In Tampa, Florida today President Obama will underscore the interconnectedness of the U.S. economic and commercial relationship with Latin America. Tampa has a long history of trade with Latin America: over 40 percent of total exports from the Port of Tampa are destined for countries throughout Latin America.
As strengthened, market-based economic policies continue to lift millions of people in the region out of poverty and into the middle class, the Obama Administration is moving decisively to seize opportunities for U.S. firms. The President reaffirms U.S. commitment to work with our partners in the region to further reduce the gap between developing and developed economies in the hemisphere, and promote the prosperity of all peoples.
The United States and Western Hemisphere region enjoy extensive economic linkages, rich cultural people-to-people connections, and a shared belief in inclusive growth and broad-based opportunity. Over decades of collaboration and partnership, the United States and the Western Hemisphere have built one of the most active trading relationships in the world, strong cooperation on cutting edge energy security, and a network of connections among our countries and people that allow the efficient movement of knowledge, ideas and technology.
Policies that Promote Economic Growth and Job Creation at Home and Abroad
Through the National Export Initiative, the Obama Administration is partnering with U.S. businesses to promote American-made goods and services in the hemisphere through trade advocacy and export promotion efforts; increase access to credit, especially for small and medium-sized businesses; remove barriers to the sale of U.S. goods and services abroad; robustly enforce trade rules; and pursue policies at the global level to promote strong, sustainable, and balanced growth.
Passage of the Colombia and Panama trade agreements and the resolution of the U.S.-Mexico trucking dispute underscore the President’s commitment to creating new opportunities for U.S. exporters, and support a rules-based trade.
Intensifying trade and investment ties are spurring demand for greater physical integration of our region. Over the last year the United States joined Canada, Colombia, Mexico and Spain to create a groundbreaking donor trust fund at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) called the Crossroads Fundto incentivize countries to pursue investment in cross-border transport and logistics integration.
Our Relationship with the Western Hemisphere by the Numbers:
Building Vibrant Communities
At the same time, the United States is working actively with countries in the region to advance policies that promote economic diversification, encourage workforce formalization, and foster higher productivity. The Americas Competitiveness Forumand the Pathways to Prosperityinitiative provide structures for such a hemispheric dialogue where governments, private sector leaders, and academia are able to collaborate to address challenges to broad-based prosperity, and to identify opportunities that empower small businesses, facilitate trade, eliminate barriers for women entrepreneurs, and promote sustainable practices and environmental cooperation.
The Presidential Policy Directive on Global Developmentarticulates a new model of development cooperation and underpins long-term commitment by the United States to promote security, strengthen democracy, and support broad-based economic growth in the region.
The work of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, as well as efforts under the Open Government Partnershipinitiative and the Partnership for Growthare part of this new engagement, where countries work together and jointly shared the responsibility for results.
The Feed the Futureinitiative is designed to improve the food security of the poorest communities in the region. The Feed the Future strategy in Guatemala, Honduras, and Haiti supports country-driven approaches to address the root causes of hunger and poverty and forge long-term solutions to chronic food insecurity and under-nutrition. Feed the Future assisted 12,375 small-scale Guatemalan producers in the production and marketing of horticulture, coffee products, timber and non-timber forest products, and sustainable tourism services contributing to $17.8 million in sales and 5,651 jobs. In Haiti, rice yields increased by 64 percent, corn yields by 338 percent, bean crops by 97 percent, and plantain outputs by 21 percent for beneficiary farmers participating in USG programs.
Family and Friend Connections
From a population of approximately 313 million, over 50 million people of Latin American and Caribbean heritage live in the United States, constituting the United States’ largest ethnic population.
Our Connections with the Western Hemisphere by the Numbers: