President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton recently visited Asia, a region marked by economic expansion and increased engagement with the US. While there, Secretary Clinton gave the fourth and final in a series of speeches which showcase the Administration’s focus on putting economics and economic power at the core of foreign policy.
In the ‘Delivering on the Promise of Economic Statecraft’ address in Singapore, Secretary Clinton highlighted the pillars of the Economic Statecraft agenda. In the first, “updating foreign policy,” she emphasized how in “Asia, the United States is taking concrete steps to protect and update an open, free, transparent, and fair economic system that has made the region’s spectacular growth possible.” New trade policies, such as The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), are working towards a global vision which will “take on the challenges that inhibit trade today, from non-tariff trade barriers to preferential treatment for state-owned enterprises.”
On the topic of Commercial or “Jobs Diplomacy” Clinton discussed the focus to “boost U.S. exports, open new markets, and level the playing field for our businesses.” On that last note, she calls for American businesses to step up and “work to make sure their suppliers at every link in the chain are meeting international standards for things like labor rights, intellectual property, and environmental impact.”
This statement echoes an address last October in which Clinton emphasized the importance of industry working with supply chains to promote positive change: “In the 1990s, businesses used their supply chains to take on the problem of child labor in the developing world, and it was American businesses that began to change the terrible picture of five-, seven-, nine-year-old children in what amounted to forced labor. Today, I am encouraged that a new coalition of major companies is coming together to keep global supply chains free of pirated software and counterfeit goods. That gives innovators their rightful reward, but it also creates American jobs. Because nobody outworks us, and nobody out-innovates us. We just have to be out there competing to deliver what we do best.”
The Economic Statecraft agenda also emphasizes the importance of “commercial diplomacy” that “boosts U.S. exports, opens new markets, and levels the playing field for American businesses so they can compete and succeed anywhere.” Equally important to note is the idea of fostering opportunities where all countries and companies can prosper. As Secretary Clinton stated, “We want every company – American, Singaporean, or any other – to have a level playing field and a chance to compete on the merits. That’s a recipe for shared prosperity.”