State Dept. official says international economy growing

Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Sullivan discussed President George W. Bush’s accomplishments in international economics in Duqu?s Hall Tuesday night.

Sullivan, head of the State Department’s Bureau of Economic, Energy, and Business Affairs, said growth in the international economy has been higher in the last five years than any five-year period since World War II. He said much of this growth can be attributed to U.S. economic policy.

“Without the United States as a consistent, strong engine of economic growth over the last several years, you would not have had the broad international growth that you’ve had,” he said.

Sullivan outlined efforts in seven areas of international economics the Bush administration is working in: trade, development assistance, the fight against infectious diseases, anti-corruption efforts, freedom of expression, the intervention of terrorist finance and global economy participation. The discussion was broadcast on C-SPAN Wednesday at about 12:40 p.m.

Sworn in as assistant Cabinet secretary in June 2006, Sullivan said he wanted to make progress in the area of energy security in addition to the administration’s seven areas.

“(There is) strong interest in (energy security) given the high oil prices, given where we get a lot of our energy … The key to this really is diversity of supply, diversity of sources, diversity of the types of energy that we use,” he said.

There are some substantial difficulties for U.S. economic policy in the future, especially with China, Sullivan said.

“One of the key challenges, I think, is really looking at ways in which to incorporate the rise of some of the big growing economic powers … In particular I think China is large in that regard,” he said.

Concerning policy on Iraq, the assistant secretary said his bureau is working with the Iraqi government on committing to economic reforms. He added that he has great hope for Iraq’s economic revival because it has many untapped resources.

“The potential in terms of non-energy sector economic activities is very striking,” he said. “Whether it’s the entrepreneurial spirit of the people, whether it’s the agricultural sector, much of this has been ruined by 30 years of Saddam’s rule.”

Michael Moore, professor of economics and international affairs, invited Sullivan to speak at the University. The faculty member said he knew Sullivan from his time as White House Council of Economic Advisers from 2002 to 2003. Sullivan served on the National Security Council that year.

Moore, who is the director of GW’s International Trade and Investment Policy program, led a Q-and-A session after Sullivan’s speech. After the event, Moore said he found the speech informative.

“I think he laid out clearly a set of issues the Bush administration has been working on some of which has gotten less press coverage than you might have thought,” he said.

Sullivan’s visit was sponsored by the GW Center for International Business Education and Research, the Washington International Trade Association and the Elliot School of International Affairs’ International Trade and Investment Policy Program. The Washington International Trade Association is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to providing a neutral forum for open discussion of international trade policy and related issues, according to the organization’s Web site.

Senior Teal Willingham, a research assistant of Moore’s, said she thought Sullivan’s statements were slanted.

“The speech was very aimed at painting the Bush administration in a positive light in terms of economic assistance,” she said.

Gwen Bluemich, a second-year graduate student in Moore’s U.S. Trade Policy course, said the speech and discussion were interesting because of its relation to her studies

“For all students taking international economic affairs for their concentration,” she said, “it was very interesting.”

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