June 8, 2022
Former Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
The Americas play integral roles in the economy, especially as the world continues to recover from the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the current war against Ukraine. The Western Hemisphere must work together to form strategic goals and partnerships that help the Americas reach a sustainable future.
At the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and U.S. Department of State's 2022 IV CEO Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, government officials and business leaders from across the Western Hemisphere gathered to discuss the vital partnership between the Americas. During the event's opening remarks, Myron Brilliant, EVP and Head of International for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, discussed digital trade, the importance of offsetting economic attacks, and how governments can help small to medium-sized businesses succeed.
To Generate Economic Opportunity, the Americas Must Prioritize Trade and Digital Transformation
According to Brilliant, the Americas must enhance market access and new trade agreements to generate economic opportunity.
"For instance, why not pursue a digital trade agreement that would allow data to move across borders, prohibit forced localization of data, and bar customs duties on electronic transmission?" he posed. "In the near term, we should at least take the step of increasing intra-regional trade by streamlining customs procedures and aligning digital regulations across countries."
Additionally, Brilliant noted that we should also focus on advancing the digital transformation.
"Only around 45% of Latin American homes have broadband access," he said. "That's not good enough … [and is] limiting financial and employment opportunities for millions of people."
"We've got to bridge the digital divide and enhance transparency, connect people and ideas, and allow more businesses to share their products and services with people that wouldn't have access otherwise," Brilliant continued.
The Western Hemisphere Should Work Together To Offset the Attacks on Our Economy
One of the biggest concerns facing our economy today is the health of our people — threatened by the coronavirus pandemic.
"The pandemic has made it clear that we need greater cooperation to strengthen health economies," said Brilliant. "This will ensure that hospitals and clinics have the equipment, supplies, and training to provide cutting-edge care that is accessible to everyone."
Another key area of focus to address is energy transition and sustainability.
"We have learned the hard way that geopolitical tensions, such as the one caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, will disrupt the flow of critical minerals, metals, and energy supplies," said Brilliant. "We clearly need to work together to secure our energy supplies while also taking steps to transition to more sustainable energy sources."
Some steps include lowering trade barriers to goods that reduce carbon emissions and contribute to a sustainable future, as well as promoting trade flows for renewables.
The Americas Must Strengthen the Rule of Law and Help Small and Medium-sized Companies Succeed
Brilliant noted that small and medium-sized businesses "are the heart of our communities and across the hemisphere, they're the backbone of all the economies, representing roughly 99% of businesses."
"Governments can enhance efforts to work with the private sector to expand partnerships that will better facilitate access to credit, technology, and new markets," he continued.
Additionally, American executives are prioritizing strengthening the rule of law.
"For businesses to make further investments in this region, they need governments to strengthen the rule of law, which will encourage risk-taking and spur job creation," Brilliant said. "We strongly urge governments to adopt comprehensive integrity mechanisms, implement good regulatory practices, and introduce digital tools to make systems more transparent and inclusive."
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