On January 27, 2023, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai hosted the initial ministerial for the Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity (APEP), a regional framework for cooperation to promote inclusive economic growth and strengthen competitiveness. The APEP consists of the United States, Barbados, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and Uruguay. The APEP is intended to be a flexible framework and will be open to additional countries that share the values of economic cooperation and a vision for a prosperous Western Hemisphere.
Ambassador Tai in her opening remarks stated: “This will be a historic agreement with one of the most dynamic economic regions in the world. The Western Hemisphere accounts for almost 32% of global GDP, and the United States’ ties with the region are broad and deep.” She added, “We have some of our most longstanding trade agreements in the region, like our agreements with Chile, Colombia and Peru. We also have some of our newest, like the renegotiated USMCA and the Protocol on Trade Rules and Transparency with Ecuador. [The United States is] committed to working with our partners to fully implement these existing agreements. But at the same time, we recognize that we need new tools to address new problems that will shape the coming decades – to better integrate our economies, reinforce our regional ties, and ensure that the benefits of trade are shared by all our citizens.”
The APEP will seek high-standard agreements in the following areas:
- Regional competitiveness: Focusing on issues that drive competitiveness and build the proper foundation for sustainable, dynamic economic growth and greater investment, including customs procedures, trade facilitation, logistics, good regulatory practices, and non-tariff barriers.
- Resilience: Leveraging the countries’ geographic proximity and deep trade ties, strengthening the sustainability and resilience of supply chains and growing small and medium businesses, while protecting the environment and workers.
- Shared prosperity: Ensuring that all can benefit from a dynamic economy by focusing on ways to make the lives of people fairer and more secure, including investments in workforce development, labor standards, and quality jobs; expanding financial inclusion; and improving public services while addressing corruption and tax evasion.
- Inclusive and sustainable investment: Unleashing the region’s full potential, seeking to unlock needed financing, reinvigorating regional economic institutions and working together to bring responsible private investment to the region.
The full text of the Joint Declaration on The Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity is available here.