Continued economic growth in the Western Hemisphere will require making the right choices now, said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in a speech at a reception for the Council of the Americas’ 46th Annual Washington Conference of the Americas and the U.S.-Caribbean-Central American Energy Summit.
The most effective means to promote economic growth in the hemisphere is through trade. “The best way to nurture prosperity and economic opportunity for all is to extend the benefits of free and open trade and investment across the entire hemisphere,” said Secretary Kerry. The United States has free trade agreements with a dozen countries in Latin America, more than in any other part of the globe.
Secretary Kerry went on to say the Trans-Pacific Partnership “includes the strongest labor and environment standards ever negotiated in such an agreement and ultimately is going to benefit every single country along the Pacific Rim.” The United States is committed to working with countries in the hemisphere to continue transforming the Americas into an open, integrated platform for global success, encouraging innovation and driving growth.
A second priority must be supporting entrepreneurs and innovators as they strive to get new businesses up and running. With this goal in mind, President Barack Obama set up the Small Business Network of the Americas to connect thousands of small business service providers throughout the hemisphere. Another program, WEAmericas, specifically focuses on supporting women entrepreneurs in order to increase women's economic participation.
Economic growth depends on the rule of law.That’s why governments in Latin America need to promote accountability and transparency in government institutions. Corruption cannot be tolerated, as it robs a country of its future. Corruption steals not just money from citizens; it steals their trust in government.
An important growth market for the countries of the hemisphere will be the energy market. It is already a multi-trillion-dollar global market with some 5 billion users. Renewable energy is growing, said Secretary Kerry. In order to take advantage of this market, the U.S. Agency for International Development is providing early-stage grant support for clean energy project development, joining a host of other U.S.-funded renewable energy projects in the Caribbean and Central America.
The United States stands ready to support trade, government transparency, and entrepreneurship in Latin America. Such pro-growth policies, along with investment in the energy sector, bode well for boosting prosperity among all people of the Western Hemisphere.