Editor for Latin America
Britain hopes that access to Asia-Pacific trade will open up a lot of business for British companies in Latin America, as part of a wider effort to strengthen trade links with the long-forgotten London region.
Concluding a trip to Colombia, Chile and Brazil, Foreign Minister James Cleverly said the trade level of the Brazilian economy, US$ 2.1 trillion (million), “is not high enough”, partly due to a lack of mutual understanding. .
“Some British companies are not thinking about Latin America,” he told the Financial Times (FT). “We must ensure that this country is on the list of British companies to buy from.”
Although the region has a population of 764 million, Lepide pointed out in a speech in Santiago, Chile, that Latin America accounted for only 2% of British imports and 2.5% of exports. “I appreciate that we are doing much more with respect to Latin America,” he said. “We must be ambitious in our future relationship.”
Part of the government’s response is the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). It completed negotiations in March to join the treaty, which brings together Asian powers such as Japan and Vietnam, as well as Pacific nations such as Chile, Peru and Mexico. Costa Rica, Ecuador and Uruguay have also applied to the project.
However, the UK faces an uphill battle to compete with China, whose voracious appetite for essential food and minerals has made South America its biggest trading partner for two decades.
The reluctance of the US to establish trade agreements pushes Latin America towards China
Chinese companies have lithium and copper mines throughout the country, as well as a lot of soybean and meat production from Brazil and Argentina.
Asked if he would announce any trade or investment during his visit, Lepide said his trip was “not just a short-term transaction” but about “a big, really important, long-term strengthening of the relationship between the two.”
In addition, he highlighted his trip to the Amazon jungle, where he visited a scientific council, and signed a climate partnership with Brazil, which will be supported by 80 million in funding announced by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak this month. against deforestation
The week-long visit was the first by a British foreign minister in five years, but he avoided Argentina, South America’s second-largest economy, where a long-running dispute over British rule over the Falkland Islands continues to sour relations.
Jeremy Browne, executive director of the Latin American market of Canning House, said he deserved credit for being smart for “swimming against the institutional tide and doing more in Latin America” given the “obvious post-Brexit business opportunity”.
But he added: “The test will be whether the foreign ministry and the government of the whole world can maintain a more multidimensional perspective, after the narrow view of abandoning foreign policies and embracing new partnerships in parts of the world neglected until now.” America”.
A previous attempt by William Hague as foreign minister in 2010 to restore relations with Latin America to trade and investment sites failed. The government’s foreign and defense policy update, published in March, mentions Latin America only once in 63 pages.
He pointedly said the review was “not intended to be any name check or blueprint for countries and regions”, but indicated the growing importance of the Indo-Pacific region, which includes the Pacific Rim from Latin America.
A senior Latin American ambassador based in London received his renewed studies in the UK, but wondered how the real feelings were in London.
“We’re seeing some element of the knife in terms of excessive demand,” he said. “The UK has the Indo-Pacific, the war in Ukraine, its own special movement with the US and its strained relationship with the EU. There are a lot of priorities.”