The Hampton Roads Chamber attended the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) discussion on why leading globally matters not just for Virginia, but for America. The event occurred on August 10 at the Westin Town Center Virginia Beach. Chamber President & CEO, Bryan K. Stephens is a member of the Virginia Advisory Committee of USGLC and provided opening remarks. The Chamber means business and its mission is to set the conditions that allow businesses to succeed. “We do that through economic, workforce and infrastructure development, improving quality of life and advocacy efforts. We represent small and large businesses and the link to the conomic currents of the world depends on reaching globally,” Stephens said. 95% of the customers are outside the U.S. “In order to invest these markets we have to keep America competitive. 1 in every 5 U.S. jobs are tired to trade. America must remain a global leader,” Stephens said.
Stephens introduced Congressman Scott Taylor who was one of the featured speakers for the day’s discussion. The panel also included General Richard Hawley, (U.S. Air Force, Ret.) and Robert de Jongh of Deloitte. The discussion covered topics from the moral responsibility of humanitarian aid, empowering and encouraging women and minorities in developing nations to the impact of China’s reach on the global market. National security and foreign policy issues were also part of the conversation. Each panelists shared stories of how they have seen America’s positive influence in their global work.
According to data provided by the USGLC, Virginia-based companies depend on exporting their goods around the world, with more than 7,000 Virginian companies exporting over $16 billion worth of goods in 2017.
Taylor discussed the importance of leading globally and thinking about America’s role in the world as it benefits both the international community and the U.S. “This is not just assisting defense. Our brave men and woman of Coastal Virginia are amongst the first called on in times of crisis, but I am a believer in soft power as well. We can do a better job of balancing force and diplomacy, compromise and conversation. We must view global aid as a foreign policy tool,” Taylor said.
“Keep learning, keep teaching, keep advocating,” Taylor said. Global diplomacy tools allows the U.S. to enter emerging markets, create trade and expand reach. The Chamber will continue to advocate for efforts that shape public policy and legislation that allows businesses to succeed.