Secretary Statements & Remarks

Remarks by Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen at Inter-American Development Bank Responsible Investment Forum

As Prepared for Delivery

Thank you to the IDB Group for hosting this Forum. And President Goldfajn, thank you for your remarks and for your leadership. I’m very pleased to open this event with you. And welcome to our distinguished guests. 

The 12 countries in the Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity, or APEP, are bound not just by our geography but also by our commitments to democracy, our shared values, and our aspirations of inclusive and resilient growth and regional security.  APEP offers our countries a key vehicle through which to deepen economic integration, increase the competitiveness of our region, drive private sector investment, and foster inclusive and sustainable development.  For the United States, APEP, and this Forum in particular, allow us to further deepen our partnerships with the IDB Group and with other APEP members and make concrete progress on our shared goals.

Let me touch on one area where we have a unique opportunity to work much more closely together: efforts to diversify supply chains.  The United States is working with partners on what I’ve called “friendshoring,” meaning diversifying our supply chains with a range of trusted partners and allies.  This has tremendous potential benefits for fueling growth in Latin America and the Caribbean. 

And diversification provides not just the opportunity for a significant increase in trade, but also for innovation—in sectors from renewables, to medical supplies, to semiconductors.  Businesses from Latin America and the Caribbean—already important partners to the United States in the manufacturing of solar and wind technologies—will increasingly have the chance to lead in new areas of clean energy, for example, helping create vertical supply chains by using locally extracted lithium in local battery production.  In the health sector, medical equipment and pharmaceutical companies can grow and innovate to meet increased demand.  And in the semiconductor sector, the region’s skilled workers can scale up production of advanced materials, including the automotive chips necessary for the current and next generations of electric vehicles. 

As a result of APEP, the United States and the IDB have committed to work together to support the region’s supply chain integration through comprehensive efforts.  We will help provide low-cost financing, support knowledge sharing and worker upskilling, and engage with stakeholders from across the public and private sectors, academia, and civil society to identify and tackle bottlenecks, thereby bolstering the region’s competitiveness in priority sectors.  We are confident this work will help to further the outcomes of the Forum and the conversations you will all be having here today. 

For this supply chain integration work and across many other priorities, APEP countries are fortunate to have a vital partner dedicated to serving our region: the IDB Group.  As the largest source of development finance for the Latin America and Caribbean region, the IDB Group provides critical support to countries to create the conditions necessary for private sector-led growth to take off in the region. This leads to increased opportunity, more jobs, and greater economic wellbeing.  

I am proud to reaffirm the Biden-Harris Administration’s firm commitment to working with the IDB Group, under Ilan Goldfajn’s excellent leadership, to support strong, sustainable, and inclusive economic growth undergirded by commitments to democracy, equality, transparency, anti-corruption, and the rule of law.  As the IDB’s largest shareholder, the United States has also led the call for ambitious systemic and structural reforms that will position the IDB Group to evolve to better take on pressing regional and global challenges.  We know the IDB Group can deliver better and deliver more through investments that are high-quality, competitive, and demonstrate results.

The United States is also strongly committed to an IDB Invest capital increase.  We are working closely with our fellow shareholders and with our Congress to support IDB Invest.  We believe the additional capital would help increase IDB Invest’s impact and ability to better mobilize private capital to the region, including to APEP members.  An IDB Invest armed with more risk capital, a refreshed business model, new incentives, and new financial products will be even more effective at promoting private sector-led, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth and development.  IDB Invest CEO James Scriven’s originate-to-share approach, as one example, is pioneering a new way for MDBs to leverage private sector capital.  Other MDBs are closely watching.

Again, thank you to the IDB Group and to President Goldfajn for hosting this Forum.  The United States supports your vision of an institution that will continue to be an engine for growth, change, and progress across Latin America and the Caribbean, and a key partner for achieving APEP’s goals.  I am confident the Forum today will enable productive dialogue and lead to constructive next steps to drive the integration and cooperation that will fuel the region’s inclusive growth.