Secretary of State Colin Powell
Statement to US Business Community
Washington, D.C.
October 22, 2001

As President Bush has said, the American people can send a powerful message to the world's terrorists that we mean business by "getting back to business."

The murderous attacks of September 11 delivered a temporary shock to our country and its economy that has reverberated around the world. But the attacks did not shake the fundamental strengths of our society. They steeled our resolve to defend and advance the freedoms we hold dear, not the least of which are our economic freedoms.

The partnership for prosperity at home and abroad, which together we have forged between American business and American diplomacy, has never been more important.

In recent days, the Congress approved two important bilateral trade agreements, one with Jordan and the other with Vietnam. Work continues on securing Trade Promotion Authority for the President, reauthorizing the Andean Trade Preferences Act and GSP, concluding agreement on a Free Trade Area of the Americas, and moving ahead with our global trade agenda at the upcoming World Trade Organization Ministerial. Opening markets, increasing transparency and accountability, adhering to the rule of law - these goals remain as important to us today as they were before September 11.

In addition, we are finding new ways to support our friends and deter our adversaries by more effectively targeting economic and financial sanctions and by rethinking how we can best use economic assistance.

I am especially proud of how our posts abroad have risen to the challenges of recent weeks: they are open and are prepared to serve. They continue to advocate on your behalf and to work on the economic and commercial challenges you face. They continue to provide the high level of services - including helping to ensure your safety and security - that you have a right to expect of your government. We have the same dedication and make the same commitment here in Washington. You can find up-to-date information on safety and security overseas on the Department’s website at http://www.state.gov/.

American business executives and American diplomats proudly serve on the frontlines around the world, promoting American ideas and transmitting American values. In the eyes of some, that makes us a target. In the eyes of most, that makes us a testament to the success that democracy and economic opportunity bring.

Thank you for your patriotism, for your contributions to our nation's prosperity, and for your continuing partnership, as together we work to build a world of freedom, well-being and peace.