LiveAtState: Doing Business With the United States

Robert D. Hormats
Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment 
Washington, DC
April 17, 2012

MS. JENSEN: Hi. Welcome to LiveAtState, the State Department’s interactive webchat platform for engaging international media. We are delighted to welcome our participants from all over the world, and I’d like to especially welcome our journalist friends who are joining us from our Embassy in Accra.

Today we will be speaking with Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Robert Hormats, and he will be discussing doing business with the United States. You – as journalists, you are now welcome to start submitting your questions in the lower left hand portion of your screen in the window titled, “Questions for Under Secretary Hormats.”

We welcome your questions and we will get to as many of them as we can in the 30 minutes we have. Please if you would like to start following us or get the latest information from the State Department, you can do so by following us on Twitter by using those – the Twitter handle @StateDept. And with that, I will turn it over to Secretary Hormats. Thanks for joining us today.

UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: Well, thank you for having me. It’s always a pleasure.

MS. JENSEN: Great.

UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: Well basically, I want to, first of all, thank everyone who’s watching all around the world and just make a few quick introductory points. One, is that the United States, in this very competitive global economy, considers itself to be a very competitive country. And more importantly, the businesses of America are reaching out as never before to other countries and consumers and other businesses all around the world to strengthen their ties – their ties with respect to exports, their investment ties by investing around the world, trying to figure out ways of collaborating on new technologies, helping countries to solve their economic development growth issues that they face, environmental issues, and many others.

So the one thing that is particularly important about American companies is to recognize that they are still – despite a relatively slow American growth recovery and financial issues that the United States has faced, American companies are still, first of all, very, very innovative. And some of the most innovative solutions in the world come from American companies, and those innovations can be very helpful in supporting their partners around the world, in supporting the efforts of other governments who want to take advantage of innovative solutions that are generated by American companies.

Second, that they partner with countries and companies around the world. American companies are very good at developing these partnerships, collaboration, common efforts to work together.

Third, they’re very investment minded. They invest all around the world. They want to play a responsible role as responsible global citizens and as responsible corporate citizens in all the countries in which they invest. They have very high environmental standards, very high workplace standards, very high standards with respect to integrity that is important – increasingly important in today’s world, and that American companies are particularly interested in finding ways of doing research and development in collaboration with people in other countries who want to do research and development in various areas.

We place a high premium on protection of intellectual property as do, we believe, many other countries. And the new jobs of the 21st century are going to come from new technologies, from new innovation. And that means protection of intellectual property, not just for American companies, but for domestic companies all around the world who have their innovative products to sell in the United States, in their own countries, and elsewhere in the world. So this kind of collaboration for innovation, but also to make sure that the rules of the global system and the rules of national economies are such that they support innovation. Innovation, new technological developments, can’t always be imported. They really have to be generated by a domestic environment. In each country around the world that wants to support innovation, new solutions, American companies are used to working in that environment and would like to collaborate.

And the last point is that it’s not just big American companies that you know, that are household words, that are playing a global role. And of course, the big companies are the Boeings, the Caterpillars, the IBMs, the General Electrics, Microsofts, many others are very, very active around the world. Companies like Corning Glass are very active. Many of our energy companies are very active around the world.

But we have smaller companies too that are very active and would like to participate as partners with other companies and other companies around the world – and smaller companies too, it’s not just big companies. America’s a big economy with a number of big companies. We also have a lot of small and medium-sized companies. And we know in many parts of the world, there is an effort to support small and medium-sized enterprise.

Just one example: I’ve been spending a lot of time in the Middle East and North Africa in support of the kind of reforms that are now going on in that region. And one of the things that I have picked up by people throughout the region is their emphasis on support for small and medium-sized enterprises. American companies would like to buy from and collaborate with small and medium-sized enterprises in North Africa, the Middle East. I’ve had conversations in Egypt, with business people – members of the Muslim Brotherhood; the same is true in Tunisia, and other parts of the world.

So this is not an ideological issue. This is not a political issue. This is a practical issue of collaboration between the United States and companies around the world and governments around the world, all of whom want to create jobs, want to work together, and to improve the living standards of their citizens. American business is very supportive of this. The State Department is very supportive of American business and of cooperation between American business and businesses in other countries who want to create jobs, who want to innovate, and want to strengthen their global ties in a mutually constructive way.

MS. JENSEN: All right. With that, we’ll take our first question. It comes from our watch party in Accra. With figures showing that Ghana is the largest market for U.S. rice in the West Africa – in West Africa, valued at $86 million in 2008, what are the advantages for Ghana? Isn’t that counterproductive to Ghana’s agricultural development in rice production?

UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: Well, we clearly want Ghana to succeed in production of agricultural products and other things. Consumers in Ghana have taste for different kinds of rice. Ghana does not produce enough rice to sustain its own rice requirements, so it imports rice from the United States; it imports rice from various parts of East Asia.

There are different kinds of rice. American rice is different in taste and in quality and in texture from rice that comes from, say, Thailand or other parts of the world. And for the Ghanaian consumer, they should have a choice. They should have a choice between American rice, Asian rice – we think our rice is a very high quality, tastes very good, has a wonderful texture. And so we, clearly, commend American rice to the consumers of Ghana. Ghana needs to import rice because its own production is not sufficient to fulfill the needs of its consumers. Its consumers can buy freely and choose freely among Ghanaian rice products, East Asian rice products, and American rice products. And we think American rice products are very tasty, very good, very nutritious, and certainly recommend them. I eat them myself. I’ve been in Africa, spend a lot of time in Africa, so I know American rice does quite well there, and is very competitive, and tastes very good.

MS. JENSEN: Our next question is quite long and it comes from Binta Sagna from Belafrika: We participated yesterday at the EU Energy Summit in Brussels. The president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, together with Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, yesterday opened the EU Sustainable Energy for All Summit in Brussels. They will provide 50 million euro to provide access to sustainable energy for an additional 500 million people. The president applauded the Secretary General for his most relevant Sustainable Energy for All initiative, in which the European Commission is strongly involved. “In the developed world,” he said, “adequate energy supplies are often the difference between growth and stagnation. In the developing world, they may make the difference between progress and falling behind, or even between life and death.”

He also announced today the launch of the new commission initiative: Energizing Development. How private organizations in the United States – ones involved in the energy section – could contribute to achieve these goals, and how the U.S. Government is supporting these initiatives?

UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: Well, it’s a great question and a great initiative. We applaud the Secretary General’s initiative. We’ve been working very actively. A lot of American companies have been supporting the goal of improved energy production and improved energy distribution throughout many parts of the developing world. We want to continue to do this. The questioner is absolutely right that this is, in many cases, key to development – to be able to move energy from places where it’s generated to villages and towns in developing countries that perhaps had never had access to energy. It’s important to enable kids to do their homework at night with adequate light, it’s important to generating production in manufacturing, it’s important to generating other types of production. It’s important to agriculture to have energy around the world that farmers have access to, and to cool your food so it doesn’t rot before it goes to market – cold chain storage. There are many things that are important about this initiative, and we support it. We have a very substantial amount of technical assistance that’s provided by the United States to energy producers around the world. But – in particularly, we’re focusing a lot on connectivity.

And I’ll just give you a recent example. I was in both Thailand and Vietnam, and there is a whole set of initiatives on connectivity in – of the energy grid. There’s energy that comes from the Mekong River – from various dams on the Mekong River – there are other kinds of energy sources that will emerge in the region, and connecting them is very important. And we have a number of initiatives, led by our embassies and our Trade Development Agency, TDA, which is going to have a big seminar on connectivity in ASEAN. We’re supporting connectivity in various parts of East Africa, which we think is very important. We’re also supporting the efforts by African countries themselves to take advantage of new opportunities of oil and gas finds in the region so that they can utilize those very effectively for development. And once they start producing these, then there’ll be opportunities for more connectivity.

American companies are very good at this. We have a lot of big and small companies that have played a very active role in connectivity around the world and providing distributed energy around the world. And it’s not just big companies, but as they – many smaller companies. So we – the fact that the Secretary General of the UN has emphasized this so much is very important. And using American technology, American business, American know-how, we want to support this, and we want to help people around the world to have sources of energy that they haven’t had before. That can create growth, it’s good for health, good for education, good for economic activity. And the United States is strongly committed to this project and American companies are playing a very, very active role in virtually every part of the world. In fact, in his recent visit to Latin America, President Obama has made a very important point of strengthening connectivity in the region – economic connectivity and energy connectivity’s a very big part of that.

MS. JENSEN: Our next question comes from Motasem Al Felou from Al Watan, Saudia Arabian newspaper. American officials with business people are visiting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia almost weekly. A big American official is on a visit to the KSA this week. What’s going on and what do you want from the KSA?

UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: (In Arabic.) Thank you very much. We have a very close relationship with the kingdom. We have been consulting with the kingdom on a variety of issues, not just issues that have to do with the Middle East and North Africa where we value the judgment of His Majesty and the Government of Saudi Arabia. We have very close business ties with many Saudi business people. We value the judgment of the kingdom on a whole range of issues. We have visitors going to Riyadh on a regular basis and I’ve been there myself twice in the last four months to talk to the Saudi Government about a whole range of issues that relate to a global – a whole host of global economic issues, political issues, and others. Why the individuals are going on this trip, it’s just part of a series of very high-level visits that we make on a regular basis to the kingdom.

We welcome the judgment of His Majesty, the judgment of the minister of finance, the central bank governor – are both highly respected individuals on global financial issues. Saudi energy officials are highly respected individuals in the area of energy. Saudi technology is picking up very substantially the efforts to diversify. We have KOUST. We have a number of other excellent universities in Saudi Arabia that American companies work with. American companies are constantly working with the Saudi Government as it attempts to diversify and engage in new kinds of technological improvements.

So we have a wide range of interactions with the Saudis. So a high-level visit is really part of the normal course of events in our relationship with the kingdom and we want to continue that, particularly – in fact, I’ll be meeting with Saudi officials in Paris early next week to talk about the changes that are going on in the Middle East and how we can help countries in North Africa and the Middle East to sustain their economic progress and their economic reforms. We value the wisdom of Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region. In the Gulf, the Turkish Government’s playing a very substantial role. And of course, the input of Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Jordan, and Morocco is very important as well, plus our G-8 colleagues. So we see Saudi Arabia as part of global cooperation and regional cooperation on a wide range of issues.

MS. JENSEN: This is a follow-up to that last question: How would you attract Saudi investors to do business in the U.S.?

UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: Very good question. We are very eager to have investment in the United States from all around the world. I’ve had many conversations with Saudi businesspeople in Jeddah in particular, but also in Riyadh and other parts of the kingdom. I’ve been going to the kingdom since the 1970s, when I was with the government and then in – when I was in the private sector, and now that I’m back in the government.

And there is Saudi investment in the United States. We would like to see more of it, because we believe investment, first of all, helps create jobs here, helps to strengthen ties between the United States and the kingdom, provides profitable ideas for Saudi companies who want to diversify their production, particularly getting into more high-technology kinds of businesses that can help them to increase production here but also can gain knowledge that can help them to increase production in Saudi Arabia.

One area that’s particularly important that Saudi is focusing on is energy diversification, is green energy, alternative source of energy. Saudi obviously has a lot of oil, but the Government of Saudi Arabia also realizes that it wants to diversify. We would welcome Saudi investment in a range of companies that could help them both produce here and also develop knowledge, skills, contacts, technological capabilities that can help to enhance production in those areas in Saudi. The same is true with food production. Saudi wants to increase domestic food production. We’re very good at that. Saudi investment in that sector here can help companies become acquainted with American companies and help to increase food production in Saudi Arabia.

So we welcome Saudi investment. We have a program in the Commerce Department called Select USA. All the states are very eager. A number of state governors and leaders from the various states who are eager to attract investment go to Saudi Arabia. So we welcome investment. The Saudi Embassy here is a good place to help Saudi businesspeople. And of course, the American Embassy abroad, the American Embassy in Riyadh, is very important. Ambassador Smith and his team have a first-class group of people who know about investment in the U.S. and can be very helpful. So call Ambassador Smith and his team, and they will be great assets to you.

MS. JENSEN: I just want to make a quick reminder that if you would like to get the latest information from the Department of State, you can do so by following us on Twitter by using the handle @StateDept. That’s at s-t-a-t-e-d-e-p-t.

Now we’re going to go on to Pakistan. From Aamir Ghuari: Pakistan is the United States ally since its inception. Its economy is heavily dependent on cotton and cotton products, and U.S. is the main markets for Pakistani products. Why is it not treated the same way as Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, or even Vietnam when it comes to imports from the United States?

UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: Well, we’re working very closely with Pakistan in order to help Pakistan to increase exports to the United States. This is one of our most important relationships in the world, really, because of the strategic nature of Pakistan and because of the long-term friendship we have had with Pakistan over the years. Pakistan’s economy is clearly going through a difficult time, but we welcome additional trade between the United States and Pakistan. We have trade delegations going out to Pakistan, to the major cities of Pakistan, all the time. So I would say that we welcome trade with Pakistan.

We also have been trying to encourage a greater degree of trade within the region. We think there are enormous opportunities for increased trade in the region. Senior commerce officials from Pakistan and India have met recently. Very substantial progress has been made. And our view is that while we certainly would welcome more trade between the United States and Pakistan, there are many things Pakistan can do in the region with its neighbors to enhance trade there. And if there were more trade, if there were fewer barriers, if there were more opportunities for commerce and for mutual investment, that could be a huge boost for growth in Pakistan and throughout the region. It’s a shame that there is so little commerce. There are obvious historical reasons for that. But in the new world, the more competitive world, there are great opportunities for Pakistan to do more in the region.

And we think that Pakistan and India and Afghanistan and other countries further to the north have, as a result of some initiatives that we’ve been working on in Pakistan and others have been engaged in discussions on – the New Silk Road project, which opens up transportation, communications – by rail, by truck, by other sources – this would be a very good thing. And that would boost economic growth dramatically in the region. The countries of the region simply have not taken sufficient advantage of opportunities to trade with one another. And I would say that would be and should be a top priority for creating jobs, creating growth, and creating interaction.

I just would make one more point about Pakistan. We work very closely with Pakistan on a wide range of issues. We’d like to find ways of strengthening investment cooperation between our two countries. We talk to senior officials of the Pakistani Government all the time. Minister Sheikh is going to be in Washington soon. In the next few days, I’m planning to have dinner with him, the finance minister of Pakistan, a highly respected individual, highly respected in the United States and around the world. So Pakistan has extremely good people, and we want to work with them to strengthen our economic ties.

MS. JENSEN: Our next question comes from Richard Thomas from Muscat Daily: The U.S. and Oman signed a free trade agreement in 2009 aimed at increasing the investment opportunities of the two countries in both imports and exports. Since 2009, has the U.S. seen or felt that Oman has grasped this opportunity for investment in the United States?

UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: Well, I think we do see Omani investment here. We see increased trade with Oman. We would like to see more interaction between our two countries. We have a lot of respect for the efforts by the Omani Government to diversify its economy and to diversify its trading relationship. And we support those efforts and we believe that there are opportunities that can be developed still further between the United States and Oman. Free trade agreements are good, but they’re really just the starting point. You need business-to-business relationships, you need communications, you need a wide range of things. And I must say I’ve had very good relations with the Omani representatives here, and we think there are more opportunities to be explored between our two countries.

MS. JENSEN: Our next question comes from our watch party in Accra again: Now that Ghana has passed the GMO law, would you say the floodgates are now open for U.S. companies to export GMOs into Ghana?

UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: Well, I don’t think the floodgates are open. First of all, I applaud President Mills for signing the bill and for – and beginning a legislature for passing this bill. This was, I think, a very important step in giving opportunities for biotechnology to make a contribution to increasing the quality of the diet of citizens of Ghana and also identifying ways in which Ghana can take advantage of dramatic, dramatic improvements in quality of seeds, drug – the resistance of seeds to various kinds of blight, various kinds of diseases that affect various plants throughout the world, in Ghana also. So there are more disease-resilient seeds. They also are better able to deal with changes in climate, so that this process of a biotech revolution coming to Ghana will be very important in improving the quality, the nutrition, and the amount of food that’s produced in Ghana, and is sold to Ghana in some cases as well.

I don’t think it opens the floodgates at all. I think the bill is very well crafted. It has very well-defined procedures for determining what can be sold and what can’t be sold, scientific testing, a wide range of things that the Ghanaian Government will undertake before seeds or products are approved. So we think it’s a well-crafted, very well-measured bill. We believe that biotech seeds and biotech agricultural products can help improve the diets of Ghanaians – as I say, more variety, better quality, drug resistance, and higher nutrition. So we encourage Ghana to utilize those seeds, but we also realize that there is an orderly process that is in the bill the government is going to follow in order to make decisions as to what can be sold and what can’t, and we think that is very responsible. So we encourage them to use scientific testing procedures to make these decisions.

Some countries do this, other countries don’t, but I think Ghana is way ahead in serving the interests of its citizens by this bill, and a lot of citizens of Ghana will have better diets, better nutrition, because the government has done a good thing, very responsible. It’ll protect the interests of the Ghanaian citizens through a good process of determining what can be sold based on scientific principles. We think that’s a big plus. And we hope that American companies that produce very high-quality biotech foods and very high-quality biotech seeds will be able to sell in Ghana and meet the needs of Ghanaian consumers under the framework of this very responsible bill.

MS. JENSEN: Our next question comes from Lenaic Vaudin d'Imecourt from Europolitics Brussels: The EU-U.S. trade relation is the largest one and the most integrated one in the world. What is preventing them from signing an FTA, which would benefit both sides? Is it naive to believe they could one day sign such an agreement? And will the U.S. focus remain on the Asia Pacific region?

UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: Well, it’s not naive at all. I think if you look at Europe – Europe itself, the European Union was the creation, the vision of people who had a vision, and that was people like Jean Monnet, Robert Schuman, and others who, right after World War II, began to think about a united Europe, and they built it piece by piece, year by year, decade by decade. So I think it’s important to have an ambitious vision.

We have a working group now on jobs and growth that was established by President Barroso and President Obama. They’re looking at various alternatives for strengthening economic relations between our two countries. We know there are various proposals that have come from think tanks, from very thoughtful people about strengthening trade relations between our two countries. I, for one, think that a lot of jobs can be created, a lot of growth can be created, and a lot of additional commerce can be created by expanding trade opportunities. The idea of a free trade agreement is certainly one possibility, but this group is going to have to look at all the possibilities before it makes a decision.

But I do think there are enormous opportunities for job creation on both sides of the Atlantic, growth on both sides of the Atlantic. We’re one another’s biggest trading partners, biggest investment partners. We have economies that, in many cases, have worked together. Our companies have worked together for decades and decades. And there are partnerships, there’s collaboration that can help to further strengthen ties, and therefore, looking at a free trade area as one alternative is certainly a worthwhile thing to do. And we should be ambitious. We should work very hard. This is a good moment to do it, when both sides can utilize the boost to jobs that additional trade would create.

Insofar as the emphasis on the Pacific, let me just say that that is never meant and has never been meant to be an alternative to Europe. We see Europe, as Secretary Clinton, President Obama, and others have mentioned, as our biggest trading and biggest investment partner, our strongest ally. We have an enormous commitment to Europe. We have – for many decades, we were instrumental in helping Europe to strengthen itself and recover after World War II as part of this longstanding friendship, because it’s in our interest and in Europe’s interest that we work together for mutual prosperity and mutual security and, more importantly now, to ensure that other countries around the world play by global rules, fair practices, protection of intellectual property, level playing field, support the IMF, the World Trade Organization – the WTO – all things that the United States and Europe together highly value.

So we do not see this as an either/or situation. We find that it’s important for us, as for Europe, to expand economic and political and security relations with Asia. After all, China’s actually a very big trading partner for the European Union. In fact, the European Union is China’s biggest trading partner, a bigger trading partner than the U.S. for China.

So we don’t see that as meaning that Europe is tilting toward China or is pivoting away from the United States. We see that as we see our trade and investment relations with Asia, as part of globalization. We’re still strongly committed to Europe. It’s still a high priority for us. It’s still our strongest ally, our strongest trading partner, and our strongest investment partner, and I think will be for a very long time. And we ought to find ways of building on that and expanding opportunities.

MS. JENSEN: Our next question comes from Christine Haguma: There are a lot of American NGOs in Africa, but not many companies. What are the obstacles for investing in Africa?

UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: There are a lot of NGOs, and there are too few companies now. I think that will change. Don’t forgot, Europe has traditionally a closer relationship with Africa than the United States, just historically. But more and more as you see Africa develop – and there’s some very dynamic industries and people in Africa. I lived in east Africa for a year, in Kenya and Tanzania, so I’m well aware.

You look at Kenya, there’s a lot of development, for instance, of the internet and use of cell phones. In Tanzania, there’s highly innovative activity in the area of agriculture, in the area of infrastructure development. President Kikwete has been a real leader in developing the agricultural sector. I had a wonderful meeting with President Kikwete in Davos just a few week ago, in the early part of this year. And having lived in rural Tanzania, I know the kinds of things that he and his colleagues are committed to. So we think this is an important opportunity for American companies, who perhaps don’t know as much about Africa, to learn more about the opportunities there.

We have something called the AGOA Forum. We want to make that a forum not just for engaging African governments between us and Africa, but engaging American companies with African companies in the agribusiness area, in the technology area, in many others. So we believe that American companies should take a look at Africa, go there, understand that the new Africa is not the Africa of 20 years ago. It’s very dynamic. There are very good companies there. They’re very innovative people there. There are some very progressive governments.

And in fact, at the Camp David meeting that is going to be led in the middle part of May, we’re going to be inviting a number of African leaders there, particularly to talk about food cooperation and particularly to figure out how we can engage more American companies in the area of agribusiness in Africa to enhance food production for the benefit of the region and enable African farmers to benefit from sales to the global economy as well.

MS. JENSEN: We have time for one more question, and it comes from Sherif Hamid from Asharqalawsat: Post the Arab Spring, changing nations are struggling. What is the support that is taking place there?

UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: This is a very important historical opportunity, and they are having difficulties, as countries do during dramatic transitions. But I just want to say one thing. The United States is strongly committed to supporting the economic and the political reforms that are going on in the region. Each country is in a somewhat different position. They’re not all the same. They don’t have the same approaches to change. But they do have many things in common: the emphasis on dignity, the emphasis on job creation, the emphasis on strengthening opportunity for their people to participate in the political process and participate to a far greater degree in the economic benefits of growth and giving them more opportunities.

We have had very good conversations. In fact, over the next few days, I plan to meet with representatives of all of the Middle East-North Africa countries, first in Paris next week, early next week, and then later in that week during the World Bank-IMF meetings. I’ve been playing a very active role myself, as have my colleagues here in this building and throughout our government. Secretary Clinton regards this as a very high priority. And of course, President Obama regards this as very important. So we intend to support countries of the region by helping them deal with their financial situations, by helping them to deal with opportunities for strengthening small and medium sized enterprises.

I mentioned representatives from the Muslim Brotherhood with whom I’ve had an opportunity to meet, have emphasized that point very substantially. We agree with that, helping them to take advantage of new export opportunities, export facilitation. How do they take better advantage of generalized preferences, which many of them have? Or in some cases, some of have free trade agreements that we would like to see them be able to take more advantage of – technical assistance, education assistance, a whole range of things.

Our budget constraints are very different now than they were – would have been, say, if this had happened 10 years ago, but we still have resources. If we use them wisely, they can be very effective. We’re working with our G-10 – G-8 counterparts. We’re working with other countries in the region, neighboring countries in the region, to mobilize not just financial resources but other resources to help them with governance. How do they recover stolen money? How do they improve transparency so that they can demonstrate to their people that the governments of the region are transparent? How do we improve opportunities for exchanges – parliamentary exchanges – exchanges of local leaders between the United States and countries of the region? These are all parts of what we’re trying to do.

We’re the chair of the Deauville Partnership this year. This is – this was created last year to bring together the transitional countries of the region, plus neighboring countries, plus the G-8. We’re going to be meeting in Paris to discuss a whole range of financial issues which have been discussed primarily by the Treasury Department. They’re in the lead here. The White House and U.S. Trade Representative have been the lead on trade and investment issues. We’re going to be discussing in Paris primarily governance issues, but they all interrelate. And we believe this is an historic moment where the United States needs to play a leadership role.

We’ll mobilize as many financial resources as we can, utilize them as wisely as we can, but we also want to mobilize human resources, get our businesses out to the region so that they can do business, invest and trade with small and medium-sized enterprises and larger enterprises in the region. We’re trying to do all this, and we have a very strong commitment to doing it, and we see change in the region. And we want to deal with current governments, we want to deal with incoming governments, we want to deal with the parties that have been elected in the democratic process that is underway in many parts of the region. We want to deal with our friends in the region, in the Gulf. Turkey’s played a very – very, very constructive role; countries in the Gulf have played a very constructive role. We want to try to mobilize common, collective, integrated support for the reform process.

It’s difficult, but we think if the countries do the right things internally and get the kind of support that they should externally, it’ll be difficult, but we think that there will be a better future for the region. But we’ve got to do a lot of hard work, and we’ve got to do it together. No one country can do it; it needs to be a collective endeavor.

MS. JENSEN: Well, that’s all the time we have for today. I would like to thank you all for your great questions. And of course, a big thank you to you, Secretary Hormats, for joining us in this studio. There will be a full audio and video copy of today’s webcast available shortly after the conclusion of today’s program. If you’d like to get the latest information, you can follow the State Department on Twitter using the handle @StateDept, or you can follow us on any of the in-language Twitter feeds you’ve seen scrolling at the bottom of your screen during today’s program. We look forward to doing this with you again soon. Have a great day.

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