S. Department of State

A Tale of Two Summits

It was a calmer summit, but drew far less Western media attention than the fractious G7 gathering in Canada, which ended in disarray in an escalating dispute over trade and tariffs.

Half a world away at a carefully choreographed annual meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Qingdao, China, there were no death-grip handshakes, personal jibes or Twitter skirmishes between the leaders of Russia, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

And Russian and Chinese officials, as well as their state-run media outlets, Sunday sought to stress the contrast of unity in the Chinese port city of Qingdao with the division and ill-temper in Quebec as a tale of two summits.

During a Sunday, news conference in Qingdao, Russian leader Vladimir Putin offered an oblique commentary on the G7’s disarray, noting the combined purchasing power of the members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is greater than that of the G7.

And Putin didn’t hesitate to note growing friction between the U.S. and Europe. It is a theme he has pressed repeatedly in recent weeks, notably during a recent trip to Austria, revealing a growing confidence in trying to drive a wedge between Washington and its Western allies, according to Ivan Kurilla, a history professor at the European University at St. Petersburg.

In Qingdao, the Russian President highlighted the possibility of the U.S. imposing tariffs on foreign-manufactured cars, something the Trump administration has threatened to do. This might really hurt the economic interests of many countries, first of all, of course, of the European ones, Putin said.

His Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping also referenced the disputes at the G7 meeting over President Donald Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum, warning against selfish, short-sighted policies and extolling free-trade.

He failed to note, though, China’s own tariffs on imports and mounting criticism by Western states of what they see as protectionist trading practices.

Founded in 2001, the SCO was created as a forum to resolve border and security issues, but experts say that increasingly in recent years Moscow and Beijing have used it as platform to counter American and Western influence in Central Asia.

This year, saw India and Pakistan join as full members, which Chinese and Russian leaders saying their entry marks a new chapter for the SCO.

Chinese and Russian leaders deny they are using the bloc as a tool of geo-strategic rivalry with the West.

On Sunday a Communist Party newspaper, The Global Times, contrasted the SCO with NATO and the G7, saying that the American-led multilateral organizations want to consolidate the global economic order that is favorable to the Western world. The SCO is not a tool for geopolitical games, seeking hegemony or engaging in international confrontation, the paper editorialized.

Nonetheless, it crowed: [The] G-7, the rich countries’ club which is supposed to better promote development of Western economies, is now all dog-eat-dog. And in the past Russian leaders have pointed to the SCO as important in trying to build a “multipolar world order.”

More subtle than their media outlets, the bloc’s leaders in Qingdao maintained the counterpoint with the G-7 at their two-day meeting, singing each other’s praises. Xi Jingping announced Putin is his best, most intimate friend and noted the SCO is a model for international win-win cooperation that will benefit not only its eight members, but also the world at large.

Unquestionably there is a shared belief, or vision, held by all SCO members that the age of American domination, and of West-dominated global institutions, is coming to an end and that new global institutions should be developed with a much stronger Asian influence [and possibly African and Latin American as well], at least in parallel with the Western order, and in some areas in defiant competition, says David Howell, a former British foreign minister and now chairman of the House of Lords international relations committee.

But for all of the talk of a new era of cooperation between SCO members, some analysts see the Beijing and Moscow-led organization as more of a propaganda platform used to paper over sharp differences between its members and one whose aims remain to be defined.

Russia and China differ over the organization’s exact purpose and scope, argues Alexander Cooley, a political scientist at New York’s Columbia University.

In a commentary on the eve of the Qingdao meeting, he noted, Many of the organization’s high-profile initiatives continue to be aspirational and unfilled � especially in the area of economic and energy cooperation � while the organization’s strong norm of consensus effectively means that the body is rarely used to ‘problem-solve’ or host contentious debates among its members.

Source: Voice of America

Chinese Leader Hails Russia Ties As Putin Visits Beijing

Chinese President Xi Jinping hailed ties with Russia as he held talks with President Vladimir Putin in Beijing ahead of this weekend’s summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), with the Chinese leader calling Putin his “most intimate friend.”

Putin was given a military honor guard and a welcome ceremony before talks with Xi on June 8.

Following their talks, Xi presented Putin with a newly created Friendship Medal, with the Chinese leader saying, “President Putin is the leader of a great country who is influential around the world. He is my best, most intimate friend.”

“No matter what fluctuations there are in the international situation, China and Russia have always firmly taken the development of relations as a priority,” Xi had told Putin before their talks.

Xi added that the two countries have also “resolutely supported each other’s core interests.”

Putin said later that he held fruitful talks with the Chinese leader.

“This [the Friendship Medal] is an indication of the special attention and respect on which our mutual national interests are based, the interests of our peoples and, of course, our personal friendship.”

The two countries also announced a series of cultural and economic agreements.

Russian Railways and the China Railway Corp. said they signed a preliminary agreement to organize high-speed freight between Russia, China, and Europe.

Russia’s state-run TASS news agency also said the Russia-China Investment Fund (RCIF) and a consortium of Middle Eastern funds signed an agreement to invest in Sovcombank to allocate funds to expand business in Russia.

“The relationship between Russia and China is a friendly, neighborly one, developing in states in the spirit of overarching strategic partnership,” Putin said.

Xi and Putin have forged closer ties amid the two countries’ differences with the United States.

China is mired in negotiations with the United States to avoid a trade war, while Moscow has deep differences with the United States on several diplomatic issues, including Syria and Ukraine.

The presidents of other SCO member-states, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, arrived in China on June 6.

Chinese authorities said Iranian President Hassan Rohani will visit Beijing on June 8 before taking part in the SCO summit in the northern Chinese port of Qingdao from June 9-10.

China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan established the SCO — a Eurasian political, economic, and security grouping — in the early 2000s. India and Pakistan joined in 2017, and Iran has expressed interest in joining.

The presence of Xi, Putin, and Rohani at the SCO summit may facilitate talks about the recent U.S. decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal signed in 2015.

Xi will meet Rohani on the sidelines of the summit, but the nuclear deal is not on the formal agenda.

China is Iran’s top trade partner and one of the biggest importers of its oil, and Chinese leaders have pledged to forge ahead with plans to expand trade ties with Tehran despite the threat posed by a revival of U.S. sanctions later this year.

Chinese officials said the SCO summit will promote Beijing’s massive Belt and Road infrastructure project in Central and South Asia.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.