(As prepared for delivery – September 7, 2016)
It is an honor and a privilege to be back in Adelaide and back at the American Chamber of Commerce!
One of the highlights of my time here as Ambassador has been our Embassy’s close, collaborative relationship with AmCham.
Not only does AmCham play a pivotal role in the U.S.-Australia relationship, its members –all of YOU – are important to the U.S. relationship with the entire Asia-Pacific region.
What we once referred to a rebalance in U.S. policy toward the Asia-Pacific has become the new normal. The United States has a rich, deep, and rewarding relationship with the most politically and economically dynamic region on the planet.
Our stellar relationship with this region today is a result of tremendous leadership in so many areas. And, that is what I want to focus on today – the leadership the Australian and U.S. governments are providing, and the leadership you, the business community, is providing, in Australia and around the Asia-Pacific region.
Our leadership is constantly evolving. And, the reality is that America is a safe harbor and trusted ally for Australia in a turbulent world.
The truth of this is reflected in both the quality and quantity of recent high-level cross-Pacific engagements. The year began with the successful visit of Prime Minister Turnbull to Washington, D.C.; where he and President Obama spoke frankly and substantively for two hours in the Oval Office.
Following that visit, we have seen an impressive array of American visitors – from high-ranking generals, to cabinet officials and Members of Congress, to leading figures in science and the arts – culminating in the July visit by Vice President Biden. The Vice President highlighted our cooperation across the board: from cancer research to advanced manufacturing, from defense to entrepreneurship and innovation. He made it clear that America looks to Australia, as an ally and global leader.
From military to intelligence, from space to sport, from culture to education, from tourism to trade, it is clear that U.S-Australia cooperation knows no bounds and is a model for other strategic relationships in the Asia-Pacific. These strong bilateral ties underpin the principled, rules-based, international order that has and will continue to promote stability and prosperity in our region.
Much of U.S. policy in the Asia-Pacific has followed a course set by the business community. Working together, our governments and our businesspeople have ushered in the 21st century economy. Its hallmarks are increased investment, integration, and innovation.
All of you represent companies that contribute to the $1.5 trillion U.S. dollar economic partnership between the United States and Australia. I have watched two-way investment increase nearly 50 percent over the last three years, and it is growing every day. This signifies the trust, confidence, and optimism we have in the strength of each other’s economies.
Thanks to you, the United States is the largest foreign investor in Australia. American companies represent almost a quarter of all investment here. U.S. direct investment in Australia stands at $180 billion and indirect investment totals more than $600 billion. You have created, directly and indirectly, hundreds of thousands of jobs in Australia. American firms supply over $40 billion worth of Australia’s imported goods and services. All this is phenomenal!
More and more U.S. companies are doing business in South Australia. Cisco, HP, Kimberly-Clark, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, Pfizer, Raytheon, and Westinghouse have forged important business relationships here, invested in local communities, and created thousands of jobs.
Having just come from the Land Forces Expo, my mind is on the defense industry. Lockheed Martin built its Submarine Combat System Laboratory here in Adelaide, and also works with local high school and university students to encourage science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education; inspiring a new generation of Australian engineers. Raytheon has partnered with Questacon for over a decade to promote STEM; and, as of June, Adelaide is now the headquarters of Raytheon Australia’s Naval and Integration workforce.
Across the country, and especially here in South Australia, our economic partnership, like our alliance, is about much more than defense. In the medical field, Pfizer is spending $21 million U.S. dollars to expand its Adelaide cancer drug facility, making Adelaide a hub for production of a drug that reduces infections in cancer patients. This investment will put $380 million U.S. dollars into the South Australia economy over the next seven years.
HP and Microsoft have established innovation centers in Adelaide; HP’s Innovation and Collaboration Centre is a key component of the University of South Australia’s Science Creativity and Education studio. The Microsoft Innovation Centre South Australia or MICSA [mick sah] is designed to help drive the next generation of startups and entrepreneurs, as well as accelerate the growth of small- to medium-sized enterprises.
I want to encourage American companies to work with our embassy to tell the story of your work with small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), new graduates, interns, and local tech development. We need to tell the story of the difference FDI makes to Australia.
More than a decade after we signed our free trade agreement, bilateral trade has experienced tremendous growth. The United States is now the number one international destination for Australian beef and wine – much of that wine is produced in South Australia. And, the United States is Australia’s leading source of aircraft and farm machinery. The landmark Trans-Pacific Partnership will further open our markets and promote prosperity.
Thank you to AmCham for your leadership and advocacy on the TPP in both Canberra and Washington, D.C. You know that we can’t afford to ignore the vast markets beyond U.S. and Australian shores.
It is a fact that the TPP will strengthen existing trade and investment ties among the 12 TPP partners; boost economic growth; create jobs and opportunity; and deepen the economic, political, and security architecture of the Asia-Pacific region. The TPP will help to cement this region’s tremendous growth and economic power over the long term.
While the TPP is a win for all countries and Australia as a whole, South Australia itself will accrue significant benefits – local exporters of beef, seafood, wheat, and wine will be able to access new and large markets in Canada and Mexico as tariffs on these products are cut or eliminated.
One of the many reasons why TPP will succeed is because it promotes innovation. It is the first trade agreement with specific provisions for e-commerce. And it has strong rules to protect U.S. and Australian creativity while also promoting a balance that ensures open, innovative, and technologically advanced economies.
Two years ago, I said I would make innovation a theme of my tenure as Ambassador. Look how far we’ve come together! Prime Minister Turnbull has put innovation at the heart of Australia’s policy agenda. It was a central theme of the discussions between the Prime Minister and President at the White House in January and the SelectUSA Investment Summit in June. And, AmCham will return to the world’s innovation hub – Silicon Valley – and also visit Seattle, during its 2016 “Innovation Mission” this October and November.
The Embassy’s six innovation roundtables across Australia, including one in Adelaide in September 2015, brought together students, business leaders, academics, scientists, researchers, government officials, venture capitalists, and entrepreneurs to discuss best practices and ideas for expanding cooperation. The Adelaide roundtable was held at Flinders University’s Tonsley Industrial area – where the future of South Australia industry is rising from the ashes of an old car plant. And speaking of cars, last year, Flinders together with American university Carnegie Mellon, Volvo, and other corporate and research partners conducted some of the first on-road trials of driverless cars right here in Adelaide on the Southern Expressway. It was a glimpse of our future.
The future is what South Australia is about as it diversifies from a hub for traditional manufacturing to a leading light in the knowledge economy. In the process, it has created an innovation ecosystem second to none. That is what attracts U.S. businesses like HP and Microsoft and countless others. Flinders’ New Venture Institute alone has fostered over 100 startups. Such robust support for entrepreneurship puts South Australia in good company, across Australia, and across the Pacific. In June, 11 Australians joined President Obama and top American entrepreneurs and innovators at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in California. The GES was about how to take great ideas, get people talking about them, and make them part of our global reality.
South Australia is a pioneer in healthcare, and you can expect great things from our work together in biomedical research. American doctors and scientists at the National Institutes of Health have joined forces with Australian researchers at the National Health and Medical Research Council to explore the human brain and seek cures for cancer and other devastating diseases. Some of this collaboration is taking place at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute. SAHMRI is an important research partner in the United States’ BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative.
In Paris last December, the international community outlined a global clean energy future. And, clean energy requires the scientific and research community to work in tandem with the business community in new and exciting ways. It is not an exaggeration to say that American and Australian collaboration is already revolutionizing the production of LNG, making it cleaner and more environmentally friendly. And, together, we are pioneering renewable energy solutions – hydro, wind, solar, geothermal, and wave energy, as well as biofuels.
Finally, nothing compares to what I like to call innovation at its finest: our joint exploration of the cosmos. NASA has invested $100 million U.S. dollars over the last two years for upgrades and new satellite dishes at the Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex. This partnership with the CSIRO is preparing both our countries for the Journey to Mars – a mission that promises to advance technology by leaps and bounds. We’ll make that journey together.
Getting to Mars will force us to invent new ways to conserve water and improve fuel efficiency. Which, is part of the answer to the greatest challenge of our era – how to promote growth and economic opportunity for a growing population while conserving planet Earth.
Advanced manufacturing, innovative science, and emerging technologies will give birth to new industries and new jobs – in South Australia, across this country, and across the United States. Our growing green and blue economies offer a hint of our future. AmCham is helping us all get to a better today for this generation, and for our children, a bigger, better tomorrow.
This century will be defined by the Asia Pacific. It will be defined by the joint economic investments made by U.S. and Australian companies. It will be defined by our relationships with regional neighbors, friends, and allies. It will be defined by the United States and Australia moving boldly forward, together.
Thank you. I look forward to our discussion.