Guest Blog Post by Walter Bastian, Deputy
Assistant Secretary of Commerce for The Western Hemisphere
Competition and collaboration aren’t typically mentioned in the same
breath. For nations and businesses competing to innovate and prosper in a
global marketplace, these concepts seem completely antithetical to one another.
That’s why the first Americas Competitiveness Exchange on Innovation and
Entrepreneurship (Exchange) is such a unique and exciting partnership.
As part of the Exchange, senior officials from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International
Trade Administration (ITA) and Economic Development Administration (EDA) last week led a delegation of 45 business and government leaders from 20 Latin
American and Caribbean countries on a tour across the Southeast United States.
They visited five cities in four days with stops in Atlanta, Ga., Greenville,
S.C., Conover, Kannapolis, and
The delegation toured technology centers, innovation hubs,
and investment zones to see how U.S. companies are working to create some of
the most advanced products in the world. The tour was geared to help make the
interpersonal and inter-governmental connections that can lead to future
international trade and investment deals.
The Americas Competitiveness Exchange for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
provided a great opportunity for decision and policy makers in the Americas to
see the results of economic development initiatives and meet high level
authorities, leaders of private sector associations, public and private
universities with research and innovation centers, looking to explore and
expand the links between our economies and key stakeholders.
The United States and Latin America maintain a very special
and very important investment relationship. In 2012, the total stock of Latin
American foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States was nearly $96
billion. And every day, 259,000 workers in the United States go to work in U.S.
subsidiaries of Latin American firms.