Council Hosts Successful Business Roundtable in Dominican Republic prior to the 36th OAS General Assembly
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Inter-American Economic Council
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BUSINESS LEADERS FROM THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE GATHERED IN SANTO DOMINGO, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC FOR THE FIFTH ANNUAL OAS BUSINESS ROUNDTABLE SPONSORED BY THE INTER-AMERICAN ECONOMIC COUNCIL.
WASHINGTON, June 8 -- The Inter American Economic Council (Council) is pleased to provide the outcomes of its private public sector discussions from its Annual Business Roundtable convened on Sunday June 4, 2006 prior to the Opening of the XXXVI Session of the General Assembly of the Organization of American States. The Council is dedicated to promoting better government policy making by providing a venue for direct interaction with the private sector from the Americas. The purpose of the Business Roundtable was to provide a forum for high level public-private discussions and centered around the theme of DR-CAFTA Free Trade Agreement including expansion to the Andean Countries and implications for other regional trade accords, High Technology, Energy Security, Project Finance, and Investment. The Goal of the Meeting is to foster better policymaking and promote Economic Growth and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The Business Roundtable was held under the auspices of President Leonel Fernandez and the Government of Dominican Republic. It was inaugurated by the Secretary of State for Investment of the Dominican Republic Eddy Martinez and HE Ambassador Christopher Thomas, Chairman of the Inter-American Economic Council. The speakers were introduced by the Council President, Mr. Barry Featherman. The topics covered at this year's Business Roundtable were geared towards trade and investment in Latin America and the Caribbean. It continued the Council's Mission to engage multi-lateral institutions (such as the OAS), the private sector and governments in the development of strategies to create attractive investment climates to promote economic growth and development for the peoples of the the Wider Hemisphere. Specific topic discussions centered on the Dominican Republic as an attractive investment platform and pertinent regulatory regimes that could attract greater investment to the region, investment issues in Latin America and the Caribbean, BiLateral Trade, current challenges in the FTAA process, high technology, education, the Milennium Account, the cost of energy and the financing of projects. The Private Sector Leaders were welcomed to the Dominican Republic by the Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States. Participants in the Program included the Presidents of AES ( one of the largest Foreign Investors in the Dominican Republic), the President of Horwath, the President of Republic Bank, the President of CIFI, the President of AMLA Beatrice Rangel, the President of Sarnoff Communications, the Chairman of Latin America for Winston and Strawn Raul Herrera, the President of Arizaga and Company, the Senior Vice President of the National Foreign Trade Council Anne Alonzo, the Vice President and Regional Directors of Microsoft Corporation, the Chairman of the Society of Financial Professionals amongst a Host of Distinguished Business Leaders. The Conference included the participation of Ministers, Ambassadors and Government Represenatives from across the region.
Specific recommendations from several participants included:
- On the political front, there continues to exist the need to encourage consensus politics by the Hemisphere's leadership on Trade Integration in order to come to a framework agreement as quickly as possible. Trade and Economic Integration within the context of the multilateral negotiations needs to move forward at a more robust pace. Bilateral Trade also needs to expand and increase.
- Ensure the inclusion of the authentic private sector representatives such as the Inter-American Economic Council and its role in helping develop policy for the region and recognizing the significant catalysing and political role the Inter-American Economic Council in collaboration with the business community has and can play in integration of the region.
- Help to eliminate technical obstacles to the FTAA process and ensure cooperation and technical assistance.
The Council continues to challenge governments for concerted efforts to consolidate democracy, fight corruption, promote transparency and the rule of law as the only way for the region to ultimately compete in the global economy. The Council reiterated its position that equitable benefits be felt in all states in the region especially in the small vulnerable economies. The Council will continue to make the needs of the smaller economies of the Western Hemisphere a priority for its work going forward.
The Business Roundtable held prior to the OAS General Assembly is another key component of the Council´s efforts to bring more investment to the Caribbean and Latin America. The Council is fully committed to promoting democracy, fighting corruption and economic integration, by providing a forum for the Hemisphere's Government Ministers to ensure that the trade relationships facilitate economic growth and development in all industry sectors.
Previous Business Roundtables hosted by the Inter-American Economic Council prior to the OAS General Assembly Meetings have been held in collaboration with the Governments of Barbados, Chile, Ecuador and Florida.The Inter-American Economic Council, avails itself of this opportunity to transmit to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Government of the Dominican Republic its profound gratitude for assisting with this OAS Business Roundtable.
About the Council
The Inter-American Economic Council ("Council") was founded in 1999 as a non-profit association based in Washington, D.C.
The Council was the Pioneering Organization that Launched the Private Sector Business Roundtables during the General Assembly Meetings of the Organization of American States.
In 2000, the Council at a Formal Signing Ceremony during the OAS General Assembly in Windsor Canada concluded a co-operative agreement with the Organization of American States (OAS). The Agreement was signed by OAS Secretary General who started "Through the Council the Hemisphere will be able to interact with both the Public and Private Sectors."
This set into motion a permanent vehicle for public/private sector dialogue and interaction during the OAS General Assembly Meetings. The First OAS Private Sector Forum was held under the auspices of the Government of Barbados in June of 2002. The Meeting was Inaugurated by Senator Phillip Goddard, the Prime Ministers Envoy for Trade and Investment and Secretary General Cesar Gaviria. The Council held the Second OAS Private Sector Forum at the OAS General Assembly Meeting in Santiago Chile. The Forum was inaugurated by OAS Secretary General Gaviria and the Vice President of Chile Jose Miguel Insulza. The Third OAS Private Sector Forum was held under the Auspices of the Government of Ecuador. It was inaugurated by the Foreign Minister Patricio Zuiquilanda and the Secretary General of the OAS. The Fourth Business Roundtable was organized in Florida coinciding with the OAS General Assembly Meeting. It was inaugurated by Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza. Each of these meetings included the participation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs and top business leaders. The Council has worked diligently to promote Economic Development throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
The fight against Corruption, the Promotion of Transparency, The Rule of Law, Free Trade, Technological Advancement, Education and Human Capital, are some of the themes that figure prominently in the Council's Private Sector Business Roundtables across the Americas. Since its establishment, the Council has held programs under the auspices of the Presidents, Prime Ministers and Foreign Ministers of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Ecuador, Guyana, St. Lucia and Suriname.
PICTURES FROM THE ROUNDTABLE