Opening Remarks by Ambassador Katherine Tai at the Launch of the Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity

WASHINGTON – United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai today joined Secretary of State Antony Blinken for the launch of the Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity.  In her opening remarks, Ambassador Tai underscored how the Americas Partnership advances the Biden-Harris Administration’s worker-centered trade policy to deliver economic opportunity for workers and communities throughout a more resilient, sustainable, and inclusive Western Hemisphere.  

Ambassador Tai also emphasized that the Americas Partnership will be a tool to incorporate more voices in trade policymaking, including women entrepreneurs, indigenous peoples, and other underrepresented groups, to help write a new chapter on trade.  Her remarks as prepared for delivery are below:

Thank you, Secretary Blinken.

I’m glad to see all of you as we advance the Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity.  Thank you for joining us today.

President Biden summed up the goal of this initiative when he announced it during the Summit of the Americas last June – to respond “to basic human desires that we share for dignity, for safety, and for security.”  

The traditional way of doing trade gave us cheap goods and more production.  But at the same time, it also contributed to growing inequality, sprawling and vulnerable supply chains, and workers and communities being displaced and left behind.

Under the President’s leadership, this Administration has been writing a new story on trade.  One that addresses today’s pressing issues that directly impact everyday people, to deliver real opportunities for workers and communities and advance our global priorities, like tackling the climate crisis and building resilient supply chains.

The Americas Partnership is a part of our pursuit of a worker-centered trade policy.  It will be a new type of economic arrangement, anchored on cooperation to build our economies from the bottom up and the middle out.

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.

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.

We are 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.

That’s exactly what we intend to do through the Partnership.

I’m very pleased with the Joint Declaration we’re releasing today.  It’s ambitious and reflects our shared priorities.

That includes empowering workers and eradicating forced labor; strengthening our supply chains to be more resilient against unexpected shocks; fostering innovation in both the public and private sectors; and tackling the climate crisis by growing climate-related industries and creating good-paying jobs throughout our region.

This is truly a partnership, not only among the governments represented here, but also with all relevant stakeholders – including civil society, labor, the private sector, and our Congress.

In my role as the USTR, I’ve made it a priority to meet with manufacturers, farmers, producers, and fishers as much as I can, to hear directly from them and to incorporate their priorities in our policies.  

The same principle applies to this initiative.  The Americas Partnership will be a tool to bring more voices to the table, to ensure that people who have been traditionally left out – like women entrepreneurs, indigenous peoples, and other underrepresented groups – can help shape this new chapter in our story on trade.

Our approach with this Partnership will reflect these values – to make a future that is more resilient, more sustainable, and more inclusive, and to create new opportunities for all our communities.

I look forward to working with Secretary Blinken and all of you as we begin this exciting opportunity.  Thank you again for coming along with us.

I’ll now turn it back over to Secretary Blinken.