April 15, 2022

Americas Competitive Exchange (ACE) brings high-level global delegation to Louisiana

Louisiana hosted the 14th America’s Competitiveness Exchange (ACE) between March 26 – April 1, bringing together more than 60 global leaders representing 21 countries and multiple international organizations to share economic development best practices and explore opportunities for partnerships.

ACE is the premier economic development, innovation, and entrepreneurial network of the Americas and is one of the leading high-level events of the Organization of American States (OAS). The ACE program is one of the core initiatives of the Inter-American Competitiveness Network (RIAC) and organized in partnership with EDA, the International Trade Administration, and the U.S. Department of State.

The busy itinerary included visits with EDA grantees, including the World War II MuseumNew Orleans BioInnovation CenterThe Water InstituteClaiborne Corridor Cultural Innovation District and GNO, Inc.

Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo joined the delegation for the first few days and welcomed the delegation. EDA’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Development Dennis Alvord joined the last day of the tour and gave remarks during the closing ceremonyArthur McMahan, senior associate director of the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity through Historically Black Colleges and Universities, also joined a panel discussion at Xavier University about equitable economic development.

Site Visits

The delegation explored more than 30 sites in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lafayette and the greater Acadiana region, and featured sectors such as entrepreneurship, tourism, film production, bioscience, healthcare, and manufacturing.

The partnerships developed during ACE will increase the prospect of advancing commerce and trade between participating economies and accelerate business opportunities for all stakeholders.

Highlights of the exchange included stops at the Ranch Film Studios, University of New Orleans, Tabasco manufacturing facility and the National Park Service’s Chalmette Battlefield. Numerous panel discussions were held on topics such as equity in economic development, entrepreneurship, tourism, bio-technology, manufacturing and rural economic development.

Global Collaboration

The international ACE delegation was comprised of representatives from throughout Latin America, including Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Jamaica, Germany, and international organizations such as the Pan American Development Foundation and the U.S.-Mexico Foundation.

Elected officials from Colorado who participated in the exchange included Governor John Bel EdwardsNew Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, and Secretary of Louisiana Economic Development Don Pierson.

What's Next

During the week, potential collaboration and partnerships were sparked: from possible research agreements to entrepreneurial exchanges, and even new trade and investment possibilities.

As the ACE international delegation returned home, they will continue to solidify partnerships. View some results reported by past ACE participants that were inspired or influenced by the program can be found here.

The next ACE exchange will be held Ecuador in October in late 2022.

If your region is interested in learning more about the ACE program and how they can host, visit: