President Joe Biden will be pitching leaders an ambitious economic agenda when he travels to Los Angeles this week. However, it’s not including any new trade agreements.
The President will present an agenda for the Americas which includes new investments, trade facilitation andrys to boost supply chains while promoting decarbonization. He also plans on updating what he calls ‘the social contract’ between governments and people in order to ensure prosperity continues across all countries involved with this partnership.
“The overall objective is to build our economies from the bottom up and the middle out by building on the foundation established by our free trade agreements with the region to better address the inequality and lack of economic opportunity and equity,” shared a senior administration official.
The partnership is one of a few initiatives covered in the three-day summit and will attempt to recover the rift after leaders speculated who would be invited. Additionally, it will wave off the notion that the administration is prioritizing domestic issues over economic engagement.
When Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua were excluded, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, President of Mexico, declined to attend the gathering.
The administration is working on improving ties with their neighbors to the south in order to discuss topics like immigration and climate change, as well as China’s growing economic influence. However, President Biden’s proposal seems unlikely to satisfy Latin American countries’ desire for more trade access.
“I really worry America has sort of walked away from our engagement in Central and Latin America, and I think it’s going to take a deliberate, concerted effort to re-engage,” said House Ways and Means Committee’s member and free trade vocal supporter Rep. Kevin Brady. “I don’t see that happening at the Americas summit, principally because the whole world knows the president’s not interested in enforceable trade agreements that can help boost investment in two-way trade.”
Over the three-day summit, Biden will likely raise the economic agenda and health initiatives on the first day. They will then address climate change, food security, and migration, in the second and third days respectively.