What Is Economic Diplomacy?

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Diplomats around the world work to advance their own national interests, including improving their nation’s economies, ensuring market access, and promoting businesses. Economic diplomacy is how countries use foreign policy to build economic strength and prosperity at home.

Foreign Service Officer Michael Pignatello explains what economic diplomacy is and how diplomats at the State Department work on this topic.

Discussion Questions

Use the following discussion questions to guide your classroom conversations about this video. Refer to the timestamps to find the answers to these questions.

  1. What is economic diplomacy? (start – 0:10)
  2. How does a country’s economic situation affect its stability and how does it impact surrounding countries? (0:27 – 0:59)
  3. What are some of the challenges the United States faces with other nations regarding trade and economics? (1:00 – 1:30)
  4. Explain the meaning behind this quote from the video, “A lot of what the rest of the world wants from the United States is understanding how they can access the U.S. market, how they can benefit from U.S. ingenuity and innovation, how they can access U.S. universities and investment, and our financial system.” (1:45 – 2:00)
  5. How might the United States negotiate with countries that do not want to participate in U.S. markets? (3:14 – 3:28)
  6. To what extent are political disagreements and economic disagreements separate and how are they intertwined when it comes to international relations? (3:31 – 4:31)
  7. Identify some current ways the United States addresses trade and economic issues around the world.
  8. What is one thing you learned from the video that you found interesting, surprising, or confusing?
  9. Summarize what you learned about trade and economics and their relationship to diplomacy.
  10. What is one question you want to ask the speaker in this video?

Video Vocabulary

The following terms are referenced in this video.

  • Trade – The buying, selling, and trading of goods (products like cars) and services (work people pay for like financial or information technology services) on a large scale.
  • Economics – The study and practice of production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services, and general trade.
  • Regional groupings – Country groupings based on the geographic regions around the world. For example, Central America and Sub-Saharan Africa are regional groups.
  • International Organizations – An organization with an international membership, mission, or presence.
  • Ground rules – Guidelines that participants in a meeting or members of a group agree to follow in order to make their actions more productive and behavior understandable.
  • Innovation – A new idea, method, or device. Innovations usually improve on an existing way of doing something or creates a new way of doing something.
  • Investors – A person or organization that puts money into financial plans, property, etc., with the expectation of receiving a profit.
  • U.S. Department of Commerce – A department in the executive branch of the U.S. federal government that supports the economic interests of the United States.
  • Sanction – Coercive measures taken by one or more states to protest another state’s actions and to force a change of behavior.
  • Self-sufficient – Able to support oneself without outside assistance. Capable of providing for one’s own needs.

AP and IB Course Connections

Use this video in your Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate classes. Below are prompts for each course.

AP Comparative Government

Suggested Course Units: Unit 1: Political Systems, Regimes, and Governments, Unit 2: Political Institutions, Unit 5: Political and Economic Changes and Development
Question Type: Argument Essay
Prompt: Develop an argument that explains why diplomacy is impacted by existing trade and economics. Use one or more of the following course concepts in your response:

  • Power and Authority
  • Internal/External Forces
  • Methods of Political Analysis

In your response, you should do the following:

  • Respond to the prompt with a defensible claim or thesis that establishes a line of reasoning using one or more of the provided course concepts.
  • Support your claim with at least TWO pieces of specific and relevant evidence from one or more course countries. The evidence should be relevant to one or more of the provided course concepts.
  • Use reasoning to explain why your evidence supports your claim or thesis, using one or more of the provided course concepts.
  • Respond to an opposing or alternate perspective using refutation, concession, or rebuttal.

IB Global Politics

Paper Type: Stimulus-based paper on a topic from one of the four core units.
Prompt: Analyze the relationship between a nation’s trade, economy, and diplomacy using the video and examples you have studied.