The United States and the countries of Latin America stand to benefit a great deal from increased trade and investment. Enhancing American competitiveness, accelerating innovation, and expanding U.S. exports require engagement with Latin America, said U.S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Brazil, with nearly eight percent Gross Domestic Product growth last year, is predicted to become the world's fourth or fifth-largest economy in the coming decades. The combined economies of Latin America grew six percent last year.
This is good news for the people of Latin America as well as the United States. The size of the Latin American economy and its young demographics are especially important for the United States, because the American economy is tied much more closely to the economies of its neighbors than to those across the oceans. Forty-three percent of all U.S. goods exports stay in the Western Hemisphere. The U.S. exports more than three times as many goods to Latin America than it does to China.
North America is the largest free trade area in the world. These facts, said Secretary Clinton, point to a very promising trend. Latin America is producing more and more new consumers for U.S. products each year. Tens of millions of people in the region are entering the middle class, more than 30 million in Brazil alone since 2003. At the same time, Latin America is home to companies, entrepreneurs, and innovators who are purchasing technology and equipment and helping drive competitiveness and innovation in American businesses.
In order to create more jobs, existing trade relationships must be expanded and new ones must be created. That’s why the U.S. supports free trade agreements with Colombia and Panama. Opening these markets is essential to growing U.S. exports, jobs, and competitiveness.
"The bottom line," said Secretary Clinton, "is that geography matters. Growth in the Latin American market stands to benefit American workers and companies more than growth anywhere else in the world." It is a win-win situation for all the people of the region.