Foreign Press Center Briefing on “Catalyzing Innovation in Technology through Regional Tech Hubs”

Foreign Press Center Briefing on “Catalyzing Innovation in Technology through Regional Tech Hubs”

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MODERATOR: Hello and welcome to the New York  Foreign Press Center’s briefing with Alejandra   Castillo, Assistant Secretary of Commerce  for Economic Development, and Eric Smith,   Tech Hubs Program Director, also from  the Department of Commerce’s Economic   Development Administration. My name is Daphne  Stavropoulos and I’ll be the moderator. Before we get started, let’s go over a few  logistics. This briefing is on the record. It’ll   be transcribed, and the transcript will be posted  on our website upon its completion. Let’s begin. The Assistant Secretary will brief you on the  Regional Innovation and Technology Hubs program   and administration efforts to catalyze investment  in technologies critical to economic growth,   national security, and job creation. She’ll be  the – then passing the floor to Mr. Smith for   his comments. And after their opening remarks, I  will moderate the Q&A session. And with that, it’s  

a pleasure to turn the floor over to Assistant  Secretary Castillo. Welcome and thank you. ASSISTANT SECRETARY CASTILLO: Well, thank you  very much, Daphne, and it’s a pleasure to be   here in New York City, my hometown. I want to  start by giving you a bit of perspective. I am   the Assistant Secretary for Economic Development  at the U.S. Department of Commerce, and in – at   Commerce we have 13 different agencies. Why is  that important? Because at the end of the day,   all of these different agencies are  actually working towards one goal,   and that is to support economic growth  and U.S. businesses across the spectrum. But I want to just emphasize a couple of agencies  within Commerce that I’m sure you all know. The  

International Trade Administration is part of  Commerce. The U.S. Census Bureau is part of   Commerce. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is  part of Commerce. You’ve heard of the CHIPS and   Science Act – I’m sorry, you’ve heard about CHIPS.  CHIPS is under the National Institute of Standards   and Technology, which is part of Commerce.  Commerce is also NTIA, National Telecommunication   and Information agency – Administration, I  should say – which is currently deploying   $48 billion for internet – the Internet for All,  which is part of the Biden-Harris administration. I wanted to give you that perspective just to  contextualize what is the U.S. Department of  

Commerce. And let me also mention National Oceanic  and Atmospheric Administration, which is also part   of Commerce. You probably know it by the acronym  NOAA. And then we have EDA, Economic Development   Administration. And while EDA is a domestically  focused bureau, we are actually working to foster   international investments, best practice  sharing, as well as supply chain technology.

What I am here to talk to you about  today is the incredible investments   that are being made by the Biden-Harris  administration. Four major pieces of   legislation that I’m sure you’re all familiar  with at this point – the American Rescue Plan,   the bipartisan infrastructure law, the CHIPS  and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction   Act – those four pieces of legislation in  one way or another, in one shape or form,   are truly driving economic growth and technology,  and supporting technology across the board. EDA in particular has been at the forefront of  most of this – of this investment. We started  

out under the American Rescue Plan with  the Build Back Better Regional Challenge,   which was a $1 billion challenge across the –  across the country to identify those places that   have tremendous assets and are at the forefront  of technology and innovation. We also focused on   the Good Jobs Challenge, which is directly  looking at workforce development, which no   matter where I go across not only this country but  also abroad, workforce development is a key issue. While I mentioned at the beginning that EDA  is primarily focused on the domestic agenda,   we – I just returned not too long ago, around two  months ago, from Germany, where I participated in   the shaping regional transformation. And this  was an invitation by the German Government to   talk again about how is the U.S. making these  investments and what is that transformational   change. That was a very important visit. I’ll  also underscore that EDA participates with the  

American Competitiveness Exchange. That’s  a program that both Commerce and the State   Department work to ensure that the Western  Hemisphere is also a part of this dialogue. So in – as we continue to talk about not only  what the U.S. is doing and why is this important,   you may ask – this is important because we  know that we need more equitable economic   growth. And when I speak about equitable  economic growth, it is a promise that   President Biden has made to make sure that  places and people are not left behind,   that as we move through this technological  change that we’re engaging on all fronts   with regard to not only stakeholders but, more  importantly, with workforce across the country.

I just want to take a few minutes and talk to  you also about under the CHIPS and Science Act,   there was a program – there is a program  called Tech Hubs, and my colleague Eric   Smith will go more in details about Tech Hubs.  But I do also want to talk about Recompete,   which is a program that the Department of  Commerce is currently reviewing and will   soon announce. And that’s $200 million  focusing on places where the prime age   employment gap – prime age defined ages between  25 and 54 – is at an all-time high. So we are   looking at those places across the U.S.  where we too need to focus on making sure   that there is equitable economic growth. That  announcement is soon to be – soon to be made. But I guess as I – before I pass on the  microphone to my colleague, what I want to   leave you with is the following: These are  the type of programs that the Biden-Harris   administration is putting into place. These  are the programs where we are also inviting  

foreign direct investments. As you may know,  the Commerce Department hosts the SelectUSA,   which is the convening on an annual basis where  – in Washington, D.C., where we actually invite   investors from across the globe to look at the  United States as a place for solid investment but,   more importantly, to look at places where  technology and innovation are really taking off. I want to give you two examples of places that I  invite you to take a look at, and that is El Paso,   Texas, where – which received the Build Back  Better Regional Challenge award. El Paso,   Texas is looking at manufacturing. Wichita,  Kansas is looking at ways to continue to   grow aerospace. New Hampshire, which is also  looking at biotechnology. These are not your  

common areas. These are not the common Silicon  Valley places across the country. But they are   places in the U.S. that are really tied to  – they’re at the forefront of innovation. So let me pause there and pass it on to Eric  Smith, and I’m sure we’re going to have some   Q&As. This is a truly transformational  moment. I have spent most of my career   in and out of government, and I will tell you  that I’ve never seen a moment in time like the   one that we’re living in. This is important not  just from a business and economic perspective,   but it’s also important to make sure  that as we look around the U.S.,   but also as we look around the globe, that when  we talk about tech and innovation, when we talk   about economic growth, that we’re doing with  an eye towards both equity and inclusivity.

So with that, let me pass it on to Eric Smith. MR SMITH: Thank you, Assistant Secretary.  So with respect to the Tech Hubs program,   the vision for this program is really for –  to strengthen economic and national security   by enabling the industries of the future to  start, grow, and remain, as Alejandra mentioned,   not just in the United States but in  regions all throughout the United States,   equitably and inclusively, focusing  on growth in regions that have not   always experienced economic and  innovation-based economic growth.

This is a $10 billion program, as envisioned  by Congress, and we are right now in the middle   of implementing the first 500 million, or 5  percent of that program. And we’re doing that   – we’re doing this as a two-phase program.  We just at the end of October announced the   designees from the first phase, so 31 hubs  from throughout the United States focused on   a variety of different technology areas. Those  31 hubs we announced in October and they’ll be   competing for funding in phase two, which  I’ll talk a little bit more about shortly. Those 31 hubs really run the gamut from central  Missouri to New England to the West Coast,   the Southeast, the Upper Midwest. We really have  a wide variety of geographies represented in that   portfolio, and we also have a wide variety of  technologies that really span kind of eight   primary themes. These run from enabling safe and  effective autonomous systems to helping maintain  

our edge in quantum information technology;  a couple of themes around biotechnology and   advancing biotechnology; one around drugs and  devices and the next generation of both of those;   another around precision in prediction, so  leveraging data, leveraging information to target   and deliver better therapies and ultimately result  in – pardon me – more positive health outcomes. We’re also looking at accelerating our  energy transition, whether that’s through   renewables generation, through transmission,  through storage, and then also looking at   strengthening our critical mineral supply  chain, also critical to energy transition. We also have a few focused on  semiconductor manufacturing   and looking at some of the particular  strengths in regions throughout the U.S.,   and a last theme around the future of  materials manufacturing, thinking about   everything from how do we make polymers more  sustainable to how we can use wood in new ways. So how are actually going to support these  hubs? These 31 hubs, again, are right now   competing for funding through the second phase of  this program. They’ll be competing for somewhere   around $40 to $70 million each. And of those 31  hubs, we’ll be able to fund five to ten of those.

Those five to ten hubs will use that funding  ultimately in roughly four ways. So they’ll   look at ways to support workforce development  in their region. How can they make sure that   they have the talent and the workforce not only to  leverage their strengths in these industries now,   but also going forward into the future?  They’ll also look at business and entrepreneur   development. How can they support businesses that  are growing, how can they support innovators and   folks who would be entrepreneurs in  these particular technology areas? They’ll also look at technology  maturation and advancement. So how   can entrepreneurs and companies demonstrate  these technologies, how can regions actually   deploy these technologies out into the field,  and then infrastructure related to all that.

So we are working towards, again,   getting these applications in from these 31  hubs. Their applications are due in February,   so they are actively looking for partnerships  and commitments in order to strengthen their   applications. And we’ll be making decisions  about this program in the summer of 2024. So as we pursue strengthened economic and national  security through these hubs, as they develop their   applications, we’re looking for them to come up  with these policy and investment commitments.  

So what else can they bring to the table, what  else can their partners bring to the table? And   we’re also looking for them to come forward with  the types of projects in workforce development,   business development, technology maturation, and  infrastructure that can support their strategies. So with that, let me open it up I think for Q&A. MODERATOR: Thank you so much. To ask a question,   just raise your hand and wait for me to  call on you. Those participating online,  

please raise your virtual hand, and just one  minute. The first question will go to Arnaud. QUESTION: Hello. Arnaud Leparmentier, French  daily Le Monde. Thank you for being here. I   have a question. You said you have only spent  5 percent of your program. I see many companies   are a little bit worried that all the IRA,  the CHIPS Act, they have a question will it   last after the election. So can you tell me how  much have you already spent of the $270 billion  

of the IRA and the $52 billion of CHIPS Act? And  what make it irreversible even if the Republicans   might come back to power? And third question,  how do you tackle the renewable energy bubble   in the – on the stock market? They are all down,  and is this an issue for you, for your program? ASSISTANT SECRETARY CASTILLO: Well, thank you for  that question. Let me tackle the first one. The   dollars have been, in many ways, through the many  legislations that I mentioned – currently not only   are we working on the design of the program  but also on the deployment of these dollars,   whether it’s the $48 billion that I mentioned  at the beginning on the broadband or whether   it’s on the CHIPS and Science Act with regards  to chips but also with regard to Tech Hubs. I just want to clarify a bit. Some of these  dollars have been authorized at a particular   level, but Congress has to continue to appropriate  them. In the case of Tech Hubs, it’s a $10 billion   program that was authorized at that level, but  we only received as of this moment $500 million,   so 5 percent was appropriated by Commerce – by  Congress. We’re trying to – we’re continuing  

to work very, very diligently to make sure  that not only are these programs out the   door but that they’re actually reaching  the communities that they were set. So the work continues. Making sure that they’re  also institutionalized is important for the long   run. The goal here is not a political gain  but to actually touch the lives of Americans  

and transform our economy. So the work that we’re  doing today, day in and day out, is about making   sure that we’re deploying these dollars with  the greatest speed, but also making sure that   they’re reaching the intended goal, which is to  transform our economy more and towards the future. QUESTION: Excuse me. It means that – I am going?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CASTILLO: Yeah. QUESTION: It means that all the expenses  have be reapproved or voted a second   time by the Congress? Every  year you have to vote again? ASSISTANT SECRETARY CASTILLO: No, it means that  some programs have already been fully authorized   and appropriated, but other programs have not  been fully appropriated. In the case of Tech Hubs,   which is what we want to talk about today, it  was appropriated at 10 – it was authorized at   10 billion. But this particular program, Congress  has to continue to put it into the budget. So for   this particular program, only five percent of the  authorized level has been actually appropriated. MODERATOR: Let’s go to Samuel next.

QUESTION: Thank you. Shilong Yang from Xinhua  North America. Not long ago, President Xi   and President Biden have agreed to revisit the  historic science and technology agreement between   the two countries. Do you have any update on  the negotiations related? And what do you see   in importance of continued cooperation between  the two countries in these areas? Thank you. ASSISTANT SECRETARY CASTILLO: So no  particular update. I will remind you   we are a domestic-focused agency. Nonetheless, we  continue to support cooperation across our many  

partners. So from that perspective, it’s – it  really lies on the cooperation across the globe   with regards to technology and innovation,  but no specific update to your questions. MODERATOR: The next question we’ll  go to – online to Wang Fan. Wang,   can you enable both your audio  and video and ask your question? QUESTION: Hi, I’m Fan Wang with China New Service.   So you have mentioned that the  programs will be focused on — MODERATOR: Mr. Fan, can you enable  your audio, please? We can’t hear you. QUESTION: Can you hear me now? Can you hear me? MODERATOR: I think – yes, we can. Go ahead, sir.

QUESTION: Okay. I’m Fan Wang with China News  Service, and you have just mentioned that the   programs will be focusing on equity  and inclusivity. So my question is:   Is there a mechanism in the program that  will address the issue of inclusivity,   especially regarding the underrepresented groups  – for example, the Asian community? Thank you.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CASTILLO: Yeah, thank  you for that great question. I actually   made a note as part of my closing remarks –  I want to underscore the fact that the way   EDA and most of our colleagues in the federal  government, we have made requirements in our   notice of funding opportunities. And if you  look at our notice of funding opportunities,   also called NOFOs, you will see that they  are requirements with regards to both equity,   inclusion. In the case of Tech Hubs – and I’m  sure Eric will talk more about it – we’re looking   at different consortiums. And in the case of the  Build Back Better, we actually had partnerships. And these were partnerships  that included universities,   community colleges, workforce boards,  nonprofit organizations, philanthropy,   because our goal is to make sure that we are not  only including people at the table but making sure   that we look around and see who is missing –  in the case of the Asian-American community,   obviously a very important population here in  the United States, but also African-Americans,   Latinos, Native Americans – and bringing  them along as participants but also as key   stakeholders of these different grants. So  in places where there’s a large population   representing a variety of underrepresented or  ethnic population, they are very much involved.

QUESTION: Thank you. MODERATOR: Perfect. And Eric, did you  want to talk about the consortium? MR SMITH: Sure. Yeah, so to  build on that a little bit,   so first of all, in order to apply for,  in order to be a designated Tech Hub,   you do have to be a consortium. You have to bring  a number of different organizations together.  

As Alejandra mentioned, that includes institutes  of higher ed, workforce and labor organizations,   state and local governments, et cetera. There  are a number of different organizations eligible. I think another thing about the program that’s  really key to highlight here is that equity and   inclusion is an evaluation criteria. So as we are  looking at the applications that consortia submit,   that these 31 hubs submit, we will be  explicitly evaluating how those hubs are   increasing inclusivity, are increasing equity  in these regions. We mean that both in how the   benefits of the hub’s growth will accrue to those  populations, so how is economic growth happening,   not just concentrated a few individuals or  institutions but broadly throughout the region.

We’ll also be looking at how the leadership  of the hub is equitable and inclusive and   diverse. And so all of the hubs have to tell  us who their regional innovation officer is,   so who is the accountable person for  driving the strategy forward. They will   come with proposals on how to fund that  work, and they’ll be bringing together,   in most cases, boards or committees that help  guide and steer the hub. And we’ll be looking   at how those structures are put in place so  that those teams are diverse and so that they   are a forum for all of those voices to join  in the guidance and direction of the hub. QUESTION: Thank you. MODERATOR: Thank you. The next question will go to Mr. Muhammad. If you wait  for the microphone, please.

QUESTION: Thank you. My – one question is  about the investment. Is there any limit,   minimum or maximum? And the subsequent question:  that this incentives are given to the foreign   investors are domestic as well? And what kind  of incentives in case of the foreign investors? MR SMITH: Sure. MODERATOR: What outlet are you  with? Which outlet are you with   today? Which outlet are you reporting for? QUESTION: Online News Agency.

MODERATOR: Thank you very much. QUESTION: It is Pakistan’s largest news agency. MODERATOR: Thank you very much, sir. MR SMITH: Thank you for that question. So the  incentives can actually – the grant funding can  

actually go to any of the consortium members.  So whether that’s an institute of higher ed,   whether that’s a workforce organization,  whether it’s the municipal government,   it can be private companies as well,  the EDA funding can go to that whole   universe of consortium members. What we’ve told  consortium members, the guidance we’ve given them,   the way that we’ll look at these programs is:  Is the organization receiving the funding for   a particular project really the organization that  we would hold accountable for delivering on that? So it’s likely natural that workforce  organizations would end up with most   workforce development projects, of course  supported by some of the other institutions   and organizations in the consortium. If  there’s a technology demonstration project,  

perhaps it could be led by an institute of higher  ed or research organization in partnership with a   number of private companies in the region. It  really depends on the nature of the project. When it comes to foreign companies,  we are encouraging foreign direct   investment. We want hubs to really bring in  commitments from all of the organizations   that are working in their regions in this  particular technology area. Of course,  

we do have the national security aspect of  this as well, and so we’ll be looking at that,   but really want to make sure that these  hubs are enabled to bring in the resources   and commitments from organizations that  they work with in this technology area. Ultimately, in addition to that national security  element though, we’re looking for the economic   benefit to really build up in this region. So we  expect that most of the funding will be spent in   the region, and most of the benefit will end up  in this particular hub. We really are focused on   the place-based nature of these investments and  want to build up these regions and our economies. QUESTION: (Off-mike.) MODERATOR: Sir, wait for the microphone. QUESTION: Sorry. Is there any minimum  or maximum limit for the investment?

MR SMITH: I’m sorry, thank you. So there is not.  We expect the aggregate amount that EDA will   invest in the communities to be somewhere between  $40 and $70 million. It’s not a hard minimum; it’s   not a hard maximum; that’s the range we expect  given the $500 million we have. And then again,   we hope that the regions are bringing many  other investment commitments to the table   from their partners and in private sector or  philanthropy, state government, et cetera. MODERATOR: Thank you. The next question  we’ll go to Ms. Park online. Ms. Park,  

can you share your full name, outlet, and country,  and enable your video? Thank you. Go ahead. QUESTION: Yeah. I am Sin Young Park from the  Korea Economic Daily. And TSMC has delayed a   semiconductor production timeline to 2025,  one year later than initially planned. Is   there a possibility of other delays? And  what is the precise reason for TSMC’s   delay? And has there been any concern raised  regarding the U.S. semiconductor subsidies? ASSISTANT SECRETARY CASTILLO: So I understand  that you were briefed by the CHIPS team in a   prior briefing. Would very much connect  you – I know that our colleagues here at   the UN would connect you with the CHIPS team  to give a much accurate and fuller response.

MODERATOR: Okay. Manik, did  you have your – your hand up? QUESTION: Yes. MODERATOR: Go ahead. QUESTION: I’m Manik Mehta – sorry. Manik Mehta,  I am syndicated. We just had the AI Summit in  

New York a day ago, two days ago, and there  were some big Indian companies interested in   investing in the U.S. Now, they are looking  at investing in the infrastructure projects,   which would focus mainly on airports and ports.  How open are you to that idea? And are there any   special incentives you offer, especially under  the Infrastructure, Investment, and Jobs Act? ASSISTANT SECRETARY CASTILLO: So again, happy  to connect you with some of our colleagues   that are in the bipartisan infrastructure  law group. As it relates to Tech Hubs,   which is the Commerce Department program,  we’re looking at different technologies in   AI. So that’s among the 31 Tech Hubs that were  designated, there are several Tech Hubs that   are under the artificial intelligence. But happy  to connect you both on the infrastructure group.

QUESTION: Can I ask a follow-up question? ASSISTANT SECRETARY CASTILLO: Sure. QUESTION: Can you identify some of the projects that are open for investments  in the infrastructure field? ASSISTANT SECRETARY CASTILLO: Go ahead. MR SMITH: So I think the – we don’t get – have  specific projects because the hubs themselves   are right now in that project development  phase. One thing I would encourage, though,  

is we’ve published a lot of information  about the hubs on our website, including   contact information for the person who’s  responsible for driving the hub strategy.   If there are organizations that are interested  in participating, I strongly suggest that they   take a look at our whole list of hubs – the  regions they’re located, the technology areas   they’re focused on – and reach out to those  individuals who are leading that hub strategy. QUESTION: But do you have priority (inaudible) — MR SMITH: Ah. So this is a fully competitive  application process. So right now they are   all on equal footing putting their projects  together, and once they’ve put those projects –   once they’ve submitted those applications, we’ll  be evaluating them competitively without bias.

QUESTION: Thank you. We have two questions  from the Zoom. The first question will go to   Bukola. Bukola, please enable your audio and  video and introduce yourself and your outlet. QUESTION: Hi, I’m Bukola Shonuga with  Global Media, Nigeria. So question:   I was wondering how was the opportunity for  this – how was this opportunity announced?   And I remember someone mentioned – I think  Mr. Smith mentioned it just a little while   ago – that people can find the information on  your website. So in terms of equity and inclusion,   so if people don’t really know a way or place  or they don’t know how to go to your website,   how would they get information so that you can  actually achieve this equity and inclusion? ASSISTANT SECRETARY CASTILLO: So thank you for  that question. Part of what we do is extensive  

outreach. We – not only do I travel extensively,  my team travels extensively, connecting with many   different types of organizations, both public,  nonprofit organizations. It is one of our primary   investment priorities on the equity piece. As  Eric mentioned, it’s also baked into our notice of   funding opportunities, but it’s also a selective –  selection criteria that we manage. This has been a   hallmark of the Biden-Harris administration,  the equity and inclusion piece of it. And it’s very simple. If we do not grow  in a equitable and inclusive manner,  

we’re really not revving up, as we would  say, all the engines of our economy. And   we know that this is not only about economic  growth; this is also about our democracy.   And the reason I say that is because if  people feel that they’re being left behind,   they are made to feel invisible, that does  – that significantly erodes our democracy. So there are many ways that we reach out; happy  to connect with you as well. But please visit   our website, and I do a lot of outreach in  English, in Spanish, and I go to different   communities, underserved communities, indigenous  communities. So our team is really on the road,  

making sure that everyone is listening to  not only the invitation to participate,   but more importantly keeping them  accountable to this investment priority. MODERATOR: Thank you. The next question  will go to Alexander. Alexander,   please enable your audio and  video and introduce yourself. QUESTION: Hi, can you hear me? MODERATOR: Yes, we can. QUESTION: I’m trying to enable the video; sorry.  Assistant Secretary, you talked about visiting  

Germany (inaudible) where the (inaudible)  American opportunism (inaudible). To which   extent do you feel that these visits by  you and your colleagues from Treasury   have actually led to a more (inaudible)  dialogue regarding these (inaudible)? MODERATOR: Alexander – Alexander. The audio is  not good; it’s not clear. We’ll go to the next   question. Could you type your question in the  chat for me and I will ask it on your behalf?

QUESTION: Yep. MODERATOR: I’m sorry about that.  Mr. Le from Vietnam Television,   please, go ahead. We’ll come back to Alexander. QUESTION: Hi, can you hear me? MODERATOR: Yes. QUESTION: Yeah, I have two questions, one for  Assistant Secretary of Commerce and another   for Tech Hubs program director. The first  one is for Assistant Secretary. As we know,  

recently some senator introduced as a  Clean Competition Act add to – like,   add to the clean emission for the company,  for the producers who want to export to the   U.S. Some people will say that it can  be, like, as a commerce barrier for   other countries to export to the U.S. Can you  share with us how potential it will be passed   into the bill? And the second one, do you  think – what do you think about the idea? And another question for the Tech  Hubs program, as we know recently,   Vietnam and U.S. upgraded the  relation to the highest level,   and the leaders of two countries also agreed  to cooperate more in chips producing industry.   So how is that procedure, and can you  update for us about that? Thank you.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CASTILLO: Sure. So I’m  not going to comment on a specific piece of   legislation that may have been introduced.  But I will say this – the clean energy and   renewable energy is, again, one of the key areas  for this administration. Not only has EDA been  

a part of that, but as you know, you have heard  also how the Department of Energy most recently   announced the hydrogen hubs. We work across the  board to make sure that we’re finding those new   technologies. And again, these are areas where  we’re looking at different types of partners,   both domestically and abroad. The transition  to clean and renewable energy is paramount. I would like to use this moment also to underscore  why this is. It’s not just on the economic front,   but also with regards to climate change. One  of the areas that EDA works very closely in is   in disaster recovery. And as we think  about both the transition writ large,  

we’re also looking at how – what are  the types of technologies that we can   bring to market that will also  help us address climate change. So a very broad scope of projects, programs,  policies that are being undertaken,   both under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,  but also under the CHIPS and Science Act to   make sure that we continue to grow clean  energy and other options across the board. ASSISTANT SECRETARY CASTILLO: Do you want to — MR SMITH: Sure. With respect to  partnerships amongst other countries,   the Tech Hubs are really – we are really  looking for and focused on these place-based   regional investments. But these regions  are all operating in the context of the  

global economy, especially as they’re focused on  innovation-centric industries. And to that end,   we expect them to be working with companies from  kind of across the globe and in industries – and   that foster innovation and pursue innovation  in these related industries. So we would expect   foreign direct investment; we would expect  best practices sharing amongst regions,   across countries, and just fostering that  dialogue to enable that type of collaboration. MODERATOR: Thank you so much.  Mr. Le, did we have a follow up? QUESTION: Oh, yeah. I have a question for  – two follow ups. The Tech Hub director,   what do we think – what are you thinking   about the potential of cooperation with  Vietnam specifically in chip producing? MR SMITH: So on chip producing in particular,  we don’t comment on specific industries,   particularly because we’re in the  midst of the competitive part of   the competition of this program. And so  we’re really not commenting on particular  

technologies or particular industries that  are represented in the portfolio of hubs. That being said, I think those hubs are  looking to build out their applications   and they can be reached via the contacts  on our website. And I can imagine that   there would be some interest in  hearing from potential partners. QUESTION: Thank you.

MODERATOR: Thank you. Alex submitted his question  via chat. I’m going to ask it on his behalf. This   is Alex Wehnert from the German financial  daily Boersen-Zeitung. “Assistant Secretary,   you spoke about your visit to Germany, where  the IRA has been discussed controversially.   To which extent have the visits by you and your  colleagues from the Treasury helped to increase   the constructivity of the dialogue? Which role  does cooperation with German companies and direct   investments by German companies in your long-term  plans factor for the regional Tech Hubs?” ASSISTANT SECRETARY CASTILLO: So Alexander, thank  you for that question. As I mentioned before,  

I was in Germany maybe two months ago. I  did travel with my colleague Heather Boushey   from the Council on Economic Advisers. This was,  again, an invitation from the German Government,   which we have worked with in  the past, interestingly enough,   through the American Competitiveness Exchange.  Germany has been a loyal partner in that effort. So a couple of things that I would say is very  robust discussions on those areas that impact   our respective countries, among them not only  technology and innovation, but most importantly   workforce development. So there was a very  robust discussion. How do we make sure that the   workforce is actually being trained or upscaled,  stackable credentials, very broad conversation,   and as well a conversation on entrepreneurship,  not just talking about workforce development   as it relates to these various industries  but also finding ways to support those new   enterprises that will be journeying with us  as we introduce new technologies across the   board. So very robust discussion. Germany remains  one of our important partners, and more to come.

MODERATOR: Thank you so much. While you’re  still at the podium, Assistant Secretary,   I wonder if you could provide a snapshot of EDA’s   accomplishment’s as we’re coming  up at the – to the end of the year? ASSISTANT SECRETARY CASTILLO: Yeah, so 2023  was a very exciting year at EDA. And I’ll   start with a very important number, and that’s  $8.5 billion in private investments. That also   accounted for over 27,000 jobs. Across the  board, EDA is being called now more than ever   to not only talk about or discuss the areas  of economic growth for the United States,   but as my colleague Eric has mentioned,  we’re talking about both economic growth   as well as national security. It’s an exciting  time. I’ve said it numerous times during this   press conference. It’s an exciting time for  the U.S. It’s an exciting time because not  

only are we investing in those industries  of tomorrow, but we’re investing in places   that have at times been overlooked or not  necessarily focused on and yet underscoring   the fact that there are assets, talents,  opportunities in many of these communities. We talk about regional economic growth. We’re not  talking about city growth or state growth. We’re   talking about regional economic growth. As many  of you know, economic growth has no boundaries.  

And along that line, it is important for us to  emphasize that as the U.S. continues to make these   very important investments, our collaboration  with our colleagues across the globe is going   to be also important. Eric mentioned communities  of practice and sharing and lessons learned. I   think this is going to be important for many,  many countries who are also grappling with   equity and inclusive growth as well as ensuring  that we’re bringing along the technologies and   innovations that are going to make our lives  better. So that’s exciting across the board. MODERATOR: Thank you so much. I don’t  see any other hands raised. So with that,  

I’ll invite you to make any closing  remarks or comments you wish? MR SMITH: Well, I just want to thank you all  for your interest here today. I think the Tech   Hubs Program, as a new program at EDA with  its focus on economic and national security,   with its focus on specific technologies,  with the place-based nature of the program,   it’s a bit of a new paradigm for EDA and an  evolution of how we do business and how we support   economic growth throughout the United States.  We’re doing that kind of at the regional – at   the local level through our regional offices; at  the regional office through some of these national   programs. So I encourage you all to learn more.  Again, we’ve put out information on all 31 hubs  

as well as more information on the program. You  can find it at Thank you very much. ASSISTANT SECRETARY CASTILLO: So I just want  to say thank you again. Thank you again for   the invitation on behalf of Secretary Raimondo  and the Biden-Harris administration. I just want to underscore a couple of things. One is,  

this is a time of transformational growth.  This is a time for making sure that we have   participation across the board from various  stakeholders, as was mentioned before,   academia, community colleges, nonprofit  organizations, philanthropy, the private sector. For the U.S., the effort of equity and inclusion  is paramount. We know that to be true with regards   to not just growth but also creating high-paying  jobs and promoting entrepreneurship. I also want   to say that at the end of the day, EDA stands  ready to continue its mission to support the   ecosystems that drive economic growth. And  today’s discussion was just a sliver of what   EDA does. Tech Hub is a key program for us.  It is the program that is actually weaving  

between economic growth and national security.  We’re looking forward to continuing to partner   with many of you but, more importantly, with so  many countries around the world for whom this can   also be very beneficial. The quality of life that  technology and innovation can bring is not just in   terms of the opportunities in terms of medicine  and quantum and these critical technologies, but   it’s also about making sure that we provide good  paying jobs and accountability across the board. So I’m excited. Thank you very much for  being here and thank you for the invitation. MODERATOR: Thank you. And that concludes  today’s briefing. The transcript will  

be posted on our website later  today. Thank you and good day.

2023-12-18 01:37

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