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U.S. Department of State

Department Seal Alan Larson, Under Secretary of State
for Economic, Business, and Agricultural Affairs

Presentation of Awards for Corporate Excellence
U.S. Department of State, December 19, 2000
Blue Bar

As today's proceedings draw to a close, I want personally to thank Secretary Albright for her leadership of the Department's economic and commercial activities. From her first day, she made clear that the priorities of business were her priorities as well. I appreciate her strong support.

When they operate abroad, American corporations often are agents of change and symbols of globalization. American corporations can help spread increased productivity and wealth, new technologie, and access to global markets. At the same time, by operating in environments where environmental or social standards are not the same as ours, they can confront challenging business and ethical issues. For this reason, global corporations often become the most visible targets of those who fear or oppose globalization.

You have heard the wonderful stories of today's three winners of the Corporate Excellence Award. In the course of inviting nominations for the Award, we learned about the outstanding work of many other companies. Let me mention a few of them.

One company funded 60 college-level engineering scholarships, established technical certificate programs on the grounds of its plants, and set up a visiting engineers program to teach about environmental and safety engineering.

Another nominee developed a community-building foundation funded through the profits of a recycling facility.

Several are working on democracy-building activities and consumer rights protection.

For American companies, corporate responsibility is not the exception but the rule.

Working together, we can do more to address concerns and fears of globalization. Through the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), business leaders, workers, and non-governmental organization representatives have collaborated with governments to establish a set of guidelines for multinational corporations [ OECD Guidelines] -- guidelines that will help to frame excellence in corporate behavior.

These guidelines make good business sense. They provide an accepted tool to inform corporate decision-making. We invite businesses to associate themselves with these guidelines.

In conclusion, let me again congratulate today's honorees. They represent what is good and right about U.S. firms in the global economy.

And let me assure the American business community that when it comes to supporting American companies overseas and highlighting the positive role they play in promoting economic growth and good business practices, the State Department will always be there for you.

12/19/00: Secretary's Remarks

12/19/00: 2000 Award for Corporate Excellence

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