It’s not always easy to see the connection between global issues and events as they pertain to everyday life. Yet what’s happening around the globe certainly effects what’s happening here, and it’s a reason why the Economic Alliance partners with the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) to advocate for a strong International Affairs Budget, the part of the U.S. budget dedicated to supporting American diplomacy, engagement and development initiatives around the world.
The USGLC is a broad-based influential network of 500 businesses and NGOs; national security and foreign policy experts; and business, faith-based, academic, and community leaders in all 50 states. The USGLC works in our nation’s capital and across the country to educate and inspire support from the American public and policymakers on the importance of America’s civilian-led tools of development and diplomacy.
“Our region’s interests are deeply connected to the global economy,” shares Barbra Solberg, Public Policy Strategist at the Economic Alliance. “In 2020, 3,140 companies exported goods from Iowa of which 82% were small and medium-sized enterprises, according to USGLC.“
Additionally, Iowa exported $15.8 billion in goods to foreign markets in 2021, a 25% increase from 2020, which was driven by continued economic recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy. The office of U.S. Trade Representative notes that in 2017, the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City region alone exported almost $1.4 billion in goods.
America’s national security is also connected to global crises like food insecurity and conflicts in Ukraine and Africa. Iowa’s role in feeding the world spreads democratic goodwill that leads to prosperity for developing nations, drives economic development, creates jobs, and alleviates global poverty and hunger. According to USGLC, every $1 spent to prevent conflict and challenges like food insecurity saves about $16 in response costs for the U.S. The Cedar Rapids region benefits from strong international relationships by helping businesses maintain and enter new markets in stable and free countries across the globe.
There are also humanitarian reasons the Economic Alliance supports diplomacy around the world. In 2018-2019, 5,744 Iowa students studied abroad, and during 2020, 11,603 international students were enrolled in Iowa colleges and universities, contributing $352 million to the Iowa economy.
The Economic Alliance and USGLC share the goal of promoting civil and collaborative debate at all levels of government and encouraging elected officials to work together and focus on serving our communities. Both the Economic Alliance’s Doug Neumann, Executive Director, and Barbra Solberg, Public Policy Strategist, serve on USGLC’s Iowa Advisory Committee. For more information, reach out to Barbra at email@example.com