Secretary of Commerce on how free trade benefits U.S. companies

Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker on corporate taxes, the President's visit to Cuba, Chinese acquisitions in the U.S., the impact of free trade and protecting U.S. companies.

U.S.-China Relationship Needs Work: Penny Pritzker

By White House

With trade and concerns over Chinese investment in the U.S. becoming hot issues on the presidential campaign trail, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker weighed in on efforts to help the U.S. be more competitive globally.

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“We have to recognize that we live in a globalized economy. American businesses are making acquisitions all over the world. Chinese businesses are making some acquisitions here. We shouldn’t be afraid of that. What we should be doing is opening up our economy. That’s why it’s so important that we have new trade agreements.  We want to make more opportunities for American businesses,” said Pritzker.

Pritzker responded to reports that President Obama doesn’t stay at Chinese-owned Waldorf Astoria in New York City over spying fears.

“I wouldn’t worry about one acquisition of one hotel. What I would focus on frankly, is what is our ability to do business around the world by U.S. corporations. We have a policy in our country of encouraging foreign direct investment. You know the reason why? It is because it creates American jobs,” said Pritzker.

Pritzker then discussed how trade deals such as the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) can benefit U.S. companies and workers.

“What free trade does is create the opportunity for American businesses and American workers to sell our goods and services around the world. The Trans Pacific Partnership is giving access for American companies to the fastest growing marketplace in the entire world, the fastest growing middle class; The middle class in Asia Pacific is going from 500 million to 3.2 billion in the next 15 years.  This is a market we want our American companies to have easy access to,” Pritzker said.

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Pritzker weighed in on efforts to create a level playing field for U.S. companies globally.

“The idea that we’re not protecting our critical industries is a misperception. But what’s important is to give access for our companies so we’re on a level playing field. So that we can take advantage of the fastest growing markets in the world and our workers can benefit from those opportunities.”

On whether America stands a chance in China, Pritzker said, “China is a very complex market and one that we have to work hard on to make sure that our companies have a fair shot. There is work to be done.”

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