Under Secretary of Commerce For International Trade Francisco SÁnchez
International Business Fellows Matching Program Lunch
Chilean Ambassador's Residence
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
As prepared for delivery
Thank you very much, Alejandro (Buvinic), for that kind introduction and for hosting us today.
And please allow me to extend my appreciation to Ambassador Bulnes, Ambassador Figueres, Assistant Secretary Jacobson, Matt Clausen from Partners of the Americas and all of you here today.
It’s truly a pleasure to be here to help celebrate the launch of this exciting initiative: the “International Business Fellows Matching Program.” In fact, in preparing for today, I was reminded of President Obama’s visit with President Pinera in Santiago last year.
At a State Dinner, President Obama quoted an old saying that goes: “tell me who is by your side, and I’ll tell you who you are.” Well, as Under Secretary for International Trade, I’m proud to stand here today by the side of partners from the private sector, from Chile, from Costa Rica and from across the Americas.
And I also believe that this new program shows who we are. We are partners in progress. We are believers in equal opportunity. And we are champions for enhanced prosperity throughout the regions.
That’s what makes the “International Business Fellows Matching Program” such an important effort. Good things happen whenever business leaders get the chance to exchange ideas and perspectives. Businesses here in America are ready to share. They are ready to learn.
And we are all ready to build on the great economic progress that has been made over the years throughout the region. From our vantage point, it’s no secret that a key to America’s future is our relationship with the Western Hemisphere.
We are all neighbors. Our futures are shared. Our economies are linked. And what happens in one country impacts the entire region.
So we’ve got to work together to advance mutual interests and goals. President Obama recognizes this. In fact, within his first 100 days in office, one of his first foreign trips was to Trinidad and Tobago to meet with leaders from across the hemisphere at the Summit of the Americas.
And in the years since, he’s worked to strengthen economic ties. And our partnerships with Chile and Costa Rica are keys to this work. Our trade relationships have brought benefits to all parties. We’ve been proud to work with our friends to meet the full promise of both the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement and the U.S. - Central American Free Trade Agreement.
And with this new “International Business Fellows Matching Program”, it’s clear that even greater things will come in the future. Thanks to this effort we can strengthen our partnerships. We can learn from and with each other.
We can help the small- and medium-sized businesses of today develop into the Fortune 500 companies of tomorrow. And, we can help shape a healthier … stronger and more peaceful and prosperous Western Hemisphere.
These are goals worth striving for. And it’s an honor to be here with all of you today to take important steps that bring us closer to these goals.
Once again, my thanks to Ambassador Bulnes for hosting, and to all of you for coming out for this important effort. I look forward to working with you far into the future.
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