Latin America poised to grow 5.5% to 6% this year, says IDB
Latin America is poised to expand between 5.5% and 6% this year based on the sustained improvement of commodities pirces, productivity gains and domestic market expansion, said the president of the Inter American Development Bank, IDB, Luis Alberto Moreno.
“Growth will be between 5.5% and 6% globally for the region, twice the expected recovery for the US”, said Moreno addressing the annual meeting of the Latinamerican-US chambers of commerce. However, Moreno warned business representatives and investors that “different growth rhythms will be quite noticeable in the different sub-regions”.
IDB had anticipated last June that the region’s economy would expand 4.3%, sustainedly until the beginning of 2012 at least.
“This is a really fascinating moment for our region; a decade in which we have been able to expand and at the same time patch past debts”, said Moreno.
The head of IDB also called on US businesses not to miss on these fast growing Latin American economies.
This is the moment that US businesses can seize upon. But this cannot happen if we have a closed relationship, if trade flows don't happen the way they should, Moreno said during the event hosted by the US Chamber of Commerce.
“If we take into account the seven largest economies of the region, and if the tendency holds, per capita income by the end of the decade could jump from 16.000 to 22.000 US dollars”, said Moreno.
Asked about a poll in Monday's edition of The Wall Street Journal showing that more than half of US citizens surveyed now believe free trade agreements have hurt the US, he largely placed the blame on a lack of information.
For years now, free trade agreements have become a code for loss of jobs in the U.S, said Moreno. It's a wrong impression, and as you inform the debate, you should get better outcomes, he said.
He called for the Chamber and others in the business community to fight back against the forces of isolationism that have been growing in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world.
Moreno, who was previously Colombia's ambassador to the US, said he still expects Congress to eventually approve free trade deals with his country and Panama. But the trade deals--which have been languishing along with a South Korean pact since being concluded in 2007--have essentially turned into debt to those countries that has been increasing over the years, he said.
The IDB president underlined that speared by the good macroeconomic performance of the region and several trade agreements, United States exports to Latin America soared 82% between 1998 and 2009.