Two senior US senators have called on the Biden administration to negotiate a trade agreement with Ecuador and Uruguay, using the pact with Mexico and Canada to model export opportunities with “trusted partners” in Latin America as China’s influence grows.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, and committee member Rob Portman, a former US Commerce chief and Republican from Ohio, called Katherine Tai and the secretaries of state, Anthony Blinken, to build on the success. The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement and expanding relations in the Western Hemisphere.
“Stabilizing high levels of trade in Latin America can help jump-start the post-pandemic economic recovery of some of our most powerful neighbors,” Menéndez and Portman said in a letter to Tai and Blinken on Tuesday. “Without further U.S. engagement, however, the U.S. risks losing access to market opportunities for U.S. companies and potentially eroding our influence in the region relative to China.”
The president of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso, met with his US counterpart Joe Biden on Monday at the White House, where the leaders agreed that the countries had made historic progress in strengthening bilateral ties. Lasso previously noted that Ecuador is the only nation on the Pacific coast of the Western Hemisphere that does not have a free trade agreement with the US.
Ecuador turned to Washington on its foreign policy after the left-wing government of President Rafael Correa (2007-2017) sought to strengthen alliances with countries such as Cuba and Venezuela and received significant interest from China. Although the southern country’s oil is mostly exported to the United States, the Asian nation of the US this year has achieved Ecuador’s top export destination.
In Uruguay, President Louis Lacalle Pou launched free trade talks with China, courted Turkey and demanded its membership to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an 11-country trade initiative with which he intends to open markets. goods and services from the village.
Tensions in Mercosur
The increase in the trade agenda is aimed at their government against Uruguay’s trading partners in the American Merosur. Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay threatened last month to take closed action against Montevideo if it insists on pursuing its independence strategy.
“We note that, in the absence of a US commitment, both Ecuador and Uruguay have begun to look to others, including China, for preferential terms of trade,” the senators wrote. “While we welcome the recent announcement of the new Ecuadorian Fair Trade Working Group to explore progress in labor, environmental and digital trade, we believe more can be done.”