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Fact Sheet: President's Speech at the Summit of the Americas

April 21, 2001

"We have a great vision before us: a fully democratic hemisphere, bound together by good will and free trade. That is a tall order. It is also the chance of a lifetime. And it is the responsibility we share."

President George W. Bush

April 21, 2001

On April 21, 2001 President Bush, attending the third Summit of the Americas, with 33 other Western Hemisphere leaders in Quebec, Canada, outlined his vision for making this the Century of the Americas. The President stressed the importance of strengthened relations between the United States and the other nations of the Hemisphere, and the imperative of democracy. In his speech, the President introduced his Administration's initiatives that aim to strengthen democracy, facilitate free trade, and promote human capital development throughout the Hemisphere. The President highlighted the following themes and initiatives:

  • Democracy: Strengthening democratic governance is a focus of the Summit of the Americas process. The leaders of the hemisphere are committed to promoting the rule of law and democratic institutions such as independent judiciaries, reliable electoral systems, dependable law enforcement organizations, and efficient banking and social services.
  • Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA): The FTAA will extend the benefits of free trade to countries throughout the Hemisphere. When completed, the FTAA will be the largest free trade area in the world, with a combined GDP of more that $10 trillion and 800 million people. The Bush Administration is committed to concluding FTAA negotiations by January 2005 and to implement the agreement no later than December 2005. The President will seek Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) from the U.S. Congress to enable his Administration to negotiate trade agreements more easily.
  • Third Border Initiative: The Caribbean is the often overlooked "third border" of the United States. The Bush Administration is launching a "Third Border Initiative" in an effort to deepen cooperation between the United States and the Caribbean nations, particularly on issues such as HIV/AIDS, disaster mitigation, and law enforcement. Cooperation and collaboration on these issues will enhance the economic development and integration of the Caribbean nations.
  • Andean Regional Initiative: In order to promote stability and democracy in the Andean region, the President's FY02 budget request includes $882 million in international affairs funding for democratic institution building and development assistance, as well as counter-drug programs, for the seven countries included in the initiative: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Peru and Venezuela. Renewal of the Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA) is an integral part of the Andean Initiative. This legislation has been successful in providing trade-based economic alternatives to narcotics trafficking in Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia.
  • Hemispheric Centers for Teacher Excellence: Teaching and literacy are the foundation for development and democracy. The United States will sponsor the creation of three Centers for Teacher Excellence throughout the hemisphere to provide teacher training for improving literacy and basic education. The objectives of the initiative are to boost teacher quality and to improve the quality of instruction in the classroom, with special emphasis on the poorer countries. The program will create an Internet Portal linking teacher training institutions, think tanks, schools, and universities so that they can share materials, "best practices" and "lessons learned."
  • American Fellows Program: The new American Fellows Program is intended to promote mutual understanding and excellence in government within the Hemisphere through reciprocal, one-year exchanges of outstanding mid-to-senior grade officials in government agencies of participating countries. Argentina has already agreed to participate and we are in discussions with other governments.
  • Inter-American E-Business Fellowship Program: Given the emergence of the Internet and the global information economy, the Bush Administration believes it is important to empower people to take advantage of digital opportunities. The President announced the creation of a Inter-American E-Business Fellowship Program to give young professionals throughout the Hemisphere the opportunity to learn information technology while working at U.S. companies. The program will provide professionals with the technological tools needed to meet the demands of the new economy in their own societies.
  • Tropical Forest Conservation Act: The President is committed to protecting the Hemisphere's natural resources. The President supports the Tropical Forest Conservation Act to allow nations of the Hemisphere to exchange debt reduction or restructuring for tropical forest conservation. As the program demonstrates success, President Bush is prepared to work with Congress to boost its funding.

George W. Bush, Fact Sheet: President's Speech at the Summit of the Americas Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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