Posted at 2:55 PM
Secretary Pritzker recently traveled to Miami to highlight the importance of trade throughout the Western Hemisphere and underscore the Obama Administration’s commitment to deepening economic and commercial relations throughout the region. As part of this continued engagement, Secretary Pritzker announced that she will travel to Colombia and Brazil in June, making her first trip to South America since joining the Commerce Department.
Secretary Pritzker delivered remarks at the “Discover Global Markets: The Americas” event hosted by the Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration and the Florida District Export Council. In her address, she discussed the opportunities facing U.S. companies eager to sell their goods and services into markets throughout North, Central, and South America. The U.S. economic relationship with our Latin American partners is strong, considering that 89,000 U.S. companies exported to our free trade partners in the region in 2012. In 2014, U.S. goods exports to our free trade partners in Latin America markets increased by 5.4 percent (to 329.1 billion), more than double the increase in U.S. exports to the rest of the world (which was 2.1 percent). Since 2009, exports to these markets have increased by 86 percent.
To build on the success of these agreements, the Obama Administration has put forward a robust free trade agenda. The United States Senate and House of Representatives are currently debating trade promotion legislation that would allow for the enactment of new trade agreements with countries around the world. These agreements include the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which involves a number of our current trade partners in the Western Hemisphere – Mexico, Chile, Peru, and Canada. TPP is an opportunity to update our existing free trade agreements with these partners, and give American businesses and workers every opportunity to compete on a level playing field around the world.
This speech was part of a nationwide series of Discover Global Markets business forums that brought together approximately 370 companies and 500 attendees to help companies identify emerging opportunities in Latin America, obtain the tools necessary to succeed internationally, leverage government resources to compete successfully, and make key contacts with industry experts. Businesses had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with U.S. commercial diplomats from 21 countries throughout the Americas. At the Forum, Secretary Pritzker also met with and thanked the 50 Commercial Service officers who attended, and who serve in cities across the United States and abroad, including countries like Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Peru. These officers help U.S. companies get started in exporting or increasing sales to new global markets.
NEW POLICY TOWARD CUBA
While in Miami, Secretary Pritzker attended a roundtable hosted by Miami-Dade College President Dr. Eduardo Padro to speak with Cuban American business leaders and assess the challenges American companies may face as they seek to do business in Cuba. She reiterated that the President’s new policy toward Cuba will create new opportunities for cooperation, security, and prosperity throughout the region, while improving the quality of life for the Cuban people.