U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) will be traveling today to Thailand and Japan to attend a series of meetings and a forum on global sustainable development initiatives, trade, and global poverty. Smith, a member of the House International Relations Committee, has a strong interest in sustainable development issues and how these tie into the broader picture of global security and poverty.

Smith will participate in the Trade and Poverty Forum (TPF) in Nagoya, Japan. The TPF is a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States and is an independent group of prominent citizens from some of the world’s leading developing and industrialized democracies including the U.S., Europe, Japan, India, Brazil and South Africa. The goal of the forum will be to advance concrete, consensus-based trade reform proposals, particularly on agriculture, that could form the basis of an agreement in the current round of World Trade Organization (WTO), the Doha Round.  Smith will serve on a panel called “Trade Reform – State of the Doha Round: Agriculture and Beyond”.

Smith will also be visiting with officials in Thailand to discuss bilateral economic relations and learn about Thailand’s efforts to combat poverty and promote sustainable development. Some of the officials Smith will meet with in Thailand include the Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Thai Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, the U.S. Ambassador to Thailand and members of the American business community in Bangkok.

“The ability to travel and meet with officials and NGOs fighting the global war on poverty first-hand is critical to my understanding of the issues,” said Smith. “I can receive briefings in my District and in Washington, D.C., but you learn so much more when you’re on the ground and meeting with people who work on these issues every single day. Global poverty is a force that is very destabilizing to the global economy, but it also has far reaching consequences for global health and security. Global poverty is directly linked to conflicts throughout the world. Through sustainable development initiatives, we will be able to reduce poverty levels in developing nations and work to create a safer and secure global environment.”

Smith will be returning at the end of the Spring Congressional recess.