Latin America - An Opportunity for the UK. A Report based on the Spanish Experience in the Region

Economic
Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Coalition Government has rightly identified export-led growth as one of the key planks of its plan to reinvigorate the UK economy in the wake of the Comprehensive Spending Review.As Germany's experience demonstrates, the export-led model can be an effective way to stimulate the development of small and medium sized private sector businesses, some of which may go on to become the international British "Champions" of the future. It may sound obvious, but for our economic recovery to be sustainable, we simply have to build more companies that produce goods and services the rest of the world wants to buy.But where are all these companies going to sell their wares?Throughout the first third of the Twentieth Century the United Kingdom was the principle trading partner for Latin American nations, however our global position has of course shifted dramatically. The newly defined paradigm of a UK foreign policy for a networked world, suggests partnership for mutual benefit, and in Latin America the United Kingdom can no longer effectively act bilaterally.Under current European Union trade restrictions we are no longer able to set bilaterally the terms of trade with individual nations outside of the EU. Furthermore, the last decade has seen the effective failure of the Washington Consensus in Latin America, meaning the United States is no longer able to act alone to see its goals realized in the region. Conversely, whilst Spain does not have the necessary economic power to act alone in the region its political and cultural connections in Latin America are second to none.Therefore, of the world's major emerging markets, Latin America arguably offers more realistic and realizable short and medium term opportunities for UK plc. The policies of the Coalition Government need to recognize this opportunity, but also the challenge of strategically building networks with other nations for mutual benefit. In Latin America our relationships with the United States, Spain and Chile have the ability to give us an edge. But they will only do so if we act now to create formal exploratory committees that go beyond rhetoric, and begin to push British interests into the world again.To read the full article, download the pdf below.