Economic and Political Issues for Governments and Firms
Edited by Sidney Weintraub, Alan M. Rugman and Gavin Boyd
Chapter 1: Potential for hemispheric regional cooperation
Sidney Weintraub INTRODUCTION The focus of this chapter will be on trade cooperation. The reason for this emphasis is the conviction that without largely unimpeded access to the US market for their goods and services, most countries in the hemisphere would have little incentive to cooperate with the United States in other ways, such as joining the global struggle against terrorism, impeding the financing of terrorism, and eroding the shipment of narcotics. Hemispheric summit meetings devote much time to the promotion of democracy and combating corruption, but there is clear recognition that the centerpiece of these meetings is open trade. US promotion of other issues is likely to be seen as empty rhetoric if, at the same time, the United States is unable to deliver on the ‘centerpiece’. There is a related aspect of cooperation, namely, among the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries themselves. MERCOSUR, the common market of the South, made up of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay, remained more of a shell than a vibrant economic integration agreement because of the weak cooperation between Brazil and Argentina for many years. The cooperation was more rhetorical than actual for most of the 1990s. The two current presidents, Luis Inacio ‘Lula’ da Silva of Brazil and Néstor Kirchner of Argentina, have renewed the talk about cooperation, but it is too early to tell how this will translate into action. One of the virtues of the free-trade negotiations between the United States and the five countries of the Central...
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