Continuity and Change in Latin America and Spain
Edited by Paloma Fernández Pérez and Andrea Lluch
Chapter 1: Latin American multinationals facing the ‘new reality’
Since 2002, Latin American companies have expanded all over the world becoming Global Latinas. Although the biggest ones are natural resources based, we also find them in information technology, steel production, electricity, wine and cosmetics. In times of crisis, their dynamism is a valuable example for European and American multinationals to follow. The 1990s were marked by the transformation of Latin American economies through market liberalization, privatization of the public sector and tax reforms. Foreign direct investment grew from US$18 billion at the beginning of the 1990s to US$108 billion in 1999. In 2011, the region attracted US$153 billion, which represents 10 per cent of total global direct foreign investment (ECLAC, 2012). In 1998, Europe became for the first time the biggest investor in Latin America and maintains its leadership today. Nevertheless, if we consider each country individually, the United States continues to hold top position with 18 per cent of the total investments in the region. Increasingly, China’s economic power is being felt in the region. China has become the most important trading partner of Brazil, Chile and Peru and trade between the Middle Kingdom and Latin America and the Caribbean reached US$180 billion in 2010 (ECLAC, 2011). Asia receives 16 per cent of Latin American exports.