CHLI Trade & Int'l Affairs Symposium Dialogues Focused on Strengthening U.S. Global Competitiveness
Thursday, October 9, 2014
Posted by: Leo Velasquez
The CHLI Trade & International Affairs Symposium Dialogues
Focused on Strengthening U.S. Global Competitiveness
(Washington D.C., October 9th, 2014)- The Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute (CHLI) concluded its third annual CHLI Trade & International Affairs Symposium during Hispanic Heritage Month on Monday, September 29th in Washington D.C. Over 100 people from the legal, business and trade community as well as members of the diplomatic community, Hispanic organization leaders, and law students listened, learned and participated in the discussions on global competitiveness. The focus of the symposium was on strengthening U.S. global competitiveness.
CHLI Board and Corporate Advisory Council Members with Inter-American Development Bank President, Luis Alberto Moreno and His Excellency Ambassador of Mexico to the U.S., Luis Medina-Mora. From left to right: Mary Ann Gomez, CHLI Executive Director; Stephen Halloway, CAC Chairman; Patrice Webb, Webb+Flow Group; Lauren Robitaille, Walmart; David Olivencia, Softtek, Luis Alberto Moreno; Ambassador Medina-Mora; Susan Santana, AT&T; The Honorable Lincoln Diaz-Balart, CHLI Chairman and former Member of Congress; Silvia Aldana, PG&E; and Orlando Padilla, Padilla Networks.
Held at the Newseum, the symposium featured speakers representing a diverse range of domestic and international organizations speaking about the important role the U.S. Hispanic community plays in the global trade conversation. The symposium included two panel discussions and TED talk-style presentations that focused on trade, international affairs, and our nation's global competitiveness. Panelists shared their expertise on why trade is positive for the United States, business, and how trade impacts the economic engine of the Americas. They also included discussions about global trade partners, where the opportunities for growth are, and how trade will impact business in the Western Hemisphere.
CHLI Vice-Chair, Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart provided the following opening remarks: “The CHLI Trade & International Affairs Symposium highlights the Hispanic community's contributions to the global economy. In these times, it is not about just the United States, but rather how we work with our global partners and allies. CHLI's vision focuses on advancing the Hispanic community's diversity of thought. This trade and international affairs symposium helps to continue that conversation by bringing experts and leaders from across industries to discuss how Hispanics contribute to the global economy, both inside and outside the United States.”
CHLI Vice Chair, Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart
The day started with a session on education, "STEM’s Impact on U.S. Global Competitiveness,” focused on college students majoring in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and their potential to compete in a global marketplace. This session was led by Mary Ann Gomez, CHLI Executive Director. She started by sharing with the audience that according to the Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum, U.S. currently ranks in 7th in higher education training. The panelists shared their perspectives and expertise on how through STEM, and other ways, the U.S. can produce more STEM majors who will be globally competitive. Hillary Maxwell of Dell encouraged the teaching of STEM at a very early age in a child’s life. She pointed to programs that Dell and the industry are doing to help get younger students exposed and interested to careers in technology. Dr. Mark Rosenberg, President of Florida International University emphasized internships and mentoring. He also noted the importance of studying a foreign language and studying abroad, as critical learning outside the classroom is necessary to improving U.S. performance in education. Joe Avila of Ford Motor Company suggested public and private sector leaders should collaborate to make STEM attractive. He also encouraged internships and referenced that manufacturing companies are looking for good talent all around the world – emphasizing the importance of producing more engineers here in the United States.
The second panel, "Tax Policies to Stimulate Growth and Competition," provided analysis on what specific tax policies can increase U.S. economic growth and mentioned current ones as well that may be not as business friendly as other countries. Moderated by Fox News Latino contributor Juan Williams, the discussion featured Dejan Pavlovic from Oracle and Nancy McLernon from the Organization on International Investment. Pavlovic acknowledged the U.S. currently faces an antiquated tax system in need of change. McLernon underscored growing Latin American investment in the U.S. economy, in conjunction with European investment. Ms. McLernon pointed out how her members’ investments in the U.S. assist in manufacturing, innovation and trade. They create jobs and contribute to the local economic development. Mr. Pavlovic touched on tax repatriation as well and noted there needs to be changes for corporations to start making significant changes at their ends – they are doing what they can with the current structure. Both panelists concluded by asserting tax policy reform coincides with both their companies’ interests.
CHLI Board Members and Corporate Advisory Council (CAC) Members and guests (left to right): Mary Ann Gomez, CHLI Executive Director; Lauren Robitaille, Walmart; Patrice Webb, Webb+Flow Group; David Olivencia, Softtek; The Honorable Lincoln Diaz-Balart; Juan Williams, Fox; Nancy McLernon, Organization on International Investment; Dejan Pavlovic, Oracle; Christopher Turner, Dell; Rudy Beserra, Coca Cola; and Stephen Halloway, CHLI CAC Chairman.
Allen Green from McKenna Long & Aldridge proceeded by speaking on international procurement law. In addition to revealing the benefits on contracting at home as opposed to abroad, Mr. Green provided his legal perspective on the challenges regarding the hiring of contractors and doing business abroad.
The third panel “Trade Policies for a Globally Competitive Western Hemisphere,” moderated by Juan Otero of Comcast NBCUniversal, covered the mutual benefit all countries share when they engage in trade. Waleska Rivera from the Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association highlighted the importance of Puerto Rico’s fiscal autonomy, while suggesting its global contribution merit full integration into the global market. Sarah Thorn from Walmart provided her expertise on international trade, encouraging an update to existing trade agreements so businesses may adapt to the modern digital framework of global commerce. Google Head of Global Trade Policy, David Weller emphasized that the Internet continues to enable businesses to harness the power of info and data in reaching consumers and development.
“In a $72 trillion global economy, 22% is produced in the U.S. But, there is still room for growth. As a result, trade remains a critical component of our GDP today. Every day, government officials and business leaders make decisions that impact trade, global competitiveness and jobs for our nation,” said David Olivencia, CHLI Board Member, Trade Symposium Chairman and Softtek SVP.
The fourth panel, hosted by CHLI’s partner, Hispanic IT Executive Council (HITEC) was on “Cybersecurity and its Impact on Trade and Protecting Intellectual Property.” HITEC & SVP for Strategy at Softtek, Andre Arbelaez moderated the interactive discussion with Bob West from Lockheed Martin and Haden Land from CipherCloud. Speaking on the realities of cybersecurity, West explained that as businesses fundamentally rely on technology, a systemic number of security vulnerabilities exist, which could lead to business interruption. He added that encryption of information can protect companies’ information and intellectual property from being stolen. Land expanded upon this idea by integrating the growth of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM). “In cybersecurity, we want to require multi-dimensional thinking and encourage creativity within this discipline.”
Inter-American Development Bank President Luis Alberto Moreno provided the Symposium’s keynote speech, focusing on Latin America’s economic transformation thanks to U.S. support. Referring to the historic ties between U.S. and Colombia, Moreno firmly stated more Latin Americans currently live within the middle class instead of poverty. While encouraging U.S. to maintain strong investment in Latin America, Moreno concluded by stating the Inter-American Development Bank’s main challenge is low productivity. He said a tax system overhaul and strong reduction of crime was conducive to a more positive future.
His Excellency, The Ambassador of Mexico to the U.S. Eduardo Mora-Medina concluded the Trade Symposium by emphasizing the importance of developing U.S.-Mexico trade as leaders within North and Latin America.
CHLI Chairman, and former Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart with His Excellency
Ambassador of Mexico to the U.S. Eduardo Medina-Mora.
“Nothing is more impactful than seeing what CHLI has done for young Latinos. In the spirit of CHLI’s vision of advancing the Hispanic community’s diversity of thought, our trade symposium fills a void in the national conversations about how our Hispanic leaders contribute to the global economy,” stated CHLI Chairman Lincoln Diaz-Balart.
The presentations provided the opportunity for Washington, D.C. area attorneys to earn Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits. CLE was offered to attorneys registered in New York, California, Virginia, Texas, and Florida.
"On behalf of CHLI's Board of Directors, we are proud to convene experts in commerce and international trade from the public, private and academic sectors to discuss global issues during Hispanic Heritage Month. Americans of Hispanic descent are poised to lead, start and collaborate to support this country’s economic progress. Our multicultural experiences, our bilingual skills and our understanding of how to work with people with different points of view are a great asset to the United States.” Mary Ann Gomez, CHLI Executive Director.
CHLI’s Fall 2014 Global leaders Program Fellows with IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno and
Ambassador of Mexico to the U.S., Eduardo Medina-Mora.
This event was made possible by the generous contributions of 21st Century Fox, Walmart, Ford Motor Company, General Electric, Dell, CVS Caremark, Softtek, and Google.
The Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute (CHLI) is the premier organization founded by Members of Congress and corporate executive leaders to advance the Hispanic community’s economic progress with a focus on social responsibility and global competitiveness. Founded in 2003, CHLI is a 501©3 non-profit and non-partisan organization. CHLI is dedicated to fostering a broad awareness of the diversity of thought, heritage, interests, and views of Americans of Hispanic and Portuguese descent. www.chli.org