In Asia, the U.S. is taking steps to protect and update an open, free, transparent, and fair economic system.
"Increasingly, economics are shaping the strategic landscape," said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a speech during her trip to Singapore. "For the first time in modern history," she said, "nations are becoming major global powers without also becoming military powers. So to maintain, our strategic leadership in [Asia], the United States is also strengthening [its] economic leadership."
The first step is to update America's foreign policy priorities to take economics more into account. In Asia, for example, the U.S. is taking steps to protect and update an open, free, transparent, and fair economic system. Through APEC and ASEAN the U.S. is working to improve regulatory standards, harmonize customs procedures, and reduce trade barriers. Efforts are ongoing to finalize far-reaching new trade agreements throughout Asia and the world.
The second step is to use economic tools to achieve strategic goals. Burma is a case in point. There, the political influence of sanctions and the benefits of rejoining the global economy helped spur the government to begin opening up. Using economic tools can also be employed to achieve our strategic goals in the Central Asian region known as the “New Silk Road.” Forging stronger economic ties across this region is a key to establishing long-term stability.
The United States is also seeking to advance its commercial diplomacy in order to boost U.S. exports, open new markets, and level the playing field for American businesses. "It's about rebalancing the global economy," said Secretary Clinton, "so Americans export more, Asians import more, and we avoid financial crises and build middle classes."
The U.S. plans to provide additional training to its network of more than 270 embassies and consulates to advocate for American firms in an effort to meet President Barack Obama's goal of doubling U.S. exports in five years.
This economic vision, however, can't be achieved unless women are allowed to fully participate in the global economy. "No nation can achieve the kind of growth that we all want and need," said Secretary Clinton, "if half the population never gets to compete."
The United States will continue to intensify its engagement in the Asia Pacific and elevate the role of economics in its work around the world.