Engaging With Business

February 21, 2012
Assistant Secretary Fernandez in Madrid

At more than 200 embassies and consulates around the world, U.S. diplomats work to strengthen U.S. economic leadership and advance U.S. economic and business interests. Whether advocating for the purchase of U.S.-made planes and trains or protecting U.S. companies' intellectual property, or confronting trade and investment barriers that limit whole industries' ability to compete, economic and commercial diplomacy is one of the Department of State's core functions. This work to promote U.S. business overseas increases U.S. exports, attracts new investment to the United States, and ultimately creates American jobs and strengthens the U.S. economy.

As part of this effort, Secretary Clinton is hosting the State Department Global Business Conference February 21-22, 2012. For the first time, a Secretary of State is inviting senior representatives of U.S. business support organizations around the world to explore what more we in the U.S. government can do to help U.S businesses abroad. These representatives will be joined by U.S. business executives, as well as by officials from the White House, Departments of Commerce, Energy, and Treasury, Export-Import Bank, Overseas Private Investment Corporation, U.S. Trade and Development Agency, U.S. Trade Representative and the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

On February 21, we will focus on interactions between government and business officials. We want to hear from businesses what we can do better to get them into new global markets, expand investment opportunities, and challenge unfair business practices overseas. Small group and panel discussions will cover topics like "Government Support for Exports,""Facilitating Business and Leisure Travel to the U.S.,""U.S. Energy and Climate Policy,""Creating Effective Public-Private Partnerships," and "U.S. Tax Policy." Presentations on this opening day will include remarks by Secretary Clinton, Secretary of Commerce John Bryson, President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Thomas Donohue, and Boeing Chairman, President and CEO W. James McNerney, Jr.

February 22 discussions will have a regional focus, with our regional Assistant Secretaries of State hosting meetings on topics pertinent to their areas of the world. Meetings on Africa will focus on creating a supportive business climate, while South and Central Asia will address new market opportunities. East Asia and the Pacific will tackle intellectual property rights and regional cooperation, and the Middle East and North Africa panels will explore how to work in a region where several countries are undertaking political and economic reforms. The European region's sessions will examine regulatory frameworks, while discussions on the Western Hemisphere will focus on regional partnership initiatives, infrastructure, and creating opportunities for U.S. businesses. I will participate in sessions on the Western Hemisphere, the Middle East /North Africa, and the South and Central Asia regions.

Above all, we hope this conference will open new public-private channels of conversation that benefit U.S. interests. This is truly a joint venture -- a new beginning of enhanced cooperation and partnership between the U.S. government and U.S. business around the world. We will continue to strengthen the relationship between diplomacy and economics because, at the end of the day, our efforts and American businesses' success abroad translate into jobs here at home and a stronger U.S. economy.

Related Content: Following the Secretary's Global Business Conference -- A Guide to Our Message and Social Media and Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides' Op-Ed -- 'Using Diplomacy To Create Jobs'

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