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US pushes 'jobs diplomacy' after costly wars: Clinton

SINGAPORE -- U.S. foreign policy is being reoriented to promote American economic interests after Washington was tied down by two wars in the past decade, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Saturday.

“We are shaping our foreign policy to account for both the economics of power and the power of economics,” she said in a speech in Singapore ahead of a an Asia-Pacific summit in Cambodia to be attended by President Barack Obama.

After a decade attending to “a war in Iraq that is now over and a war in Afghanistan that is winding down,” Clinton said the “first and most fundamental task is to update our foreign policy and its priorities for a changing world.”

“Our global leadership depends on our economic strength,” she said, adding that the new emphasis on “jobs diplomacy” would boost U.S. exports, open up new markets and level the playing field for American firms to compete overseas.

More than 270 U.S. embassies and consulates across the world will operate as advocates for U.S. companies and help achieve the newly re-elected Obama's goal of doubling U.S. exports in five years, Clinton said.

Washington is seeking “a rebalancing of the global economy so Americans export more, Asians import more and we avoid financial crises and build middle classes.”

Clinton spelled out key initiatives in various regions, including the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership (TPP) being discussed with Asian countries, efforts to increase the U.S. market presence in Africa and trade pacts with Latin American nations.

“Responding to threats will of course always be central to our foreign policy, but it cannot be our foreign policy. America has to seize opportunities that will shore up our strength for years to come,” she added.

Even nonmilitary powers are gaining clout “less because of their size of their armies than because of the growth of their GDP.”

“For the first time in modern history, nations are becoming major global powers without also becoming global military powers,” she added, citing the example of Singapore, a city-state whose two-way trade with the United States now exceeds US$50 billion.

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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with workers during her visit to a General Electric aviation facility in Singapore on Saturday, Nov. 17. (AFP)



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