How America’s Diplomats Work in the Global Economy

It can be easy to overlook the many ways America’s economy is deeply integrated into a global system of trade and commerce. This integration creates American jobs, benefits American businesses, and permits the United States to assist and partner with developing countries, promoting stability and sustainability in local economies around the world. America’s strong position in the global economy can be credited to its diplomats, who work around the world and around the clock to benefit America’s economy, its consumers, and its businesses.

Making Trade Safe

When American consumers shop, many of the food items and products they buy come from countries around the world or contain key components of foreign origin. We easily take for granted that these products—bananas, avocados, coffee, berries, automobiles, and home appliances—will be not only available on demand but also safe and of good quality. This is true thanks to the efforts of America’s diplomats. They negotiate trade agreements with other nations and work with local inspectors to ensure that food products are free of insects or contaminants. They also ensure that food and manufactured items meet U.S. quality and safety standards.

Workers sort freshly pickled bananas
Workers sort freshly picked bananas for packing and export at a farm in Ciudad Hidalgo, Chiapas state, Mexico. AP photo.

Helping American Businesses Succeed

More than 70% of markets are outside the United States. American diplomats work closely with American businesses to help them develop customers and markets overseas. These efforts involve negotiating with foreign governments to ensure fair terms of importation. They also facilitate local contacts for American companies to develop business relationships to open markets to American products. These contacts often lead to expanded business opportunities, increasing trade in both directions. 

Sharing the American Economy

Making American ingenuity more visible around the world is an important part of supporting American businesses. It also helps foreign publics better understand American society. American diplomats play an important role in highlighting our innovations through participation in World Expos that take place in different regions of the world. These events feature exhibitions from many countries, giving local residents first-hand exposure to cultures, innovations, trends, ideas, and products from places, including America, they may otherwise never have the opportunity to visit in person.


U.S.-China Agreements Pen

As part of this historic opening of U.S.-China relations, Vice-Premier Deng Xiaoping of the People's Republic of China came to Washington, DC, for a State visit with President Carter in January 1979. On January 29, the two leaders signed an Agreement on Cooperation in Science and Technology and a Cultural Agreement. Additional agreements were signed covering areas such as education, agriculture, and space exploration. This pen was used by President Carter.
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Protecting Intellectual Property 

Many American products are in demand throughout the world because they embody American creativity and innovation or represent popular American culture—music, films, consumer goods, software, and medication. This also makes them targets for counterfeiting.

American diplomats play a key role in combating counterfeiting. Diplomats work with international organizations, foreign governments, and enforcement agencies to protect American intellectual property rights: copyrights, trademarks, and patents. These efforts protect American creativity and protect consumers from purchasing defective or unsafe products.

Diplomats from the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Agency for International Development, and many other agencies ensure that America remains an economic leader. Their efforts develop productive relationships with governments and peoples around the world, benefitting American businesses and consumers and creating jobs both in the United States and other countries. They play a vital role in promoting American foreign policy goals to support global security and prosperity while sharing American creativity, innovation, ingenuity, and generosity.

Diplomacy through Trade and Commerce in Photos

People visit the U.S. pavilion at the Dubai Expo 2020 in Dubai. AP photo.
U.S. Ambassador Scot Marciel buys tempe from Ibu Yati’s shop, who is a microentrepreneur. State Department photo.
In September 2020, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel seized this shipment from China containing suspected counterfeit handbags. The handbags were seized as part of Operation Mega Flex, a CBP-led, interagency initiative to identify and interdict illicit shipments in the international mail and express consignment environments. U.S. Customs and Border Protection photo.
Shade Haven is a rural Viroqua, Wisconsin company that manufactures mobile shade structures that provide dairy and beef cattle with some much-needed relief from the heat. Shade Haven successfully completed their first export shipment to the United Arab Emirates in November 2014, followed by more international orders including an order from the United Kingdom. Department of Commerce photo.