Air Date

June 8, 2022

Featured Guests

Nick Clegg
President, Global Affairs, Meta

Gabriel Boric
President, Republic of Chile

Antony Blinken
Secretary of State, U.S. Department of State

Tatiana Clouthier
Secretary of Economy, United Mexican States

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Myron Brilliant
Former Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Gaby Frias
Anchor, CNN en Español

Sarah Jane Gunter
Vice President Latin America Consumer Business, Amazon

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The Western Hemisphere has long been an important alliance for the global economy. The Americas play integral roles in each continent’s economic growth and prosperity.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Department of State hosted the IV CEO Summit of the Americas to bring together government and business leaders from across the Western Hemisphere. During the multi-day event, leaders discussed innovative and practical solutions for a brighter future across the Americas, including a changing digital landscape, the role of policymakers, and economic recovery.

Day 1 of the Summit focused on the path to economic recovery and growth. Topics covered include digital transformation and the metaverse, public policy for sustainability, the role of tourism in economic recovery, democratic governance and the rule of law, and business partnerships for a more sustainable, resilient, and equitable future.

Here are some of the highlights from panels and discussions that happened on Day 1.

The Americas Can Achieve Economic Recovery Through Digital Transformation in the Metaverse

The metaverse is essentially a 3D version of the internet — and it’s driving economic growth and recovery. However, “no one company is going to [solely] build a metaverse,” said Nick Clegg, President of Global Affairs at Meta.

“The key thing will be … to avoid the balkanization of the metaverse,” Clegg said. “I think companies either need to voluntarily, or perhaps need to be pressed by decision-makers, to ensure that the whole web of interoperable standards function,” he continued.

Clegg explained that, just as we can send photos from one device to another, even if one is an iPhone and the other is an Android, “we need the same web of interoperable standards” when it comes to the metaverse. If we don’t, he continued, “it’ll become a fragmented experience.”

Policymakers Play a Key Role in Building a More Sustainable, Resilient, and Equitable Future

According to Hon. Kamala Harris, Vice President of the United States, she and President Joe Biden share the priority of building “a prosperous and inclusive future for the people of the Western hemisphere.”

“The economies of the Western hemisphere are deeply intertwined, and the work we do to strengthen these ties directly impacts the American people,” Vice President Harris said. “Our neighbors in the Western hemisphere comprise the largest market for American goods — the region accounts for nearly 50% of all American exports.”

“When we have resilient and secure supply chains that are close to us, disruptions will be less frequent, more goods will be available, and prices will come down,” she continued. “From Canada to Chile, a prosperous region benefits all our economies and creates more opportunities for our people.”

According to Vice President Harris, to achieve a more prosperous future for our hemisphere, we must create more public-private partnerships and work together to “unleash growth and opportunity that far exceeds what either the public or the private sector would achieve on its own.”

Tourism Can Contribute to Sustainable Economic Recovery Through Reactivation

Tourism is a thriving sector that will continue to contribute to sustainable economic recovery, with travel habits shifting in recent years amid the pandemic.

“We’ve seen travel change beyond recognition,” said Catherine Powell, Global Head of Hosting at Airbnb. “And we think it’s not going back to how it was before. People are traveling longer, and they’re traveling further.”

Powell noted that 20% of nights booked on Airbnb are now for 28 days or longer, and more than half are for over seven days — or “50% higher than they were two years ago,” Powell said.

“People are traveling further,” she continued. “In fact, in Latin America and the Caribbean, 800 towns and cities have had their first Airbnb booking.”

Powell stressed the importance of this growth, as hosts can be everyday people ranging from healthcare workers to teachers, and they often keep 97% of what they charge.

“During the pandemic, for the 12 months up to March 2021, our hosts earned 3 billion U.S. dollars, which was meaningful during such a difficult time,” she said.

Investments in Healthcare Can Fortify Regional Economic Growth

Healthcare investments are major drivers of the growth of the economy, but many don’t see it that way.

“I don’t believe we’re past the point where we treat healthcare as an investment,” said Hon. Xavier Becerra, United States Secretary of Health and Human Services. “We still speak of it more [like] an expenditure.”

Many people, regardless of their country, don’t view healthcare as a long-term investment in their or their family’s health; rather, they view it as a remedy to treat a current medical issue or condition.

“I think the public sector thinks of it as an investment as well [as the private sector], but we still haven’t quite brought together the words’ finance’ and “healthcare’ to really be unified together,” said Hon. Becerra. “There is where I believe the work that we’re seeing done at the G20 and the World Health Organization … will help us speak more in one language about what it means to invest in healthcare.”