Thank you President Hendricks, Chairman Ninivaggi, Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
I will keep my remarks short. There are really only three points I would like to make.
First, thank you for inviting me here today. It is a great pleasure and a distinct privilege both for personal, as well as for diplomatic reasons. First on the personal level, Federal Mogul is headquartered in Southfield, Michigan. I was born very close to Southfield. Currently my home is in Michigan, just a couple miles north of the Federal Mogul headquarters. I am also the son of an engineer, who spent his entire career in Michigan in the automobile manufacturing industry; so this has real personal value for me to be here today.
For diplomatic reasons, much along the lines of what the Prime Minister mentioned, this is a very, very important signal of the deep interest of American industry, American business, American commerce and the potential that exists in Romania. Within the Strategic Partnership that exists between the United States and Romania, we are bound together in our commitment as allies, as partners, to make the necessary commitments to keep Europe both free and at peace. We are also bound together by our common embrace of democratic values and a democratic future, and we are bound together by our economic partnership and economic common interests.
Since arriving in Romania as the Ambassador of the United States to your country, President Iohannis, Prime Minister Ciolos, Deputy Prime Minister Borc, much of the leadership of Romania has asked me to focus additional energy on the economic dimension of our partnership: to encourage and increase the flow of trade in goods and services between our two countries, and to encourage and increase the investment by Americans in Romania. I have committed to the President, the Prime Minister, and the Deputy Prime Minister to do so. But for all the power that an American Ambassador enjoys, I cannot instruct an American company to invest in Romania; particularly not a company like Federal Mogul, who has very determined shareholders. It is up to the shareholders of Federal Mogul to make those decisions.
All I can do is try to encourage American companies to look at the potential that exists in Romania and to work with the Government of Romania, both at the central, and at the local level, to improve the business climate and to improve the investment climate that exists in Romania.
I congratulate Prime Minister Ciolos, and I congratulate Deputy Prime Minister Borc for all the commitment and energy that they have made in improving the investment climate in Romania to make conditions here more predictable, more stable, more transparent. And I very much congratulate the Prime Minister for the announcement that he has just made earlier this week on major administrative reforms that will make the public administration in this country more transparent, more professional, less political, more responsive to investors, and more responsive to the Romanian people.
The investment by Federal Mogul in almost doubling its capacity in Romania is a very good example again of the potential that exists in Romania, but also it is a testimony to the improvements in the investment climate that were made in Romania not only in the past not only several years, but very importantly, in the past several months.
And finally, my last point would be to extend a very warm welcome to all of you but especially to the leadership of Federal Mogul and to wish you great success in Ploiesti, in Romania. Thank you very much.