Biden lays out new economic vision for Latin America

Joe Biden
President Joe Biden speaks about the May jobs report, Friday, June 3, 2022, in Rehoboth Beach, Del. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

The White House on Wednesday unveiled an economic plan for the Western Hemisphere that President Biden will pitch to Latin American leaders and officials at the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles this week.  

The blueprint, formally called the “Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity,” is meant to offer a new economic vision for the region to help deepen cooperation on supply chain resilience, climate change and other issues to help countries crawl out of the economic shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Still reeling from the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Latin America and the Caribbean has seen the deepest economic contraction of any region in the world,” a White House fact sheet says.  

“The Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity will rebuild our economies from the bottom up and middle out,” it adds. “Together with partners, we deepen our economic cooperation, focusing on the largest drivers of middle-out growth, and shaping new tools for the challenges facing us today and, in the decades, to come.”  

Biden, who will arrive in California for the summit on Wednesday afternoon, is not announcing the plan with any commitments from countries in the region to participate. Rather, a senior administration official said the announcement of the plan will kickstart consultations with the “most like-minded” trading partners in the region and U.S. stakeholders over the next two to three months with the hope of launching formal negotiations in the fall.  

“We are building this on the presumption that there are quick gains to be had and roads to be cut on some of our most acute challenges that we have,” the official told reporters on a call previewing Wednesday’s announcement.  

The plan focuses on five areas: reforming the Inter-American Development Bank, boosting private sector investment in the region, improving resilience of supply chains, establishing infrastructure investments and ensuring “sustainable and inclusive” trade. It does not propose new trade agreements and is instead geared toward strengthening existing partnerships.  

Biden is scheduled to deliver formal remarks at the opening ceremony of the summit on Thursday. These comments are expected to focus in part on the new economic proposal.  

The summit has been clouded by notable absences, with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador saying earlier this week that he would not attend the gathering over the U.S. refusal to invite leaders of Cuba and Nicaragua and representatives from the government of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela.

The White House says that at least 23 heads of state are attending the summit, as well as numerous Biden administration officials.

Tags Andrés Manuel López Obrador Biden Cuba Joe Biden Mexico Nicaragua Nicolas Maduro Venezuela
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