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How Iowa Businesses Can Impact the State Department

Business Q+A

October 28, 2022

The Greater Des Moines Partnership and the Iowa Business Council welcomed Assistant Secretary Ramin Toloui of the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. During the Assistant Secretary’s visit, we hosted a conversation and question and answer session with local business and community leaders in which we discussed how Iowa businesses may better interact with the State Department and how worldly events affect Iowa’s business community.

Economic Outlook

We continue to hear the words recession and inflation at the state, national and international levels. When asked about predictions on how the global economy will look a year from now, Assistant Secretary Toloui stressed the importance of preparing for a variety of different ways the economy could proceed. While the State Department is not involved in the day-to-day functions of the international economy, they are heavily invested in the intersection of diplomacy and economic and business issues, regardless of the state of the economy. That being so, Assistant Secretary Toloui emphasized the need to invest in longer-term aspects of resilience that will be important whether or not we enter a recession.

Supply Chains

The international supply chain is one area of resilience the U.S. Department of State has focused its attention on. Currently, the supply chain is optimized for low cost, but the Assistant Secretary highlighted efforts to build up this global network and increase its resiliency. To address recent disruptions, the State Department has implemented an early warning mechanism to detect weaknesses in the European semiconductor industry, as well as establishing the supply chain as one of four working groups within the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework. These efforts seek to identify potential problems before they arise and to invest in projects that reinforce the stability of the global supply chain.


Recently, major threats to the stability of the global supply chain and the international economy are related to geopolitical issues. In advance of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the Department prepared economic sanctions based upon the likelihood of Russian aggression. After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the U.S. Department of State coordinated financial sanctions and export controls and provided economic assistance to Ukraine to prevent collapse. In the ongoing tensions between China and Taiwan, the State Department has been consistent in its policy efforts. Assistant Secretary Toloui underscored the desire of the United States to maintain the status quo regarding the relationship between the United States, China and Taiwan — even while Beijing appears inclined to change it. In these instances of global conflict, the U.S. State Department administers diplomatic and economic efforts to safeguard U.S. businesses.

In his closing remarks, Assistant Secretary Toloui encouraged Iowans to reach out with ideas for how the State Department may better serve the business community. The Assistant Secretary urged Iowa business leaders to share success stories that demonstrate how the Department is already working for the people of Iowa. You may reach out to the U.S. State Department here.

The Partnership's Public Policy team engages with local, state and federal officials to create public policy that generates economic growth, business prosperity and talent development in Greater Des Moines (DSM). The Partnership is a nonpartisan organization.

Joe Murphy

Joe Murphy is the Executive Director of the Iowa Business Council. In this role, he leads an organization comprised of 20 CEOs and top executives from some of the largest employers in Iowa. The Iowa Business Council serves as a catalyst to elevate Iowa’s long-term economic vitality through global thought leadership, research, and advocacy.