SECRETARY BLINKEN: Thanks for bringing us together this morning, and thanks to each of my friends and other colleagues for being here today. It’s wonderful to see you all and it’s wonderful to see you in this particular setting.
Some of us met in March, and since then the partnership between the Alliance for Development in Democracy and the United States has only grown stronger.
And I’m particularly delighted that our colleagues from Ecuador have now joined the ADD just earlier this summer, and with their signing of the supply chain MOU I think just a few moments ago, we’ll begin discussions about strengthening our collective supply chains, something that is, I think, of importance to all of us and something that our citizens actually feel strongly in their daily lives.
We are coming together to tackle critically important questions in the five focus areas that we’ve agreed on, like how can we collectively strengthen our democracies and other democracies throughout the hemisphere; how can we deal with the root causes of migration, while providing humanitarian assistance to migrants; how can we spur genuinely inclusive economic growth in our countries, especially as we all rebound from COVID.
We’re following through on the memorandum of understanding that we signed in July to strengthen our supply chains. And I want to emphasize – I think we talked about this back in March – the follow-through on everything that we do and say is maybe even more important than the meetings we have when we get together. It’s actually making sure that we’re making good on the commitments that we make.
We’re also growing our economic ties.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently launched a survey of American CEOs to try to get a good picture of companies’ priorities and existing supply chains, so that they could find business opportunities across the Americas, including in ADD countries. Based on the findings of that survey, the State Department, the Commerce Department, the private sector will begin working together to explore a trade mission to ADD countries. So I think this is going to be an interesting initiative that I hope produces concrete results.
And we’re working together on issues that are actually far beyond the hemisphere that we share. All of us believe in the principles of the United Nations Charter. We’re all committed to modernizing the UN so that it’s actually capable of addressing the complex challenges that we face, while staying true to the principles that are at its core. This is a very good week for us in particular to be affirming those principles and those objectives.
This group is just one way that we’re bringing together new regional groupings of like-minded allies and partners, and we’re doing that here this week in New York. I think you’ll see that reflected, too, in our meetings with both the Blue Pacific and Atlantic Basin countries this week. In fact, I just came from a meeting of many of the Atlantic Basin countries.
Across these efforts, we are united by a core belief that democracy is the best way to actually deliver concrete results for our people:
To uphold people’s civil and political rights – including through holding fair and free elections, protecting free speech and assembly.
To advance their economic and social rights – such as by strengthening labor standards, expanding access to education and health, providing more inclusive opportunities.
To deliver security and stability – like by countering corruption, upholding the rule of law, and addressing the root causes of illicit activity.
It is no surprise that when President Biden first announced the Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity – which we did at the Summit of the Americas – to drive our hemisphere’s inclusive economic growth, the countries around this table were among the first to express strong support.
As this partnership is further developed, the most important thing is this: We are looking for, we need, we want your ideas to make sure that we’re actually seizing opportunities for our shared future. The power of all of this is in the collective, the different experiences that we have, the different ideas that we’ve been able to test in different ways, and then, in many ways, trying to draw on the best practices that come from each of us.
There’s one opportunity I just wanted to highlight in closing, and this comes through something called the CHIPS Act, which some of you will have seen passed our Congress just a few weeks ago. This, among other things, will provide funds to develop resilient semiconductor supply chains right here in the Americas. It allows us to invest in building the components that we need for the 21st century in our own hemisphere – including in Latin American and Caribbean countries – and, critically, it will create good-paying jobs while doing so.
ADD countries – which together represent our third-largest trading partner in the region, even before the addition of Ecuador – are very well-poised to seize these opportunities that come from some of the resources we now have available through the CHIPS Act. So we’re very eager to work with you on that.
Let me just conclude by saying this: As successful as we believe the first year of the ADD has been, I’m actually confident that, year two, we will take even bigger strides together and do it in a way that really focuses on how can we together work to improve the lives of the citizens we represent. That’s what this is all about, and we’re very much looking forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts and ideas for how we can actually get that done.
So thanks to everyone for being here. It’s really good to see you.