Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez spoke of the strength of the American economy through manufacturing this morning at National Manufacturing Week in Rosemont, IL."We start from a point of strength," said Gutierrez. "No other country is growing as fast as the U.S." The Secretary dispelled a theory that we can keep our standard of living by protecting Americans from competition with foreign markets. "Free trade is our best possibility for growth," said Gutierrez. "Economic policy choices should not be driven by fears." According to the Secretary, about 12 million Americans rely on exports for their jobs and approximately one out of every five jobs are related to global trade. The Secretary also discussed the correlation between the manufacturing and non-manufacturing sector. "Manufacturing drives a lot of jobs and services outside of manufacturing," the Secretary said. "Manufacturing makes us stronger." After the Secretary's speech, the floor was opened to questions. One question raised by Manufacturing.net staff was in regards to American students losing out to foreign students in higher education. "The first consideration is to our American students," the Secretary said. "Currently, there are not enough engineers and high skilled workers to fill jobs." National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) president John Engler added, "American students have to complete. They are going to find talent from around the world, but we need to encourage math and science here in the U.S."