Biden bets on Latin America to balance China’s weight

Biden bets on Latin America to balance China's weight

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A delegation from Joe Biden’s government traveled to Latin America this week to explore public works investment projects with which the United States could control China’s influence in the region.

Dalip Singh, deputy national security adviser for the international economy, led an inter-agency group that visited Colombia, Ecuador and Panama, the White House reported Friday (1).

National Security Council (NSC) spokeswoman Emily Horn told Biden the purpose of the visit was to “listen directly to various Latin American stakeholders to better understand the infrastructure needs in these countries and the region”.

The visit is part of the B3W initiative, an acronym for “rebuilding a better world,” that the US president launched in June with the leaders of the G7, the spokesperson said in a statement. said.

B3W presents itself as an alternative to China’s “New Silk Road”, also known as BRI in English, which the Asian giant launched in 2013 with infrastructure development in low- and middle-income countries. Global weight gain was proposed.

Biden recently discussed the issue at the UN General Assembly with the private sector and other G7 countries (Germany, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, the UK) promising to allocate “hundreds of billions of dollars”.

“If done properly, infrastructure can be a solid foundation that allows societies in low- and middle-income countries to grow and prosper,” the president said at the time.

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Horn said the United States wants to work with countries that share democratic values ​​to finance and develop infrastructure in a transparent, environmentally sustainable manner that respects labor rights.

“The visit demonstrates President Biden’s commitment to strengthen our ties with Latin America and to bridge the huge gaps in physical, digital and human infrastructure,” an NSC spokesperson said.

– “Significant investment” –

In Colombia, Ecuador and Panama, the delegation met with Presidents Ivan Duque, Guillermo Lasso and Laurentino Cortizo, respectively, who were close to Washington, as well as members of his cabinet.

Notably, US representatives spoke with Colombia’s health ministry about the government’s efforts to expand vaccine production capacity, according to the White House.

He also met with representatives of the Panama Canal Authority, private sector entrepreneurs and environmental, labor and civil society leaders.

Benjamin Gayden, deputy director of the Latin American program at the Wilson Center, a Washington-based research center, highlighted Biden’s offensive in the region.

“These investments are critical to US influence in Latin America, where trade ties with China are strengthening,” Gaydon said on Twitter.

He added: “Uruguay seeks a free trade agreement with Beijing and Mexico, despite a large trade deficit with China, lauded China’s interest in the TPP,” adhering to the United States’ Trans-Pacific Economic Cooperation Agreement. does. Withdrawn in 2017. Presidency of Donald Trump.

Over the past 20 years, China has gained a strong position in Latin America in relation to the United States, becoming the first trading partner of almost all South American countries, providing loans at low interest rates and providing energy projects, ports and highways. invests in. , among many other tasks.

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On his visit to Latin America, Singh was accompanied by David Marchic, chief operating officer of the American Development Bank, International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), and Ricardo Ziniga, assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs and Northern Triangle envoy. of Central America.

Also part of the delegation were officials from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Treasury and Commerce departments, among other agencies.

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About the author: Sarah Gracie

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