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Press Release


  September 30, 2005

The United States Secretary of Commerce, Carlos Gutierrez, expressed today his government’s vision for a free trade region with greater economic opportunities, during a speech to the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS).

OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza underlined the importance of the Commerce Secretary’s visit prior to the Summit of the Americas, which will take place in Argentina in November.

Insulza highlighted the challenges faced in the hemisphere during the last three years, in terms of economic growth, especially in Latin America and the Caribbean, saying that the main challenge in the future will be how to maintain and increase this growth.

“Working together with governments, international financial organizations, and with the private sector we might be able to sustain reforms in the different countries of the region, which will allow development, and strengthen governance that will create an adequate climate of investment,” Insulza said.

Secretary Gutierrez underscored the opportunities that regional trade agreements bring to the region saying that they “build more open and secure societies.” By bringing economic growth to the region, these trade agreements will help build a vibrant middle class and higher living standards he explained.

“The dream that we all pursuit, is prosperity for our peoples. It is the hope for a safe and peaceful environment,” he said. “If we can make that dream real throughout the hemisphere; we can make the Americas the foremost economic region in the world.” Gutierrez added that there are still unnecessary barriers that compromise regional competitiveness and emphasized the need to “make the flow of commerce within the Americas both safe and seamless.”

Gutierrez informed the member countries that he will be leading a business developing mission next month to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador which he hopes will result in “more investment, more trade, and eventually more jobs in the United States and in Central America,” he said.

Reference: E-223/05