What a tremendous day. Secretary Clinton brought us all together for the first State Department-hosted Global Business Conference. This was a great opportunity for over 200 leaders of companies and business support organizations, such as the American Chambers of Commerce, from around the world to come together with senior U.S. government leaders. We discussed issues ranging from American competitiveness to ways the U.S. government and the private sector can work together to help find new export opportunities, boost inward investment and in so doing, accelerate America's economic renewal, and put more Americans back to work. As Secretary Clinton explained in a speech to conference attendees, our focus is 'Jobs Diplomacy': using our network of embassies and consulates around the world and our extremely capable cadre of economic officers to work with, and on behalf of, American businesses to create American jobs and make the U.S. more competitive.
Attendees noted that the U.S. government could help business by focusing on several important economic goals including: increased support for small-and-medium enterprise trade and investment efforts, an internationally competitive U.S. tax code, and better incentives for green and clean technology. We also received a strong message that it is important to increase the resources of the U.S. Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) and continue to develop close relations with Ex-Im and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), as well as the Trade and Development Agency (TDA). Several participants suggested that Congressional reauthorization for Ex-Im is vital for supporting U.S. jobs and exports. Similarly, several agreed that export controls need to be streamlined and made more efficient to balance security and business goals.
We also heard that, while U.S. government efforts to streamline the visa application process for business and tourist travelers are welcomed, more needs to be done. Further, in the area of intellectual property (IP) protection, members of the group welcomed the strong U.S. government efforts but urged greater emphasis on international collaboration, capacity building, and enhanced outreach on the benefits of respect for IP. There was widespread agreement that these are essential to help our knowledge industries compete.
"Speed and simplicity" was another major theme of the discussions. While U.S. government advocacy is immensely helpful, it would deliver better results if we could bring the resources of the U.S. government to bear in some cases more quickly on behalf of American companies. Businesses want U.S. officials to be creative in finding ways to help them win procurements, especially in the face of stiff competition for overseas markets from other countries.
Secretary Clinton emphasized that we must think "bigger and broader" to create a level-playing field for all and to advance a bold trade and investment agenda as well as measures that support a global economic system that is open, free, transparent, and fair. To help further these goals, State Department officials overseas are finding new ways to deliver results and to be effective champions of competitive markets that are conducive to expanding business and trade opportunities. We are also leveraging the local knowledge of our overseas economic officers for the benefit of U.S. businesses. Moreover, we are helping our contacts overseas understand the significant benefits American firms can offer in terms of assets, skills, and resources. We need to continue to demonstrate how we can apply American business ideas and innovation to solve problems overseas.
The U.S. government can help create an environment in which international commerce can thrive and flourish. Commercial diplomacy efforts are vital to U.S. businesses overseas. This event helped generate ideas to further enhance and refine our efforts. We received a wide range of valuable suggestions and we are grateful that so many distinguished and entrepreneurial people came from so many countries -- traveling truly great distances -- to participate in the event. We are looking forward to our second day of the conference, and continuing to find ways to make progress together on these issues and hearing additional feedback.