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Message from the Ambassador

Ambassador Larry Palmer

Each year the United States exports 1.3 billion dollars worth of goods to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.  Thus, you are the key players in a key market for the United States with key partners.

Strengthening the U.S. economy and creating jobs is a top priority for President Obama.  With the launch of the President’s National Export Initiative in early 2010, all agencies with a role in U.S. international trade, including the Department of State, were asked to play a more active role in export promotion. And given the state of the U.S. economy, no issue is more important today.

In addition, Secretary Clinton recognizes “that America’s economic strength and our global leadership are a package deal and that you’re not going to have one without the other.”  In a speech Secretary Clinton delivered last fall describing this challenge, she said “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. 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.”

Secretary Clinton’s vision for Economic Statecraft involves using the tools of diplomacy abroad to support trade and the rights of U.S. investors.  We will leverage the strengths and expertise of the U.S. private sector in our economic engagement overseas, and use our overseas presence to grow our economy at home by attracting foreign investment to the United States and increase trade.

During the Global Business Conference we hosted last February, we announced the creation of “The Jobs Diplomacy Initiative,” a series of programs to promote American business competitiveness overseas and equip Foreign Service Officers with the skills and tools they need to better advocate for America’s economic interests abroad.  Through this initiative, the Secretary stated her commitment to meet with business leaders on every foreign trip and she has encouraged Ambassadors to take on the challenge of working with business leaders and helping them in all ways possible.

Our American Chambers of Commerce are the key to the United States’ outreach overseas.  We want to work with the AmChams around the world to best support U.S. businesses abroad and drive recovery at home.

We can and must do much more in the coming years to advance this economic statecraft agenda, and we need the business community to be our full partner.  We want to have the American Chamber be our focus.  We need to sit down together more, brainstorm, plan, coordinate, and work together to promote American business.

Building sustainable global growth and creating jobs at home is a joint venture.  Growing your business overseas is a joint venture.  The private sector innovates and allocates capital, and the government opens doors to new markets and ensures that the system is fair.  We are relying on you to think big, to generate new ideas, to open doors with jobs and capital.  And the government will be right beside you knocking down barriers, connecting partners, protecting everyone’s interests.