Remarks by Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves at the Trade Facilitation and Cargo Security Summit

Remarks by Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves at the Trade Facilitation and Cargo Security Summit

Mar 28, 2024

Remarks by Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves at the Trade Facilitation and Cargo Security Summit
Thu, 03/28/2024 – 11:16

Artificial Intelligence
Export and investment promotion
ICT Supply Chain
Intellectual property
Investing in communities and workers
Trade enforcement


Thursday, March 28, 2024

Office of Public Affairs

Don Graves

Thank you, Troy, for that introduction. Hello everyone!

I am thrilled to be here with our partners at U.S. Customs and Border Protection to kick off the Trade Facilitation and Cargo Security Summit. This summit could not come at a better time, as all of us here – business and government – remain focused on ensuring the continued reliability, safety, and security of cross-border trade in goods and services with our trading partners.  This has been essential to the rules-based economic order that the United States has fostered for generations. And it will remain essential to the global competitiveness of the United States and the economic well-being of countless Americans.

I’m particularly proud of the close partnership between the Commerce Department and U.S. Customs and Border Protection on this agenda, and across several domains. To name a few, there is our joint work to promote the use of secure non-intrusive inspection equipment at borders and ports including in Mexico; CBP’s collaboration with investigators in our International Trade Administration to facilitate accurate collection and assessment of remedial duties that provide relief to U.S. workers, farmers, and companies against unfair trade; and our partnership in support of commercial dialogues in key markets.

There is no better exemplar of the Commerce-CBP partnership than Mr. Ian Saunders, a CBP and Commerce alum, who was recently elected to be the Secretary General of the World Customs Organization in Geneva, the only intergovernmental body whose mission is to enhance the effectiveness of customs administrations worldwide. Ian’s election reflects the best of U.S. leadership as well as broad endorsement by the international customs community of our shared values of transparency and innovation.


The challenges and threats to cross-border trade and U.S. competitiveness have grown exponentially in recent years. The pandemic laid bare vulnerabilities in our supply chains. And supply chain disruptions have resulted from the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine and attacks by Houthi rebels of vital shipping lines in the Red Sea. Our adversaries, including the PRC, are taking ever more aggressive efforts to control supply chains, to exploit chokepoints, and to expropriate dual use technologies to fuel their military ambitions and threaten our national security. Our companies tell us they face new and growing cybersecurity risks, theft of intellectual property, and unfair trade and investment practices by our competitors both here and abroad.

From day one, the Biden-Harris Administration has recognized these threats to our economic security and has taken bold steps to address them.  The Department of Commerce is at the center of many of these actions – I’d like to share two of them. 

The first is to build resilient supply chains including with our allies.
And the second is to ensure the safety and security of the tech ecosystems in which our companies operate, innovate, trade, and attract investment.
Let me touch on our approach in each of these areas.


The Administration recognized early on that our ability to ensure reliable, fair, and efficient trade – so essential to U.S. competitiveness — requires a sharper focus on building resilient supply chains. And President Biden’s bold executive actions on supply chains opened a new chapter in U.S. economic policy, including through the creation of the Council on Supply Chain Resilience and efforts to build a rapid reaction capability to assess, respond to, and resolve supply chain crises in real-time. As result, Americans are now better able to access the medicines, manufacturing inputs and other critical technologies they need to stay healthy and productive. And we are reducing our dependency on adversaries that threaten our national security and hinder our economic competitiveness, especially in critical and emerging technologies such as chips.

The Commerce Department has been central to these vital and timely efforts.  Last summer, we launched the first-of its-kind Supply Chain Center, which aims to be an analytic engine for U.S. supply chain resilience policy, leveraging our deep industry expertise, quantitative data, and advanced analytics to be more proactive and impactful. I’m especially proud the Supply Chain Center’s work in developing innovative quantitative and qualitative tools to identify and assess supply chain risks that can threaten U.S. industry, economic competitiveness, and national security.  We also recently launched an updated Semiconductor Alert Mechanism, a public-private information gathering mechanism that supports faster problem solving through coordination with trading partners and the private sector.

Supply chain resilience and our economic security also demand that we rebuild our industrial base – our productive capacity here at home – including critical and emerging technologies. The Biden-Harris Administration is making historic investments in American competitiveness, to the tune of $1 trillion, that are enabling us to compete and win in the 21st century global economy – in clean energy, economic development, and technological innovation.  Under landmark legislation such as the CHIPS and Science Act, we are making strategic public investments and leveraging unprecedented private investment in American chips fabrication capacity – I’m sure many of you heard our recent announcement involving Intel and its plans to invest in chips fabrication across several states.  

As a result of these investments, like the Administration’s investments in clean technologies, I believe we are at the beginning of an industrial and infrastructure renaissance that will recenter supply chains of our most critical technologies here in the United States.

Also under the CHIPS and Science Act, we are supporting 31 newly designated “Tech Hubs” in regions across the U.S. to increase our capacity to produce and deliver critical and emerging technologies – from renewable energy to critical minerals, from AI to bio tech. One component of our support for each Hub is a Global Resiliency Stress Test, a strategic framework designed to guide technology-focused regions in strengthening their position in the global market.

Building supply chain resilience requires more than investing in our industrial base. For success, we cannot go it alone. Even as we invest in our productive capacities at home, we are expanding government-to-government, commercial, trade, and investment linkages between the U.S. and our allies around the world, in the Indo-Pacific, Europe, Western Hemisphere, and in Africa.  I’ll give you three examples.

First, on February 24 of this year, as part of the landmark Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, a first-of-its-kind Supply Chain Agreement among partners entered into force.  We have already begun working with our partners to strengthen our supply chains and prevent potential disruptions. This includes identifying critical sectors and key goods in order to develop a shared understanding of global supply chain risks.
Second, under the U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council (TTC), we are working with U.S. and European companies on legacy semiconductors, diversification of the solar supply chain, and AI risk management and standards.
Third, as part of the U.S.-Brazil Commercial Dialogue, the Commerce and CBP teams are working together to support Brazilian partners in improving their customs processes and facilitate expanded bilateral trade opportunities.

The resilience of U.S. supply chains, especially in critical and emerging technologies, will also depend on fostering innovation ecosystems that are safe and secure.  That is why we remain focused on countering malign actors that undermine our economic and national security and hamper the ability of our private sector to innovate and grow. For instance:

We know that we must help our companies protect themselves against cybersecurity threats. Our National Institute of Standards and Technology has updated the widely-used Cybersecurity Framework, a landmark guidance document for managing cybersecurity risk. NIST’s updated edition is designed for all audiences, industry sectors and organization types, from the smallest schools and nonprofits to the largest agencies and corporations.
Our Bureau of Industry and Security has implemented export controls on sensitive goods, software, and technology to address threats to our national security.  It is common sense to prevent transfers of sensitive technology to an adversary that threatens to use our innovations against us or our allies. In doing so, especially when we coordinate with like-minded countries, we help ensure trusted, prosperous trade ecosystems are free of abuse. For instance, our response to Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine represented an unprecedented level and pace of coordination on export controls with partners and allies, an alignment that contributes to a safer, more prosperous world. BIS is also working closely with CBP, starting with our partnership at the National Targeting Center, to identify and detain shipments of concern. We rely on CBP to carry out many of the seizures related to illegal exports identified in our export enforcement investigations.
 We’re also redoubling our efforts on AI safety under President Biden’s Executive Order on AI. We’re asking frontier AI developers to disclose red-teaming, safety, and cybersecurity measures taken for next-generation frontier models. We see this combination of voluntary measures coupled with reporting requirements as an important step toward the safe development of frontier AI that will affect all sectors of our economy.  Well-developed standards and testing capability will also be critical for safety. We’ve launched an AI Safety Institute and a consortium to work with partners in academia, industry, and non-profits to advance its frontier AI safety mission.
IP protection also plays a central role in our economic security. The Department of Commerce manages the interagency program, which utilizes programs, presentations, and web-based resources to help U.S. exporters effectively protect their intellectual property assets from counterfeiting and compromise in foreign markets.
From export controls on dual use items to AI safety standards, from IP protection to combatting forced labor, our goals are to ensure technology innovation and trade take place within secure ecosystems that help innovative companies thrive and trade freely, and to build resilient supply chains that will be robust to shocks – whether natural or human-made. 

As you can tell, our work on promoting reliable and efficient trade and U.S. competitiveness is a whole-of-government effort. We are continuing to produce world-class analytics and market intelligence, ensure a level-playing field, and building our industrial base with the goal of enabling our private sector. The President, the Commerce Department and our partners  across the U.S. government are committed to ensuring your competitiveness and securing our economic and national security.

Bureaus and Offices

Bureau of Industry and Security
Economic Development Administration
International Trade Administration
National Institute of Standards and Technology


Don Graves


Export Controls
CHIPS and Science Act
U.S.-Brazil CEO Commercial Dialogue

Read the full report from the U.S. Department of Commerce: Read More