Free Trade, Aid Help States Transform Themselves, Rice Says

Washington – The United States will continue to use free trade, foreign aid and all elements of its power to promote an open international order based on political liberty, free markets, self-determination and national sovereignty, says U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

“To be sure, this is not a status quo objective. But that does not make it impractical. Indeed, helping states to transform themselves, to improve themselves, is the most realistic approach to the problems we now face,” Rice said in June 7 remarks at the centennial celebration of the Economic Club of New York.

Rice said U.S. foreign policy is guided by both interests and ideals. She said the two are “inextricably linked” because “liberty and justice within states leads to peace and stability between states.”

“Freedom is not an abstract principle. It is the most practical way for states to organize themselves successfully, to adapt to change, and to grow economically,” she said.

Rice called for a new bipartisan consensus on free trade as a vital tool of U.S. foreign policy.

“Trade is the engine not only of economic growth, but also of political transformation. Integrating into the global economy helps to open closed societies. It helps new democracies to deliver on the high hopes of the people. And it gives governments a stake in the international system,” she said.

This is the objective of the trade agreements with Peru, Panama, Colombia and South Korea now before Congress, and of the Doha round of global trade negotiations, she said.

Rice said today, when some of the greatest international challenges emerge from within ill-governed or failed states, “global development is both a moral ideal and a national interest.” The United States is determined to use its foreign aid to help states transform by promoting good governance and fighting poverty, she said.

Over the past six years, with the support of Congress, the Bush administration has nearly tripled its foreign assistance worldwide and quadrupled it for sub-Saharan Africa, Rice said. The United States also is expending $1.2 billion to fight malaria and $15 billion to fight HIV/AIDS. The president recently called on Congress to double that sum. (See related article.)

The United States also is working to make its aid an incentive to govern justly, reform economies and invest in people, Rice said.


“We’d like to get out of the business of foreign aid entirely, but the way to do that is by helping countries meet their own needs through the development of effective democratic institutions and economic institutions,” she said.

A transcript of Secretary Rice’s remarks is available on the State Department Web site.

For more information on U.S. policy, see Global Development and Foreign Aid.