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Brookings Institution Hosts Seminar on U.S.- Latin America Economic Relationship

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Apr 25

On Thursday, April 5, WRAP’s Manager of Communication & Public Affairs Cori Sue Morris attended a seminar at the Brookings Institution titled “Beyond the Global Financial Crisis: The Future of U.S. - Latin American Economic Partnership.”

Hosted in Brookings’s Falk Auditorium, the event featured speakers Leonardo Martinez-Diaz, Deputy Assistant for the Western Hemisphere at the U.S. Department of Treasury, and Mauricio Mesquita Moreira, Principal Economist in the Integration and Trade Sector at the Inter-American Development Bank. Daniel Kaufmann, a Senior Fellow at Brookings, was the moderator.


The event was hosted in anticipation of the Sixth Summit of the Americas, which occurred April 14-15, in Cartagena, Colombia. At the Summit, U.S. President Obama joined 34 heads of state to discuss physical integration, cooperation, citizen security, disaster relief and other topics relating to relations within the Western Hemisphere.

The seminar focused on the growth in the economic relationship between the United States and Latin America. Mr. Diaz, the featured speaker, said that Latin America was a key partner in trade for the United States as the region continues to experience growth—even in spite of the 2008 economic downturn. The four drivers of growth in the region, said Diaz, are (1) demographics, (2) competitiveness, (3) capital and (4) stability.

Most notably, Mr. Diaz also mentioned the shift in manufacturing away from China and to the Western hemisphere. “As Chinese wages increase, we have a tight labor market. Mexican manufacturing remains competitive in pricing goods for the U.S. market,” he said.

The forum also briefly addressed the challenges—immigration and drug trafficking—to cooperation on economic issues between Latin America, particularly Mexico, and the United States.

“Immigration and drugs are elephants in the room that can make or break the deal [of political and economic cooperation],” said Moderator Daniel Kaufmann at one point.

The crux of the seminar was that Latin America will continue to grow in both economic strength and importance for the United States—and the U.S. government should take notice.
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