Foreign Secretary James Cleverly is visiting countries across Latin America, Colombia, Chile and Brazil, and Jamaica in the Caribbean over the next 7 days to renew the UK’s relationship with the influential region. Cleverly arrived in Jamaica on 18 May, on the first leg of a 4-country trip that will focus on climate, democracy, and the links between our people.
In Kingston, he announced £15 million in funding for a Violence Prevention Partnership to counter serious and organized crime, as well as up to £7million for climate finance – supporting the island’s security and protecting vital sites against flooding and coastal erosion.
From the Caribbean, the Foreign Secretary traveled to Colombia, Chile and Brazil, 200 years after Britain first began establishing diplomatic ties with the independent Latin American republics, to deliver a keynote speech on the future relationship with this important region.
It is the first visit by a Foreign Secretary to the Caribbean since 2017 and the first to South America since 2018 – helping meet a UK foreign policy objective to revive old friendships and build new ones beyond established alliances.
Latin America, home to 660 million people and with combined GDP of over US$ 5 trillion, is also an enormous potential market for the UK. Mexico, Chile and Peru are among the region’s members the UK will be joining in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) trading bloc – boosting British jobs, growth and influence.
With more than a quarter of the world’s forests, it is also an essential partner in tackling climate change.
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said: This is a milestone year in the history of UK relations with countries across Latin America and the Caribbean. While I look forward to celebrating our close bonds of friendship and family, I am also here to renew and enhance our ties for the years ahead.
It is a partnership that will be marked and strengthened by our shared values of freedom, democracy and concern for the state of our planet.”
In Jamaica, Cleverly attended the UK-Caribbean Forum to set out support for Small Island Developing States (SIDS), following a reception hosted in London on the eve of the Coronation. He later met with Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness.
From 19 to 21 May, the Foreign Secretary was in Colombia to announce new UK support and funding for peace and tackling climate change by protecting the Amazon. Foreign minister Cleverly visited the Amazon frontier region of Guaviare to see how UK-funded projects are preventing deforestation and helping former combatants rebuild their lives through eco-tourism. The UK has contributed over £80 million towards implementation of the landmark 2016 Colombian Peace Agreement.
On 22 May, Cleverly will give a speech in Chile’s capital Santiago setting out the UK’s approach to Latin America and like-minded powers around the world. The speech will launch bicentenary celebrations of UK-Latin America relations in British embassies across the continent – two centuries after then-Foreign Secretary George Canning played a pivotal role in guaranteeing the independence of the region’s new states.
The visit will conclude in Brazil, where Cleverly will sign a wide-ranging climate partnership with his hosts on Green and Inclusive Growth and travel to the Amazon rainforest. This will build on the £80 million of Amazon funding announced by the Prime Minister during President Lula's visit to the UK for the Coronation.
He will emphasize the UK’s support for Brazilian democracy at the national Congress, which was attacked by protestors on 8 January.
The Foreign Secretary set out his personal commitment to deepening UK engagement with countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America in his speech on 12 December 2022 – where he said the UK’s future global impact will depend on winning over a far broader array of global partners.
Then in March, the Integrated Review Refresh set out how the importance of deeper, enduring partnerships with influential actors, including Latin America, that will shape the geopolitical environment in the years ahead.
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