Posts Tagged ‘Santo Domingo’

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Promoting Growth and Competitiveness in the Americas

November 1, 2011

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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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