THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
he Department of Commerce
is piloting a network of “digital
attachés” to promote digital market
access around the world. Six Foreign
Commercial Service officers assigned to
ASEAN, Brazil, China, Japan, India and
the European Union will be designated as
digital trade officers to help U.S. compa-
nies increase exports, access the global
online marketplace and navigate digital
The digital attachés will amplify
current FCS work helping American
businesses navigate complex foreign
regulations and requirements concerning
e-commerce and international data trans-
fers and tackle digital market barriers.
In announcing the program, U.S.
Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker
said: “These officers will enhance efforts
to advance commercial diplomacy, and
they will work to ensure that U.S. compa-
nies can participate in the global digital
economy and reach markets worldwide.”According to the Department of Com- merce, the value of U.S. digital exports in
2014 totaled $400 billion.
—Shannon Mizzi, Editorial Assistant
Global Connect Initiative
Aims to Close the Digital
n April 14, World Bank President
Jim Kim and Secretary of State JohnF. Kerry hosted a conference at the World Bank in Washington, D.C., to discuss steps to advance the State Department’s new Global Connect initiative.
Launched in September 2015, Global
Connect seeks to bring 1.5 billion people
around the world online by 2020 and
establish the idea that Internet access is
critical for economic development.
“The Internet is not a luxury, but anecessity,” Secretary of State John F. Kerry told international finance ministers from 27 countries, technology and nongovern-
mental organization executives, heads
of multilateral development banks and
“When we talk about infrastructure
today, we have to include the Internet,
right alongside roads and ports and
bridges and dams and airports and the
power grid.”Kerry noted that Global Connect is the international equivalent of Franklin Roo- sevelt’s electrification program 80 years ago, when there was “a conscious effort
by the government to say we are going to
connect Americans to electricity; we are
going to change life.”
“For every 10-percent increase in
Broadband access, a developing coun-
try can see up to a 2-percent increase in
Gross Domestic Product,” the Secretarystated, citing a the World Bank’s 2016 World Development Report.
On launching the new initiative last
fall, Under Secretary of State for Eco-
nomic Growth, Energy and the Environ-
ment Catherine A. Novelli, a former vice
president of Worldwide Government
Affairs at Apple Computer, stated that U.S.
development agencies would prioritize
Internet access in their work and partner
with other governments as well as private
industry to come up with innovative solu-
tions and country strategies.
Currently, nearly three dozen coun-
tries support 65 initiatives that promote
connectivity and access to affordable
World Bank President Kim noted in
his address that Global Connect will be
financed through government loans,
public-private partnerships, fair taxa-
tion, structural efficiencies and financial
incentives in the affected countries.
—Ken Fanelli, Publications Specialist
ccording to the Lowy Institute’snew Global Diplomacy Index (see Site of the Month on p. 16), the world’s
42 most powerful countries have 6,000
Secretary of State John F. Kerry speaks on the Global Connect initiative from the World
Bank Executive Board Room on April 14.