Posted at 1:29 PM
As part of her week-long commercial diplomacy mission to Asia this week, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker met today with supporters of Burma’s transition to democracy and the ongoing national peace process. At a roundtable with Burmese civil society leaders, she took the opportunity to learn more about the complexities of political and economic reform and to hear their concerns and views about future challenges for Burma.
In her remarks at the roundtable, Secretary Pritzker affirmed the United States’ commitment to supporting positive political and economic reforms in Burma. She urged the Burmese government to build on that progress by implementing measures that increase inclusive economic development and promote government transparency and accountability. Noting that a strong and vibrant civil society is critical to institutionalizing reforms and ensuring government accountability, Secretary Pritzker applauded the efforts of Burmese civil society leaders to advance citizen interests in pursuit of democracy.
The Commerce Department takes these issues very seriously. Since 2010, training in human rights, rule of law, and corporate social responsibility has been mandatory for Foreign Commercial Service Officers. Attention to these critical social issues not only strengthens the Department’s culture, but enhances its ability to support American companies as they expand overseas.
Secretary Pritzker also discussed how American businesses could help facilitate broad-based economic growth in Burma. Responsible investment from U.S. companies has the potential to reinforce the reform process by playing a positive role in upholding the rule of law, spurring economic development, and demonstrating to Burma’s people that democratic reforms pay both political and economic dividends. The opening of the first-ever Commercial Service office in Burma this year will allow the Commerce Department to support continued reforms and help U.S. businesses enter the Burmese market.
The United States remains committed to supporting positive political and economic reforms in Burma that increase inclusive economic development, and promote government transparency and accountability. As part of this commitment, the Commerce Department is working to encourage mutually-beneficial growth in Burma and the entire ASEAN region.