Tags: trump | nafta | mexico | argentina | brazil | latin america

Trump Policies Will Give Latin America New Opportunities

Trump Policies Will Give Latin America New Opportunities

A man paints street art depicting a world map in the Lapa neighborhood on September 15, 2016, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

By Monday, 16 January 2017 11:18 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Our Lady of Guadalupe, in her Catholic shrine, the feathered serpents of Kukulcan and Quetzalcoatl, gods from the Mayans and the Aztecs, are all probably very busy these days. Millions of Mexicans must be praying a lot asking for a miracle. The president-elect of the United Sates is revising everything, not only to dismantle Obamacare and a lot of other domestic issues, but also two of the most important international deals, NAFTA — specifically the U.S.-Mexican part — and the special trade partnership with China.

With all the experience in negotiating from his days as a New York real estate tycoon, Donald Trump is going to be a real nightmare for all the countries which had made excessive profits in their relationship with the U.S. That kind of revision is going to be one of the main pillars of his administration and is going to taint the years to come.

Taking from the old Chinese the idea that a crisis could be transformed into an opportunity, Latin America can take real advantage of the current dispute on their northern border. Central America, the Caribbean, and mainly Mexico will suffer a lot if the United States finally makes the decision to build a wall at the Rio Grande and close its market for foreign products. The U.S. is the most important trade partner of Mexico and Mexico is the second most important one for the U.S., with $472.9 billion exchanged for the year 2012, which represents almost 90 percent of the GDP of my country, Argentina. The impact will be tremendous if at least 3 million illegal immigrants, with some kind of crime records, are deported immediately. As big will be the damage caused by the imposition of new tariffs for imported products in the U.S. and the successful pressure put on several companies, including huge car makers, to reconsider their plans of investing hundreds of millions in new factories outside "the land of the free."

The new protectionist ideas brought to the center of the scene by the president-elect will probably reinforce the constitution of new mega economic blocks. The U.S., for a long time the most important consumer market in the world, will be more isolated. The European Union will spend the following years dealing with their own demons, trying to save their very existence. Russia will play a greater role as the main geopolitical ally of the U.S., but is highly probable that under Putin’s leadership it will maintain its anti-globalization views.

For Latin America it could be a new beginning — the right time for a real attempt at creating a bigger entity. Latin America could go further with the ideal of the Latin version of the founding fathers, Bolivar, San Martin, and many others who did dream of a stronger unified nation instead of more than 20 weaker independent countries. There are many new factors which could be considered advantages. The two most important South American countries, Brazil and Argentina, which have switched from out-of-fashion populist regimes to more business oriented and pragmatic governments, should invite the other regional giant, Mexico, to look a little more to the South than to the North, coming back to the family. Central America and the Caribbean could join the Mexicans and do the same. In the construction of a powerful Latin block in the Americas, their contribution could be decisive, since during the last few years those countries were trained facing the extremely demanding U.S. market, developing a pro-business attitude and a competitiveness unusual for Latin societies. The Pacific basin, meaning Colombia, Peru, and Chile were also in the same process and could easily join forces. The remains of the decadent Chavista group, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and the ruins of Venezuela will not have another chance than following the rest of the region or staying in their current agony.

In relation to the U.S., Latin America must develop a more mature relationship. Growing from the adolescence and their extreme drive for love and hate without moderation. We have to offer "Uncle Sam" a good partnership, convenient for both sides. It is a real cruel destiny for almost an entire continent with plenty of natural resources and a vibrant, young, and growing population to be only the raw material provider to Europe or China, or the low cost labor force source for the U.S., both in terms of machine production or massive immigration. With these new winds blowing from the White House there is going to be room for other regions like ours, to think on themselves instead of being a little changeable piece in a more complex multinational operation.

The region could also take advantage of a weaker China. The most populous country on earth is going to face more difficult times if President Trump finally decides to put in action some of his campaign issues. The Communist Party will have to look for new models of development if Washington starts to close their doors for the Chinese products. Latin America could be an interesting plan B, by strengthening and making more sophisticate their current deep relationship. But with a businessman in charge, the Americans surely could match and even improve what China is offering to the region right now, if they really take care of our geo-strategic importance.

Trump, at the top of the powerful, changing the rules of the game, could be a real opportunity for Latin America since the current game has not proved to be very convenient for the south at all. Maybe it is time to be serious enough to solve our own problems and stop blaming others. The extremely high level of corruption is damaging not only the very core of the confidence in governments but is also costing thousands of lives. It is almost a crime that a region blessed by God, which together could be the largest territory in the world, even compared to Russia, with a relatively homogeneous population of more than 600 million people, without religious or ethnic problems, is condemned to be poor and outside of the real decision making power. Argentines are hardly understanding that a crop is not going to save us anymore, the same with the Bolivians and their mining or the Venezuelans with their oil. Mexicans and Central Americans must realize than the U.S. is not the only way to save them, by exporting all their poverty and being a kind of low-cost labor force paradise for their next-door giant. Instead of crying over spilled milk we must see the future with optimism. The Trump era, with these new trends and higher walls, allows us to think more about ourselves, the first step to finding the cure for our chronic illnesses.

Luis Rosales was elected as the youngest state representative in Mendoza, Argentina, in 1989. In 2011 he was candidate for governor in Mendoza, representing Compromiso Federal, a union of three local and national conservative parties. He is the Latin American partner of Dick Morris. Together they have worked in more than a dozen presidential campaigns around the region. They have written the book “El Poder,” about their experiences in Latin America and other parts of the world. To read more of Luis Rosales' reports, Go Here Now.

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For Latin America it could be a new beginning — the right time for a real attempt at creating a bigger entity.
trump, nafta, mexico, argentina, brazil, latin america
Monday, 16 January 2017 11:18 AM
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