UK Aiming To Revive Trade Links With Latin America
By recently joining the Asia-Pacific trade treaty, the UK government is hoping that Latin American markets will open up for British business. The region has long been neglected by London, accounting for just 2.5% of our exports and 2% of our imports.
The UK finalised negotiations to join the pact in March, joining eleven Pacific nations to create a combined total GDP of £11 trillion. From Latin America; Chile, Mexico and Peru are current members of the treaty, while Costa Rica, Ecuador and Uruguay have all applied to join.
The UK government acknowledged that trade levels were not as high as they should be during a recent trip to Colombia, Chile and Brazil. The week-long visit was the first by a UK foreign secretary in five years and he insisted that the UK must ensure “this is a region which is on the shopping list of British businesses”.
However, Britain faces an uphill struggle competing with China, who have become South America’s biggest trading partner during the past two decades. The appeal of minerals and food has seen Chinese companies buying up lithium and copper mines throughout Latin America and investing in soy and meat produce from Brazil and Argentina.
According to Canning House, a leading forum that has been focused on building relationships between the UK and Latin America for 75 years, the UK have been given an “obvious post-Brexit trading opportunity” in the region.
However, they added: “The test will be whether the foreign secretary and wider government can sustain a more multidimensional global outlook, moving from a narrow view of foreign policy interests to embrace new partnerships in previously neglected parts of the world, such as Latin America”.