Building Stronger Partnerships
September 15, 2003
"As its largest trading partner and largest bilateral donor, the United States stands ready to assist the Guyanese people to meet the many challenges ahead."
--- Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs
Roger F. Noriega
Opportunities abound in the Americas - not merely to build a trade area embracing 800 million consumers and $14 trillion in GDP, but to consolidate a community of friendly nations that share a common commitment to democracy, free enterprise, and broad-based economic growth.
Cultivating such a stable partnership has never been more important for the United States. For our neighbors - who have made hard-won gains but who still face acute challenges - U.S. engagement has never been more crucial. President Bush's policies will help our friends overcome short-term obstacles as well as help secure a century's worth of freedom and prosperity for our neighbors and ourselves.
At a time when the United States is concerned with homeland security, we recognize the need to pay attention to stability and security close to home. Our geographic ties have created natural economic relationships. U.S. exports to Latin America in the last decade have increased by 137 percent, while Latin American exports to the United States jumped by 230 percent over that same decade. The envisioned "Free Trade Area of the Americas" will further strengthen and expand this economic partnership.
Most of the countries in the region have made great strides in establishing democratic systems of government. The United States Government and the Government of Guyana share a history of friendship, culture and close cooperation. However, elected leaders in many countries in the Hemisphere are grappling with persistent political, economic, social, and, in some cases, ethnic tensions. Several countries are confronting costly threats to security - either in terms of narco-terrorism or violent crime - that undermine the rule of law. Moreover, in terms of U.S. national security, we are justifiably concerned with political instability or economic dislocation close to our borders.
We are confident that Guyana can be a good neighbor and partner. After a long transition toward a democratic system and free-market economy, Guyana is ready to take advantage of new opportunities to responsibly develop its natural and human resources. As its largest trading partner and largest bilateral donor, the United States stands ready to assist the Guyanese people to meet the many challenges ahead. President Bush has announced that we will substantially increase resources devoted to fighting the scourge of HIV/AIDS. We will continue to fund programs to build the economy, support good governance and strengthen civil society.
U.S. objectives in the Western Hemisphere are clear: we seek thriving democratic and stable neighbours hat are prosperous economic partners. We want secure borders and seek a harmonious relationship with our neighbours. We wish to be a part of a community of nations working together to advance the common values of democracy and economic freedom in the world. To advance these objectives, President Bush's policy works with our partners in the region to make democracy better serve every citizen; to generate economic growth through freer trade and sound fiscal policies; and to invest in the well-being of people from all walks of life.
A major step toward this overall goal of consolidating a community of democratic nations was accomplished with the signing of the Inter-American Democratic Charter on September 11, 2001, by all active OAS member states. However, we will continue to encourage countries to "invest in people" because economies cannot begin to grow fast enough to generate needed jobs - let alone to defeat extreme poverty - unless all of our people have the tools and the opportunity to succeed. Above all, our social policies must demonstrate that we are committed, not to short-term, unsustainable remedies, but to growth with equity in which every citizen can become a stakeholder in their economy.