Published On: Sat, Jan 7th, 2023

Remarks by Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves at the EXIM Annual Conference


Thank you, my friend and colleague, Chair Lewis, for that warm introduction. It is indeed a pleasure to be here at the EXIM Annual Conference.

The range of topics you are discussing at this conference – from clean energy technologies to global infrastructure, from small business financing to semiconductors and transformational exports – reflect the incredible breadth and depth of EXIM’s work with the private sector. They also reflect the breadth and depth of the Commerce Department’s partnership with EXIM, as we work together to drive U.S. export competitiveness.

Indeed, exports provide growth opportunities for American businesses of all sizes and across sectors by offering broader markets and diversified revenue sources. Importantly, as President Biden has said on numerous occasions, export growth will support millions of good-paying jobs and uplift our families and communities.

Last year alone, U.S. exports of goods and services reached $2.5 trillion – the second strongest year on record. I believe that U.S. exports are poised to grow more in the future. That is because the Biden Administration – and the Commerce Department in particular – is making once-in-a-generation investments at home in sectors such as semiconductors, clean tech, and high-speed internet.  Rebuilding our industrial base sets us up to compete abroad, and grow exports and export-oriented jobs both today and into the future.

We are also forging new opportunities and opening new markets abroad. As part of the Administration’s international economic agenda, the Commerce Department is leading efforts to revitalize economic alliances with our partners around the world.

In less than two years, the Administration has stood up the U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council and deepened our commitments through the Quad. In the spring, President Biden launched the ambitious Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity – a novel arrangement between the U.S. and thirteen countries that account for 40 percent of the global GDP, and 28 percent of total goods and services trade. Currently, under negotiation, IPEF will strengthen trade and investment relationships on supply chain resilience, clean energy transition, and tax and anti-corruption.  

In the summer, along with other G7 leaders, the President also launched the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment, or PGII, committing $600 billion in public and private investment infrastructure over the next five years in developing countries – investments that will significantly expand infrastructure export opportunities, including in Africa.  This week’s US-Africa Leaders’ Summit and US-Africa Business Forum will highlight what our businesses on both sides of the Atlantic are doing in the form of concrete deals.

A common thread across these international engagements is the role of the U.S. private sector, including small and medium-sized businesses, as a partner of choice for countries around the world.  Helping position the U.S. private sector is a central goal of the Commerce Department and our colleagues across the U.S. government including USTDA, the State Department, and importantly EXIM.  In our conversations with the private sector, we hear time and again the importance of high-level advocacy as well as financing and, in particular, EXIM financing in enabling our companies to compete effectively, especially in riskier environments.

That’s why our Foreign Commercial Service is actively supporting U.S. businesses through trade missions, bilateral memoranda of understanding, and the work of our Deal Teams.  And in countries around the world, we are working closely with EXIM on deals across sectors.

Another core element of our export competitiveness work is a recognition that our diversity is a source of competitive advantage for the United States.  That’s why we are also partnering with Chair Lewis and her team, including in the execution of the forthcoming National Export Strategy, on ensuring that small businesses, including women- and minority-owned businesses, are able to compete for export opportunities, including global infrastructure opportunities.

Whether in the Indo-Pacific or Africa, Europe, or Latin America, I believe these joint efforts – in concert with EXIM’s ability to support financing to expand U.S. manufacturing capacity and its transformational export program – will bear fruit. To take a cue from the President, we are on the cusp of a new American infrastructure decade as well as an American export decade.

Thank you.



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