WASHINGTON, D.C.—In a speech to the Colombian-American Chamber of Commerce in Cartagena, Colombia, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue today unveiled an ambitious agenda for the Americas focusing on the opportunity to leverage the hemisphere’s extraordinary trade ties, energy resources, and human capital.
Donohue is in Colombia to take part in the Sixth Summit of the Americas and lead a delegation of U.S. business executives to the first-ever CEO Summit of the Americas.
“A country draws strength first and foremost from its allies, neighbors, and friends,” said Donohue. “That’s what the Chamber’s Agenda for the Americas is all about—strengthening and deepening our strategic and economic ties to our hemispheric neighbors. We must work together to make our vision of a thriving and free hemisphere a reality.”
In his speech, Donohue called on the United States and its neighbors to expand and link together the region's already robust array of Free Trade Agreements; create a hemispheric energy strategy to boost growth, jobs, living standards, and security; and increase the free, lawful, and efficient movement of people, ideas, technologies, and capital throughout the Americas.
In 2011, Western Hemisphere nations purchased 43.7% of U.S. goods exports — nearly as much as the United States exported to East Asia (24.9%) and Europe (22.2%) combined. Moreover, U.S. goods exports to South and Central America grew 91% over the past five years — twice as fast as U.S. exports to East Asia (46%), according to U.S. Department of Commerce data.
While attending the Summit of the Americas, Donohue is scheduled to meet with the presidents of Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Panama, Peru, and Uruguay as well as the prime ministers of Canada, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations