Most Americans think of diplomacy as a discussion of war and peace. But diplomacy is also a matter of dollars and cents (and euro and Yen). In today's interconnected world, foreign policy challenges are inseparable from economic ones. A strong economy is the foundation of America's strength in the world, and our diplomacy can and must be a force for our economic renewal.
That is why the State Department has redoubled its efforts at the nexus of economics and diplomacy -- what we call "Economic Statecraft." Today, which Secretary Clinton has declared the first-ever Global Economic Statecraft Day, American embassies and consulates around the world are seizing the opportunity to channel the collective might of diplomats, development experts, and businesspeople to create economic opportunities for the American people.
Here are ten ways we are using America's presence abroad to build our economic muscle at home:
1. We fight for a level playing field for American businesses around the world. When the competition is fair, American companies thrive. When it isn't, we push back. We protect companies from discrimination, unfair trade practices and barriers behind borders. Earlier this year, when a small bedding manufacturer in the Northwest sought help appealing a Canadian customs ruling we felt violated NAFTA rules, our diplomats led the charge. By fighting for duty free access for this company's exports, we saved over 1,500 American jobs.
2. We open new markets to American trade and investment. Last year we teamed up with our colleagues at the U.S. Trade Representative's office to pass three major Free Trade Agreements (FTAs). Our FTA with South Korea alone is projected to deliver over $11 billion in new U.S. exports while supporting more than 70,000 American jobs. The next batch of FTAs will be even better: we're negotiating a high-quality Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement that will create a free trade market covering 40 percent of global trade and raise the bar for labor, environmental, and competitiveness standards.
3. We promote American exports. Two years ago, President Obama announced the National Export Initiative to double U.S. exports by the end of 2014. We partnered with our colleagues across the government and sprang into action. Last year, U.S. exports reached a record $2.1 trillion, a 33.5% increase since the initial announcement that helped create over 1.2 million new jobs.
4. We protect American intellectual property (IP). For decades, we have helped ensure that our innovators are rewarded fairly for their ideas. We are also enlisting new players to the cause -- including a coalition of private companies that are leading by example and fighting IP theft within their own supply chains. That helps American producers, innovators, and workers.
5. We make regulations make sense. Nothing is more frustrating than bureaucratic red tape. We are working to harmonize, when possible, international regulatory standards to reduce costs and open new doors for American businesses. It may not make the headlines, but it does create jobs.
6. We encourage the world to invest in America. Foreign investment is responsible for more than five million American jobs, and every additional dollar of foreign investment means more jobs at home. That's why we are working hand-in-hand with the Department of Commerce, as well as state and local governments across the country to attract money from overseas for projects large and small. For example, we helped coordinate a Canadian automotive company's $20 million investment in Michigan, which created over 100 American jobs.
7. We help American businesses take part in on growth around the world. Growth in the developing world is a goal for USAID -- it is also an opportunity that we're helping American companies to seize. For example, as Brazil invests billions to host the World Cup and Olympics, we just signed a deal that will help U.S. companies compete for lucrative infrastructure contracts.
8. We connect our cities to the world. We've negotiated Open Skies air transport agreements with over 100 partners countries. Each agreement better connects businesspeople and tourists to the American market by opening opportunities for U.S. and international airlines. The direct flight between Memphis and Amsterdam alone, for example, injected $120 million into Tennessee's economy and created over 2,200 local jobs.
9. We promote tourism to the United States.Tourism supports over 7.6 million American jobs. In 2011, over 62 million international visitors contributed a record $153 billion to our economy. That means our consular officers aren't just issuing visas, they're creating jobs. So, we're working hard to meet skyrocketing demand for visas: last year, we issued 7.5 million tourist visas, nearly 20 percent more than we did in 2010.
10. We promote global peace and security -- and that's good for America's bottom line. History teaches that stability pays better dividends than strife, and cooperation is more lucrative than conflict. We invested about $13 billion in postwar Europe through the Marshall Plan. Now, our annual exports to the EU total $240 billion.
Here's the bottom line: our leadership in the world and our economic strength at home are a package deal. Our investment in diplomacy and development shores up both. Learn more on the U.S. Department of State's Economic Statecraft page here.
Editor's Note: This entry also appears on The Huffington Post.