In order to ensure an effective organization and productive work, the Americas Business Dialogue is carried out through the following Working Groups:

Energy is not only a key resource for companies and consumers, but also a critical resource for economic growth and competitiveness. The Americas are a global energy superpower with vast reserves of oil and gas and have many opportunities for the development of hydropower, solar, wind and geothermal energy. However, some countries face energy deficits, and must rely on expensive, less environmentally friendly sources of energy. 

The objective of the Energy Working Group is to recommend policies focused on: i) spreading the benefits of energy abundance regionally; ii) harnessing the potential of renewable energy; iii) utilizing technology to promote energy efficiency; and iv) promoting a public-private sector interaction to take advantage of the energy potential of the region and increase competitiveness and economic growth .

Some of the recommendations of the Energy Working Group that are developed in the Americas Business Dialogue Report “From Dialogue to Action” include:

  • Confront the energy challenges faced by the region, paying special attention to the needs of smaller markets like those of Central America and the Caribbean, by implementing measures to adopt renewable sources of energy and energy efficiency and by working with the private sector to quickly develop a coherent approach to increase the use of gas and reduce the current dependence on oil.
  • Develop a regional platform that ensures active contribution of the private sector in the execution of the regional energy integration projects that have been developed in the framework of regional public initiatives, like the Central American Electrical Interconnection System.

The development of knowledge-based economies has highlighted the increasing importance of innovation as well as creative and intellectual assets as sources of competitiveness and long-term growth.

The objective of the Human Capital and Innovation Working Group is to recommend policies focused on five key factors that promote innovation: i) industry-university collaboration; ii) quality of human capital; iii) clarity and reliability of legal rights; iv) cross-border data flows; and v) public investment in research and development.

Some of the recommendations of the Human Capital and Innovation Working Group that are developed in the Americas Business Dialogue Report “From Dialogue to Action” include:

  • Create a regional research, innovation and entrepreneurship center aimed at creating communication channels to connect the public sector, private companies, universities and research centers, with the goal of promoting regional research collaboration and generating incentives to stimulate private investment in innovation
  • Promote the implementation of public private partnerships for technical and vocational education, as well as education in foreign languages, to create a larger, more qualified and more mobile workforce that respond to the demand for skills from the private sector and the needs of local communities.

Regulatory cooperation aims to prevent and remove barriers to trade and investment resulting from unnecessary and inefficient regulatory divergences amongst trading partners.  Since regulators across borders generally have common purposes – safeguarding public health, safety, and environmental quality, protecting consumers, facilitating well-functioning markets – these divergences can often burden the economy without necessarily providing additional protections. Where this is the case, improved and more simple procedures, enhanced training and closer cooperation among regulators can produce –without affecting the objectives seek by regulatory authorities- administrative efficiencies, improved public health and safety, and increased economic prosperity.

The objective of the Regulatory Cooperation Working Group is to recommend policies focused on: i)
establishing a baseline of good regulatory practices in order to facilitate the development of competitive economies; ii) creating mechanisms for capacity building in countries looking to either reach baseline levels or go beyond to more advanced stages of regulatory development; and iii) developing a mechanism for private sector and inter-government coordination on dedicated regulatory cooperation projects

Some of the recommendations of the Regulatory Cooperation Working Group that are developed in the Americas Business Dialogue Report “From Dialogue to Action” include:

  • Adopt international regulatory best practices, engaging private sector expertise and improving communication and trust among regulators in the region to develop reform agendas to achieve more cooperative regulatory processes, including mutual recognition agreements that are transparent to all affected parties, encourage public consultation, provide advance notice and are based on sound science and clear evidence.
  • Establish a mechanism for regional regulatory consultation to promote greater compatibility, including, where appropriate, harmonization of future regulations, and to resolve concerns and reduce burdens arising from existing regulations through equivalence, mutual recognition or other agreed means

Trade facilitation is a crucial element for global economic growth, job creation and the improvement of citizens’ living standards. Implementing trade facilitation initiatives is a key step to improved, faster and less costly border procedures, stimulating exports and imports and enabling countries to harvest greater benefits from international trade and to perform better in regional and global value chains.

The objective of the Trade Facilitation Working Group is to recommend policies focused on: i) developing the means to help countries to implement the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement provisions; and, ii) progressing beyond the terms of the agreement to modernize border management, for example through customs risk management, single window mechanisms, facilitation policies for low value shipments and other similar measures.

Some of the recommendations of the Trade Facilitation Working Group that are developed in the Americas Business Dialogue Report “From Dialogue to Action” include:

  • Work jointly with the private sector to ensure full and fast implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement in the region, prioritizing the implementation of the agreements on advance rulings; fees and charges; release and clearance of goods; and formalities connected with importation, exportation and transit; as well as close cooperation between border agencies to facilitate trade.
  • Deploy trade facilitative policies for low valued shipments—covering duties, taxes and fees upon entry—that would be applicable regardless of country of origin. These policies should remove burdensome and unnecessary customs processing at the border.

The financial sector in Latin America and the Caribbean presents a number of challenges and opportunities  that should be addressed to contribute to economic and social development. First, new opportunities exist in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) to bring financial access to underserved consumers and small business owners. On the other hand, while LAC capital markets have grown considerably, governments should nonetheless consider steps to deepen and harmonize them and to integrate those that lack scale. In addition, the region would benefit if countries had coordinated financial regulations, aligned with global practices, and if policies encouraging private investment in infrastructure were implemented.

The objective of the Finance Working Group is to recommend policies focused on: i) developing, deepening and harmonizing capital markets in the region; ii) promoting financial inclusion; iii) fostering regional coordination of financial regulation; and iv) creating a sustainable and appropriate framework beneficial to private investment in infrastructure development.

Some of the recommendations of the Finance Working Group that are developed in the Americas Business Dialogue Report “From Dialogue to Action” include:

  • Take steps to deepen and harmonize capital markets and integrate markets that lack scale, by facilitating investments by public entities, which constitute some of the largest investors; issuing bonds with a variety of maturities that others can use as references to price their securities; and aligning listing requirements, credit ratings and professional licensing requirements with internationally accepted standards to create a simple and transparent framework for issuing securities.
  • Stimulate financial inclusion through the development of policies aimed at i) building an open and broad branchless banking network, allowing a wide range of non-traditional agents to provide broad financial services, especially in rural areas and other areas with no financial coverage; and ii) capitalizing on digital innovation by providing common standards that support mobile and digital banking and interoperability and secure customer identification systems, having government policies that support digital payments like the electronic distribution of federal and local subsidies and conditional cash transfers, and requiring government entities to accept electronic payments.

Generally speaking, logistics and connectivity are present in all economic activities and have a broad impact on the levels of efficiency and growth of each country and the region. In addition, excellence in infrastructure is a prerequisite for a healthy economy and, in regional economies that have recently begun their development this is particularly vital to improve access to markets in which buyers and sellers can be hundreds of kilometers away from the trade hub or the nearest port city.

The objective of the Infrastructure, Logistic and Connectivity Working Group is to recommend policies focused on: i) promoting project finance and investment in infrastructure; ii) improving logistics performance and the quality of logistics services; and iii) fostering connectivity.

Some of the recommendations of the Infrastructure, Logistic and Connectivity Group that are developed in the Americas Business Dialogue Report “From Dialogue to Action” include:

  • Create an independent regional infrastructure development and monitoring hub, comprised of professional resources, that facilitates private sector participation and the creation of public-private partnerships for regional infrastructure projects or initiatives, such as the Mesoamerican Project or the Initiative for the Integration of the Regional Infrastructure of South America. The hub would serve to bring projects to fruition on market-based terms, institutionalize best practices, and develop standardized bilingual and trilingual contracts and project documents.
  • Develop a robust and modern infrastructure that facilitates efficient movement of goods to and from manufacturing assembly facilities, including freedom of navigation, and enables multimodal connectivity and intermodal transport.
  • Take action to improve port, airports and border crossings infrastructure in the region to be adequately prepared for the changing flows resulting from the Panama Canal expansion, including the increase of ports and airports capacity, expansion of physical and logistics infrastructure, and optimization of ground, maritime, fluvial and air transportation.

Enhancing regional and global integration has become one of the most important topics of the debate on globalization. In a highly competitive international economy, companies are constantly searching for new ways to maximize their productivity, expanding their business to a more globally oriented view of production and market access.

Trade in services is the most dynamic phenomena in recent years, particularly in non-traditional sectors. The advent of globalization and the Information Technology and Communications (ITC) revolution allowed the separation of production and consumption and between 2000 and 2013 the volume of non-traditional services grew almost three times its size

The objective of the Global and Regional Working Group is to recommend policies focused on: i) promoting regional integration; ii) fostering and strengthening the development of global value chains in the region; and iii) identifying barriers and suggesting lines of work for public and private institutions that can influence the improvement of the competitiveness of the Americas in the area of International Trade in Services.

Some of the recommendations of the Infrastructure, Logistic and Connectivity Group that are developed in the Americas Business Dialogue Report “From Dialogue to Action” include:

  • Facilitate entry procedures and ease visa requirements for business travelers and services providers within the region through the implementation of an Americas Business Travel Card.
  • Develop public policies specifically designed for enhancing the conditions that promote service exports, for example by progressively eliminating fiscal obstacles and adopting double taxation agreements, giving priority to regional services providers in government procurement, supporting the participation of local companies in international summits, developing an accreditation system to provide international credibility, and improving the regional exports services information and statistics system.

Every economic boom period in Latin American history has been associated with strong investments in its extractive industries.  In 2010, a third of all global mining investment was made in Latin America.  Yet, as well-endowed as the region is, there is untapped potential.  Over 75% of mining investment flows into projects in only three countries:  Chile, Peru, and Brazil.  That leaves under-utilized, vast and cost competitive resources in other Latin American countries.

The objective of the Natural Resources Working Group is to recommend policies aimed at developing the sector in Latin America and the Caribbean, through : i) the promotion of best tax and royalties practices; ii) encouraging the creation of national centers of studies on natural resources; and iii) the  clear and consistent enforcement of environmental and labor norms.

Some of the recommendations of the Infrastructure, Logistic and Connectivity Group that are developed in the Americas Business Dialogue Report “From Dialogue to Action” include:

  • Stimulate investment in natural resources by adopting income distribution schemes for the sector that ensure that governments and companies share the risks and rewards of the activity.
  • Promote a transparent and fair transfer of royalties to local communities so that they benefit from and support investment in natural resources.