It was to be a “complaints as usual day” plus the announcement Uruguay is poised for another year of record exports, close to 12 billion dollars. But the speaker contracted for the celebration of Exporter’s Day left the Uruguayan business audience and government officials quite surprised.
The Miami Herald columnist Andres Oppenheimer said that only last week President Barack Obama proclaimed to the world that “the United States is a Pacific country” and that “no region will do more to shape our long term economic future than the Asia-Pacific region”.
This simply means that the US will increasingly look East rather than Europe or to Latin America as its number one foreign trade policy.
Furthermore President Obama during the recent Pacific basin summit negotiated with Japan and seven other nations, (including Australia, New Zealand, Chile and Peru) the formation of an expanded Trans-Pacific Partnership, which by some measures could become the world’s biggest trading bloc.
South Korea, Canada and Mexico have already expressed interest in joining it.
”This leaves open the question as to what awaits a passive Latin America content with its role as a main supplier of commodities”.
Oppenheimer also pointed out that Latin American countries are growing at “Asian rates” but differently to what happens in Asia, ‘poverty levels are not diminishing’.
At this point the Argentine born columnist emphasized the issue of education and the need to create “a family education culture” as prevails among the Asian community.
Similarly he compared the ideology of Latinamerican and Asian governments and the great difference, to his understanding: while Latin American countries are guided by an ideology and obsession with the past, Asian countries are guided by pragmatism and are obsessed with the future”.
At the opening of the Exporter’s Day ceremony, Alejandro Bzurovsky anticipated that Uruguay was poised for another record year of exports, even when uncertainties in the regional and international context persist.
“(International) demand is sustained” said Bzurovsky who anticipated that “Uruguayan exports in 2011 will increase 15% in value compared to last year, already a record year, totalling almost 12 billion dollars”.
Bzurovsky also pointed out that uncertainty is particularly insistent regarding Mercosur which “is far distant from what we can expect or believed we could expect”.