Trade and Investment Belong at the Center of the IX Summit of the Americas

A partnership between the public and private sectors is the best way to ensure equitable, inclusive, and sustainable growth for our region.

In June 2022, U.S. President Joe Biden will welcome Western Hemisphere leaders to the first U.S.-hosted Summit of the Americas in a generation. Council of the Americas believes that a partnership between the public and private sectors is the best way to ensure equitable, inclusive, and sustainable growth for our region. The Summit offers a unique opportunity for the United States, together with regional partners, to lead collaboration toward globally competitive economies that will allow our citizens to thrive for the next generation and beyond.

I. Energize Private Sector-Led Trade and Investment

As the centerpiece for development and sustainable, inclusive growth, private sector-led trade and investment should be the priority action area for leaders at the ninth Summit of the Americas.

  • Piecemeal efforts won’t suffice. The twin health and economic crises created by the coronavirus pandemic will have profound long-term effects on the Western Hemisphere. Over the last two years, millions of people in the region have fallen back into poverty, erasing decades of progress. Record numbers of migrants are on the move across the Americas. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has estimated that Latin America and the Caribbean are likely to record the lowest growth of any region of the world in the coming years. With growing debt and budgets strained by pandemic-related outlays, governments simply do not have the financial resources needed to be engines of sustainable growth.
  • Partner with the private sector. As the countries of the region engineer recovery, the United States should use the Summit to bring interested countries together with the private sector to pursue tangible actions that will energize and facilitate private sector-led investment, improve infrastructure, expand regional trade and supply chains, and deepen public-private partnerships, with the goal of building a globally competitive Western Hemisphere economy for the twenty-first century.

II. Put People First

Trade and investment belong at the center of the Summit agenda because they sustain millions of good jobs throughout the region, which in turn reduce migration driven by economic need and help pull millions out of poverty. A renewed commitment to policies that promote innovation, trade, and investment within the region will energize economic growth, create jobs, and improve the livelihood and well-being for millions of our citizens.

  • Collaborate on education. The United States should use the Summit to deepen cooperation between regional governments, educators, and employers to provide workers the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the global economy. Greater access to upskilling opportunities and training in skills relevant to modern economies will attract investment, provide greater opportunity to workers, and provide entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises with the workforce they need to grow and thrive.
  • Strengthen the formal economy. The Summit provides the opportunity for governments to intensify collaboration with the private sector and worker organizations to increase worker participation in the formal economy, which is the best way to ensure they enjoy access to the full legal framework offered by a country for its workers, including retirement and health benefits, labor rights, and protection from discrimination, trafficking, forced labor, and other illegal practices that exploit workers and undermine fair competition.
  • Invest in healthcare. As sustainable growth requires a healthy population, healthcare is an investment in our people and our economies. At a moment of strained finances and growing healthcare expenses, leaders at the Summit should instruct their health and economic authorities to meet annually with the private sector with the goal of ensuring sustainable and inclusive health systems that allow our citizens to prosper.

III. Reinforce Shared Rules and Values

For decades, the United States has been the global leader in creating a rules-based trade and investment system that has advanced development and democracy while promoting a fair and level playing field for companies and workers.

  • Double down on rules-based systems. Through trade and investment agreements and engagement in multilateral economic organizations, Western Hemisphere governments have codified and expanded our shared values of transparency, high labor standards, the rule of law, good regulatory practices, and strong environmental standards. The Summit provides an opportunity for countries in our region to adapt and strengthen these practices and standards for today’s rapidly changing global economy, fending off unfair competition or clientelist trade relationships with extra-hemispheric actors, while balancing considerations related to the environment and energy transition, social impact, and governance and compliance.
  • Recommit to improving investment climates. Governments must avoid the failed statist policies of the past, including favoring certain sectors and erecting barriers to trade. Instead governments should use the Summit to renew their commitment to ensure stable investment climates by enforcing transparent legal frameworks for business, promoting investment through incentives such as covering political risk and preventing double taxation, combatting corruption, empowering entrepreneurs through protection of intellectual property, supporting the integration of small- and medium-sized businesses into regional and global supply chains, and providing reliable dispute resolution mechanisms.

IV. Secure Digital Economy Leadership across the Americas

As a global leader in digital technologies and services exports, the United States should use the Summit to spur public-private collaboration on digital economy services and technology throughout the hemisphere, bringing the benefits to more people and creating more high-quality jobs.

  • Digital economy agreement. The United States should use the Summit to invite other governments to join in a region-wide agreement to promote trade and investment in the digital economy.
  • Promote digital inclusion. As an integral part of this effort, governments and the private sector should agree at the Summit to work together to promote financial inclusion and equitable access to digital technologies, which all citizens need to prosper.

Trade Advisory Group

COA's Trade Advisory Group comprises member representatives from the Council and invited experts who each educate and advocate for open markets and trade facilitation in the Western Hemisphere.