Jun 6, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Biden to offer new economic framework for Latin America

Workers adjust a large welcome ad for the Summit of the Americas

Workers fix an ad screen in front of the L.A. Convention Center during the Summit of the Americas. Photo: Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden plans to announce a new economic framework for Latin America on Wednesday, focusing on climate change, workers' rights and supply chains, according to an administration official and people briefed on the plan.

Driving the news: Biden will outline his “Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity” plan at the Summit of the Americas being held in Los Angeles this week.

Why it matters: The president is trying to counter China’s growing influence in Latin America by offering regional partners the opportunity to coordinate more closely with the United States on a range of issues.

  • But the American partnership isn’t a traditional trade agreement, where countries lower tariffs to gain market access.

The big picture: Several countries in the hemisphere, such as Ecuador and Uruguay, have expressed frustration that Biden has been unwilling to negotiate such agreements.

  • The summit has been buffeted by questions on who will attend, with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announcing Monday that he will not participate, citing concerns over the exclusion of leaders from Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela.

How it works: The economic pact will initially be offered to a handful of countries with which the U.S. already has free trade agreements.

  • As part of his plan, Biden also wants to revitalize the Inter-American Development Bank to help increase investments across the hemisphere.
  • The "Americas partnership" resembles the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) that Biden announced last month in Asia to establish rules of the road for allies and give them an alternative to China.
  • While the details and the priorities are different, both focus on establishing common standards to address mutual challenges.
  • IPEF, which has been months in the making, marked a different approach to trade agreement than the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which the Trump administration abandoned in 2017.

What to watch: Biden also plans to unveil his “Los Angeles Declaration” on migration, which will include countries like Canada and Spain agreeing to accept more migrants.

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