Inter-American Development Bank “BID for the Americas” Program Launch Remarks
"Thank you very much.
And thank you, President Goldfajn, for hosting this important event.
On behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, we appreciate your leadership and partnership in support of the business community.
The Chamber is proud to work with the Inter-American Development Bank to deliver growth and opportunity across the hemisphere.
And I’m delighted to be here today to celebrate the next phase in that partnership—the launch of the IDB’s “BID for the Americas” program.
As the caliber of individuals here today demonstrates—across business, government, think tanks, academia, and more—this program has broad support from key stakeholders and rightly so.
As we all know, Latin American and Caribbean nations share a desire for robust growth, sustainable development, and rising prosperity.
But coming out of the pandemic, they also share challenges, as many economies across the Americas continue to confront low growth, high inflation, ballooning debt, poverty, and food insecurity – just to name just a few.
We see this as a moment of opportunity — a chance for the free enterprise system to demonstrate once again why it is the single most powerful driver of human progress and economic growth in history."
Power of Private-Sector Investment
"At the Chamber, we know what private-sector investment means to a country.
It means good-paying jobs, opportunities for advancement, and revitalized economies poised for resilient growth.
And we know that when American businesses trade and invest in other countries, they bring our values with them—values such as freedom and democracy, transparency, and the rule of law.
We appreciate the IDB’s commitment to expanding its core values through this new initiative.
And together, we can continue to foster the virtuous cycle of free enterprise and democracy across Latin America and the Caribbean.
That starts with increasing American businesses’ presence in the region.
And we’re starting from a place of strength.
U.S. companies have invested nearly $4 trillion in the region, and they employ nearly 3 million workers directly and millions more indirectly.
American investment is especially strong in value-added, innovative, and globally competitive sectors.
In other words, U.S. companies are not just investing in Latin America and the Caribbean to acquire commodities and natural resources — unlike the region’s commercial ties to some other countries.
These companies are investing in the region’s future.
However, we have more work to do — U.S. investment in Europe is five times larger than in Latin America and the Caribbean.
We are encouraged that trade is a key pillar of BID for the Americas... because trade is one of the most critical ways American businesses help countries around the world build a more prosperous future.
We know trade is the beating heart of economic growth and job creation.
It is a ladder for working families seeking good jobs, higher wages, and better living standards.
And it is a means for solving problems, serving people, and strengthening society all across the globe.
That’s why the Chamber has long pushed for strengthening trade relationships across the Americas—and we’ve seen great progress.
The U.S. is the top trading partner for more than two-thirds of the region’s countries.
U.S. trade across the Americas totals nearly $2 trillion every year.
And our trade is robust, sophisticated, and mutually beneficial.
The “winner’s circle” of citizens, companies, and countries benefitting from trade is huge—and it is poised to grow."
Boosting Investment through BID for the Americas
"BID for the Americas will boost trade by educating investors and exporters and fostering new partnerships across the region.
For countries across Latin America and the Caribbean, it will bring the promise of increased American investment and ingenuity where it is needed most.
And it will provide an alternative to the unfair trade practices and corrosive capital that have plagued the region.
That means more competitive bids for government procurement...
Expanded access to best-in-class goods and services...
Better value for taxpayers...
And increased transparency across the procurement process.
And for American businesses large and small, this initiative offers trusted financing and greater visibility into a significant market with vast untapped potential.
Particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises, which face more barriers to entry in global markets, this is a historic opportunity.
And as the world’s leading source of development financing for Latin America and the Caribbean, the IDB can help turn opportunity into reality for companies who want to invest.
In 2021 alone, the IDB and its private-sector arm, IDB Invest, achieved a record of over $23 billion in new financing approvals, commitments, and private-sector mobilizations.
We agree with President Goldfajn that there is potential to grow these figures—and the Chamber is eager to do its part in bringing more businesses to the table.
As the world’s largest business organization and network, the Chamber represents businesses of every size and sector across the American economy.
Our network of 1,500 state and local chamber partners across the U.S. will serve as an ideal platform for the Bank to tout the benefits of BID for the Americas across the country.
And in the region, the IDB has no more effective ally than our Association of American Chambers of Commerce of Latin America and the Caribbean, or AACCLA.
The 23 American Chambers that comprise AACCLA collectively represent 20,000 member companies that account for an estimated 80% of current U.S. investment in the region.
We look forward to taking this initiative on the road, both in the U.S. and across the Americas, to engage these partners and spur private-sector investment and two-way trade across the region."
Building on the Chamber-IDB Partnership
"Importantly, we are in a position to succeed.
The IDB and the Chamber have a long history of effectively advancing public-private partnerships in our region.
More than a decade ago, in close collaboration with many of the associations and businesses represented here today, we were proud to help establish the Americas Business Dialogue.
This private-sector-led initiative—facilitated by the IDB—has helped promote sustainable economic growth and development across the region.
Thanks to the leadership and partnership of Fabrizio Opertti and the IDB’s Integration and Trade team, the Americas Business Dialogue has leveraged the expertise of the private sector and provided actionable recommendations to governments across the region.
And, of course, collaboration between the Chamber and the IDB is on display every three years for the Summit of the Americas.
We were honored to host the CEO Summit in Los Angeles last year in partnership with the Department of State.
And many of the discussions we had during the Summit hold true today as we launch BID for the Americas.
Our region can be a leader on food and energy security...
A premier destination for investment and travel...
And a model for democracy, human rights, the rule of law, and the prosperity that flows from each."
"That starts with strengthening private-sector ties through increased trade and investment...
And that work advances today with the launch of BID for the Americas.
This initiative has the potential to help businesses deliver solutions to the greatest challenges confronting our region—and to create a defining partnership to serve as an example for the world in the years to come.
I’m excited for what the future holds, and the important work we’ll do together.
Thank you very much."