BY STAFF REPORT
The European Union (EU) is the ‘largest direct investor’ in Latin America and the Caribbean, investing an average $30 billion annually over the past years, says ECLAC.
But, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) says, countries in South America are the main beneficiaries of the European investment.
However, the UN agency has applauded the European Union for its large investment in Latin America’s R&D centers.
Europe is currently the second trading partner for LAC region, but China could replace Europe by the middle of this decade, the statement added.
For the LAC region, the biggest trading partner is the United States. Between 2000 and 2009, the region’s three largest economies (Brazil, Mexico and Argentina) received 80 percent of their FDI from the United States, according to ECLAC.
The Economic Commission released the data on the eve of ‘EU-Latin America Summit’ held in Santiago, Chile. “We must build a more symmetrical, balanced and equitable relationship with Europe,” said Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of the ECLAC.
She highlighted that Latin American and Caribbean countries are learning from the past, applying macroeconomic prudence and progressive social policies, while Europe is accusing the welfare society of being responsible for the economic crisis.
“The welfare society was not the cause of the crisis, and whether it needs to be updated or reformed is a different matter. In Latin America, we aspire to a welfare society. This paradox is something we need to assess and discuss,” she said.
She underlined that foreign investment must help the region modernize ‘production structure and contribute to employment growth.’