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American Turkish Council

As Prepared for Delivery

Fred P. Hochberg

Oct 19, 2010 – Washington, D.C.

This past July, I visited Turkey to lead a delegation from the Export - Import Bank of the United States.

Before launching into meetings with business and government leaders to discuss Turkey's plans to invest more than $500 billion on infrastructure in next decade---I first went straight from the airport to Anitkabir, the memorial to Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, a man who embraced modernity and engagement with the world.

Anitkabir is the place I was told to see if I wanted to truly understand Turkey's past and how this history defines its role in the world today.

At the center of this magnificent memorial stands a flagpole, erected to ensure that Turkey's flag proudly flies 24 hours-a-day at this beautiful site.

While there, I learned that this flagpole was made in a factory in New York City, owned by Nazmi Cemal, a Turkish-American.

The symbolism was both powerful and moving…..

Here, at the heart of where the father of Turkey's vibrant democracy is honored, stands a quiet testament to the U.S. and Turkey's economic partnership---and a tribute to its potential to bring our nations' closer together.

Our nations' friendship was forged during the Cold War, when our common security was our common bond.

Turkey has been a stalwart member of NATO and Turkish troops have served alongside American soldiers dating back to the Korean War.

There are many objectives that unite the United States and Turkey:

  • national security,
  • economic prosperity,
  • a vibrant democracy,
  • and Middle East stability.

These objectives have guided us through tough times and they are what continue to strengthen the bond between our two countries.

Today, during this challenging time in world history, our relationship is more important than ever.

While national security remains a cornerstone of our friendship, business partnerships between American and Turkish companies can—and need to—play a central and defining role in our relationship in the coming years.

We cannot afford to let opportunities to support each other's economic progress slip away.

What I believe is needed to buttress our alliance is commercial diplomacy.

Increased investments and exports will encourage

  • more innovation and
  • more jobs and prosperity to both our nations

To accomplish this, we must have more forums like this, as well as cultural exchanges and student exchanges to deepen our understanding of each other's culture, history and values.

At the Ex-Im Bank we are committed to doing our part to make this vision a reality.

A vision where the bonds between Turkey and the United States are strengthened by commercial ties.

Since its establishment in 1934, the Ex-Im Bank has had one central objective: to create and sustain American jobs through exports.

Our bank was founded with this goal during the Great Depression and it has remained true to this mission during the recent economic crisis.

Export financing - whether through a loan, insurance or guarantee - can transform American entrepreneurs into thriving global competitors.

President Obama has made it very clear that he views exports as a key factor in our nation's economic recovery efforts.

As part of the National Export Initiative, the President called for our nation to double exports to more than $3 trillion by 2015, adding 2 million jobs to our economy.

Ex-Im Bank is doing its part to meet this goal.

Having run my family business for twenty years and taking it public, I appreciate how the private sector measures success in dollars and cents. That is the approach I take to my job. I like report cards. I like hard data that measures our progress.

So I am pleased to report that….

For fiscal year 2010, which closed just two weeks ago, Ex-Im had a record-breaking year, with nearly $25 billion of new financing representing $33 billion in export sales -- which created or sustained approximately 230,000 jobs.

In Turkey alone, we supported export sales of more than $700 million in FY 2010, an increase of nearly $500 million from the previous year. Our total portfolio for Turkey is $2.2 billion. Not nearly enough considering out two economies.

Furthermore, 1,000 companies across America became clients of Ex-Im for the first time.

One key point about these numbers:

  • We did this without costing taxpayers a dime.
  • Let me repeat that: We did this without costing taxpayers a dime.

We were able to do this because the Bank is self-sustaining, meaning we fund our programs, not from taxpayer dollars, but through fees paid by buyers and borrowers.

In fact we have returned more than $4.5 billion to American taxpayers since 1992.

However, there is much more to do.

  • Ninety-five percent of the world's consumers live outside the United States.
  • And this pool of potential global consumers is only growing larger and more affluent. And many of them live in Turkey.
  • There will be one billion people entering the middle class around the world by 2020, less than 10 years from now.

So our challenge is to ensure that American companies are competing and selling to these consumers - including our friends in Turkey.

High-quality American products and services can and should meet the needs of the global community.

So how do we do it?

  • We do it by creating a new supply chain finance program, whereby indirect exporters, those companies that supply our larger exporters also get the financial support to compete in the global marketplace.
  • We do it by expanding existing credit platforms.
  • We do it by aggressively marketing our financing to small- and mid-sized businesses
  • Opening up new offices
  • Streamlining financing for renewable energy exports.
  • And we do it by working to increase our service sector financing.

When I arrived at EXIM, I wanted to focus our efforts where we could have the greatest impact.

We did a thorough analysis of where the opportunities could be found for American companies.

We narrowed the list of 180 countries down to nine.

And Turkey is one of the nine we are focusing our efforts on.

And that is because of three key factors:

  1. Its fast-growing GDP which is expected to exceed $1 trillion in 2011.
  2. To keep pace with this growth, it has a huge appetite for infrastructure investment. With this comes a demand for rail, energy, telecommunications, and roads. U.S. companies lead the world in providing these types of products and services.
  3. And because of this, Turkey is a place where the innovative financing that Ex-Im provides can really make a difference.

Simply put: Turkey is the fastest growing in economy Europe.

And I want American companies to be a part of that growth.

Green technology presents perhaps the most promising future area of commercial diplomacy between the United States and Turkey.

We both share the goal of becoming less dependent on fossil fuels.

Turkey, like the U.S., is a large net importer of fossil fuels.

Both Turkish and American leaders understand the importance of nurturing domestically produced renewable energy supplies and the benefits it brings

  • Benefits for the environment,
  • Benefits for economic security and
  • Benefits for national security.

For example, we recently helped a Cranford, New Jersey, company sell equipment and technology to DT Metals in Turkey for an energy efficiency plant that recycles scrap metal and creates surplus electricity in the process.

Additionally, Ex-Im Bank recently helped small businesses in Wisconsin and Missouri sell concrete transportation equipment for a hydroelectric dam project on the Kizilirmak River in Turkey.

These transactions are creating American jobs and are helping Turkey meet its growing infrastructure needs, while reducing its reliance on outside energy producers.

When I visited Ankara, Turkish government officials and business leaders spoke of an ambitious plan to produce 13,000 megawatts of renewable energy by 2023.

This is a great symbol of progress to mark the 100th anniversary of the Republic's founding.

As chairman of the Ex-Im Bank, I want to ensure that the United States can be a productive partner in this historic undertaking.

In addition to supporting green energy projects, our Board recently approved financing that will support the sale of U.S.-manufactured Boeing long-range aircraft to Turkish Airlines.

This transaction exceeds $1 billion and will support thousands of American jobs at Boeing's plant in Everett, Washington, and its many suppliers around the country.

Some of these planes will be used for the new non-stop routes from Istanbul to Washington, DC and Los Angeles.

Therefore, by providing financing of these long-range aircraft for Turkish Airlines, Ex-Im Bank will be literally financing closer connections between Turkey and the United States. I look forward to flying there directly next time.

Most of our work to date in Turkey has focused on the power and transportation sectors. Power projects supported by Ex-Im over the last 14 years have accounted for an estimated 20 percent of Turkey's power generation.

In addition to renewable energy, electric power and aircraft, I see opportunities in industries such as agribusiness and healthcare, rail and roads.

These are areas where the innovation of American business can create real opportunities across the Turkish economy, while creating good jobs in communities across the United States.

We know trying to find customers half-way across the globe presents challenges.

As many of you know, in addition to being the largest economy in the world, United States is the largest manufacturer. But we are only number 3 in exports.

That is unacceptable.

Especially given the opportunities in fast-growing Turkey with whom we also share many common aspirations.

With the help of the ATC, the Turkish American Business Council and American Friends of Turkey - We will advance the kind of commercial diplomacy necessary to build more connections.

I would like to conclude with one final thought.

The power of commercial diplomacy goes well beyond the exchange of goods and services.

As I mentioned, my trip to Turkey this past summer was primarily focused on Turkey's plans to invest more than $500 billion on infrastructure in the next decade.

But what I witnessed at the Anitkabir broadened my view of why America's participation in this region is so important.

What a nation builds often reflects what she values. Her goals and aspirations.

Whether roads, railroads, solar energy plants, or airplanes -- nations that build together are invested in each other in ways beyond monetary transactions.

Trade and investments - stronger business engagement - reinforce the mutual respect and commitment that exist between nations such as the U.S. and Turkey.

This type of commercial diplomacy guides the work of the Export-Import Bank of the United States and will remain our focus as we now begin fiscal year 2011.

The world needs a strong Turkish economy and a strong U.S. economy.

When Turkey succeeds it is not only good for Turkey but for America as well.

Thank you again for this opportunity.