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U.S. Engagement In The Americas

An employee monitors lengths of printed cotton fabric inside a workshop of textile factory Faricato, in Bello, Antioquia province April 12, 2011.

The border must become more efficient in facilitating trade and legitimate flows of people and goods.

The United States’ engagement in the Americas is strategic and forward thinking, said U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman. “Our policies in the region are building on a huge, historically significant opportunity: to make the western hemisphere a strong platform for shared economic growth and security – regionally and globally – that will advance our people’s interest for generations.”

On a recent visit to Colombia, Under Secretary Sherman discussed that country’s dynamic economy, poised to become perhaps South America’s second largest economy after Brazil. The review process for implementing the Colombia Free Trade Agreement is advancing well and is already having a positive effect on the business climate of this country.

Colombia is also taking on a greater role in international peace and security. Over the last three years, Colombia has trained more than 11,000 police officers from 21countries in Latin America, Africa, and Afghanistan.

On her visit to Mexico, Under Secretary Sherman discussed the deepening economic relationship between Mexico and the United States. She said the border between the two countries must become more efficient in facilitating trade and legitimate flows of people and goods, lowering the costs for businesses and consumers, enhancing the health and safety of our citizens, and protecting the environment.

The $1.6 million Merida Initiative is an unprecedented partnership between the United States and Mexico to fight organized crime and associated violence while furthering respect for human rights and the rule of law. The Merida Initiative has enabled greater cooperation between U.S. and Mexican law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and judges as they share best practices and expand bilateral cooperation in tracking criminals, drugs, arms, and money.

In Brazil, the United States is focused on education, science, technology infrastructure, innovation, and energy. With regard to education, Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff has launched the Science Without Borders initiative, which aims to send 101,000 Brazilian students to study in key scientific disciplines.

The program dovetails with President Barack Obama’s 100 Thousand Strong in the Americas initiative to increase to 100,000 both the number of U.S. students studying in Latin America and the Caribbean and the number of students from the region studying in the U.S. by 2020.

The United States looks forward to developing deeper economic, cultural, and security relationships with the countries of Latin America.