REPORT TO MINISTERS Fifth Ministerial Meeting of the Pathways to Prosperity in the Americas Initiative Cali, Colombia

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1 REPORT TO MINISTERS Fifth Ministerial Meeting of the Pathways to Prosperity in the Americas Initiative Cali, Colombia As the fifth Pathways to Prosperity Ministerial in Cali, Colombia, approaches, the 15 Pathways member countries are encouraged by the tangible benefits the initiative is delivering. Pathways has catalyzed collaboration among partner countries, allowing us to successfully implement most of the activities in the 2011 Santo Domingo Action Plan. Below, we highlight areas in each Pathways pillar where we are making significant progress toward our goal of inclusive economic growth in the hemisphere. These successes form the basis for future efforts under Pathways to Prosperity in the Americas in order to ensure we are building sustainable frameworks that create real results. Pillar I Great progress has been made under Pathways in promoting development of small and mediumsized enterprises (SMEs). Pathways has supported the expansion of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) model throughout Central America. With technical assistance from the University of Texas, San Antonio, El Salvador has established ten SBDCs, providing individual counseling and promoting advanced technical assistance to 1,547 entrepreneurs. Honduras also opened Business Development Centers in different parts of the country, which will initially serve more than 2,800 companies in its first stage and be managed by publicprivate partnership, including support from academia. The governments of Panama, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, and Costa Rica have committed to implementing this model as well. Pathways has encouraged the expansion of this network of SBDCs throughout the region in countries such as Colombia, Peru, Chile, Belize and the Caribbean. In April 2012, the United States also launched the Small Business Network of the Americas (SBNA) to support the SME sector and encourage greater trade throughout the Americas, helping to bolster related efforts under Pathways to Prosperity. The goals of SBNA include expanding the successful US. Small Business Development Center (SBDC) model to other countries; connecting the more than 2,000 SBDCs and similar SME support centers throughout the hemisphere; enhancing the use and availability of online trade platforms like SBDCGlobal.com; and leveraging partner organizations in assisting SBDC clients to do business in other countries. The SBNA also plans to generate employment and growth via the Latino American Idea (La Idea) partnership, a business plan competition and web platform designed to foster trade relationships among diaspora communities and entrepreneurs in the United States and Latin America. Resident financial advisory programs in El Salvador and Costa Rica, implemented under Pathways, have helped advance regulatory reform and capacity building in the region by placing teams from the U.S. Department of Treasury in host-nation government ministries on a full-time basis. These teams have mobilized intra-agency working groups and collaborated with other Central American counterparts to host multiple targeted regional workshops and forums.

2 The Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLAC) in collaboration with Colombia organized a Workshop entitled: "Development Policies in Latin America: Colombia Case." The workshop discussed policy and funding support to SMEs in order to highlight the policies and instruments that help promote innovation in the region. Under Pathways, the United States has supported the International Business Fellows Program which affords professionals from SMEs in Chile, Costa Rica and the United States the opportunity to exchange expertise, methods and techniques with colleagues abroad to advance trade, learn best practices, build relationships and promote economic growth across the region. Two cohorts (one from Chile and one from Costa Rica) of fifteen Fellows each will soon spend six weeks gaining hands-on, mutually beneficial experience by partnering with a business in their host country while experiencing full organizational and cultural immersion. Fellows will then have the opportunity to engage other members of their travel cohorts in follow-on roundtable discussions to solidify their mutual experiences. Upon completion of the program, fellows will have the capacity to empower their businesses with insight into new systems, management structures, regulation, advocacy and trade promotion, and best practices in their respective sectors to facilitate strong, sustainable growth. Pillar II Through Pathways, countries have collaborated to reduce trade and investment barriers in the region. The United States Department of Commerce and Customs and Border Protection in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS/CBP), through the Central American Border Management Reform Project, have helped identify key constraints in customs procedures in the region, provided training, and helped to create regularly convened public-private working groups to implement necessary reforms, with a focus on Costa Rica, El Salvador and Honduras. Commerce and DHS/CBP hosted in-country workshops and led site visits to U.S. ports. Chile and Costa Rica collaborated with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the United States Government to host a workshop of the Inter American Network of International Single Window (REDVuce) in San Jose, Costa Rica, on Sept The workshop aimed to deepen exchange of experiences between Pathways countries and other nations on the design and implementation of single windows, and to encourage dialogue and knowledge transfer regarding the interoperability of existing single windows, including their legal institutional, technological and operational aspects. As a result of this meeting, an Executive Committee and three Working Groups of the Inter-American Network of International Single Windows were established, a work plan was adopted, and countries decided to meet again in April and December The United States, Canada, Mexico, Colombia, and Spain partnered with the IDB to create a new multilateral fund, the Crossroads Fund, focused on reducing transport and logistics costs in Central America. The Fund supports high-impact cross-border infrastructure projects by: (1) addressing coordination failures that lead countries to prioritize domestic projects over integration and (2) improving legal and regulatory frameworks and institutions to encourage investments in cross-border projects. The Crossroads Fund includes three complementary components: a mechanism for deciding on priority projects, an innovative incentive-based financing vehicle, and technical assistance to support project development and greater efficiency

3 and security at border crossings. Currently, the IDB is reviewing proposals that may be considered for funding. Pillar III WEConnect International, a corporate-led non-profit aiming to form the global linkages necessary for women-owned businesses to enter the export market, is improving access to markets for 25 women-owned businesses in Peru through the Pathways Access Initiative. The program has also supported market access training for 350 women and encouraged 115 additional women business owners to join Peru s WEConnect network. Notably, a Peruvian owner of a certified woman-owned jewelry business with more than 300 employees, secured a $50,000 contract to sell her products to Walmart. This program has led to expansion programs in Brazil and Mexico under other initiatives. In 2011, the U.S. Embassy in Bogotá launched the first Pathways Women s Entrepreneurship Mentoring Network in Colombia through a partnership with Colempresarias, the only nationwide network of women entrepreneurs in Colombia, to expand market access for women-owned businesses and to provide technical training. In partnership with local organizations and with Colombian government support, the Pathways program strengthened the network of women entrepreneurs in Colombia and in its first year facilitated a year-long training and commercial development program for 25 women entrepreneurs in Bucaramanga. In its second year, the program expanded to other cities and sent a women entrepreneurs to the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena in April Colempresarias has held workshops in Cali, Bucaramanga, and Bogotá on economic empowerment and information technology. In addition to large workshops, 80 women have received personalized training and business advice in private sessions. Women participants also had the opportunity to display their products at the biggest fashion show in Colombia as well as other expos, which resulted in increased sales for their businesses and new contacts. As a result, the women established new business contacts domestically and abroad and increased their sales. During the Pathways to Prosperity 2012 ministerial meeting in Cali, Colempresarias is hosting a product display of 40 women entrepreneurs from many areas of Colombia. Under Pathways to Prosperity, the United States Embassy in Bogotá supported the Colombian American Chamber of Commerce of Cali (AmCham) in the creation of an entrepreneurship program to train 50 Afro-Colombian women business-owners in Buenaventura. The program successfully leveraged support from the regional government, the National Training Service (SENA), and local chambers of commerce. The AmCham South West branch and the Buenaventura Chamber of Commerce designed a program to encourage women to study new sales opportunities. As part of the program, the women toured Supertex S.A. where they learned about potential careers in confection design and technology, exportation practices, and industrial manufacture. The program has allowed these women to expand regional cooperation on economic development and competitiveness, exchange best practices on labor standards, and implement measures to ensure the sustainability of their businesses. Pillar IV

4 Pathways activities have also helped to promote sustainable business and environmental practices in a number of ways. Notably, Pathways supported a study tour and business development workshop to link several Central American countries with Colombian farmers and institutions that have successfully marketed sustainably produced coffee. Through this activity, approximately 40 producers exchanged best management practices to increase their market shares and income from sustainably produced coffee, cocoa, and bananas. This study tour and workshop contributed to an ongoing effort under the CAFTA-DR environmental cooperation program that has brought over 73,000 hectares under improved natural resource management and helped over 2,000 farms receive private certification. New work will build on these successes and focus on the cocoa value chain in Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador, increasing market access for six producer organizations and their 819 members. The Pathways to Cleaner Production in the Americas Initiative has integrated business, engineering, and environmental education to train the next generation of cleaner production professionals and help small and medium-sized enterprises decrease the amount of water, energy, and raw materials they use to protect natural resources, shrink carbon emissions, and save costs. This initiative will be promoted through a network integrated by universities, cleaner production centers, and private sector enterprises in the, Costa Rica, El Salvador, United States, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Peru y Dominican Republic. The Pathways to Cleaner Production in the Americas Initiative has integrated business, engineering, and environmental education to train the next generation of cleaner production professionals and help small and medium-sized enterprises decrease the amount of water, energy, and raw materials they use to protect natural resources, shrink carbon emissions, and save costs. This initiative will be promoted through a network integrated by universities, cleaner production centers, and private sector enterprises in the, Costa Rica, El Salvador, United States, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Peru y Dominican Republic. Pathways is promoting public participation in environmental decision-making. The Organization of American States (OAS) continues to work closely with CAFTA-DR Ministries of Environment and other government officials to compile information on domestic and international public participation mechanisms available in each country. As a part of the outreach and coordination associated with this work, the OAS organized a panel in June 2012 on Governance and Public Participation in Sustainable Development Decision-Making, held in Rio de Janeiro. The OAS prepared a draft document outlining international mechanisms of how they have been used. The OAS plans to organize capacity building workshops in the upcoming months. Our effort in the next year will be focused on continuing the successes achieved this year as well as expanding them more broadly throughout the hemisphere. One tool that will be key to this effort is the Pathways to Prosperity Clearinghouse. The Pathways clearinghouse mechanism will serve as a tool for valuable information sharing, increasing the impact of the initiative overall by identifying and strengthening the addressed audience. The clearinghouse mechanism will also disseminate more widely the lessons learned under Pathways through social media and periodic events to broaden the impact of the initiative.

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