ClintonIn this interconnected world, what happens in one country has a ripple effect throughout the global system.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton understands that, which is why she convened a global business conference in Washington, D.C. this week to discuss how America’s foreign policy can help U.S. businesses abroad and in return spur an economic recovery in the United States.

It’s all about jobs, she says. Which also helps to strengthen America’s global leadership.

"Now, here at the State Department, we call this 'economic statecraft'," Clinton said on Tuesday. “And we have worked to position ourselves to lead in a changing world where security is shaped in financial markets and on factory floors, as well as in diplomatic negotiations and on the battlefield."

Clinton emphasized that over 1,000 economic officers are working with American companies, chambers of commerce, local businesses and local and national governments to open markets and find new customers on six continents. These officers are also forming new partnerships with companies, universities, NGOs, and philanthropies in order for the private sector to help solve the most difficult global challenges and drive sustainable development.

Five thousand jobs are supported in the U.S. for every $1 billion of goods the country exports, Clinton says. This is why President Obama set a goal of doubling America’s exports over five years. And now with the passage of free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama, Clinton believes the U.S. will be ahead of schedule.

America understands that economic strength and global leadership are key if it wants to remain competitive. "Our power in the 21st century depends not just on the size of our military but also on what we grow, how well we innovate, what we make and how effectively we sell," said Clinton. "Rising powers like China, India and Brazil understand this as well, and we can’t sit on the sidelines while they put economics at the center of their foreign policies."

Clinton coined the term "jobs diplomacy", which she defined as being effective diplomatic champions for prosperity and growth. This means improving training for diplomats in economics, finance and markets,  and directing senior diplomats to conduct business outreach and advocacy when they travel overseas. In order to do that the State Department has created a new under-secretariat for economic growth, energy and environment and will name Heidi Rediker as the first-ever chief economist at the State Department.

Clinton also talked about the need to push for reforms that allow more women to participate in the formal economy globally. She also called out China for not playing by trade rules - and criticized other administrations for not being as tough on China as Obama’s administration has been. In fact, the Obama administration is establishing a special new Trade Enforcement Unit to go after unfair trading practices.

Clinton wants the U.S. business community to see America as their ally, something that has not happened before now. "We can’t help you if you’re not hungry enough to get out there and compete for the business that is going to be available," she said. "So it’s up to American business leaders to hire, to train - retrain - your employees, to invest, to support education in America - all of which are key factors in our future success, our innovation, the kind of economy we’re creating for the 21st century…We need to recapture America’s dynamism and sustain our global leadership."

(Photo © DR)