5 big business deals Hillary Clinton sealed at State Dept.

June 13, 2014, 8:15 PM UTC
Hillary Clinton at Cairo International Airport
Hillary Clinton at Cairo International Airport
Photograph by Brendan Smialowski — AFP/Getty Images


A Boeing plane.

The deal: $4 billion for 50 737s

Hard Choices, Hillary Clinton’s new memoir about her years as Secretary of State, may be a book about diplomacy, but she doesn’t just write about kibitzing with foreign leaders. The book also touts her work on behalf of the private sector, particularly when it comes to navigating treacherous and protectionist global markets. 

For example, in 2009, Clinton sold Chinese and Russian officials on American aircraft manufacturer Boeing (BA), and she later participated in the Shanghai World Expo, where she helped to secure contracts for the company. The result: U.S. job creation, a theme that sounds familiar to anyone who has listened to any stump speech, ever.

Clinton says she hasn’t yet decided whether she’s running for president in 2016. But, as the book makes clear, a track record of helping Boeing and the like probably won’t hurt her case.  

“I visited the Boeing Design center in Moscow … I made the case that Boeing’s jets set the global gold standard, and, after I left, our embassy kept at it. In 2010, the Russians agreed to buy fifty 737s, for almost $4 billion, which translated into thousands of American jobs.” --Hard Choices

Photograph by Chris McGrath—Getty Images


FedEx Corp. signage is seen on the side of a delivery truck in San Francisco, California, U.S.

The deal: FedEx expands from 58 operating service locations in China, to more than 65 locations in every major Chinese city (and more today)

In 2009 when FedEx (FDX) was up against what Clinton calls “severely restrictive licenses” in China, she took the issue directly to China’s top brass, after U.S. ambassadors in Beijing failed to make the case themselves. At first, the government refused to grant all the licensing rights requested by the American shipping giant—not until, you guessed it, Clinton followed up again with Chinese officials.   

“After our efforts the Chinese informed FedEx that they had finally granted licenses, but only to eight cities in China … I delivered another message to Vice Premier Wang (Qishan). Eventually the Chinese pledged that … they would grant permits for the remaining cities. The embassy reported back that the Chinese officials were surprised by the sustained U.S. government response to the issue at such a senior level.”--Hard Choices

Photograph by David Paul Morris/Bloomberg—Getty Images


The new bombardier aircraft CSseries is shown in Mirabel, Quebec.

The deal: $600 million worth of investment to Bombardier’s Wichita, Kansas location

Clinton didn't only work with American companies while she was at State. Through a program designed to woo foreign businesses, she helped convince international corporations like Bombardier (BDRBF), a Canadian aviation company, to set up shop in the U.S.

“The State Department worked with the Commerce Department as well as state and local officials on a program called SelectUSA ... to attract more foreign direct investment into our country, which already supported more than 5 million American jobs, including 2 million in manufacturing.” --Hard Choices

Photograph by Clement Sabourin/AFP—Getty Images

American Airlines

ARLINGTON, VA - AUGUST 13: An American Airlines jet takes off behind US Airways jets at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport August 13, 2013 in Arlington, Virginia. The U.S. Justice Department, and attorneys general from six states, filed legal actions today attempting to prevent the planned merger of US Airways and American Airlines as a violation of antitrust law. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The deal: $100 million annual impact on Dallas-Fort Worth economy

In 2009, American Airlines (AAL) was able to set up a direct route to Madrid from Texas, a flight that Clinton suggests wouldn’t likely have been established during her tenure without the State Department’s “aviation diplomacy.”

“During my four years, our experts negotiated 15 Open Skies Agreements with nations all over the world … these agreements opened new routes to U.S. air carriers.” --Hard Choices

 Photograph by Win McNamee—Getty Images


Clock in Gaffer District, Downtown Corning, New York

The deal: In 2004, dropped Chinese “discriminatory” tariffs targeting providers of optical fibers and cables

Clinton describes the difficulty in convincing the George W. Bush Administration to protect the New York-based glass company Corning (GLW) from Chinese trade barriers while she was serving as a senator. Corning is famous for the scratch-resistant “gorilla glass” it manufactures, and has a $28 billion market cap. 

“[Corning’s] technology and products were so good that competitors in China felt they needed an unfair advantage … This wasn’t fair. … I made every attempt possible to enlist the Bush administration to back me up.” --Hard Choices

Photograph by Dennis Macdonald—Getty Images