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**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE **                             

Monday, April 4, 2016                                                                    

Contact: Breelyn Pete | Ph: 202-482-4085 | bpete@eda.gov           

U.S. Commerce Department Announces Fifth Americas Competitiveness Exchange

Senior Officials from Across the Western Hemisphere and other Nations to Meet With Innovation and Entrepreneurship Hubs throughout Arizona and Southern California

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA) and Economic Development Administration (EDA), in coordination with the Organization of American States (OAS) and the U.S. Department of State, today announced that 51 high-level representatives from 24 countries will participate in the Fifth Americas Competitiveness Exchange (ACE) on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, April 10-16, visiting sites in Arizona and California. ACE brings together decision-makers from throughout the Western Hemisphere and other nations to explore global and regional partnerships and economic development opportunities that will strengthen innovation and entrepreneurship in the region.

The delegation will tour advanced technology centers, innovation hubs, public-private partnership ventures, and strategic investments in cities ranging from small towns like Gilbert, Arizona, and Vista Escondido, California, to major metropolitan areas like Phoenix and San Diego. The itinerary features sites that target agricultural, manufacturing, medical device, water, energy, and information and communication technology clusters. The agenda was created in partnership with the Arizona Commerce Authority, the Imperial Valley Economic Development Corporation, and the San Diego Economic Development Corporation with the goal of increasing the prospect of advancing commerce and trade between participating economies. 

“For the past two years, ACE has been an important vehicle in advancing commerce and trade between participating economies, accelerating business opportunities, and promoting collaboration between all stakeholders,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Jay Williams. “We are pleased to have the ACE tour in Arizona and California to highlight the innovation happening in the southwest and we are excited to leverage Department of Commerce assets and connections to facilitate.”

“The ACE tour offers visiting businesses, governments, academic institutions, and economic development organizations insight into the challenges and opportunities presented in today’s global marketplace,” said ITA Deputy Assistant Secretary for U.S. Operations Antwaun Griffin. “The agenda features site visits to leading technology centers and business incubators, and discussions with public and private sector leaders throughout the southwestern United States. Here in the States, we’re eager to showcase the activities that spur innovation and entrepreneurship with our partners throughout the hemisphere.” 

The ACE is a regional initiative included in the Inter-American Competitiveness Network (RIAC) Work Plan for 2016-2018 to facilitate collaboration on the more than 200 successful experiences that OAS Member States shared in the 2012-2015 Signs of Competitiveness Americas Reports.

For more information about ACE V, including a complete delegation list and itinerary for the tour, please visit http://riacnet.org/fifth-exchange.

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 About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation’s regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.
 

International Trade Administration

The International Trade Administration (ITA) is the premier resource for American companies competing in the global marketplace. ITA has more than 2,200 employees assisting U.S. exporters in more than 100 U.S. cities and 75 markets worldwide. For more information on ITA visit www.trade.gov.

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