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U.S. Department of State - Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Preview of the 2015 SelectUSA Summit

Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Stefan Selig and SelectUSA Executive Director Vinai Thummalapally
Washington, DC
March 12, 2015




THE WASHINGTON FOREIGN PRESS CENTER, WASHINGTON, D.C.

MODERATOR: Good afternoon, folks, and welcome to the Foreign Press Center. We’re glad to have such a great turnout. It’s our pleasure to have with us today Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Stefan Selig and the Executive Director of SelectUSA, Vinai Thummalapally – forgive my pronunciation --

AMBASSADOR THUMMALAPALLY: Excellent, I thought. (Laughter.)

MODERATOR: -- oh, thank you – to give us a preview of the SelectUSA summit, which, as you know, is coming up on March 23rd and 24th. We’ll have the under secretary start with some comments. After that, we’ll go to Q&A. So please hold your questions.

Sir.

UNDER SECRETARY SELIG: Well, thank you, and good afternoon, everyone. I’m sure many if not all of you saw President Obama’s State of the Union address just a few months ago. And as he said, the shadow of the financial crisis has now passed us and we are freer to write our own future than any country in the world. And at the core of this point is the incredible economic recovery that we have seen in this country. Our economy is now experiencing the longest period of job growth in U.S. history – 60 consecutive months of job growth. We have achieved a record level of exports in 2014; $2.34 trillion in goods and services were shipped out of this country. We have also had a record of exports with a number of countries, including Canada, Mexico, China, and 49 other nations. And happily, a record number of American jobs have been created that are supporting U.S. exports – nearly 12 million jobs.

That recovery also extends into the area of foreign direct investment – FDI, which is the topic of our conversation today. And the United States has now retained the title of the very best country in the world to invest in, according to A.T. Kearney, for the second consecutive year. And we have also garnered the highest net positive rating in the 16-year history of that index, and we now hold the greatest stock of FDI on the planet. And just under 6 million Americans today work in U.S. subsidiaries of foreign-owned companies.

Because President Obama recognizes how important international investment is to our economy, he created the SelectUSA program as the first-ever all-of-government effort to attract and retain FDI in the United States. SelectUSA is led by my partner, Ambassador Thummalapally, who is here with me today and will also be available for comments and questions.

The centerpiece of SelectUSA’s work is, of course, the SelectUSA summit coming up in just a few days’ time. And this year’s summit will be the second in the history of that program. It will take place on March 23rd and March 24th and will be held at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center right here in National Harbor. And of course, I hope to see many if not all of you there with us on those days.

But before I discuss the SelectUSA summit, I would like to briefly detail exactly what SelectUSA does to attract and retain foreign direct investment. SelectUSA’s work with international companies can be boiled down to three services. First, SelectUSA provides information and counseling assistance. SelectUSA provides information to investors on the benefits of setting up operations in the United States. And more importantly, SelectUSA provides information on how to set up those operations and then move them forward. That includes information on federal rules and regulations as well as high quality data. In fact, you can call the Commerce Department the data agency when it comes to assisting businesses and advancing investment. SelectUSA’s assistance also extends to local state and regional economic development organizations, or EDOs. And that work includes counseling on strategy and best practices as well as on-the-ground intelligence.

Second, SelectUSA helps companies navigate the federal government. SelectUSA coordinates the resources and services of more than 20 federal agencies to address investor concerns, particularly as they relate to federal regulatory issues.

Thirdly, SelectUSA facilitates connections. SelectUSA can introduce investors directly to the state and local contacts they need to do business, and SelectUSA also organizes high-profile events such as roadshows, investment missions, and trade fairs to make it easier for companies to meet with U.S. officials and learn about investing. And of course, there is – this is when there’s a drumroll, Vinai – the SelectUSA investment summit.

In just over three years, SelectUSA has facilitated over $20 billion in new investment in the United States. In 2014 alone, SelectUSA provided services to more than 1,000 potential investors and EDOs, and SelectUSA’s work is indeed why we are seeing companies like Dalian Wanda Group from China in Missouri, German-based Lufthansa in Puerto Rico, India-based Jyoti Industries in Texas, and Japan-based Mitsubishi in Michigan. In fact, I was in North Carolina just yesterday afternoon overseeing the opening of a state-of-the-art legwear manufacturing facility. SelectUSA aided the Canadian-based PEDS company which invested in this facility, and today, not only is that factory going to provide U.S.-made legwear to Walmart’s shelves, but 205 new jobs will be created because of that investment alone.

So this leads to the SelectUSA summit, which I can assure you will be the highest profile event ever in the United States to highlight foreign direct investment. The summit will showcase investment opportunities from every corner of the United States, and high-profile business and government leaders will share their insights on the latest business trends. The centerpiece of the summit will be our client service elements, our trade show and online matchmaking. Both of these will enable investors to connect directly with economic developers and officials to discuss potential business opportunities.

This will also be the first SelectUSA summit to include the SelectUSA Academy. The SelectUSA Academy will be held the day before the summit, and it will give companies, state and local governments, and EDOs the basics on investing and strategies to attract and retain investment.

Finally, we have a stellar list of businesses and thought leaders, as well as government officials, who will be speaking and participating in panels during the two-day summit, including myself and Vinai. Notably, Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman and CEO of Google; and David Rubenstein, the co-founder and co-CEO of the Carlisle Group. Other confirmed executives include the CEO of Strand Life Sciences, the president and CEO of Nissan, and the CEO of Novo Nordisk; the president of BMW North America, and the president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, amongst others. Additionally, seven U.S. cabinet members will be on hand at the summit: Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Treasury Jack Lew, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, our U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, and, of course, our boss, Secretary Pritzker of Commerce.

To date, we have nearly reached capacity at the summit, and probably by the time this conference is over – or this meeting is over, we will have actually reached our capacity. We have over 2,500 people from roughly 80 countries that have registered for the SelectUSA summit, which is almost double the size of the first summit in 2013. And additionally, more than 30 U.S. ambassadors will be personally leading delegations to Washington in about 10 days.

In short, this summit will showcase investment opportunities from every corner of the country in one location, and that will save investors time and money in their search for new investment opportunities. And more importantly, because there will be business leaders, economic developers, and government officials in one place, the connections and matchmaking power will be seamless, speedy, and second to none.

All of this leads to my final point this afternoon, which is that now is a compelling time to invest in our country. Our economy has always had second-to-none strengths: the traditional strength and depth of the capital markets, supported by sound rule of law and the finest educational institutions in the world. But at the core of the current strength is a remarkable surge in our competitive position, and you do not have to take my word for it today. Ray Dalio’s investment firm Bridgewater noted that the U.S. is, and I quote, “in its strongest competitive position in over a decade.”

That competitive position is reflected in the remarkable state of our manufacturing productivity. The White House recently released a report detailing that manufacturing output increased since the end of the global recession by 30 percent, that our output is growing at roughly twice the pace of our economy overall, and that we are experiencing the longest period where manufacturing has outpaced economic output in 50 years.

That competitive position is also reflected in our robust innovation sector – notably, that we are the global leader in R&D funding, that roughly one third of global R&D spending takes place in the United States, and that in 2013, international companies spent nearly $48 billion in U.S. R&D. So American innovation is clearly making companies more globally competitive.

Add to this the fact that we are also experiencing the power of two long-term downward drivers of production costs. One is low energy costs due in part to a century’s worth of natural gas reserves in our country. The other is a digital manufacturing boom, where technologies are making it faster and cheaper and easier to bring products to our second-to-none market.

So the fundamentals for high returns are clearly present: nearly unprecedented highs when it comes to productivity, innovation, and R&D investment; dramatic lows in the costs of energy and production; and near-unprecedented speed when it comes to bringing goods and services to market. And these levers are not only high-performing, they are and will be, in fact, enduring. All of this lends to a business environment that means superior returns for global investors and prosperity for our domestic economy.

I would like to conclude by pointing out that before I came to the Commerce Department, I spent nearly 30 years building and guiding a successful investment bank in New York. So I’m not only speaking as a member of the Administration or as the head of the International Trade Administration to you today. I am speaking as a person with nearly three decades of experience connecting clients to attractive global market opportunities. Now, I will concede that I have been away from Wall Street for almost nine months now, but that being said, I assume that business fundamentals have not changed all that much.

So there is a very simple reason why I can confidently tell you today that this is a compelling time to invest in the United States: Because if I were an investor and not the Under Secretary of Commerce, I would make the same case for investing in the United States, except I would be making it to my clients and not all of you here today. The SelectUSA summit will make it crystal clear that investors around the world should double down on the United States. So thank you for listening this afternoon. I look forward to your questions, and as I do that, I’d like to invite Vinai to join me up at the podium.

MODERATOR: So do you want to comment – any comments first, or go right into questions, or --

AMBASSADOR THUMMALAPALLY: We could go pretty much into questions, but I do want to add one key point, and that is the opportunity for investors in the United States – the market, the size of the market – in addition to 320 million consumers in the United States, we have free trade agreements – 20, to be exact – that increases the pie to roughly 725 million globally. So it’s creating this opportunity for investments from foreign markets, foreign companies wanting to come to the U.S. They’ve got a tremendous opportunity to grow and become competitive and market their products and services. So I just wanted to add that. Thank you.

UNDER SECRETARY SELIG: Great. Thank you, Vinai. So with that, questions.

MODERATOR: So please raise your hands. Wait for the microphone. Identify yourself and your media outlet. We can start over here with Jennifer.

QUESTION: Thank you. I am Jennifer Lee with Hong Kong Phoenix TV. Two questions regarding China. First is for the executive director. So China – we know China has the largest delegation last time, so what’s your expectation from China this year? And the second question is for the undersecretary. There are two reports aroused China’s attention recently. The first is from the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, saying that there’s a surge in China’s EB-5 investors raising the fraud risk. And the second one is for CFIUS. It shows that China topped the U.S. list of the national security reviews in 2013. So we know China investors are facing more doubts and facing more national security reviews recently. Do you think they should be concerned, and do you think it will add more tensions as China and the United States are negotiating the Bilateral Investment Treaty? Thank you.

AMBASSADOR THUMMALAPALLY: Let me go --

UNDER SECRETARY SELIG: Do you want to take the first one on?

AMBASSADOR THUMMALAPALLY: Yeah, because the first one kind of answers part of the second one. If I could. Last year, yes, China had the largest delegation to our summit, the inaugural summit in fall of 2013. This year, the registrations – I was just looking at registrations this morning, would you believe. We have 150 investors coming from China and Hong Kong combined, making it – clearly making it the largest delegation of all delegations out of the roughly 80 delegations that are coming from the entire world.

UNDER SECRETARY SELIG: Well, let me just quickly just comment on the CFIUS point, because this is something that comes up regularly in our conversations with China. And I would make a couple of – one general point first, which is the United States has a free and open economy and is open to all investors. An exceedingly small part, less than 1 percent of all Chinese investment in the United States is subject to a CFIUS review, so it’s a very, very small part of it. I think I truly appreciate and understand the sensitivities around this issue, and we will kind of continue to address it and work with our Chinese interlocutors, but the practical impact of CFIUS is very, very modest, and I do not believe that it should in any way discourage Chinese investors in our country who are welcome like all other investors.

QUESTION: Follow-up question?

MODERATOR: Sure.

QUESTION: So I asked – the Bilateral Investment Treaty. We know that you’re almost finished in negotiation and will exchange the (inaudible) list really soon. Do you have any idea about the process and this kind of issues? Does it – this kind of issues impact the negotiations? Thank you.

UNDER SECRETARY SELIG: (Inaudible) think so. The BIT is being negotiated, as you know, by the State Department and the U.S. – United States Trade Representative. So it’s not what Vinai and I are doing. They are continuing to make progress. But issues continue to remain, and we are hopeful that progress will continue, but I think it’s too soon to tell what the timing of a successful resolution to a bilateral investment treaty with China might be.

QUESTION: John Zang with CTI TV. Excuse me, CTI TV of Taiwan. We understand that Taiwan will probably feature the second largest delegation for this year’s summit. I have actually two questions. One, Taiwan sent a delegation last year. It was also a big delegation. Were there any projects that materialized from last year’s visit and participation in the summit? What do you expect from this year?

Second question, the delegation of the Taiwanese – the head of the Taiwanese delegation said in Taipei that while participating in the summit, he would like to promote Taiwan’s chances of participating in the TPP negotiations as one of the next round members. How likely would the United States support Taiwan’s bid in that regard? Thank you very much.

UNDER SECRETARY SELIG: So I was not here for last year, so I will let the ambassador talk about the experience of Taiwan last year. But I am happy to report that you correct again that there’s going to be a very impressive and important delegation from Taiwan this year, and we are going to host more than 90 delegates from Taiwan going forward. As it relates to TPP – and I’ve had conversations with my interlocutors in Taiwan on this topic – what I would say is, first of all, it is not for the United States to decide who is in TPP. There are 11 other partner nations, not just the United States. So it’s not a unilateral decision, of course, the United States can make. And it is being crafted in such a way that it will accommodate other entrants who are willing to accept the highest standard agreements – trade agreements which TPP will represent. So aspirationally, that is indeed a possibility. I think it is something, however, that is not intended to be accommodated in the first closing of the TPP agreement.

AMBASSADOR THUMMALAPALLY: In terms of Taiwan delegation last year, Under Secretary’s correct – very large. Last year was also large, and again, this year close to double of last year. In terms of investments from delegates who the companies that were present last time moving forward, so we’re roughly 17, 18 months after that event, we do not track, we do not track every attendee as to what these companies are doing. That would become a daunting task for us. We do not require that of either investors, delegates, or for economic development organizations, both state and non-state, to give us that report. That’s not the business we are in. So all I can say is it’s very likely that people who attended last summit have either moved their projects forward in significant fashion or completed deals in the last 18 months.

UNDER SECRETARY SELIG: And I think, just to that point, given that a number of the largest delegations the first year remain a number of the largest delegations, you would have presumed that they found it to be a worthwhile experience as opposed to having large delegations that would have shrank dramatically for this year’s summit.

QUESTION: Mr. Under Secretary, a quick follow-up on the TPP issue. I know it’s not entirely up to the United States to decide who the next round of new members would be, but the U.S. is very important, one of the 12. At least given Taiwan’s enthusiasm for the TPP membership, given Taiwan’s enthusiasm in supporting the SelectUSA events, would the United States at least be expressing its willingness to help Taiwan to participate in possibly the next round, next wave of negotiations? Thank you.

UNDER SECRETARY SELIG: Yeah, I guess the only thing I’d say is we are not connecting those two things directly in the way that you’ve just suggested. We are extremely pleased with the Taiwanese delegation to SelectUSA. And we’re pleased not just for us; we’re pleased for them because we think, as I said earlier, represents a extraordinarily attractive for Taiwanese companies to invest in our country, one. And two is we are hopeful that TPP, once closed, will be expansive and will accommodate lots of countries going forward. So I think from that respect, we have a commonality of interest and look forward to all countries doing those things that they need to do to be included in TPP in the future.

MODERATOR: Antonella.

QUESTION: I’m Antonella Ciancio from Italy from Il Sole 24 Ore Group. I have a question for the under secretary. It’s more – it’s broader, about trade and which impact do you see coming for U.S. exports, and at the same time, for investments into the United States from the weaker euro and the stronger dollar?

And also, I have a question for Mr. Thummalapally, and it’s about – what kind of a response are you getting from Italy, for example, from the delegation, if you are seeing something different happening, more interest, or if you just can give me some update on that? Thank you.

UNDER SECRETARY SELIG: So let me comment first on the strength of the United States currency. Obviously, the U.S. dollar has appreciated not just against the euro but has appreciated against currencies around the world. And that is in no small part because of the growth we are seeing in the United States that I referenced earlier in my remarks, and certainly the relatively stronger position and growth of our country coming out of the financial crisis.

And I would say two things. That dollar – stronger dollar clearly is going to make it more difficult for U.S. companies to effectively export and going to make it more expensive to attract foreign direct investment to the United States. And that is exactly why we are so focused on the initiatives I mentioned, including SelectUSA, to attract foreign direct investment and the National Export Initiative, which is the President’s initiative to help U.S. companies more effectively export, one. And two, the sort of trade agreements like TPP and TTIP that were just discussed – we are trying to do everything we can to help U.S. companies succeed in this environment where they have some real headwinds because of the strength of the U.S. dollar, and hence why we are here with you today.

AMBASSADOR THUMMALAPALLY: Two points I wanted to make to answer your question, ma’am. One is just a few months ago SelectUSA – on behalf of SelectUSA, I signed a memorandum of intent with the Italian trade agency, sort of agreeing to help each other. This is not a one-way street. We will work with Italian companies, Italian investment attraction efforts to help Italian companies to see how U.S. companies can prosper more in Italy, but – the vice versa. So we are helping – they’re helping us to promote Italian company investments in the United States.

The number of delegates more than doubled from last time to this time. We have 76 registrants from Italy this time on their way, so we’re very excited and anxiously waiting to host them in a week and a half.

MODERATOR: Follow-up? Sure.

QUESTION: Yeah. Just a follow-up. Oh, it’s for the under secretary and it’s: What about initiatives about, like, visas or corporate tax? Are those the – I know that this Administration wants to reform and change, but what can we expect? Should we wait until after 2016, or is there anything actually moving now that we can maybe highlight in our reports? Thank you.

UNDER SECRETARY SELIG: I wouldn’t want to get out ahead of ourselves before the summit. I think the visa issue is something that the Administration fully appreciates the importance of for trade and for travel and tourism, which as you know, is our biggest services industry in the United States, where we’re also achieving record levels. So this is a real focus area for the Administration, and hopefully we will see continued progress on a number of the visa issues that you’re referring to.

MODERATOR: Elliot.

QUESTION: Thank you. Elliot Waldman with Tokyo Broadcasting System. Thanks for doing this. I just – I had kind of a broad question. I don’t think anyone would disagree that FDI is good for – from a macro perspective, but I think there are a lot of people who would look at this event and say that it’s coming at a time when the trend has been for U.S. companies to shift operations from the U.S. overseas, and that this is kind of an attempt to bolster the presence in the U.S. with foreign companies, which makes some people in the U.S. a little bit uneasy. So I was wondering how you would respond to that. Thank you.

UNDER SECRETARY SELIG: Well, I guess I would respond by saying I don’t agree with the premise. So the United States has the benefit of having the largest stock of foreign direct investment of any country around the world, and I believe, as I said in my remarks, remains the premier investment destination for companies to invest around the world for many of the reasons that I have suggested. And many of the third-party sources, I think, confirm that, including the A.T. Kearney study, which I just suggested.

So the fact is is that we are all living in a highly interconnected global world which is a global marketplace, which means companies are going to invest in those markets that they find the most attractive and where they see the most opportunity. And what SelectUSA is about is hoping to communicate and persuade companies around the world that we believe the United States is the such – the best such investment destination. But at the end of the day, the proof will be in the pudding based on what investors decide they want to do. And happily, what we were seeing recently is they’re – them voting with their feet and investing in our country to take advantage of the opportunities that we believe exist.

MODERATOR: Daisuke.

QUESTION: Thank you so much. My name is Daisuke Igarashi from Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun. I have a question for Under Secretary. The Chinese Government is now considering and expected to announce new cyber security rules, which requires IT companies providing services to – financial services to provide the program to the Chinese Government, and also to store their data in China. So as a person who have a long experience in the financial services, what kind of concern do you have?

UNDER SECRETARY SELIG: Well, we have a lot of concern, and it’s been a active topic of conversation with China across – not just by me and my colleagues, but in the interagency. In fact, was a topic that we spent a considerable amount of time on at the JCCT in Chicago in December of last year.

So I would say the following: that cyber security is of course important to all companies, that privacy issues are of course important for all countries and all populations, on the one hand. On the other hand, I would not want to confuse cyber security and privacy with protectionist measures that are put in place simply to benefit local competitors over international companies. The United States, as you know, is by far the global leader in most technology industries and sectors. And as a result, we are perhaps most impacted by these initiatives of any nation around the world. And we are very focused on protecting our industry and making sure that any measures that are put in place are appropriate and are, in fact – and in fact, are – do what they are designed to do, which is to increase security and not to be protectionist in nature.

MODERATOR: With a follow-up, yeah.

QUESTION: So just a follow-up. I think TPP has a IT chapter, which is about data flow and all that. So how could the TPP support preventing this kind of measure, do you think? Can you explain to us a little bit about how?

UNDER SECRETARY SELIG: Well, I’m not sure they are connected because China is not part of the TPP conversation, but with the other 11 countries, it does exactly that, which is to make sure there are no nontariff barriers that make it difficult for companies that are signatories of TPP to compete effectively on a level playing field.

MODERATOR: Questions in the back?

QUESTION: Hi, my name is Jeremy Au Yong from the Straits Times of Singapore. I had questions about the summit itself. First of all, I was wondering, is there – if there are any particular sectors that you will be looking to promote investment in at the summit. Secondly, I know you mentioned that there was – you don’t actually track the companies, but is there any kind of ballpark figure or estimate about how much FDI has directly – can directly be linked to the SelectUSA summit? And third of all, if there is any comment you can make about Singapore’s interest in SelectUSA?

AMBASSADOR THUMMALAPALLY: So Singapore, it’s a very significant partner in terms of both, investment going both ways. In terms of specific investments coming from Singapore, how the summit – last summit has impacted, I don’t have the snippet of Singapore companies, but the companies we tracked, there were roughly – just looking broadly, about 40 company – 39 companies who attended that event in 2013, landed up doing about 74 investments – this is, again, not all-inclusive – totaling roughly $20 billion in investment, just – sorry, $6 billion in investment from those 74 investments, but resulting in 20,000 jobs in the U.S. So that’s just a kind of a high level, but it’s not all inclusive, because so many investments happen so organically, they don’t come onto our radar. But it’s significant in how our work is impacting clients we work.

UNDER SECRETARY SELIG: And this year, I think we’re going to have about a dozen delegates from Singapore attending. And I would say there isn’t any particular industry focus. The largest sector would be the manufacturing sector. But we also have significant participation from services industry, business services, real estate, among other things, amongst others. I would also say that there is a very good cross-section of different sized companies. Roughly half the companies that will be in attendance will be small and medium-sized companies, and the other half – small companies – the other half will be medium and large-sized companies.

MODERATOR: And a follow-up. Yep.

QUESTION: Can I just check if there’s any focus geographically at more companies looking for investments coming from any part of the country in the U.S.?

UNDER SECRETARY SELIG: I would say we have representation from every state in the union, so – Vinai and I have 50 very, very attractive children, so we don’t pick favorites. We love them all.

AMBASSADOR THUMMALAPALLY: We love them. We love them equally. (Laughter.)

UNDER SECRETARY SELIG: And not including U.S. territories, because they’re also children.

AMBASSADOR THUMMALAPALLY: Yes, yes.

MODERATOR: Another in the back.

QUESTION: Thank you. I’m Tony Liao from Central News Agency, Taiwan. If I was an entrepreneur and thinking about (inaudible) choose a place in China where U.S. to set up a headquarter and my product sell around the world, if the TPP or TTIP complete this year, what kind of benefit are they going to have? Compared to China?

UNDER SECRETARY SELIG: So, I’m sorry, what is the – could you repeat the – what is the benefit for a --

QUESTION: If TPP or TTIP completed this year or next year, what kind of benefits are they going to have relatively to – if I’m setting my headquarter in China?

UNDER SECRETARY SELIG: If you’re headquartered in China?

QUESTION: Yeah, (inaudible).

QUESTION: (Inaudible.) If you’re an entrepreneur company, why would it be better to be in the United States versus (inaudible) TTIP than in China?

UNDER SECRETARY SELIG: Why it would be better to be in the United States than in China? Okay. Well, I guess I would say the following. If we conclude these broad trade agreements, it will make it easier for companies that are participants and parties to those agreements to do business within those partner countries. As we’ve seen in the past, we do – we trade much more with countries where we have free trade agreements than where we don’t. And as result of that, being included in those agreements we have seen categorically leads to more economic connectivity with countries in those agreements where we’re both able to export more and invest more.

So for a Chinese entrepreneur, what I would say is – depends on the nature of the company and the nature of their business, so it’s kind of hard to generalize, other than to say the ability for – to do business in those partner countries is just going to be simplified.

MODERATOR: We have time for one more question. I see one more hand.

QUESTION: Thanks. Just wanted to follow up on something you said during your opening remarks, that part of SelectUSA’s mission was to help navigate – help companies navigate some of the regulatory issues that they come across in the U.S. I was wondering what some of the most common issues that you help companies deal with are, what some of the most frequent complaints are, and how you plan to use this event to sort of assuage their concerns in that regard. Thanks.

AMBASSADOR THUMMALAPALLY: The questions are all – tend to be all over the map in terms of energy, in terms of location, in terms of – sometimes – so many times, we get questions on visas, what type of visa do I need to travel to the United States and how do I go about processing. So there’s just a number of questions. It’s quite broad.

But SelectUSA is seen as a one-stop shop for investors. Needless to say, the size and scale of the U.S. Government is large, so it’s – for an investor, particularly SMEs, it’s pretty daunting. It’s kind of intimidating to know – to realize where do I go, who do I call. So we’re seen as a one-stop shop. So as an investor company, again SMEs, you need to just remember one person or one entity to call. And we’re represented through our commercial service presence in 72 markets, in 72 countries. We have over 100 offices globally.

So what’s happening is companies are calling the local commercial service office, and they immediately provide all the SelectUSA services. And we’re completely hooked in, connected, looped in, answering their questions. And we sort of, essentially, provide concierge service, answering these questions to investors.

UNDER SECRETARY SELIG: But it really, obviously, depends on the market that you can imagine. So amongst those things might be environmental laws and environmental regulations, labor laws and labor regulations. So many countries do not have similar sort of regulatory systems that we have. But those would be two obvious ones that come up quite often.

MODERATOR: So that was pretty quick, so I think we can fit in one last question.

QUESTION: Okay. Real short. Thank you. Jim Berger from Washington Trade Daily. Do you have an accounting of how many TPP companies or representatives will be at the meeting next – in a couple weeks?

UNDER SECRETARY SELIG: How many companies from TPP nations will be there?

QUESTION: Yeah. Or a percentage or – I know it’s --

UNDER SECRETARY SELIG: Oh, boy. That’s --

AMBASSADOR THUMMALAPALLY: We actually have the numbers, but we didn’t plot them. We have it by market. We have --

UNDER SECRETARY SELIG: So we could just aggregate the --

AMBASSADOR THUMMALAPALLY: We have not added them, and I – my math is not that good. Let me count. It would be – but it’s – I think, needless to say, it’s significant.

QUESTION: I mean, are the negotiations that have been going on for the last few years promoting the meeting? I mean, is there interest being driven through the negotiations (inaudible)?

UNDER SECRETARY SELIG: Again, I’m not sure I would connect the negotiation of either the two big trade agreements, TTIP or TPP, with SelectUSA, other than to say that, given the growth in the Asian markets, which is the focus of TPP, of course, but I think it does underscore the opportunities for those markets to continue to grow and build their businesses around the world, including in the United States, through foreign direct investment. So – and I would also say, as it relates to TTIP, many of the largest investors in the United States – already members of the EU, and so you’d expect, again, to see very large participation from TTIP members to continue along those lines.

So with that, I would like to thank all of you for coming today. And hopefully you will take us up on our invitation to join us on March 23rd and March 24th, which we hope and expect will be a hugely successful event. So thank you.

AMBASSADOR THUMMALAPALLY: Thank you.

MODERATOR: Thanks a lot, everybody.