The global economy has extended the reach of U.S. economic interests to virtually every nation on earth. Through extensive involvement abroad, American business is successfully bringing desperately needed economic benefits to the developing world. Indeed, the positive effects of trade by U.S. companies often go far beyond creating jobs and raising living standards. U.S. commercial engagement overseas is an effective method for promoting democracy, human rights, and other values that can make a positive difference in the lives of millions.

Because U.S. companies are often actively involved at many levels in the countries and communities they serve, the benefits are great -- and tangible. From better schools and health care to improved infrastructure and housing -- business is making a difference.

Over the next several weeks, USA*ENGAGE will provide individual company examples of the positive role of commercial engagement abroad.

Grants from Exxon to the AmeriCare Foundation have provided medical supplies to people in Angola, Bolivia, the Congo and Venezuela.