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As announced by the US Trade Representative the US has officially launched a new trade initiative within the Western Hemisphere. The Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity (APEP) will initially include Barbados, Canada, Columbia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and Uruguay in addition to the US. The participating countries hope that it will be expanded to other “like minded partners in the hemisphere that share our goals and commitments.” APEP is characterized as a framework for regional cooperation to foster regional competitiveness, resilience, shared prosperity, and inclusive and sustainable investment.

The US currently has existing trade agreements with nine of the named partners, but the APEP will expand on those by seeking cooperation on Customs procedures, trade facilitation and logistics, regulatory practices and non-tariff barriers. Importantly the partnership will also have a focus on unlocking needed financing and bringing responsible private investment to the region. The Partnership seeks to promote shared prosperity through the promotion of quality jobs, expanding financial inclusion and improving public services while addressing corruption, tax evasion and other problems that weigh on its members.

Since the June 2022 announcement of the initiative at the Summit of the Americas, the State Department and the office of the USTR have worked with participating governments and organizations as well as private stakeholders in the region to develop an agenda. The US hosted a virtual ministerial level event in January 2023 from which a joint declaration of support by the participants was released.

The Administration brought forth this proposal as part of an effort to counter China’s growing inroads in Latin America and to promote economic development in poorer countries to help curb migration at the southern border. There is no timeline for implementation of APEP, but the White House would like to have it in place by the end of the year. Meanwhile the specifics of the plan are still being developed.  This initiative comes at a time when important trade legislation has stalled in Congress.


Best Regards,

Sam McClure, LCB

Director of Compliance & Customs Services


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Meet one of CVI’s Customs Brokerage & Compliance experts, Sam McClure:

Sam serves as Director, Compliance and Customs Services for CVI. He serves as CVI’s corporate compliance officer and is responsible for overseeing all aspects of our Customs related services, including growth.

Sam started his career in 1977 with Waters Shipping Company in Charlotte, NC. He began as a document runner, soon becoming a leader in operations and customer service for the branch. Sam, along with Linda Masten, founded Central Carolina Shipping Inc. in 1983 as an independent Customs Brokerage firm where he served as Vice President for 26 years. Sam and Linda grew Central Carolina into a successful and highly respected member of the Carolinas trade community. When Charlotte opened their local chapter of the IFFCBA Sam was part of the organizing group and he headed the Customs committee for several years. Sam obtained his Customs Brokers License in 1984 and remained with Central Carolina until the company was acquired by CVI in 2009.

At CVI, Sam has held several positions in both the operations and sales departments. As an expert in U.S. Customs regulations, Sam is often called upon on to provide guidance to importers on Customs compliance issues. He makes regular presentations on matters related to importation and broader regulatory compliance.

– Sam McClure, LCB, Director of Compliance & Customs Services, CVI
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