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Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs

Innovation Roundtables

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There is a significant undertaking, broader than the State Department, inside the United States government, to make sure that, on these technology challenges, America remains in the front on AI, in front on the next wireless wave 5G, and on Blockchain; all the issues that will dominate commerce and rule of law in the decades ahead, to ensure that the U.S. is positioned properly.
U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo
Department of State Fiscal Year 2020 Budget Request
April 10, 2019

Through the Innovation Roundtable series convened by Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Manisha Singh, the State Department works with the U.S. private sector to identify and promote market opportunities abroad for emerging technologies such as:

The Innovation Roundtable series facilitates business development, trade, investment, and greater unity of purpose among the U.S. government and American business leaders who are transforming the technology landscape and economy of the future.


Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things (IoT) is an increasingly high-profile area of technological development.  The United States is a global leader in developing IoT software, devices, and operating systems.  This Innovation Roundtable explored how IoT is changing the way companies use data, resulting in better jobs for the American workforce.  Participants agreed on the need for companies and governments to work together to help ensure the free flow of data across borders and address complexity.



Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) come up frequently in foreign policy engagements related to Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).  This Innovation Roundtable examined the potential to implement blockchain and DLT in different systems, such as manufacturing supply chains, data registries, finance, digital identification, and records management.  Participants supported stakeholder-driven development of open and voluntary interoperability standards for blockchain.


Cloud Computing

The cloud continues to rise in importance as a vital enabler for many services and emerging technologies.  At this Innovation Roundtable, State Department and business leaders discussed the opportunities being pursued and challenges faced by U.S. companies leading the global transition to the cloud.  Topics included how the global adoption of cloud computing can be used to benefit U.S. companies overseas, the importance of cross border data flows for cloud service providers, and international policy barriers such as data localization.


Smart Spaces/Cities and COVID-19 Recovery

Smart spaces are becoming common.  Homes, airports, restaurants, schools, stores, and entire downtown areas are becoming digitally connected.  This enables data to be layered in ways that give us better insight into how a space operates, better serving the people who use it and keeping them safer amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.  At this Innovation Roundtable, the State Department, U.S. companies, academic institutions, and local authorities focused on diplomatic and business engagements aimed at maintaining U.S. global leadership in smart spaces technology development and deployment.


U.S. Technology Solutions in the Indo-Pacific

The Indo-Pacific continues to develop into one of the most dynamic regions in terms of economic growth and technological innovation.  As the United States steps up engagement in the region, strategic competitors are seeking to dominate the region’s markets.  During  this Innovation Roundtable, State Department representatives discussed how Commercial Deal Teams are helping U.S. companies abroad, while private sector participants presented their priorities and experience in competing for business in the Indo-Pacific.


Digital Assets

U.S.-based companies continue to lead technology development for blockchain-enabled financial exchange.  The State Department is working with U.S. companies and foreign countries to create enabling policy environments and regulatory frameworks that support broadening the global market share of U.S. blockchain trading platforms.  This Innovation Roundtable examined how foreign policy advocacy can enhance U.S. companies competitiveness as blockchain-enabled digital payments expand in strategic competitors.



Consumers need to trust that their 5G provider will provide secure and uninterrupted service.  With Western telecom companies, consumers have recourse and legal protections from data breaches.  Telecom companies headquartered in countries with authoritarian governments and one-party systems don’t provide these assurances.  Participants in this Innovation Roundtable welcomed U.S. efforts to advocate for secure 5G communications networks.


Automated Vehicles

young woman reading a book in a autonomous car. driverless car. self driving vehicle. heads up display. automotive technology. [shutterstock]

U.S. leadership on autonomous and connected vehicles gives us an advantage globally.  This Innovation Roundtable examined the fact that the auto industry worldwide is becoming far more data intensive, elevating privacy and cybersecurity issues.  Participants agreed on the need for United States leadership on issues like data privacy and the development of coalition partners willing to align around principles  supporting innovation.


Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The innovation economy is the biggest driver of growth today.  At the forefront of this expansion are artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.  To better understand the current trajectory of American AI, the State Department held an Innovation Roundtable with stakeholders from the U.S. private sector, academia, think tanks, and development organizations.  We explored the concept of deploying AI that fosters public trust and confidence, and finding the appropriate roles for regulators.


Health Science and Biotechnology

Technological advances in the United States continue to allow us to improve peoples’ health globally.  In this Innovation Roundtable, representatives from the State Department, U.S. companies, universities, and investment firms discussed U.S. global leadership in the life sciences, health, and biotechnology sectors.  Some of the challenges cited included retention of talent, start-ups, and investment.  One of the opportunities mentioned by companies was their development of innovation relationships with universities and using art to expand science and technology.


Digital Payments

The U.S. payments industry is developing markets around the world.  The State Department is interested in better understanding the international implications of technological innovations in the payments industry to enable U.S. companies to expand globally and increase international commerce.  This Innovation Roundtable reflected on U.S. companies’ efforts to advance financial inclusion, safeguard the international payments systems, disrupt terrorism finance, and contribute to regulating the U.S. payments industry.

U.S. Department of State

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