The future of the United States is closely linked to the futures of the countries of Latin America. As President Barack Obama said, we are bound by a rich and shared history, cultural ties, and proximity. And as we look to the future, it’s critical that we strengthen these ties in ways that benefit all partners.
The United States has formed numerous business partnerships with its neighbors, partnerships that benefit all sides, said Department of Commerce Under Secretary for International Trade Francisco Sánchez in his recent testimony before the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
“Our Latin American trade agreements, which cover over 70 percent of our regional trade, do more than just eliminate tariffs,” he said. They remove tariff and non-tariff barriers, secure strong intellectual property protections, and provide transparency, predictability and recourse.
The United States and its partners in Latin America are actively engaged in addressing a number of challenges that stand in the way of maintaining a productive business climate, such as inadequate infrastructure, outdated customs procedures, corruption, and inadequate protection of intellectual property rights.
So, for example, we work with Mexico on regulatory cooperation, intellectual property rights, and on making North American supply chains more efficient by improving border facilitation and infrastructure.
We work with Honduras, El Salvador, and Costa Rica, under the auspices of Pathways to Prosperity, to support customs modernization and reform in Central America.
And we work with Brazil to expand two-way trade, share best practices, and help strengthen our bilateral trading relationship.
“In the end,” said Under Secretary Sánchez, “the goal of the United States and all our Latin American partners is shared prosperity that is built through partnership, and is guided by shared ideals and values.”
“Increasing the trade and development that creates jobs for us all; defending the security of our citizens; standing up for democracy and human rights,” said President Obama at the Summit of the Americas in April, “this is progress we’ve made —- together. This is the work we must continue —- together. . .We can go further together. . .And that will remain the work of the United States, as your partner and friend.”