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Remarks by Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves at the IDB “Bid for the Americas” Launch

Sep 7, 2023

Remarks by Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves at the IDB “Bid for the Americas” Launch
Wed, 09/06/2023 – 17:46

Export and investment promotion


Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Office of Public Affairs

Don Graves

Thank you, Suzanne, for that introduction. Hello everyone! I’m very pleased to be here at the IDB.

I’d like to thank President Goldfain for the invitation to attend today’s launch of the “BID for the Americas” Program. I applaud his leadership and efforts to evolve the Bank, making it a center of knowledge, expertise, and innovation including on the most pressing issues that face the region – climate change, social issues, and sustainable physical and digital infrastructure – all issues that we at the Commerce Department consider central to our work in the Western Hemisphere.  In particular, I appreciate his approach to working with a broad group of stakeholders, especially the private sector, to ensure the impact of the IDB’s programs in partner countries.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank Special Presidential Advisor and former Senator Chris Dodd for his leadership in advancing implementation of initiatives launched at the Summit for the Americas and of course, Alternative U.S. executive Director here at the IDB, Fabiana Jorge, for her efforts.

I’d also like to take this moment to recognize IDB’s support for the Americas Business Dialogue (ABD), which offers private sector recommendations to the public sector and whose membership includes many U.S. companies.

I understand that the ABD recently held its first meeting with President Goldfajn to discuss his vision and how the ABD and IDB can work together, while advancing the ABD’s policy recommendations in the lead up to the next Summit of the Americas. It heartens me to see U.S. companies contribute to ABD’s vital work, and I look forward to seeing more U.S. companies follow suit.

Last May, in my role as Deputy Secretary of Commerce, I travelled to Brazil to meet with business leaders and public officials about how we could better align our countries’ trade priorities and open up new lines of economic dialogue. With me was a diverse set of over 50 U.S. business representatives hailing from 21 different states, plus Puerto Rico.

On that visit, I heard time and again what is now a common sentiment from across our partners in Latin America and the Caribbean: countries want more choices from the private sector. More choice for quality goods and services.  More choices for commercial, business-to-business partnerships that offer access to innovative ecosystems, trusted capital, and transparent financing.  More choices for commercial partners, big and small – that prioritize the development of local talent.

And for these reasons, many view U.S. businesses as partners of choice that can do more, especially in sectors that will drive the region’s economic transformation and sustainable development in the years to come – such as clean energy, the digital economy, health, and climate smart agriculture.

For their part, U.S. companies are ready and able to partner. They want to better understand opportunities early and often — including through projects financed by the IDB and other development banks.  They would like to see continued efforts to improve the commercial enabling environment in partner countries – something that I know is central to the IDB’s efforts.

 This is why I believe programs like ‘BID for the Americas’ is so critical – because they help ensure that US businesses are able to compete and contribute to the development goals of IDB partner countries.

Our Commercial Liaison Team, is working with the U.S. Treasury and U.S. Alternative Executive Director’s office here at the IDB (and the other MDBs) and is focused on engaging the U.S. business community, including small and medium-sized enterprises, on opportunities to compete for IDB-financed projects, which rely on transparent and rules-based procurement policies.

More broadly, we at the Commerce Department are leveraging our network of U.S. and overseas offices to promote greater participation by U.S. companies in projects around the world, including MDB-financed projects.

 Our International Trade Administration works tirelessly to connect U.S. companies with business opportunities around the world through our U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service, a global network of experienced trade professionals in more than 100 U.S. cities and 80 countries.

In the past three years alone, we have facilitated approximately $314 billion in U.S. exports and inward investment, resulting in over 1.3 million U.S. jobs being supported. And there is more that can be done, in partnership with countries in the region and institutions like the IDB.

This, in my view, is at the heart of the Biden Administration’s initiatives such as the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII) and the Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity (APEP), put simply: to leverage the strength of our private sector to offer partnering countries high-quality, transparent alternatives to financing, goods, and services to help meet their economic development needs. 

Again, congratulations to President Goldfajn and the entire IDB Group for this new program. We at the Department of Commerce understand just how transformational this program will be in bringing into focus the full breadth of our economic opportunities across this emerging region.

I’m excited to work together, and I anticipate our partnership growing even fuller as you take this program on the road directly to the companies.


Bureaus and Offices

International Trade Administration


Don Graves

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