U.S. Diplomacy Supports American Business Abroad

March 4, 2012
Global Business Conference Panel February 2012

Secretary Clinton hosted the State Department's first-ever Global Business Conference February 21-22, 2012. The event was very rewarding for both the U.S. government and the over 200 private sector representatives who joined us from more than 120 countries. Last Wednesday's robust discussions focused on regional issues and how we can move forward together to seize opportunities, grow the global economy, and create American jobs.

Here's are just a few of the key themes discussed during the sessions hosted by our regional bureaus:

Western Hemisphere

A key topic was the collaboration in the western hemisphere to address shared goals of expanding economic opportunities, increasing citizen security, and improving education. I was pleased to hear that our productive regional partnerships. such as the Pathways to Prosperity and the Energy and Climate Partnership of the America (ECPA), are having a significant impact as frameworks to share best practices. An example highlighted by the regional business leaders was the recent ambassadorial road shows and export promotion tours, which have been valuable in highlighting economic opportunities in the region for U.S. companies. Participants also noted that more progress is needed to expand the benefits of trade and economic growth to people historically excluded: women, youth and minority populations.

Middle East and North Africa

Participants from the Middle East and Africa urged the U.S. government to become more aggressive in facilitating U.S. trade and investment in the region, as Chinese and European businesses are viewed as "outflanking" the United States. My interagency colleagues shared our ongoing support to promote U.S. exports and assist American companies in the MENA countries, through trade missions, feasibility studies, and corporate matchmaking. Private sector representatives emphasized the need to better exploit existing FTAs and Qualifying Industrial zones, broaden the adoption of American standards, and increase trade through vertical integration between North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, in addition to horizontal geographical integration across the region. We also received other concrete recommendations from business representatives, including easing visa procedures; obtaining better tax treatment for U.S. exports; engaging U.S. and foreign media to report on opportunities rather than on negatives; and helping small and medium size enterprises to find more financing and business opportunities. We invite companies to continue to submit ideas and help us expand our commercial presence in this important region.

Sub-Saharan Africa

The U.S. business associations representatives noted that they are ideally positioned to engage diaspora communities in the United States to "spread the good word" about the tremendous opportunities in this dynamic region and advocate for African economic engagement. These important outside partnerships are valuable in bringing technology, training, expertise, and equipment needed for sustainable economic growth. Many business leaders also pointed out that American companies succeed in Africa by "following the customers" and cultivating long-term investment relationships that can be sustained beyond political transitions and economic cycles. It was exciting to hear that the World Bank's "Doing Business" report found that 80 percent of African countries have made progress on reforms, a significant increase from a decade ago.

East Asia and the Pacific

Regional business leaders advice that we should look at ways for American businesses to provide goods and services like information and communication technology, health products, and educational services to support connectivity in Asia and U.S. economic growth at home was well received. As ties between the United States and Asia deepen, participants pointed out that connectivity in the region's developing countries must be viewed more broadly than just roads and bridges. Increased and sustainable energy supplies in East Asia have pointed to a vital area for future growth. Initiatives in APEC on good governance, transparency, and regulatory harmonization were seen as providing the opportunity for companies from Asia and America the opportunity to innovate, to collaborate, and to contribute to economic growth throughout the region -- and in the United States as well.

South and Central Asia

Some participants noted that South and Central Asia have challenging markets, so facilitating trade and investment may require more "heavy lifting." They pointed to the need to do more with financing and government-to-government dialogue to highlight the resources available to companies of all sizes. The group also discussed how competition from state-owned enterprises creates an unfair advantage for companies with state subsidies. Despite having superior products and technologies, U.S. firms felt they often could not compete since state-owned enterprises often do not "play fair." Secretary Clinton was quite clear during her remarks at the conference that the U.S. government will continue to fight for a level playing field. Also, U.S. officials noted that the U.S. government and businesses view the "New Silk Road" vision for regional economic integration as an important factor in promoting growth and development in the region as well as an opportunity for increased U.S. trade and investment in South and Central Asia.

Europe

Our discussions with our European colleagues encompassed trade, investment, energy, and overall economic cooperation. One interesting point was how the private sector can help to stimulate growth and innovation alongside governmental efforts to reduce trade barriers that can inhibit our competiveness. On energy, U.S. government representatives emphasized our commitment to efficiency and conservation and a clear, science-based regulatory environment, while continuing to promote a dialogue with Europe on diversified strategies for energy security. It was clear that U.S. leadership is vital in promoting appropriate international regulatory regimes for diversified energy sources (natural gas, nuclear energy) as well as creating incentives for private sector innovation and new green technologies.

A Successful Conference Concludes

We were thrilled to have this opportunity for a rich and substantive dialogue with the private sector. I wish to thank all participants and assure all participants that we will be following up on the ideas and recommendations. This conference marks the beginning of even stronger collaboration between the Department of State and the U.S. domestic and international business community.

Comments

Comments

higher71
March 27, 2012

W.W. writes:

no diplomacy can support Business Aboard in today reality :

What you are experiencing economically and financially today is nothing new. Just study history all the precedence is there. The bankers and their willing helpers do the same thing over and over again. As we have said often what these banks represent is corporatist fascism and monopoly. Through their great wealth they control most governments and their court systems. That is why your elected representatives do not listen to you. They have already been purchased by Wall Street and banking. These are the same people who have financed most wars on both sides for centuries
Just a King is needed to stop them

These bankers and denizens of Wall Street and the City of London control our societies and in particular, business, finance and economics - almost every event within society is controlled by these elitists; as we saw in the stock market dotcom bubble of the late 1990s and the real estate bubble that began in 2003 and ended in 2006. We exited the stock market in the second week of April of 2000 and then again at 14,000, calling for a Dow 6,600 bottom. We believe we have been in a secular bear market in stocks since 2000 and we haven’t as yet seen the bottom by any means. Markets are not longer free and are under constant manipulation by elitists behind government.

No trades no Business aboard unless this lobby is fought and won

The media is filled with one fraud after another. The residential real estate market continues to fall trying to find a bottom. Banks throughout the US, UK and Europe are temporarily saved from insolvency by central banks printing money. In country after country we see runaway deficits. Economic progress is frozen. Inflation grows with each passing day as gold and silver move relentlessly higher. At the same time the poor get poorer and the middle-class is being destroyed. We are witnessing the deliberate destruction of an empire.

Never do we hear a comment pertaining to free trade, globalization, offshoring and outsourcing. It is like it didn’t exist. America has lost 11.7 million jobs and 440,000 businesses over the past 11 years, but Congress evidently is ignorant of the fact that keeping jobs at home is easier than creating new ones. The jobs lost are high paying and the replacement jobs are at the bottom rung. All that has to be done is for Congress to pass legislation

implementing tariffs on goods and services and to rescind corporate tax breaks for transnational corporations. It is just that simple. Unfortunately, 95% of Congress is bought and paid for by the very interests that perpetuate this stripping of America. We as well hear nothing from economists or market commentators regarding what passes for free trade. We learned as a nation in the late 1700s that British mercantilism does not work. We then found, on our way to greatness as a nation, fair and equitable tariffs work very well. Not what we have seen for the past 30 years; the deliberate destruction of our nation and our jobs.

close81
March 27, 2012

W.W. writes:

No Diplomacy Part II

Every answer to the job’s problem or meeting competition is a subsidy of one form or another. We know such socialist solutions do not work, but government uses them and business welcomes them. Very simply, nothing has been fixed and the palliatives haven’t worked and that is why we are about to enter credit crisis II, with assistance from Greece and the rest of Europe. The US, UK and Europe are headed for default and nothing can be done to stop the inevitable crack up, all America now specializes in is financial fraud and corruption. We have a country run by a crime syndicate and even when caught the companies are merely fined and among the connected, no one ever goes to jail.

Our system has deliberately been programmed to fail. It has taken $4.3 trillion just to keep the system afloat until the characters behind the curtain decide to pull the plug. Greece could be the catalyst along with warfare spreading throughout the Middle East. Is this the diversion? The war that we predicted? It could be and we’ll shortly find out. The Bilderberg planners in Europe have been stunned by Greece’s refusal to commit national financial and economic suicide. It is all planned .

While the drama in Europe plays itself out the Fed creates money and credit to gobble up 80% of US Treasuries. This causes inflation to continue its relentless climb just as it has in other countries. The money and credit creation by central banks exposes the US, UK and Europe eventually to hyperinflation. We are now also entering the war phase as insolvency becomes more visible. This is as we have predicted over the last 11 years. Most major banks in the US, UK and Europe are insolvent, and are made to look solvent by keeping two sets of books and via accounting ledgermain. Their situations are going to become worse as time goes on as real estate heads for the bottom and stays on the bottom for some time to come. Unbeknownst to most the bank nightmare of commercial real estate is being financed by the Fed. When and if that stops the banks will have a new set of insurmountable problems. The banks are trapped in a dilemma of their own making and there is no way out. That is in spite of government, the BIS and the FASB allowing them to keep two sets of books. If you do that you will go to jail. Almost 30% of Americans have negative home equity and in Las Vegas it is 84%. By the end of 2011 those figures will be lots worse. Those who have home equity loans are close to 40% upside down. In another two years we envision dreadful conditions for both homeowners and banks. Making matters worse these banks have to hold more funds in reserve because the BIS believes speculation has to be reduced, because these funds may be needed to absorb more bad debts.

view57
March 27, 2012

W.W. writes:

no diplomacy in today reality part III

As we mentioned in previous issues the federal government is using federal pension funds to fund government operations until August 2nd, when presumably Congress will pass a new short-term debt limit. If we remember correctly government will need $250 to $300 billion by that date. We mentioned last week that government might use this opportunity to commandeer 401Ks and IRAs, and replace them with government guaranteed annuities. This threat is very real and if you do not cash in now you may not get the chance to later. Pay the tax and possible penalty and get out. Most workers are trapped in IRA’s and the only way they can get funds out is to borrow against them. Some 30% have already done so to live on having been laid off or to invest in gold and silver related assets. There is no political will in America to cut spending and any cuts will be in budget increases over the next ten years. In addition, the President has been given marching orders for war by those who control him to cover up what they have done to the country and to make ever more profits for the connected Illuminists. There has been no way back for America since June of 2003.

The debt is beyond payable. The problems are all still there and they are not going to go away. Even if by some miracle a solution to the financial crisis was found, the system is still yet to be purged, so that the banking system could be allowed to go bankrupt, along with many others that have engaged in malinvestment. Then there would be the end of market manipulation, the prosecution of the common criminals on Wall Street and in banking. The end of the Fed, lobbying, campaign contributions, Patriot Acts I and II, Homeland Security, the TSA and many other government agencies. We also have to find out if we really have any gold. The list is copious if not endless. With all of this comes devaluation and default and probably a BBB debt rating. This is why all investments should be in gold and silver related assets. In addition, probably at the top of the list is the criminal prosecution of those on Wall Street, in banking and government who have committed fraud and treason. They should be tried, sentenced and their families relieved of all of their wealth. That should also be applied to those who committed treason and they should forfeit their lives.

it s all a business no trust faith only

Ashim C.
|
India
March 6, 2012

Ashim C. in India writes:

With nearly 1/3rd of Indian population in poverty in South Asia, high capacity of technology absorption India a market with many niches which US can access. Energy & gas exploration, renewable energy, mini food processing, cheap and eco-friendly alternative building materials and construction technology, biotechnology research and health services, health insurance and related services and needless to say the entire gamut of infrastructure in a developing country like India is large enough to huge job and value creation in US. One understand a big delegation led by Commerce Secretary is coming to India soon. It would be interesting to see what and how much opportunity cost US would be willing to pay. India is still a largely domestic maarket driven economy. Therefore, US firms has opportunities in setting up shops in India and participate in inclusive growth of India. As a bigger economy and a technology power US diplomacy should be more forthcoming rather than being bogged down by issues like compensation in case of accidents in US nuclear power plants.

Ashim C.
|
India
March 6, 2012

Ashim C. in India writes:

Unless US diplomacy and business offer specific solutions to individual countries given their needs and developmental demands, things may not work out. US small and medium business must have more space in US government initiatives vis a vis developing countries of South Asia.

thinking48
March 7, 2012

W.W. writes:

Economic Diplomacy BY Vlad Putin

Economic diplomacy

In December of last year, Russia finally concluded its marathon accession to the WTO, which lasted for many years. I must mention that, in the finishing stretch, the Obama administration and the leaders of some major European states made a significant contribution to achieving the final accords.

To be honest, at times during this long and arduous journey we wanted to turn our backs on the talks and slam the door. But we did not succumb to emotion. As a result a compromise was reached that is quite acceptable for our country: we managed to defend the interests of Russian industrial and agricultural producers in the face of growing external competition. Our economic actors have gained substantial additional opportunities to enter world markets and uphold their rights there in a civilized manner. It is this, rather than the symbolism of Russia’s accession to the World Trade "club", that I see as the main result of this process.

Russia will comply with WTO norms, as it meets all of its international obligations. Likewise, I hope that our partners will play according to the rules. Let me note in passing that we have already integrated WTO principles in the legal framework of the Common Economic Space of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

Russia is still learning how to systematically and consistently promote its economic interests in the world. We have yet to learn, as many Western partners have, how to lobby for decisions that favor Russian business in foreign international forums. The challenges facing us in this area, given our priority of innovation-driven development, are very serious: to achieve equal standing for Russia in the modern system of global economic ties, and to minimize the risks arising from integration in the world economy, including Russia’s membership in the WTO and its forthcoming accession to the OECD.

We are badly in need of broader, non-discriminatory access to foreign markets. So far Russian economic actors have been getting a raw deal abroad. Restrictive trade and political measures are being taken against them, and technical barriers are being erected that put them at a disadvantage compared with their competitors.

The same holds for investments. We are trying to attract foreign capital to the Russian economy. We are opening up the most attractive areas of our economy to foreign investors, granting them access to the "juiciest morsels," in particular, our fuel and energy complex. But our investors are not welcome abroad and are often pointedly brushed aside.

Examples abound. Take the story of Germany’s Opel, which Russian investors tried and failed to acquire despite the fact that the deal was approved by the German government and was positively received by German trade unions. Or take the outrageous examples of Russian businesses being denied their rights as investors after investing considerable resources in foreign assets. This is a frequent occurrence in Central and Eastern Europe.

All this leads to the conclusions that Russia must strengthen its political and diplomatic support for Russian entrepreneurs in foreign markets, and to provide more robust assistance to major, landmark business projects. Nor should we forget that Russia can employ identical response measures against those who resort to dishonest methods of competition.

The government and business associations should better coordinate their efforts in the foreign economic sphere, more aggressively promote the interests of Russian business and help it to open up new markets.

I would like to draw attention to another important factor that largely shapes the role and place of Russia in present-day and future political and economic alignments – the vast size of our country. Granted, we no longer occupy one-sixth of the Earth’s surface, but the Russian Federation is still the world’s largest nation with an unrivaled abundance of natural resources. I am referring not only to oil and gas, but also our forests, agricultural land and clean freshwater resources.

Russia’s territory is a source of its potential strength. In the past, our vast land mainly served as a buffer against foreign aggression. Now, given a sound economic strategy, they can become a very important foundation for increasing our competitiveness.

I would like to mention, in particular, the growing shortage of fresh water in the world. One can foresee in the near future the start of geopolitical competition for water resources and for the ability to produce water-intensive goods. When this time comes, Russia will have its trump card ready. We understand that we must use our natural wealth prudently and strategically.

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