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Kaine Chairs First Subcommittee Hearing, Discusses Importance of International Development to U.S. Economy

Witnesses from private sector addressed why international development is critical to their industries

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee and Chairman of the International Development and Foreign Assistance Subcommittee, chaired his first subcommittee hearing today on international development and the importance of private sector investments and public-private partnerships. Kaine referenced his recent introduction of Secretary Kerry at his first address as Secretary of State at the University of Virginia, noting the compelling case Kerry made for foreign aid. Throughout the hearing, Kaine emphasized the importance of investments in international development to U.S. national security interests, humanitarian efforts, as well as our nation’s economy and American jobs.

“Foreign assistance has traditionally served U.S. national security interests, commercial interests and also addressed global humanitarian concerns,” said Kaine. “Today’s hearing is an opportunity to hear the perspectives of our private sector colleagues who have been in the field about what international development does to advance American economic interests and how those global economic interests can be tied to significant global advancement.”

In his witness testimony, Caterpillar International Governmental Affairs Director Bill Lane highlighted the impact investments in international development have on private sector businesses in the U.S..

“Today exports are more important to Caterpillar than ever before. Well over half of what we produce, we export,” said Lane. “But over half of our exports now go to non-OEDC countries: Colombia, Chile, Peru, South Africa - these are important markets that are driving employment in the United States and in Illinois, and it is absolutely critical that we recognize at some point that while it is not a perfect process, when we engage in countries and help them develop it pays dividends down the road, and at times, big dividends.”

During his remarks, Kaine noted the importance of maximizing accountability, efficiency and transparency as the U.S. navigates the increase in private sector resource flows to developing countries.

“I look forward to hearing about the ways the U.S. can better leverage private partners and in a public-private partnership model, what that says in terms of accountability and how we should measure the success of our efforts,” said Kaine.

Today’s subcommittee hearing followed two hearings in the full Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the President’s FY 2014 International Affairs budget request.