An Opportunity Renewed: The VI Summit of the Americas

Mar 16, 2012

Jodi Bond, Vice President for the Americas, U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Nearly two decades ago thirty-four nations across North and South America met in Miami, Florida to discuss opportunities for collaboration in the Western Hemisphere.  At this first-of-its-kind meeting, the 34 countries agreed to create an economic partnership, a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA)—which would have eliminated or reduced the trade barriers among all countries in the Americas, except Cuba. 

While it is unfortunate that the FTAA was never fully realized, what is more unfortunate is that in the four Summit of the Americas that have followed, no such far-reaching or innovative ideas have arisen.

It is the U.S. Chamber’s wish that this trend take a newly invigorated turn at the VI Summit of the Americas this April in Cartagena, Colombia on April 14-15th, and we are working vigilantly to highlight the impact of global jobs creation via commercial engagement throughout the hemisphere.

Jodi Hanson Bond, Vice President for the Americas at the U.S. Chamber, has presented twice at the Organization of American States (OAS) in the past three months regarding what Chamber members see as priorities in the hemisphere.  The first event focused on the promotion of access to technology in the hemisphere, where Jodi spoke about the role that governments need to play in working with the private sector to facilitate the increase in this important access.

On Tuesday, Jodi Bond presented again at the OAS, this time at a private sector dialogue just prior to the Summit Implementation Review Group’s (SIRG) final pre-Summit meeting.

During the presentation, Jodi discussed a series of results from a survey that the U.S. Chamber created in collaboration with the Executive Secretariat for Integral Development of the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States and the Association of American Chambers of Commerce of Latin America (AACCLA).  This survey, as part of the consultation process in preparation for the Summit, surveyed the private sector from all major sub-regions of the hemisphere, identifying the interests and views of the private sector in the hemisphere on Summit issues as well as other pressing and/or emerging issues.  The results can be seen here.

The Chamber is encouraged that these results were accepted by the SIRG and believe that by knowing what can create a more competitive region, the IV Summit of the Americas can better fulfill the promise and the vision of its founders when they created the Summit. 

Working together the governments of the region can fulfill this vision by committing to concerted actions that will strengthen democracy and governance, help to reduce poverty, and increase opportunities in the Americas.

Photo via the Organization of American States.

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