Commerce chief Bryson urges companies invest in U.S.

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 15, 2011 10:48 AM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Commerce Secretary John Bryson on Thursday urged corporate America to open its pocketbook and start making the investments necessary to put millions of Americans back to work.

"Having run a large business, I understand that if you've got cash available, it can be tempting to sit on it," the former chief executive of Edison International, a California utility, said in a speech at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

But "consumer demand will never rebound until more Americans have good jobs. The kind of jobs that build the skills that will let them keep learning - and earning - for a lifetime," Bryson said.

Bryson also unveiled a new program called SelectUSA aimed at encouraging more foreign companies to invest in the United States, and said the Commerce Department was creating a new "National Program Office" to promote advanced manufacturing.

On the trade front, Bryson had tough words for China, which on Sunday marked the 10th anniversary of its entry into the World Trade Organization.

"The United States has reached a point where we cannot quietly accept China ignoring many of the trade rules. China still substantially subsidizes its own companies, discriminates against foreign companies and has poor intellectual property protections," Bryson said.

(Reporting by Doug Palmer; Editing by Andrea Ricci)