The U.S. officially launched Jan. 27 an effort to establish the Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity, a trade and economic cooperation initiative within the Western Hemisphere first announced last summer.

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said the APEP “will be a new type of economic arrangement, anchored on cooperation to build our economies from the bottom up and the middle out.” Tai said that while the U.S. will continue to fully implement its the trade agreements it already has in place with some regional partners, “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.” APEP will seek to achieve these goals by “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,” Tai said.

APEP will initially include Barbados, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and Uruguay, but the participants said they hope it will be expanded in the future to “other like-minded partners in the hemisphere that share our vision, goals, and commitments to an ambitious agenda of sustainable economic growth and hemispheric resilience.”

The partnership will seek to conclude high-standard agreements in the following areas.

- promoting greater regional economic integration by increasing collaboration on customs, trade facilitation, logistics, and good regulatory practices and addressing non-tariff barriers

- strengthening the sustainability and resilience of regional supply chains by expanding regional trade ties and improving infrastructure, including efforts to address climate change, food security challenges, and global supply chain vulnerabilities

- increasing confidence in the digital economy and advancing secure and resilient digital infrastructure and platforms

- strengthening capacities to promote and enforce strong environmental protections and labor standards, including the eradication of forced labor, in regional value chains

- ways to make people’s lives fairer and more secure, including investments in workforce development, labor standards, and promotion of quality jobs; expanding financial inclusion; and improving public services while addressing corruption, tax evasion, etc.

- unlocking needed financing, reinvigorating regional economic and financial institutions, and working together to bring responsible private investment to the region

The White House said participants will now “move quickly toward execution” of the APEP, “starting with preparations for future negotiations on commitments and other areas of cooperation.” While one senior official recently said the U.S. hopes to conclude talks by the end of 2023, no schedule for further discussions has yet been announced.

For more information on APEP and how your company can ensure its priorities are addressed, please contact Nicole Bivens Collinson at (202) 730-4956 or via email.

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