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Diplomacy in Action

The State Department Means Business: How the Department Promotes Prosperity at Home and Abroad

Fact Sheet
Bureau of Public Affairs
February 12, 2014


“… foreign policy today is economic policy. And leaders in government need to understand that. There is a synergy and an importance to this relationship that cannot be denied.”

-- Secretary of State John F. Kerry


Economic and business relations have long been a central element of American diplomacy. Following World War II, the Marshall Plan helped transform the economically decimated European states into a vibrant, prosperous region which is now one of the United States’ most active trading partners. During the same period, U.S. efforts to reintegrate Japan into the world economy led to an economic revival that benefitted the entire Asia Pacific region.

Expanding Role

Since then, the role of economics and business as a driver of global prosperity and stability has increased dramatically. The Department of State is in the forefront of efforts to create jobs and enhance stability at home and abroad by:

  • Helping to expand foreign markets for U.S. businesses.
  • Attracting direct private investment to the United States.

Here are some ways in which the State Department’s economic diplomacy advances these efforts:

Trade and Investment: negotiate to reduce regulatory and tariff barriers to trade in order to level the playing field for U.S. companies and help U.S. exports reach foreign consumers.

Commercial Advocacy: identify specific export opportunities and provide assistance to U.S. exporters facing challenges in foreign markets.

Market Analyses: monitor business and regulatory conditions abroad and provide general guidance to potential U.S. exporters new to overseas markets.

Foreign Direct Investment: facilitate investment into the United States by foreign individuals and companies, creating more jobs for Americans and expanding the tax base.

Internet Freedom: engage with foreign regulators, multilateral agencies and civil-society to ensure the internet remains free from undue governmental control and restrictions, and that there is wider access to new technologies and to the digital economy.

Entrepreneurship: encourage public-private partnerships that catalyze and coordinate non-governmental partners around activities that create jobs and improve economic conditions and political stability worldwide.

Open Skies: negotiate air transport agreements that link American cities with the rest of the world; work to alleviate burdensome measures on U.S. air carriers; and create more competition in the airline industry, resulting in lower air-fares.

Intellectual Property Rights: increase public understanding and government enforcement of intellectual property principles, thereby supporting technological and artistic innovation.

For More Information:

U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs

U.S. Department of Commerce
U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service - USA Investment Program

Office of the United States Trade Representative
Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)
Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

United States Agency for International Development
Economic Growth and Trade
Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment

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