Posts Tagged ‘Americas Competitiveness Forum’

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Americas Competitiveness Forum: Enhancing Prosperity of the Western Hemisphere

July 26, 2013

Calynn Jenkins is an intern in the International Trade Administration’s Office of Public Affairs. She is studying political science at American University. 

For the United States, the Western Hemisphere has provided a fertile ground for export opportunity. It is the destination for approximately 42 percent of U.S. exports, more than any other region across the globe. Since 2009, U.S. goods exports to the Western Hemisphere increased by more than $200 billion to nearly $650 billion, supporting almost four million U.S. jobs in 2011.

Specifically, exports to Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Panama, and Colombia are at an all-time high. The United States’ relationship with these Western Hemisphere partners is a top priority for global development.

That’s why the America’s Competitiveness Forum (ACF) is such a key event for the region.

Since 2007, the ACF has provided Western Hemisphere nations a chance to come together to share priorities, successes, and lessons learned to support sustainable growth in the region. It has attracted thousands of participants from the region’s public and private sectors, including heads of state and economic ministers, as well as leaders from business, academia, and civil society.

This year’s forum will take place in Panama City, Panama from Oct. 2-4. It will be an important step toward furthering the relationships that exist within the hemisphere. It will also provide U.S. companies access to high-level officials and potential clients to explore new export opportunities.

For more information about the ACF or to register for the Forum, visit: http://www.competitivenessforum.org/.

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A Note of Thanks: Celebrating Walter Bastian’s Lifetime of Achievement

November 2, 2012

Francisco Sánchez serves as the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade. Follow him on Twitter @UnderSecSanchez.

Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Western Hemisphere Walter M. Bastian

Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Western Hemisphere Walter M. Bastian

Walter Bastian embodies the best of public service.  He doesn’t measure success by how well he does, but by how well he can help others.  And during his decades at the Department of Commerce, he has indeed helped others and made great contributions to the global community.

In recognition of his accomplishments, last week, Walter was one of nine recipients of the 2012 Americas Award for his lifetime of achievement.  Having had the chance to work with him closely in recent years, I must tell you: he is very deserving of this honor.

As Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Western Hemisphere, Walter has developed programs, policies and strategies to strengthen the United States’ commercial position in the region — the destination for roughly 40 percent of U.S. exports.  And in doing so, he’s also committed himself to expanding opportunity and prosperity throughout the Americas.

One of Walter’s greatest accomplishments was playing a central role in founding the Americas Competitiveness Forum (ACF).  The initial idea for a meeting of Western Hemisphere commerce ministers was offered by President George W. Bush at the 2005 Summit of the Americas.  Walter helped make that idea a reality.

Walter saw beyond what was being asked and instead focused on what more could be accomplished. He understood that competitiveness is not just a national issue, but a hemispheric one.

For that reason, he set about creating a forum to motivate the region’s government leaders to work in partnership with the private sector, academia, and civil society to improve the economic prosperity of their own countries, and ensure a brighter future for the people of the region.

Since its inauguration in 2007, the ACF has become the preeminent economic and commercial event in the Americas, attracting hundreds of participants from the Western Hemisphere’s public and private sectors.  It has helped to create and strengthen the kinds of partnerships that are necessary for regional integration and future growth.

Bottom line: progress is achieved by people who want to make a difference.  And Walter Bastian has made a difference.  He has dedicated his time, talent and passion to bringing the Americas closer together through commerce. And we have all benefited.

On behalf of the International Trade Administration, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and our partners throughout the region — thank you, Walter.

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Promoting Growth and Competitiveness in the Americas

November 1, 2011

This post contains external links. Please review our external linking policy.

By Eric Toler, an intern in the ITA’s Market Access and Compliance unit.

At the fifth Americas Competitiveness Forum, held this year in the Dominican Republic, representatives of more than 30 countries from throughout the Western Hemisphere pledged to take steps to foster long-term economic prosperity and support growth in trade throughout the region.

Francisco Sánchez, under secretary of commerce for international trade, addresses attendees of the Americas Competitiveness Forum, held October 5–7 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. (U.S. Department of Commerce photo)

Francisco Sánchez, under secretary of commerce for international trade, addresses attendees of the Americas Competitiveness Forum, held October 5–7 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. (U.S. Department of Commerce photo)

The United States sends more than 40 percent of its exports to the Western Hemisphere, making the region one of our most important trading partners. And with the recent passage of the Colombia and Panama free trade agreements, U.S. economic ties with the region will only deepen. On October 5–7 at the Americas Competitiveness Forum (ACF) in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, a delegation from the International Trade Administration (ITA) joined with its counterparts from throughout the Americas to chart a course for enhancing the competitiveness of the region’s economies, demonstrating the long-term commitment to strengthening economic ties with the region.

Fifth Gathering

This year’s event brought together more than 1,000 senior business and government officials. Participants included ministers of economy, industry, and finance from more than 30 countries throughout the Western Hemisphere. Also present were former and current heads of state, as well as representatives from civil society. Over the course of the ACF’s three days, Francisco Sánchez, under secretary of commerce for international trade and leader of the U.S. delegation, met with a number of his counterparts. He reiterated President Barack Obama’s commitment to forging new, mutually beneficial partnerships with the countries of the Western Hemisphere. In remarks at a plenary session, “Latin America and the United States: Vision 2020,” Sánchez noted that “success in the 21st century will be fueled by cooperation and community. We must help each other sharpen our competitive edges and build a better future for our peoples.”

Now in its fifth year, the ACF has emerged as the premier economic and commercial event of the Americas. The inaugural ACF was held in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2007. As host, the Department of Commerce was responsible for developing the core themes and unique programmatic structure of the event. The success of the inaugural ACF has been replicated in the subsequent four forums.

Regional Competitiveness

The ACF also featured the annual meeting of the Inter-American Competitiveness Network (or RIAC, for its Spanish acronym). RIAC was established in 2009 at the third ACF in Santiago, Chile. It brings together representatives from more than 30 national councils from throughout the Western Hemisphere’s to discuss the state of the region’s competitiveness, exchange experiences and best practices, and consider reforms and public policies.

High on the agenda at this year’s meeting of the RIAC was a vote on the Santo Domingo Consensus, a set of 10 policy objectives designed to promote a more competitive and prosperous region. Taking into account the need to foster growth and competitiveness amidst an environment of international economic uncertainty, the objectives of the Santo Domingo Consensus call for, among other goals, investment in education and human capital; improvements in infrastructure and the business environment; increased access to capital; and the promotion of trade(see sidebar).

RELATED: The Santo Domingo Consensus

Michael Camuñez, assistant secretary of commerce for market access and compliance, represented the United States at the RIAC meeting. He highlighted the importance of the objectives embodied in the Santo Domingo Consensus by noting that “in an increasingly competitive global marketplace, we must work together as a region. In doing so, we will create the jobs and sustained economic growth so vital to our respective futures.”

Summit of the Americas

The Santo Domingo Consensus was approved enthusiastically by members of the RIAC, and will next be presented to hemispheric leaders for their endorsement at the Summit of the Americas that is scheduled to be held in Cartagena, Colombia, in April 2012.

Both the ACF and RIAC provide a platform to promote reforms that will support economic growth in the Western Hemisphere and which will in turn help increase and encourage the export of U.S. products, services, and technologies throughout the Americas.

The next ACF, scheduled for October 2012, will be held in Cali, Colombia. For more information about this year’s ACF, go to www.competitivenessforum.com.

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The Santo Domingo Consensus

November 1, 2011

John Ward is a writer in the Office of Public Affairs.

Attendees at the annual meeting of the Inter-American Competitiveness Network (RIAC), which was held during the Americas Competitiveness Forum in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Delegates approved the Santo Domingo Consensus, a set of 10 policy objectives designed to promote a more competitive and prosperous region. (photo courtesy RIAC)

Attendees at the annual meeting of the Inter-American Competitiveness Network (RIAC), which was held during the Americas Competitiveness Forum in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Delegates approved the Santo Domingo Consensus, a set of 10 policy objectives designed to promote a more competitive and prosperous region. (photo courtesy RIAC)

On October 5, 2011, the competitiveness and innovation authorities of more than 30 Western Hemisphere countries gathered in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, to attend the 2011 annual meeting of the Inter-American Competitiveness Network (RIAC). There, they approved the Santo Domingo Consensus, which sets forth 10 objectives that are designed to promote progress toward a more competitive and prosperous region. Here are portions of the text that describe each of the 10 objectives:

  • Education: “Promote high-quality, pertinent and timely education as a key element to enhance the competitiveness, good values, and attitudes, and the development of our countries.”
  • Public-private engagement: “Foster the establishment of effective institutions responsible for promoting competitiveness with direct private-sector involvement and other relevant actors, including existing entities, and Public-Private Partnerships to address short and long-term competitiveness issues.”
  • Transparency and rule of law: “Promote a simpler, more stable, and efficient institutional and regulatory framework for business and investment, by increasing transparency in government, the rule of law, promoting competition in our markets, and ethical conduct in the interactions between the public and private sector[s]Human Capital:.”
  • Human capital: “Prioritize the development of human capital and promote continuous on-the-job training and the acquisition of new competencies to develop world-class skills for the human capital and productivity of our countries.”
  • Infrastructure: “Foster the development of a modern, efficient, well-maintained infrastructure—between and within countries—and foster the rapid adoption of new technologies by economies, including information technology and communications.”
  • Innovation: “Position innovation and high-impact entrepreneurship as a determining factor for competitiveness, through greater public and private investment in research and development, the interaction with academia, and the adoption of innovation-enabling policies and strategies, including the protections of the rights of intellectual property holders in the framework of our development policies.”
  • Access to capital: “Improve access to capital for economic actors, especially MSMEs [micro, small and medium-sized enterprises] and entrepreneurs, and promote public-private mechanisms to increase financial inclusion.”
  • Corporate social responsibility: “Foster equity, inclusion, social entrepreneurship, the adoption and application of corporate social responsibility principles, sustainability, shared value, and gender equity as fundamental elements to enhance the productivity and competitiveness of our region.”
  • Trade liberalization: “Promote trade and integration, trade liberalization, to diversify our economies with high value-added and quality products and services, fostering the internationalization and participation in global value chains, and, improve the competitiveness and productivity of industry, giving special priority to our MSMEs.”
  • Energy efficiency: “Promote energy efficiency and development in the context of our efforts to foster environmental, social and economic sustainability, including the vision to become low carbon economies.”

To see the full text of the Santo Domingo Consensus, go to www.competitivenessforum.org.

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Economic Growth in the Western Hemishpere Will Be Focus of Fifth Americas Competitiveness Forum

September 9, 2011

by Peter Bowman, an international trade specialist in The International Trade Administration’s Market Access and Compliance unit.

The fifth Americas Competitiveness Forum (ACF), the preeminent economic and commercial event in the Western Hemisphere, will take place October 5–7, 2011, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The ACF grew out of a commitment made by the United States in November 2005 at the Summit of the Americas held at Mar del Plata, Argentina, to cooperate to advance common prosperity, combat inequality, and achieve sustainable economic growth throughout the hemisphere. The first gathering was held in Atlanta, Georgia, in June 2007.

U.S. and Mexican representatives meet in Atlanta, Georgia, November 2010 during the fourth Americas Competitiveness Forum (ACF). Representatives from more than 34 countries are expected to attend the fifth ACF, which will be held October 5–7, 2011 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. (U.S. Department of Commerce photo)

U.S. and Mexican representatives meet in Atlanta, Georgia, November 2010 during the fourth Americas Competitiveness Forum (ACF). Representatives from more than 34 countries are expected to attend the fifth ACF, which will be held October 5–7, 2011 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. (U.S. Department of Commerce photo)

Since then, the ACF has worked to inspire programs, policies, and partnerships that will improve the economic prosperity at the local, national, and regional levels and, thereby, ensure a brighter future for all people in the region.

This year, the fifth ACF is expected to bring together more than 1,000 public- and private-sector participants from throughout the Western Hemisphere. Representatives from more than 34 countries will attend, including heads of state; ministers of economy, industry, and finance; academic leaders; and members of civil society and business.

The ACF distinguishes itself from other international gatherings by presenting a unique blend of public–private policy dialogue on best practices in competitiveness and by offering many services for participating businesses. Services include export counseling sessions, market opportunity sessions, and business-to-business (and business-to-government) meetings.

Each ACF program is built around key themes that represent the drivers of competitiveness. The core themes of this year’s ACF are education, renewable energy, trade facilitation, business climate, and innovation in services.

This year, the ACF will also host a meeting of the Inter-American Competitiveness Network, which was launched at the 2009 ACF in Santiago, Chile, with support from the participating governments and the Organization of American States (OAS). In addition, Pathways to Prosperity in the Americas, an initiative that promotes inclusive growth, prosperity, and social justice, will host a working group meeting with the Inter-American Development Bank, the OAS, and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean as strategic partners.

For more information on the fifth Americas Competitiveness Forum, as well as registration instructions, visit the forum’s Web site at www.competitivenessforum.com. For additional information, contact Peter Bowman in the International Trade Administration’s Market Access and Compliance unit, tel.: (202) 482-8356; e-mail: peter.bowman@trade.gov.

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Are You Headed to Atlanta for the Americas Competitiveness Forum?

September 20, 2010

This post contains external links.  Please review our external linking policy

Francisco J. Sánchez is the Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade


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The Western Hemisphere is headed to Atlanta in November. My question is, are you?

United States Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and Mayor Kasim Reed are co-hosting the fourth annual Americas Competitiveness Forum on November 14th to 16th here in Atlanta.  More than 1,000 leaders from the 34 nations of the Americas, including heads of state, will attend this premier event for businesses and government to share new ideas for increasing competitiveness, promoting economic prosperity and raising the standard of living throughout the Americas.

This year’s ACF will focus on innovation and green technologies, education and workforce development, entrepreneurship and small business development, and supply chain connections.

I hope you can participate in this year’s Americas Competiveness Forum. For more information, please visit www.competitivenessforum.org.  I hope to see you in Atlanta.

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Todo el Hemisferio Occidental se dirige hacía Atlanta en Noviembre y me pregunto si van ustedes también.

El Secretario de Comercio de los Estados Unidos Gary Locke y el Alcalde de Atlanta Kasim Reed son los anfitriones del cuarto Foro de Competitividad de las Américas que se va a realizar aquí en la Ciudad de Atlanta, Georgia durante el 14 al 16 de noviembre de 2010. El ACF reunirá a más de 1000 líderes de los 34 países de las Américas y el Caribe, incluyendo a Jefes de Estado, para compartir nuevas ideas para promover competitividad, fomentar prosperidad económica, y aumentar el nivel de vida en las Américas.

En éste año, el ACF 2010 se enfocará en innovación y tecnologías eco-ambientales, educación y desarrollo de la fuerza laboral, desarrollo empresarial y de la pequeña empresa, y el comercio internacional, aduanas, logística y la cadena de suministro.

Espero que puedan participar en el Foro de Competitividad de las Américas. Para más información sobre el ACF, por favor visite www.competitivenessforum.org. Ojalá que nos veamos en Atlanta.

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